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Is R perfect as a first coding language for some one from non CS background

  • 31 August 2019
  • 5 replies

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I am enrolled with R programming by john hopkins. I got no CS background. I am feeling difficulties in coding assignments. few friends suggested to learn python first. After repeated failed attempts I googled for help and found some solution online. looking at solution I don't think solely video tutorials and Swirl exercise are enough to do this assignments. am confused. shall I stick to R or first understand how programs work

5 replies

Could you be more specific on what issues you are feeling from R?
Userlevel 1
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Hi Michael

R is easy to learn but given no CS background - gives tough times. My background is in Biology and Health - and learned R. I also first joined in R-programming but yes had difficulty in understanding.

R <- Then, I follow this path that worked for me. I started working with specific packages (tidyrverse suite) first with the exercises helped me to get connect with the R language and coding strategies then learned R-programming.

  1. Get used to R and R Studio, first
  2. Go over Youtube videos ( and other videos)
  3. Start reading code available on Web, copy the code and work with simple exercises to learn why, and how to read the code
Then R-programming or any other packages

Hope helps
Userlevel 1
I agree with your friends. I learned my programming fundamentals on JavaScript but after trying Python for the first time, it's very easy to dip your toe in. I would encourage you to try some basic python programming tutorials to become familiar with the process and thinking behind programming. Besides, any field you're going into that requires R, likely also uses Python for other applications.
I also agree. I learned R 6 years before but still finding difficulties to R programming of John Hopkins's. Now i start to learn Python. Python is easier but same like R need to practice much
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Hello @michael1988,

Thanks to @rfdinis , @Venkata Duvvuri , @Tyler , @rafiqru for your helpful answers.

My educational background is in Mathematics and Computer Science, and I learned many programming languages including Java, R, Python, Matlab..

I found that both R and Python are easy to learn and applicable for ML projects and Data Visualization.

If you don't have any programming background, you may find that coding with R is a bit tough, but you will notice by time that it's really easy and simple.

My recommendation is not to start with advanced courses, and it's enough to take one course that teaches the basics of R programming, and make sure to take a practical course.

Furthermore, Python and R and other languages are only tools to implement your projects, and it's fine to learn more than one tool but work with only one tool, the main idea here is to understand how algorithms work rather than just learning how to code.