My next two live webinars done in partnership with Revolution Analytics are in January:

R for SAS, SPSS and Stata Users

Managing Data with R (updated to include dplyr, broom, tidyr, etc.)

Course outlines and registration for both is here.

My R for SAS, SPSS and Stata Users workshop is also now available as a self-paced interactive video workshop at DataCamp.com.

I do site visits in partnership with RStudio.com, whose software I recommend and use in every form of my training. If your company does its training through Xerox Learning Services, I also partner with them. For further details or to arrange a site visit, you can reach me at muenchen.bob@gmail.com.

]]>

]]>

Here is my latest update to *The Popularity of Data Analysis Software*. To save you the trouble of reading all 25 pages of that article, the new section is below. The two most interesting nuggets it contains are:

- As I covered in my talk at the UseR 2014 meeting, it is very likely that during the summer of 2014, R became the most widely used analytics software for scholarly articles, ending a spectacular 16-year run by SPSS.
- Stata has probably passed Statistica in scholarly use, and its rapid rate of growth parallels that of R.

If you’d like to be alerted to future updates on this topic, you can follow me on Twitter, @BobMuenchen.

**Scholarly Articles**

The more popular a software package is, the more likely it will appear in scholarly publications as a topic and as a method of analysis. The software that is used in scholarly articles is what the next generation of analysts will graduate knowing, so it’s a good leading indicator of where things are headed. Google Scholar offers a way to measure such activity. However, no search of this magnitude is perfect and will include some irrelevant articles and reject some relevant ones. The details of the search terms I used are complex enough to move to a companion article, How to Search For Analytics Articles. Since Google regularly improves its search algorithm, I recollect the data for all years following the protocol described at http://librestats.com/2012/04/12/statistical-software-popularity-on-google-scholar/.

Figure 2a shows the number of articles found for each software package for all the years that Google Scholar can search. SPSS is by far the most dominant package, likely due to its balance between power and ease-of-use. SAS has around half as many, followed by MATLAB and R. Note that the general purpose software MATLAB, Java and Python are included only when found in combination with analytics terms, so view those as much rougher counts than the rest. Neither C nor C++ are included here because it’s very difficult to focus the search compared to the search for jobs above, whose job descriptions commonly include a clear target of skills in “C/C++” and “C or C++”.

From RapidMiner on down, the counts appear to be zero. That’s not the case, but relative to the others, it might as well be.

Figure 2b shows the number of articles for the most popular six classic statistics packages from 1995 through 2013 (the last complete year of data this graph was made). As in Figure 2a, SPSS has a clear lead, but you can see that its dominance peaked in 2007 and its use is now in sharp decline. SAS never came close to SPSS’ level of dominance, and it peaked in 2008.

Since SAS and SPSS dominate the vertical space in Figure 2a by such a wide margin, I removed those two packages and added the next two most popular statistics packages, Systat and JMP in Figure 2c. Freeing up so much space in the plot now allows us to see that the use of R is experiencing very rapid growth and is pulling away from the pack, solidifying its position in third place. In fact, extending the downward trend of SPSS and the upward trend of R make it likely that sometime during the summer of 2014 R became the most dominant package for analytics used in scholarly publications. Due to the lag caused by the publication process, getting articles online, indexing them, etc. we won’t be able to verify that this has happened until well into 2015 (correction: this said 2014 when originally posted).

After R, Statistica is in fourth place and growing, but at a much lower rate. Note that in the plots from previous years, Statistica was displayed as a flat line at the very bottom of the graph. That turned out to be a search-related artifact. Many academics who use Statistica don’t mention the package by software name but rather say something like, “we used the statistics package by Statsoft.”

Extrapolating from the trend lines, it is likely that the use of Stata among academics passed that of Statistica fairly early in 2014. The remaining three packages, Minitab, Systat and JMP are all growing but at a much lower rate than either R or Stata.

