R is a programming language for statistical computing and creating graphs/charts, similar to the S language originally developed at Bell Labs. R is an open-source package for data analysis that’s supported by a large and active worldwide research community.
But we know there are many popular statistical and graphing packages available (such as Microsoft Excel, SAS, IBM SPSS, Stata, and Minitab). So, the question is “Why to turn to R?”. R has many features to recommend it. The following are the 9 reasons to start using R.
- Most commercial statistical software platforms cost thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars. R is free! If you’re a teacher, researcher or student, the cost benefits are obvious.
- R is a comprehensive statistical platform, offering all manner of data analytic techniques. Just about any type of data analysis can be done in R.
- R has state-of-the-art graphics capabilities. If you want to visualize complex data, R has the most comprehensive and powerful feature set available.
- R is a powerful platform for interactive data analysis and exploration. From its inception, it was designed to support the data analysis approach. For example, the results of any analytic step can easily be saved, manipulated, and used as input for additional analyses. The process can be repeated n number of times in ease.
- Usually getting data into a usable form from multiple sources can be a challenging proposition. But, R can easily import data from a wide variety of sources, including text files, database management systems, statistical packages, and specialized data repositories. It can write data out to these systems as well.
- R provides an unparalleled platform for programming new statistical methods in an easy and straightforward manner. It’s easily extensible and provides a natural language for quickly programming recently published methods. The CRAN i.e., the official R package repository is updated by researchers around the world.
- R contains advanced statistical routines not yet available in other packages. In fact, new methods become available for download on a weekly basis. If you’re a SAS user, imagine getting a new SAS PROC every few days.
- R is not just for programmers. If you don’t want to learn a new language, there are a variety of Graphic User Interfaces (GUIs) are available, offering the power of R through menus and dialogues.
- R runs on a wide array of platforms, including Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. It’s likely to run on any computer you might have old to new computers.