Though it doesn’t rank as high as Python, SQL, or a few other languages for data science, R remains a popular tool for doing statistical computing. It has been expanded for 20 years by researchers wanting to make analysis and machine learning as easy as possible. Today, it boasts thousands of software packages, a thriving community of open-source enthusiasts, and a position of honor in academia. If you’ve decided you want to learn R for free, here’s a list of resources to make that happen.
Free Books on R
Sure, it’s 2019, and we all have our iPads and extra-large computer monitors. But books have been serving mankind’s learning needs for thousands of years. If you prefer books to other ways of acquiring new skills, here’s a list of free books to learn R.
- R For Data Science, Hadley Wickham
It’s hard to go wrong with a nice overview written by an O’Reilly author. At over 500 pages, this volume will introduce you to the basics of importing data, tidying it up, analyzing it, and visualizing it. With this foundation in place, you’ll be prepared to do high-quality data science with R.
- Introduction To Data Science, Rafael Irizarry
While this isn’t an R tutorial per se, it will walk you through the foundational concepts in data science, such as statistical analysis, hypothesis testing, and regression models, all with examples in R. In my experience, a great way to learn a language is to use both a book dedicated to the language and a book demonstrating some application of the language.
- R Packages, Hadley Wickham
Any language as old and widespread as R is going to have lots and lots of third party software packages. Getting a handle on this ecosystem is easier with an overview like this one.
- Advanced R, Hadley Wickham
Once you move beyond the basics, it’ll be time to explore the full breadth of what you can do with R.
- Exploratory Data Analysis With R, Robert Peng
One of the most important skills for a new data scientist to learn is ‘exploratory data analysis.’ This consists of simply getting a feel for the data by inspecting them, making simple plots, and performing simple tests. This book shows you how to do that in R.
Courses to Learn R for Free
If you prefer the interactivity of an online platform, here are some courses to learn R for free:
- Data Science: R Basics
Coming to us from Harvard via edX, this course will teach you how to wrangle, analyze, and visualize data in R in just a few hours a week. The course is free, but you can pay to get graded homework and a certificate of completion.
- Introduction To R For Data Science
Microsoft’s edX offering will have you doing basic data science in less than a month. This free course also has a paid version which offers more hands-on support and a certification at the end.
- R Programming
Another month-long course, this time from Coursera. Here you’ll learn how to install R, build simple functions, and debug your R code.
- R Basics
If you have no experience in programming at all, consider this Udemy course targeted at absolute beginners.
- Learn Data Science With R
With over 8 hours of recorded lectures, this Udemy offering will teach you the basics of data structures, vectors, and data frames, all key skills for new data scientists!
With these free resources for learning R, you can build a foundation in a new field without having to spend a dime!