]]>

**Growth in Capability**

The capability of analytics software has grown significantly over the years. It would be helpful to be able to plot the growth of each software package’s capabilities, but such data is hard to obtain. John Fox (2009) acquired it for R’s main distribution site http://cran.r-project.org/. I collected the data for later versions following his method.

Figure 8 shows that the growth in R packages is following a rapid parabolic arc (quadratic fit with R-squared=.998). The right-most point is for version 3.0.2, the last version released in 2013.

As rapid as this growth has been, these data represent only the main CRAN repository. R does have eight other software repositories, such as the one at http://www.bioconductor.org/ that are not included in this graph. A program run on 4/7/2014 counted 7,364 R packages at all major repositories, 5,323 of which were at CRAN. So the growth curve for the software at all repositories would be roughly 38% higher on the y-axis than the one shown in Figure 8. As with any analysis software, individuals also maintain their own separate collections typically available on their web sites.

To put this astonishing growth in perspective, let us compare it to the most dominant commercial package, SAS. In version, 9.3, SAS contains around 1,200 commands that are roughly equivalent to R functions (procs, functions etc. in Base, Stat, ETS, HP Forecasting, Graph, IML, Macro, OR, QC). R packages contain a median of 5 functions (Rasmus Bååth, 12/2012 personal communication). Therefore R has approximately 36,820 functions compared to SAS’s 1,200. *In fact, during 2013 alone, R added more functions/procs than SAS Institute has written in its entire history!* That’s 835 packages, counting only CRAN, or around 4,175 functions. Of course these are not perfectly equivalent. Some SAS procedures have many more options to control their output than R functions do. However, R functions can nest inside one another, creating nearly infinite combinations. Also, SAS is now out with version 9.4 and I have not repeated the arduous task of recounting its commands. If SAS Institute would provide the figure, I would be happy to list it here. While the comparison is not perfect, it does provide an interesting perspective on the size and growth rate of R.

]]>

Has learning R been driving you a bit crazy? If so, it may be that you’re “lost in translation.” On April 21 and 23, I’ll be teaching a webinar, R for SAS, SPSS and Stata Users. With each R concept, I’ll introduce it using terminology that you already know, then translate it into R’s very different view of the world. You’ll be following along, with hands-on practice, so that by the end of the workshop R’s fundamentals should be crystal clear. The examples we’ll do come right out of my books, R for SAS and SPSS Users and R for Stata Users. That way if you need more explanation later or want to dive in more deeply, the book of your choice will be very familiar. Plus, the table of contents and the index contain topics listed by SAS/SPSS/Stata terminology and R terminology so you can use either to find what you need. A complete outline of the workshop plus a registration link is here.

]]>

I’ve also updated the jobs data slightly both in the main article and in the background one, How to Search for Analytics Jobs. While the changes to the search algorithm are greatly simplified, but worth reading only by people who are doing their own searches. Rather than jump through hoops to estimate total jobs for each software, I only count those for the main set of search terms. The *relative* results from the new search algorithm are nearly identical to the previous, more complex one (r = .99).

Here’s the update on blogs:

**Blogs**

On Internet blogs, people write about software that interests them, showing how to solve problems and interpreting events in the field. Blog posts contain a great deal of information about their topic, and although it’s not as time consuming as a book to write, maintaining a blog certainly requires effort. Therefore, the number of bloggers writing about analytics software has potential as a measure of popularity or market share. Unfortunately, counting the number of *relevant* blogs is often a difficult task. General purpose software such as Java, Python, the C language variants and MATLAB have many more bloggers writing about general programming topics than just analytics. But separating them out isn’t easy. The name of a blog and the title of its latest post may not give you a clue that it routinely includes articles on analytics.

Another problem arises from the fact that what some companies would write up as a newsletter, others would do as a set of blogs, where several people in the company each contribute their own blog, but they’re also combined into a single company blog. Statsoft and Minitab offer examples of this. What’s really interesting is not company employees who are assigned to write blogs, but rather volunteers who freely provide their time.

