Tips for Learning R

For someone who has messed around with datacamp's online tutorials, but has not really seen the lessons "stick" any recommendations for a novice on resources to learn R? Applications would mostly be time series/econometrics focused. Any views on textbooks vs. applied tutorials? Assume some knowledge of basics but weak programming background

Thanks in advance

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Comments (22)

May 26, 2020 - 11:29pm

Had to do quite a bit of R for econometrics/statistical learning classes. I suggest reading a primer on how to get started but besides that, don't use classes just try some project. Try running some simple regressions and then maybe test some CAPM or other models. You'll really quickly run into the quirks of R (hassle of reading a csv for beginners, types). much better use of time imo than taking a class that won't be tailored for you. google is a great resource and most packages have easily available materials

May 27, 2020 - 10:55am

Wickham is legendary within the data science circles, especially for data visualization and wrangling. Don't have too much on primers per se but these are the textbooks I've used in the past. Introduction to Econometrics by Wooldridge, Econometric Modelling of Financial Time Series by Mills and Markellos. Those aren't specific to R though and won't help you with that aspect. Elements of Statistical Learning and Modern Data Science with R are great books that guide you through R but they focus more on statistical learning and data science rather than pure econometrics

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May 27, 2020 - 2:17pm

Introduction to Statistical Learning and Modern Data Science should have a chapter on intro to R. This may or may not be enough depending on your background. Best to just jump into it headfirst and work through the frustrations.

  • find brief online primer on basic R operators

  • work through each example line of code

  • google functions/operators you don't understand and recreate code yourself line by line

pm me if you want pdf of textbooks

May 28, 2020 - 8:33am
Research Analyst in AM - FI:

Was recommended R for Data Science by Hadley Wickham

I have the print version and like it a lot. The online version is available for free.


May 28, 2020 - 8:50am

My opinion is that when you are new to programming but are familiar with math, finance or a similar subject, R is the easiest language to pick up. I attempted unsuccessfully to learn programming with a couple languages before I came upon R. The syntax of some languages makes them difficult for beginners but the programming fundamentals are the same across languages. After getting comfortable with the basics you can go onto other languages pretty quickly. Just at the beginning I would advise to go the path of least resistance.


May 28, 2020 - 8:38am

You have to find the right learning technique for you. Some people learn better with books, others with video lectures or self-guided projects. I was able to pick up R very fast with the task-based approach Datacamp uses. I used it extensively for about half a year. But now that I'm more familiar with programming I find it too simple and not engaging enough. So I'm more interested in video lectures and self-guided projects.


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