I'm Interested in Learning to Program, Where Do I Begin?

That is awesome, and we are super excited that you’re about to embark on your computer programming learning journey! Your first step is to choose a programming language. Python and R are both great programming languages for beginners, and we have an article that explains how you can go about choosing between the two.

Learning at UCSF Library

Once you have decided which programming language to learn first, you can sign up for a workshop. UCSF Data Science Initiative offers introductory workshops for both Python and R, so be sure to check upcoming workshops regularly or look at our course materials on the CLE. If you chose to learn R first, there is also a self-paced R for Everyone course series that you can explore anytime.

Online Learning

In addition to UCSF resources, there are also many high-quality and free courses available online. Below are a few that we recommend for beginners:



Swirl: R Programming

Swirl is perfect for R learners who prefer hands-on learning. By installing the swirl package inside of RStudio, you can complete tutorials directly inside of RStudio. We recommend starting with the R Programming course, but there is a large repository of other swirl courses as well.

University of Michigan: Python for Everybody

This free self-paced course from the University of Michigan is a great starting place for those who are new to programming. It contains video lectures and auto-graded exercises.

Harvard CS50: Introduction to Computer Science

This is Harvard's introductory computer science class, and it is available online for free! If you have the time, this course provides a comprehensive overview of computer science concepts.

LinkedIn Learning @UCSF

Everyone within the UCSF community also receives free access to LinkedIn Learning. To access LinkedIn Learning, login directly via your UCSF email and single-sign-on with Duo Authentication. Within LinkedIn Learning, you can try the Master Python for Data Science Learning Path or Master R for Data Science Learning Path.

If you have any additional questions or would just like to connect with UCSF Data Science Initiative, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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