In a few lucky cases, lists of such blogs are maintained, usually by blog consolidators, who combine many blogs into large “metablogs.” All I have to do is find such lists and count the blogs. I don’t attempt to extract the few vendor employees that I know are blended into such lists. However, I skip those lists that are exclusively employee-based (or very close to it). The results are shown in Table 1.

Number Software of Blogs SourceR 452 R-Bloggers.com Python 60 SciPy.org SAS 40 PROC-X.com, sasCommunity.org Planet Stata 11 Stata-Bloggers.com

Table 1. Number of blogs devoted to each software package on March 5, 2014, and the source of the data.

R’s 452 blogs is quite an impressive number. For Python, I could only find that list of 60 that were devoted to the SciPy subroutine library. Some of those are likely cover topics besides analytics, but to determine which never cover the topic would be quite time consuming. The 40 blogs about SAS is still an impressive figure given that Stata was the only other software that even garnered a list anywhere. That list is at the vendor itself, StataCorp, but it consists of non-employees except for one.

While searching for lists of blogs on other software, I did find individual blogs that at least occasionally covered a particular topic. However, keeping this list up to date is far too time consuming given the relative ease with which other popularity measures are collected.

If you know of other lists of relevant blogs, please let me know and I’ll add them. If you’re a software vendor CEO reading this, and your company does not build a metablog or at least maintain a list of your bloggers, I recommend taking advantage of this important source of free publicity.

]]>

**Abstract:** This article presents various ways of measuring the popularity or market share of software for analytics including: Alteryx, Angoss, C / C++ / C#, BMDP, Cognos, Java, JMP, Lavastorm, MATLAB, Minitab, NCSS, Oracle Data Mining, Python, R, SAP Business Objects, SAP HANA, SAS, SAS Enterprise Miner, Salford Predictive Modeler (SPM) etc., TIBCO Spotfire, SPSS, Stata, Statistica, Systat, Tableau, Teradata Miner, WEKA / Pentaho. I don’t attempt to differentiate among variants of languages such as R vs. Revolution R Enterprise, or SAS vs. the World Programming System (WPS) or Carolina, except when it is particularly easy such as comparing the company Pagerank figures.

These packages are all included in the first section on jobs, but later sections are older (each contains a date) and do not cover an as extensive set of software. I’ll add those as I can and announce the changes on Twitter where you can follow me as @BobMuenchen.

**Introduction**

When choosing a tool for data analysis, now more broadly referred to as analytics, there are many factors to consider. Does it run natively on your computer? Does the software provide all the methods you use? If not, how extensible is it? Does that extensibility use its own language, or an external one (e.g. Python, R) that is commonly accessible from many packages? Does it fully support the style (programming vs. point-and-click) that you like? Are its visualization options (e.g. static vs. interactive) adequate for your problems? Does it provide output in the form you prefer (e.g. cut & paste into a word processor vs. LaTeX integration)? Does it handle large enough data sets? Do your colleagues use it so you can easily share data and programs? Can you afford it?

There are many ways to measure popularity or market share and each has its advantages and disadvantages. Here they are, in approximate order of usefulness:

