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

Gil Pena g||pen@ @end|ng |rom go|d@com@br
Wed Sep 28 12:01:46 CEST 2022

If I could speak for myself, I first heard of R in 2018, when a Course on
biostatistics was offered to the Health Secretariat in my State (Minas
Gerais, Brazil). At that time, I found the software complex:

"... its use will require an understanding of its operation, which implies
knowing how it works with data and the proper nomenclature that it gives to
its objects and the proper syntax of its functions to perform analyzes on
its objects. It seemed like a lot of truck for our little sand, that is, it
would be like learning to drive a truck or pilot a ship, when, in our case,
a wheelbarrow or a Kombi does the job."

One year later, I revised my concepts:

" Now I know a little more about R. Although the initial interface seems
arid, with the > symbol waiting for us to type something, with a little
knowledge of how the program is organized, it is possible to obtain graphs
and maps, with much greater plasticity than achieved with TerraView, for
example. It is a powerful tool, with the availability of numerous packages,
which greatly expand the possibilities of analysis.
Furthermore, the software and packages are accessible, that is, they are not
paid, and there is a vast amount of content on the internet about how to
work with the tool.
So I review the perception I had a year ago, and I now understand that
mastering the tool is essential for us to manipulate data and carry out
analyzes within the secretariat."

Today I can handle some tasks within R, although I can say I have not
learned it yet. In the next IACR’s (International Association of Cancer
Registries) Scientific Conference, I will present an abstract concluding
that "Software R has proved to be a valuable tool for analyzing registry
data. It could easily handle mortality system databases, with almost 200
thousand lines, each year. The use of this software should be encouraged in
the registries, although at first it may seem difficult to use."

Gil Pena
Coordenador do Registro de Câncer de Base Populacional de Belo Horizonte
Coordenação de Vigilância do Câncer
Diretoria de Informações Epidemiológicas
Superintendência de Vigilância Epidemiológica
Subsecretaria de Vigilância em Saúde
Secretaria de Estado da Saúde - Governo de Minas Gerais

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