Cédric Scherer



Who are you, and what do you do?

Hi, my name is Cédric (Twitter: @CedScherer, GitHub: Z3tt) and I recently finished my PhD thesis in the subject of ecology. Currently, I am working part-time as a scientific researcher at the IZW in Berlin, Germany, and as a freelancer in the field of data visualization.

How do you use R? What are your favorite packages?

My first contact with R was in 2008 when doing a mathematics course in my first year as a Bachelor in Life Sciences. We had the choice between Excel/SPSS and R - the professor told us it will be harder but will help us in the future as a scientist so I trusted her and did the R version! Even though we were not really learning how to code (we had to do the exercises at the same pace as the SPSS group without any general introduction to R) I quickly realized how powerful this language and programming in general is.

From 2010 on, I used R in several courses and projects. I’ve started visiting workshops dealing with R and open-source tools that mostly focussed on movement ecology and GIS. I’ve fallen madly in love with R in 2016 when I learned ggplot2 (the hard way by google’n’error) and a friend showed me the versatility and opportunities of the tidyverse package collection.

During my PhD, I used R for all daily-business tasks, from data wrangling (tidyverse packages) and anlyses (glmmTMB, broom, DHARMa, ggeffects, raster, rgeos) to visualization (ggplot2, sf, tmap). Since I’ve finished my PhD, I spend most of my spare time designing visualizations with ggplot2 and its wonderful world of extension packages. So I can’t name any other than ggplot2 as my favorite! Some maybe less known packages I enjoy and use a lot are ggtext by Claus Wilke, ggforce and patchwork by Thomas Pedersen and rcartocolors by Jakub Nowosad.

What hardware do you run R on? Do you use any other software tools?

I work on three different machines, all running on Windows. My personal laptop (Lenovo Carbon), my work laptop (Dell XPS 13), and my personal computer in the office. Even though a lot of friends recommended to transition to Linux, I never really made the switch - but all of them have a Linux partition installed, I just need to get started with it…

Do you have any projects that you’re working on right now?

I am super glad that I work with R, the tidyverse packages, and ggplot2 most of my time. Currently, my work time is divided into three areas. I am preparing the upcoming Physalia workshop “Data Visualization in R with ggplot2 that I am going teach in March. I also do a lot of client projects where I analyse and visualize a variety of data sets. In my PostDoc position, I am currently writing a proposal for a personal research position. I am also more and more becoming the person to help or doing the visualizations in our lab, so I have several research projects for which I am doing collabo-work with R and ggplot2.

In my spare time, when I am not spending time with my family or friends, I am also using R. I have a long list of running and potential dataviz projects and posts for my blog. And, of course, each Tuesday evening (or a bit later), I am working on my contribution for the community challenge #TidyTuesday - plus a few a other challenges I am participating in from time to time such as #SWDchallenge, #MakeoverMonday, and the #30DayMapChallenge.