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  #11  
Old 11-26-2018, 11:07 AM
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I honestly think you will be rewarded long-term for learning both. Python is immensely useful, even for just ad hoc file system automation and data-cleaning tasks. It's cross-platform and extremely portable. It also has a very intuitive syntax that most people will pick up rapidly, especially if they use it to solve actual problems on the job.

R is also very powerful, especially for advanced statistical applications. You can do things in R with a single line of code that would take millions of rows in Excel. And like Python, simply learning R will advance your general programming skills.

I think it's best to have an "and" mindset instead of an "or" mindset with programming languages. Using this *and* that is more powerful than always trying to decide on this *or* that.
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  #12  
Old 11-26-2018, 11:10 AM
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I think it's fairly common, whether or not it's reasonable, for IT departments to be wary of freeware/open source software. I think it took us years to convince our IT folks that R, Python, and other programs are safe.
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  #13  
Old 11-26-2018, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by act_123 View Post
Why do you need to know why?

I think R is probably more practical for your day job. I would learn that first.

Python is probably more useful as a programmer.
*I* don't need to know why, but OP's answer to that question could help him/her/it answer the broader question, given the differences between the languages that others, such as E, explained in their posts.

Maybe you're more familiar with the OP's day job and goals, but you seem to be jumping to conclusions that aren't supported by the first post.
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  #14  
Old 11-26-2018, 11:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcie View Post
*I* don't need to know why, but OP's answer to that question could help him/her/it answer the broader question, given the differences between the languages that others, such as E, explained in their posts.

Maybe you're more familiar with the OP's day job and goals, but you seem to be jumping to conclusions that aren't supported by the first post.
Your an exam grader. Have you seen the actuarial exams lately. Just like OPs question.

Make logical assumption and go with it.

Pretty content with my answer that Python is more powerful but less useful for a typical actuarial job.
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  #15  
Old 11-26-2018, 11:54 AM
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Start with Machine Code. Then Assembler. Then move your way up the food chain.
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  #16  
Old 11-26-2018, 11:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcie View Post
I think it's fairly common, whether or not it's reasonable, for IT departments to be wary of freeware/open source software. I think it took us years to convince our IT folks that R, Python, and other programs are safe.
That may be because the IT department has nowhere to turn for support issues on freeware/open source software; safety may be the excuse rather than the reason. With proprietary software they can punt issues to the vendor's support department.
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  #17  
Old 11-26-2018, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Frustrated & Unmotivated View Post
Which should I learn first? R or Python? I know nothing about either.

which is more widely adopted, in case of me needing to look for something new? (I'm P&C)

My work IT dept, is always skittish about installing new software. Are either of them more problematic than the other? (e.g. license fees, or anything else that could make an IT team skittish?)

sorry , don't know what other questions to ask. Am I forgetting anything?
The base versions of the two languages (I'll get to packages in a minute) have different purposes. Python is a general programming language, where R is geared more for statistical analysis and visualization. Anything one of them can do, the other can do as well. But some things are more naturally done in one than in the other.

Both languages have developer communities that have created lots of good packages to extend each language. You can find packages to do most anything in nice, compact ways. Personally I prefer Python for interacting with databases and networks, and R for the plotting and graphics, but that's just me. RNT, YMMV.

IT is more likely skittish because of support capabilities rather than license fees (neither R nor Python has any) or security.

Install them both on your computer at home; they don't take up much space. Flip a coin to decide which to start on. Learn one, practice a bit with it, then learn the other. Once you relax into the two tools, you'll find the way to use each of them that works most naturally for you.
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  #18  
Old 11-26-2018, 01:11 PM
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I've never learned R (so don't listen to me) but I'm a big believer in never learning highly-specialized languages unless you have a highly-specialized purpose. It's like choosing to get a Masters in Latin when you don't even like Virgil and Catullus. Just silly.
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  #19  
Old 11-26-2018, 03:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sredni Vashtar View Post
I've never learned R (so don't listen to me) but I'm a big believer in never learning highly-specialized languages unless you have a highly-specialized purpose. It's like choosing to get a Masters in Latin when you don't even like Virgil and Catullus. Just silly.
I'm not sure I would classify R as "highly-specialized" in the context of actuarial work. Compared to general purpose languages like C++, Java, etc. (and I'd include Python here), sure, it's more specialized, being designed specifically for data analysis/statistics/visualization, but it can do pretty much everything an actuary might want it to do.
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Old 11-26-2018, 03:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcie View Post
I'm not sure I would classify R as "highly-specialized" in the context of actuarial work. Compared to general purpose languages like C++, Java, etc. (and I'd include Python here), sure, it's more specialized, being designed specifically for data analysis/statistics/visualization, but it can do pretty much everything an actuary might want it to do.
Fair enough. Mostly, I've heard that R's syntax is quite unique.

The nice thing about GPLs is that they are very transferable. Whatever the OP learns in Python will improve his VBA skills, for the most part.
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