**Job Advertisements**– these are rich in information and are backed by money so they are perhaps the best measure of how popular each software is now, and what the trends are up to this point.**Published Scholarly Articles**– these are also rich in information and backed by significant amounts of effort. Since a large proportion come out of academia, the source of new college graduates, they are perhaps the best measurement of new trends in analytics.**Books**– the number of books that include a software’s name in its title is a particularly useful information since it requires a significant effort to write one and publishers do their own study of market share before taking the risk of publishing. However, it can be difficult to do searches to find books that use general-purpose languages which also focus only on analytics.**Blogs**– the number of bloggers writing about analytics software is an interesting measure. Blog posts contain a great deal of information about their topic, and although it’s not as time consuming as a book to write, maintaining a blog certainly requires effort. What makes this measure particularly easy to gather is that consolidators like Tal Galili have created blog consolidation sites like R-Bloggers.com which make it easy to count the blogs. Previously that had been a difficult task.**Web Site Popularity**– how does Google provide the most popular search results at the top of its response to your queries? A major component of that answer comes from the total number of web pages that point to any given web site. That’s known as a site’s PageRank. This is objective data, and for sites that clearly focus on analytics, it’s unbiased. However, for general-purpose software like Java, many sites that discuss programming point to http://www.java.com, and probably fewer that discuss analytics point to it as well. But it may be impractical to tell which is which.**Surveys of Use**– these add additional perspective, but they are commonly done using “snowball sampling” in which the survey taker tries to widely distribute the link and then vendors vie to see who can get the most of their users to participate. So long as they all do so with equal effect, the results can be useful. However, the information is often low, because the questions are short and precise (e.g. “tools data mining” or “program languages for data mining”) and responding requires but a few mouse clicks, rather than the commitment required to place an advertisement or publish an article.**Programming Activity**– some software development is focused into repositories such as GitHub. That allows people to count the number lines of programming code done for each project in a given time period. This is an excellent measure of popularity since writing programs or changing them requires substantial commitment.**Discussion Forums**– these web sites or email-based discussion lists can be a very useful source of information because so many people participate, generating many tens of thousands of questions, answers and other commentary for popular software and virtually nothing for others.**Popularity Measures**– some sites exist that combine several of the measures discussed here into an overall composite score or rank. In particular, they use programming activity and discussion forums.**IT Research Firms**– these firms study the analytics market, interview corporate clients regarding how their needs are being met and/or changing, and write reports describing their take on where each software is now and where they’re headed.**Sales or Download Measures**– the commercial analytics field has undergone a major merger and acquisition phase so that now it is hard to separate out the revenue that comes specifically from analytics. Open source software plays a major role and even the few packages that offer download figures are dicey at best.**Growth in Capability**– while*programming activity*(mentioned above) is required before growth in capability can occur, actual growth in capability is a measure of how many new methods of analysis a software package can perform; programming activity can include routine maintenance of existing capability. Unfortunately, most software vendors don’t track this measure and, of course, simply counting the number of new things does not mean they are widely useful new things. I have only been able to collect this data for R, but the results have been very interesting.

**Job Advertisements**

One of the best ways to measure the popularity or market share of software for analytics is to count the number of job advertisements for each. Indeed.com is the biggest job site in the U.S. making its sample the most representative of the current job market. As their CEO and co-founder Paul Forster stated, Indeed.com includes “all the jobs from over 1,000 unique sources, comprising the major job boards – Monster, Careerbuilder, Hotjobs, Craigslist – as well as hundreds of newspapers, associations, and company websites.” To demonstrate just how dominant its lead is, a search for SPSS (on 2/19/14) showed more than ten times as many jobs on Indeed.com as on its well-known competitor, Monster.com. Indeed.com also has superb search capabilities and it even includes a tool for tracking long-term trends.

Searching for analytics jobs using Indeed.com can be easy, but it can also be very tricky. For many of the analytics software that required only a simple search on its name. However, for software that’s hard to locate (e.g. R) or that is general purpose (e.g. Java) it required complex searches and/or some rather tricky calculations which are described here. All of the graphs in this section use those procedures to make the required queries.

Figure 1a shows that Java and SAS are in a league of their own, with around 50% more analytics jobs than Python or C, C++/C# and twice as much as R. (The three aforementioned C variants are combined in a single search since job advertisements usually seek any of them). Python and C/C++/C# come next at an almost identical level of popularity. That’s not too surprising as many advertisements for analytics jobs that use programming mention both together.

