Toptal is a marketplace for top R developers, engineers, programmers, coders, architects, and consultants. Top companies and startups choose Toptal R freelancers for their mission-critical software projects.
United StatesFreelance R Developer at Toptal Since August 24, 2016
Dr. Karvetski has ten years of experience as a data and decision scientist. He has worked across academia and industry in a variety of team and client settings, and has been recognized as an excellent communicator. He loves working with teams to conceive and deploy novel data science solutions. He has expertise with R, SQL, MATLAB, SAS, and other platforms for data science.
RomaniaFreelance R Developer at Toptal Since January 29, 2018
Romain is a seasoned data scientist and machine learning engineer with a Ph.D. in quantum physics and expertise in Python and the PyData stack. Having worked in three different countries for companies of all sizes, from startups to global organizations, Romain is a versatile and communicative engineer.
United StatesFreelance R Developer at Toptal Since August 19, 2014
Tim is a software architect and developer with a proven ability to develop efficient, scalable, and fault-tolerant server solutions for complex problems. He has excellent analytic abilities and extensive experience with big data real-time processing, server solutions, and web services.
R developers are proficient in specialized data analysis, especially for statistical analysis, data visualizations, and reporting. This hiring guide details the core skills, use cases, and interview questions for R developers to help you find experts who will drive your company’s data toward success.
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Despite accelerating demand for coders, Toptal prides itself on almost Ivy League-level vetting.
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What our clients think
Clients Rate Toptal R Developers4.3 / 5.0on average across 92 reviews as of Nov 29, 2023
Tripcents wouldn't exist without Toptal. Toptal Projects enabled us to rapidly develop our foundation with a product manager, lead developer, and senior designer. In just over 60 days we went from concept to Alpha. The speed, knowledge, expertise, and flexibility is second to none. The Toptal team were as part of tripcents as any in-house team member of tripcents. They contributed and took ownership of the development just like everyone else. We will continue to use Toptal. As a startup, they are our secret weapon.
Brantley Pace, CEO & Co-Founder
I am more than pleased with our experience with Toptal. The professional I got to work with was on the phone with me within a couple of hours. I knew after discussing my project with him that he was the candidate I wanted. I hired him immediately and he wasted no time in getting to my project, even going the extra mile by adding some great design elements that enhanced our overall look.
Paul Fenley, Director
K Dunn & Associates
The developers I was paired with were incredible -- smart, driven, and responsive. It used to be hard to find quality engineers and consultants. Now it isn't.
Ryan Rockefeller, CEO
Toptal understood our project needs immediately. We were matched with an exceptional freelancer from Argentina who, from Day 1, immersed himself in our industry, blended seamlessly with our team, understood our vision, and produced top-notch results. Toptal makes connecting with superior developers and programmers very easy.
Jason Kulik, Co-Founder
As a small company with limited resources we can't afford to make expensive mistakes. Toptal provided us with an experienced programmer who was able to hit the ground running and begin contributing immediately. It has been a great experience and one we'd repeat again in a heartbeat.
Stuart Pocknee , Principal
Site Specific Software Solutions
We used Toptal to hire a developer with extensive Amazon Web Services experience. We interviewed four candidates, one of which turned out to be a great fit for our requirements. The process was quick and effective.
Abner Guzmán Rivera, CTO and Chief Scientist
Sergio was an awesome developer to work with. Top notch, responsive, and got the work done efficiently.
Dennis Baldwin, Chief Technologist and Co-Founder
Working with Marcin is a joy. He is competent, professional, flexible, and extremely quick to understand what is required and how to implement it.
André Fischer, CTO
We needed a expert engineer who could start on our project immediately. Simanas exceeded our expectations with his work. Not having to interview and chase down an expert developer was an excellent time-saver and made everyone feel more comfortable with our choice to switch platforms to utilize a more robust language. Toptal made the process easy and convenient. Toptal is now the first place we look for expert-level help.
Derek Minor, Senior VP of Web Development
Networld Media Group
Toptal's developers and architects have been both very professional and easy to work with. The solution they produced was fairly priced and top quality, reducing our time to launch. Thanks again, Toptal.
Jeremy Wessels, CEO
We had a great experience with Toptal. They paired us with the perfect developer for our application and made the process very easy. It was also easy to extend beyond the initial time frame, and we were able to keep the same contractor throughout our project. We definitely recommend Toptal for finding high quality talent quickly and seamlessly.
