February 28, 2010
So, I’ve decided to rededicate myself to learning new tech skills.
Because I’ll be starting a Ph.D. in the fall, I figure one of the best places to start is with statistics. I’ve heard really good things about the R statistical package, so that’s what I’m going with. It’s got a couple really good things going for it. First, it’s free. That means I can always get it. I don’t know if this really happens, but one worry I have is learning something like SPSS or another stats software, then moving to a new school and having to learn a new one. R is also open source, which means updates happen a lot more frequently than with proprietary software. Plus, if I really get ambitious I can monkey around with it myself. Also, it is a programming language, so I can really get my geek on and create programs to do all sorts of cool statistical analysis. So far I haven’t done much beyond T-tests, but I’m getting there slowly. I’m going back through my old stats book, The Statistical Sleuth, and doing the exercises there with R so I can get a feel for how it works.
The other main thing on my list now is to get into Python again. I kinda started learning Python, wrote one program, then abandoned that pursuit. I’m not sure if laziness got in the way or what, but I’ve decided to go at it again. I guess my biggest problem with programming is that I can’t really think of things to program. I want to be a better programmer, but when it comes down to it I just don’t. But I picked up a Python book and a Django book, so hopefully this time around I’ll have the drive to make it happen. It will be really nice to have some web programming skills.
Anyway, so that’s what I’m up to now. Learning R, learning Python, and trying to be a better me than yesterday.
I'm Ryan Schuetzler, a husband and father, professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and professional nerd. You can follow me on twitter, but there's not much there.