Dr. Hadley Wickham is the Chief Scientist at RStudio and an Adjunct Professor of Statistics at University of Auckland, Stanford and Rice University. Hadley developed famous statistical analysis software packages for R (programming language) and co-wrote the book â€œR for Data Science.â€� He joined us at our headquarters in Mountain View to talk about the challenges of data science and we were able to ask him a few questions before:
How did you choose to enter the field of statistics and data science? Â â€¨
It was through the process of elimination. I started out in medical school, which in New Zealand you go straight into right after high school. I originally wanted to become a genetic engineer so I did medical school for three years before deciding it wasnâ€™t for me. I went back to what I enjoyed in high school which was statistics and programming. This was before Data Science was prominent, so I double majored in statistics and computer science at The University of Auckland and it was the perfect combination because itâ€™s the home of R.
What inspired you to create tools for data scientists?
During my PhD I was a statistics consultant and fellow PhD students from other departments would come to me with their data and ask me to help them with analysis. A big part of the struggle was getting the data into the right form for analysis – the actual statistical models seemed like the easier part. I loved programming and thought â€œmaybe I could make this easier for people.â€�
What advice would you give to someone who is starting out?
Try and find some data that you are interested in. Whether youâ€™re really into sports or knitting, try to find some data thatâ€™s of interest to you because that will help you get through the initial frustrations. If you get frustrated with it donâ€™t give up, because everyone gets frustrated. You just have to take a break and remind yourself that youâ€™re human.
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