Get the Basics right – Suggestion for R Beginners

October 17, 2011

(This article was first published on Doodling with Data, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

I am always looking for suggestions on how to get better at R, esp. for beginners. So when I see someone who’s gotten adept at it, I ask them how they got there.

This weekend, at the Bay Area ACM Data Mining Camp, one person gave me what seemed like a good suggestion. Just wanted to share it here, for anyone else who’s just getting started.

He told me that there are tons and tons of libraries, and if you start going down that path, you might know how to use a library or two, but you may not learn the basics of data manipulation, which is one of R’s main strengths.

His suggestion:
Get some data and learn to manipulate it – understand the differences between vectors, data-frames, arrays and matrices. Once you have this down, only then should you start exploring the different libraries. Don’t rush in to try every new library that someone praises.

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