Conference Agenda

Panel: R User or R Developer? This is the question!
Tuesday, 06/July/2021:
4:00pm - 5:00pm

Session Chair: Francesca Vitalini
Zoom Host: Maryam Alizadeh
Replacement Zoom Host: Tuli Amutenya
Location: The Lounge #panel_user_developer

Session Topics:

ID: 214 / [Single Presentation of ID 214]: 1
Topics: Other
Keywords: DevOps

Panel: R User or R Developer? This is the question!

Francesca Vitalini, Riccardo Porreca, Stéphanie Gehring, Peter Schmid

Mirai Solutions GmbH,

Since its first official release back in 1995, R has outgrown its statistician-tool origin, spreading out to different fields. A key factor in R’s popularity is without a doubt its approachability for people without a software engineering background.

As a result, R is often considered more as a scripting / prototyping / data analytics tool than a proper software development language. Thanks to its low barrier and accessibility, however, people with a wide variety of (non-technical) backgrounds can quickly become active and effective users. This in turn can set the ground for exploring and building up programming and development skills, transitioning towards what is normally associated with software engineering profiles.

This raises some questions: what does it mean to be an R user? Is there such a thing as an R developer, and (how) does it differ from being an R user? In this time where IT skills are required across virtually every domain, can an R user afford not to be a software engineer as well? What is (and does it even exist) the R equivalent of the Python stack developer? What type of background and expertise should an R user have to fit what companies are looking for? And what about academia? What is the current trend?

We will discuss these questions in a panel featuring the point of view of:

- experts from both industry and academia,

- data scientists who have made the transition from R users to software developers,

- R Core team,

and of course the Community perspective.