Is R dying?

Or is it worth trying? - thoughts from eRum 2018

Is R dying?

Mikołaj Olszewski 22.05.2018 General Data Science

Current status of the technology, whether it’s trending or whether people are getting away from it, is very important for a company that provides technical training. Recently we’ve been hearing from many of our colleagues that they are „switching away from R to other technologies”. That made us worry a bit about the future of this beautiful language.

Among the reasons given for the switch, the most common one was: „I need to do some machine learning / artificial intelligence / neural network stuff that is not available in R”. While this could be true in some cases, we believe that this alone could not determine R’s future.

Partly for getting our heads around the current R trends and the atmosphere between R users, we’ve visited a great R conference, eRum, that has taken place in Budapest on 14-16th May. That only ensured us that the community around R users is great and strong.

An interesting workshop on the keras package providing the interface to Keras was presented. Any R user with basic understanding of neural networks can create one using this package directly from R within minutes. R can do neural networks too!

Shiny also played a big role at the conference with a separate session for the app demos. The conference days overlapped with the official release of Shiny 1.1 which introduces asynchronous operations and addresses a lot previous issues.

A quick chat also revealed that people learn R or prefer to use it instead any other language just because it’s so simple and quick to use. It’s a great choice to start your real Data Science journey and a lot easier to learn from scratch than any other language that suits this purpose.

All this ensured us that even though R is not growing that rapidly at the moment, it’s still a major Data Science technology worth learning with a bright future ahead.

PS. I’ve also given short lightning talk about best, proven practices on teaching R. Make sure to check it out!

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