Morning coffee: scripting language

Several people have asked: what scripting language should biologists learn if they are interested in doing a little larger-scale data analysis and have never programmed before? I’m not an expert, but these are the kinds of things I tend to say:

The language is not so important; the same principles apply everywhere. Use what your friends and colleagues use so you can get help from them. I believe most people would answer Python. I would answer R. Don’t believe people who tell you that R is not a serious language. You’re already familiar with analysing small datasets in a statistics program. You can do that in R too, and then the step to writing code and handling larger projects is actually very short. Your data will very likely come in tables, and R is very good at that. You’ll also want pretty graphs, and R is very good at that too. Regardless, have a look at the other common languages as well. Practice working from a terminal.

3 thoughts on “Morning coffee: scripting language

  1. I’d say whatever language makes you productive quickly, which goes back to whatever language is popular in your domain so people have already written good libraries for your type of problems. If there is going to be a lot of plotting & data analyses I’d suggest R.

  2. Pingback: Finding the distance from ChIP signals to genes | There is grandeur in this view of life

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