Programming is essential in the analysis because it’s endlessly customizable. When you can write a program, it is very easy to generalize your analysis. You can change the model, data set and assumption, while you maintain the ability to see what you did before and why you did it.
And another reason programming is important is that data scientists rarely get neat data. Retrieving and manipulating the data is part of analyzing it.
Programming should not take more time than using a GUI-based tool, and it should not be a separate skill set. It is just a part of statistical analysis.
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