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Old Nov 25, 2010, 01:43 PM   #1
mylesg
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Programming options for an analyst

I am a business analyst and stats person. For years I have been able to live off point and click options in programs like SPSS, Access, Filemaker and of course Excel.

Now, my world is getting more complex. Both R and SQL seems to be the growth area in analytics. So are applications in data mining and doing more work in relational databases.

Now, I don't necessarily want to be able to write applications. I just want to be able to better manipulate data, ETL, use command and script based applications for data mining and statistics.

What is the best language to learn to give me the background to begin and do more work within R, SQL, Filemaker, and other data management/mining and stats programs? Even SPSS has an underlying language that I really don't use (yet). So, just a language to better manipulate and analyze data.

Seems like the basic options are C++, Java, VB, Python, etc. As I don't want to be a programmer per say- I just want to learn the basics of a language to better help me with the above tasks.

Finally, when given a choice, I alway prefer to do things on my Mac. So, prefer a language that is works well with a Mac.

Thanks for any advice.
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Old Nov 25, 2010, 01:54 PM   #2
Hansr
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Python, but ultimately you should focus on R and SQL first. If your using them don't spend time on something else yet.
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Old Nov 25, 2010, 02:00 PM   #3
mylesg
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Cool. So, as I want to start to (soon) getting into R and SQL- would I be helped by understanding some other language first? Are R and SQL based on some other basic language or language structure? OR should I go from "programming novice" right into R and SQL?

But you say Python is better (which would be good, as Python is used extensively by SPSS).
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Old Nov 25, 2010, 02:07 PM   #4
mrbash
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There are many dialects of SQL. Each DB vendor tends to create their own SQL versions. When it comes to all of the interesting stuff, it is very DB specific.
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Old Nov 25, 2010, 02:34 PM   #5
Hansr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mylesg View Post
Cool. So, as I want to start to (soon) getting into R and SQL- would I be helped by understanding some other language first?
Yes prior understanding of other languages is helpful, but as a complete novice it's pointless to go for anything prior to what you're going to be using.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mylesg View Post
Are R and SQL based on some other basic language or language structure?
R is semi based on S, SQL is a all encompassing name for a variety of implementation of similar querying languages used for various relational database servers. There are subtle differences between the databases servers and the language is different for each because of that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mylesg View Post
OR should I go from "programming novice" right into R and SQL?
Yes.
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