Upgrading to R #1: Excitement >> Skills

You can teach skills, but not excitement.

Alex Gold true

This is the first in a series of posts sharing some insights on upgrading to R. See the index post for others.

Whether you’re a team leader trying to take your group to the next level, or an indvidual contributor just trying to infect your org with R love, finding companions is really important.

Finding the right people will determine whether you end up part of a crack R team or fall back to whatever you’re doing now. A few factors can ease the way from the desolate R-less place you might live now back to the to the beautiful shire full of free range R code (ok, swear I’m done with LOTR references).

Here’s my totally subjective estimate of some important factors:

Wired: Team’s enthusiasm for learning R

Tired: How much R they already know

This is pretty straightforward. By far the most important factor that will determine your team’s success in transitioning to R is whether they’re excited about it, and the least important is how much they already know. Learning R just really isn’t that hard. People who are excited to learn will do it, and those who aren’t won’t. It’s that simple.

Don’t know who’s excited and who’s not? Ask them! And don’t just ask whether they’re excited to learn R. What you really want to know is whether they’re excited to work on a team that operates with R at its core. Transitioning to R from Excel or Stata has a bunch of potential benefits. Making those benefits real requires a lot more than just writing some code. It’s a wholesale transition in terms of how the team thinks about work (see future blog posts for more on that).

Lesser Angels

Beyond enthusiasm, there are a couple of things you can do to make it easier, whether you’re a team member or the leader.

  1. This presentation by MilesMcBain on the magic of R packages was FANTASTIC - one of my favorites from RStudio::conf(2019).


If you see mistakes or want to suggest changes, please create an issue on the source repository.


For attribution, please cite this work as

Gold (2019, Jan. 20). Alex K Gold: Upgrading to R #1: Excitement >> Skills. Retrieved from https://alexkgold.space/posts/2019-11-09-upgrading-to-r-1-excitement-skills/

BibTeX citation

  author = {Gold, Alex},
  title = {Alex K Gold: Upgrading to R #1: Excitement >> Skills},
  url = {https://alexkgold.space/posts/2019-11-09-upgrading-to-r-1-excitement-skills/},
  year = {2019}