[R] How long does it take to learn the R programming language?

Richard O'Keefe r@oknz @end|ng |rom gm@||@com
Wed Sep 28 13:32:15 CEST 2022

How long does it take to learn R?
Meaningless question.
Who is learning?
Are they new to programming?
What other programming languages do they know?
Are they new to statistics?
What other statistics environments do they know?
Are they learning by themselves?
Do they have a mentor?
Fellow students?
Which textbooks are they using?

I found R very easy to learn, but I was
already familiar with dozens of programming
languages and the SPSS, GLIM, and Genstat
statistics environments, so my experience
will probably mean nothing for you.

The R *language* can be thought of as
covering several different things:
By this I mean logical, integer, real,
complex and character vectors and arrays
(R doesn't actually have scalars) and lists.
This is where R differs most from most
other programming languages except (S of
course and) APL and perhaps Matlab.
(2) R *CONTROL STRUCTURES*.  The syntax
of R and how you write functions in R.
R looks a lot like C/Java/Perl except
where it doesn't, and the most different
aspect of R here is function parameters
(which resemble Lisp) and the way parameters
are passed.
(3) How R data structures are EXTENDED.
The S3 and S4 "object" systems.  Some of
the things like data frames, dates and times,
time series, models, and so on built on these.
(4) Reflection and namespaces.
At this point, you could be said to have mastered
the R *language*.  It is not a big or complex
language.  It's much simpler than C++ or C#.
However, R comes with a range of testing and
documentation tools.  And there is a DAUNTING
range of packages for an astounding range of
statistical and graphical applications.

This is actually my plan for learning any
programming language:
- basic data structures
- basic control structures
- basic debugging techniques
- data structure extension methods
- control structure extension methods
- testing and documentation tools

A word about existing code bases.
R code tends to be written by people with
a great deal of knowledge and insight about
the algorithms they are coding and the
applications they are coding for.
R encourages the development of good
documentation for people who are USING the
code, with examples and vignettes and all that.
However, most of the people are NOT software
engineers and are not writing code with the
dominant idea that someone else will have to
come to understand the inner workings of the
code well enough to maintain it without them.
(This is also true of pretty much all the
Java and C# code I've ever seen, which is too
much of it.)  If you look at an existing
package and find it hard to understand, that
doesn't necessarily mean you haven't learned
enough yet.  Maybe it just *is* hard to
understand because it was written to be useful,
not to be educational.

On Wed, 28 Sept 2022 at 04:13, Turritopsis Dohrnii Teo En Ming <
ceo using teo-en-ming-corp.com> wrote:

> Subject: How long does it take to learn the R programming language?
> Good day from Singapore,
> How long does it take to learn the R programming language?
> Is it easy? Is there a steep learning curve?
> Thank you.
> Regards,
> Mr. Turritopsis Dohrnii Teo En Ming
> Targeted Individual in Singapore
> Blogs:
> https://tdtemcerts.blogspot.com
> https://tdtemcerts.wordpress.com
> ______________________________________________
> R-help using r-project.org mailing list -- To UNSUBSCRIBE and more, see
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