R resides in an interestingly large gap between the other domain-specific languages, SAS and SPSS. This is the first estimate I’ve done that shows that the job market for R has not only caught up with SPSS, but surpassed it by close to double the number of job postings. I knew my previous estimates for R jobs was low, but I had not yet thought of a better way to estimate the total. From SPSS on down, there’s a smooth decline. Enterprise Miner is the only data-mining-specific software to make the cutoff of at least 100 jobs. If I plotted all the software below that point, they would all pile up on the y-axis, appearing to have almost no jobs. Relatively speaking, they don’t!

Software that did not make that cut and are not displayed on the graph are: Alteryx (68), Statistica (67), RapidMiner (38), SPSS Modeler (36), KXEN (28), KNIME (26), Julia (15), Statgraphics (11), Systat (10), BMDP (8), Angos (6), Lavastorm (5), NCSS (4), Salford SPM etc. (3), Teradata Miner (2) and Oracle Data Mining (2).

It’s important to note that the values shown in Figure 1a are single points in time. The number of jobs for the more popular software do not change much from day to day, but each software has an overall trend that shows how the demand for jobs changes across the years. You can plot such trends using Indeed.com’s Job Trends tool. However, as before, focusing just on analytics jobs requires carefully constructed queries, and when comparing two trends at a time means they *both* have to fit in the same query limit allowed by Indeed.com. Those details are described here.

I’m particularly interested in trends involving R, so let’s look at a couple of comparisons. Figure 1b compares the number of analytics jobs available for R and SPSS across time. Analytics jobs for SPSS have not changed much over the years, while those for R have been steadily increasing. The jobs for R finally crossed over and exceeded those for SPSS toward the middle of 2012.

We know from Figure 1a that SAS is still far ahead of R in analytics job postings. How far does R have to go to catch up with SAS? Figure 1c provides one perspective. It would be nice to have the data to forecast when R’s growth curve will catch up with SAS’s, but Indeed.com does not provide the raw data. However, we can use the approximate slope of each line to get a rough estimate. If jobs for SAS stay level and those for R continue to grow linearly as they have since January 2010, then R will catch up in 3.35 years. If instead the demand for SAS jobs that started in January of 2012 continues, then R will catch up in 1.87 years.

A debate has been taking place on the Internet regarding the relative place of Python and R. Ironically, this debate about software to do data analytics has involved very little actual data. However it is possible now to at least study the job trends. Figure 1a showed us that Python is well out in front of R, at least on that single day the searches were run. What has the data looked like over time? The answer is in Figure 1d.

Note that in this graph, Python appears to have a relatively slight advantage while in Figure 1a it had a huge one. The final point on the trend graph was done only two days after the queries used in Figure 1a, and that data changed very little in the meantime. The difference is due to the fact that Indeed.com has a limit on query length. Here is the query used for Figure 1c, and the analytic terms it contains were fewer than the one used for Figure 1a.

R and ("big data" or "statistical analysis" or "data mining" or "data analytics" or "machine learning" or "quantitative analysis" or "business analytics" or "statistical software" or "predictive modeling") !"R D" !"A R" !"H R" !"R N" !toys !kids !" R Walgreen" !walmart !"HVAC R" !"R Bard" , python and ("big data" or "statistical analysis" or "data mining" or "data analytics" or "machine learning" or "quantitative analysis" or "business analytics" or "statistical software" or "predictive modeling")

The detailed description regarding the construction of all the queries used in Figures 1a through 1c is located here.

==============================================================

At this point, the rest of The Popularity of Data Analysis Software will continue, offering many additional perspectives on measuring analytics market share. However, until I update those sections in the coming months, they will not cover as broad a range of software. Stay tuned on Twitter, by following @BobMuenchen.

If you know SAS, SPSS or Stata and have not yet learned R, you can join me for this web-based workshop aimed at translating your knowledge into R. The next workshop begins on April 21. If you do know R and would like to learn more, you might enjoy taking Managing Data with R. The next time I’m offering that is on April 25.

]]>

If you want to learn R, or improve your current R skills, join me for two workshops that I’m offering through Revolution Analytics in January and April.

