Learning Statistics

I’m starting to read a book on statistics, and this is from the beginning of the chapter on probability:

If you are reading this book as part of a course in statistics, then you are likely pursuing a degree in higher education. On the other hand, if you are reading this book simply out of enjoyment, then you are crazy. That is one thing we can be certain about.

I guess I’m crazy. Oh well. It’s a pretty good book so far, though I think I’m going to need more to really get going.

I started thinking about learning more about statistics and data analysis recently. It ties in a bit with my attempt to learn how to use Power BI. I have all the basics of Power BI down now, meaning that I can import data and make fancy-looking pie charts and bar graphs, and now I’m poking at the edges of more meaningful data analysis.

It’s kind of hard to figure out where to start with statistics and data analysis. I never took a course in statistics when I was in college, so I don’t really know much to begin with. I did read Larry Gonick’s Cartoon Guide to Statistics years ago, back in the 90s I think. I don’t really remember much about it; maybe I should reread it now.

The book I’m currently reading is meant as a college textbook (per the quote above), and isn’t really meant to stand alone. It purposely doesn’t talk about software tools at all; just the background concepts and a little math. I’m thinking about reading this book along with it, which includes some more practical stuff, using Excel as the tool of choice. (Both books are on Safari, so I can read them for free.)

Of course, as a programmer, I’d eventually like to get to a book that talks about statistics and uses a real programming language for the examples. So maybe Think Stats would be good; it uses Python, which I’ve used before (though I’m probably a bit rusty).

I see a lot of references to R when looking into data analysis and statistics. I know almost nothing about R, so maybe I should look at something like this book.

This is all sort of leading me into data science, which is apparently the sexiest job of the 21st century, according to Harvard Business Review. I’m not really looking for a new job, and definitely not a “sexy” one, but hey, it can’t hurt to learn a bit.

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