What is R and Why Learn R?

What R Is Not?

Anyone starting to learn R will let you know that R is not easy to learn.  R is not technically friendly because symbols such as [] along with syntax are used to perform operations.  In fact, the syntax is often the most important component to learn.  While R got its initial fame from creating simple plots and statistical modeling, R is not restricted to plots and stats.  R is also not just for big data and data science.  R can be used for most any data management and analysis tasks.  R is also not similar to SAS.  R syntax is case sensitive and not friendly towards missing data.  This means that you must be careful to submit the correct case as well as inform R how you plan to handle missing data.

Why Should You Learn R?

Large pharma companies have already jumped on the bandwagon and now develop their own R custom packages.  In response to that, CROs now provide internal R training to better support their clients.  SAS Institute also recognized the growth of R by integrating some tools with R.  CDISC, PhUSE and FDA have also taken steps to install and start using R more.  Finally, for SAS programmers wanting to advance in their career, R programming skills are starting to be a new requirement for Statistical Programming positions.

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