If you already know another analytics package, the workshop, *Intro to R for SAS, SPSS and Stata Users* may be for you. With each R concept, I’ll introduce it using terminology that you already know, then translate it into R’s very different view of the world. You’ll be following along, with hands-on practice, so that by the end of the workshop R’s fundamentals should be crystal clear. The examples we’ll do come right out of my books, R for SAS and SPSS Users and R for Stata Users. That way if you need more explanation later, or want to dive in more deeply, the book of your choice will be very familiar. Plus, the table of contents and the index contain topics listed by SAS/SPSS/Stata terminology and R terminology so you can use either to find what you need. You can see a complete out line and register for the workshop starting January 13 (click here) or April 21 (click here).

If you already know R, but want to learn more about how you can use R to get your data ready to analyze, the workshop *Managing Data with R* will demonstrate how to use the 15 most widely used data management tasks. The course outline and registration is available here for January and here for April.

If you have questions about any of these courses, drop me a line a muenchen.bob@gmail.com. I’m always available to answer questions regarding any of my books or workshops.

]]>

While menu-driven interfaces such as R Commander, Deducer or SPSS are somewhat easier to learn, the flowchart interface has two important advantages. First, you can often get a grasp of the big picture as you see steps such as separate files merging into one, or several analyses coming out of a particular data set (see figure). Second, and more important, you have a precise record of every step in your analysis. This allows you to repeat an analysis simply by changing the data inputs. Instead, menu-driven interfaces require that you switch to the programs that they create in the background if you need to automatically re-run many previous steps. That’s fine if you’re a programmer, but if you were a good programmer, you probably would not have been using that type of interface in the first place!

This week Revolution Analytics and Alteryx announced that future versions of Revolution R Enterprise will include Alteryx’ flowchart-style graphical user interface. Alteryx has traditionally focused on the analysis of spatial data, only adding predictive analytics in 2012 (skip 37 minutes into this presentation.) This partnership will also allow them to add Revolution’s big data features to various Alteryx products. Both companies are likely to get a significant boost in sales as a result.

While I expect both companies will benefit from this partnership, they could do much better. How? By making the Alteryx interface available for the community (free) version of R. If most R users were familiar with this interface, they would be much more likely to choose Alteryx’ tools when they needed them, instead of a competitor’s. When people needed big data tools for R, they’d be more likely to turn to Revolution Analytics. I am convinced that as great as R’s success has been, it could be greater still with a top-quality flowchart user interface that was freely available to all R users. Given the great advantages that this type of interface offers, it’s just a matter of time until a free version appears. The only question is: who will offer it?

[Update: It turns out that Alteryx is already offering a free version that works with the community version of R! See the comment from Dan Putler, product manager and one of the primary developers of Alteryx’s R-based predictive analytics and business data mining tools. I’ll be trying this out and will report my experiences in a future blog post.]

]]>

If you want to learn R, or improve your current R skills, join me for two workshops that I’m offering through Revolution Analytics in October.

If you already know another analytics package, the workshop, *Intro to R for SAS, SPSS and Stata Users* may be for you. With each R concept, I’ll introduce it using terminology that you already know, then translate it into R’s very different view of the world. You’ll be following along, with hands-on practice, so that by the end of the workshop R’s fundamentals should be crystal clear. The examples we’ll do come right out of my books, R for SAS and SPSS Users and R for Stata Users. That way if you need more explanation later, or want to dive in more deeply, the book of your choice will be very familiar. Plus, the table of contents and the index contain topics listed by SAS/SPSS/Stata terminology and R terminology so you can use either to find what you need. You can see a complete out line and register for the workshop here.

If you already know R, but want to learn more about data management, the workshop *Managing Data with R* will demonstrate how to use the 15 most widely used data management tasks. That course outline and registration is here.

If you have questions about any of these courses, drop me a line a muenchen.bob@gmail.com. I’m always available to answer questions regarding any of my books or workshops.

]]>