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Computer programming for clinicians: five steps to your new favourite skill. Part 2
  1. Ji-Jian Chow
  1. Cardiology, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London W12 0HS, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ji-Jian Chow, Cardiology, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London W12 0HS, UK; ji-jian.chow1{at}

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In the previous edition of Cardiology in focus you read about setting yourself up to learn computer programming. In this article we discuss the learning process and consolidating a useful portfolio of skills for clinical projects: steps 3–5 of 5.

Step 3: get stuck in

There is no substitute for tackling a problem yourself to understand how your new tools work. If you are lucky enough to have data ready from your own project, use these. Otherwise, you can download ready prepared data sets like Iris (measurements of flowers) or Titanic (passenger demographics from the doomed boat) to try functions on. Like learning a foreign language, regular use of your new skill in a variety of situations will grow your abilities faster than sporadic, narrow usage.

This is the moment where you will start to shift into a programmer’s mindset. Unlike a human …

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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