How to build a computer program (for an absolute beginner)

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Report Thread starter 2 years ago
I'm starting my PHD in September and as part of my research end goals, I'm hoping to turn a database into a program that will run reverse regressions on new information against the information within the database and offer the analyses in a simplified term. To build the database and carry out the initial analyses I'll be using SPSS, but need the end product to be easily accessible and easy to use. Can anyone offer any advice? It might not even be a program that I need to make! So any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!
Badges: 19
Report 2 years ago
I've never used nor heard of SPSS before, but a quick search seems like the creators of SPSS have created a plugin which would allow you to use Python within SPSS itself, so you might be able to write Python code to perform these operations on your data:

Python tends to be a fairly beginner-friendly programming language; its syntax is rather clean and expressive; however 'programming' is a whole skillset in itself and requires a new way of thinking to get your mind around computation and algorithmic problem-solving (i.e. the process of writing algorithms to solve problems).

If you're completely new to programming, try this free online course - 'Python for Everybody' to get a basic understanding of Python itself - (When clicking the 'enrol' buttons on each of the 5 courses, choose the 'Audit' link to avoid the paid certification)
Python for Everybody website - more course content here and an e-book:
Alternatively, some neat interactive lessons here:

You'll need to learn how to use the SPSS Python plugin separately, but I wouldn't imagine the plugin will be too difficult once you can use the Python language, and assuming you're already comfortable with the SPSS software. Learning programming is all about practice though, so make sure you take the time to do as many exercises and code tasks as you can.

On your specific problem, I have no idea whether you'd need to write a program yourself to do this - someone else might have already written some Python code to do something like this, or maybe there's something in SPSS which will help you do it more easily - the best thing to do is to try to learn as much as you can about how SPSS actually works and get a good feel for what it's able to do without needing to write code; maybe if you contact the vendor (i.e. the company or team who created SPSS) they'll be able to advise you of the best way.

In general, the main reason for writing code for things like this is when it's to solve a problem which you can't easily or conveniently solve some other way. So for example, if you have some actions/operations that you need to repeat thousands/millions of times and you don't want to do it all by-hand because it's tedious, slow and error prone, so you might use a programming language to automate it instead - however, before you can ever automate something, you also need a very clear and comprehensive understanding of the 'manual' process as well as knowing how the programming language can run the steps for you, and how it can use the data to perform calculations or make decisions - this is the reason for spending the time to learn how to think computationally with the programming language first.

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