Ryan Morrissey, CTO
Applied Business Technologies, LLC
I'm incredibly impressed with Toptal. Our developer communicates with me every day, and is a very powerful coder. He's a true professional and his work is just excellent. 5 stars for Toptal.
Pietro Casoar, CEO
Ronin Play Pty Ltd
Working with Toptal has been a great experience. Prior to using them, I had spent quite some time interviewing other freelancers and wasn't finding what I needed. After engaging with Toptal, they matched me up with the perfect developer in a matter of days. The developer I'm working with not only delivers quality code, but he also makes suggestions on things that I hadn't thought of. It's clear to me that Amaury knows what he is doing. Highly recommended!
George Cheng, CEO
As a Toptal qualified front-end developer, I also run my own consulting practice. When clients come to me for help filling key roles on their team, Toptal is the only place I feel comfortable recommending. Toptal's entire candidate pool is the best of the best. Toptal is the best value for money I've found in nearly half a decade of professional online work.
Ethan Brooks, CTO
Langlotz Patent & Trademark Works, Inc.
In Higgle's early days, we needed the best-in-class developers, at affordable rates, in a timely fashion. Toptal delivered!
Lara Aldag, CEO
Toptal makes finding a candidate extremely easy and gives you peace-of-mind that they have the skills to deliver. I would definitely recommend their services to anyone looking for highly-skilled developers.
Michael Gluckman, Data Manager
Toptal’s ability to rapidly match our project with the best developers was just superb. The developers have become part of our team, and I’m amazed at the level of professional commitment each of them has demonstrated. For those looking to work remotely with the best engineers, look no further than Toptal.
Laurent Alis, Founder
Toptal makes finding qualified engineers a breeze. We needed an experienced ASP.NET MVC architect to guide the development of our start-up app, and Toptal had three great candidates for us in less than a week. After making our selection, the engineer was online immediately and hit the ground running. It was so much faster and easier than having to discover and vet candidates ourselves.
Jeff Kelly, Co-Founder
We needed some short-term work in Scala, and Toptal found us a great developer within 24 hours. This simply would not have been possible via any other platform.
Franco Arda, Co-Founder
Toptal offers a no-compromise solution to businesses undergoing rapid development and scale. Every engineer we've contracted through Toptal has quickly integrated into our team and held their work to the highest standard of quality while maintaining blazing development speed.
Greg Kimball, Co-Founder
How to Hire R Developers through Toptal
Talk to One of Our Industry Experts
A Toptal director of engineering will work with you to understand your goals, technical needs, and team dynamics.
Work With Hand-Selected Talent
Within days, we'll introduce you to the right R developer for your project. Average time to match is under 24 hours.
The Right Fit, Guaranteed
Work with your new R developer for a trial period (pay only if satisfied), ensuring they're the right fit before starting the engagement.
Find Experts With Related Skills
Access a vast pool of skilled developers in our talent network and hire the top 3% within just 48 hours.
You may hire R language developers directly or post job positions online. In general, you will follow four steps:
Identify skill requirements. Determine the skills required for your project. All R programmers should have strong foundations in math and data skills. You should also decide on developer seniority, complementary R skills (e.g., SQL, Python, or relevant libraries), and the required data types.
Post a job description. Describe the role, technology stack, desired data insights, company culture, and team the candidate will work with.
Screen and interview candidates. Craft detailed R interview questions to assess the candidate’s experience with R in a work environment and knowledge of relevant libraries.
Finalize your hire. Set a start date and prepare to onboard your new hire to the team.
How much does an R programmer cost to hire?
The cost of hiring an R programmer depends on the tasks they will perform. Developers who focus on specialized machine learning and data manipulation cost more (approaching the range of a data scientist’s salary), while candidates who specialize in data analysis can be hired for less (comparable to a data analyst’s salary). Hiring costs also vary based on factors like location and developer seniority. As one point of reference, Glassdoor lists the average total pay of an R programmer in the United States at $84,738 as of September 6, 2023.
How in demand is R?
In the current marketplace, the need for R development is on the rise. However, it’s worth noting that demand dynamics may vary depending on geographical considerations, sector-specific trends, and organizational requirements. R is particularly prominent within industries such as healthcare, finance, academia, and marketing, where data and statistical analyses form the core of decision-making frameworks. The R language’s intuitive functionality in complex statistical modeling, sophisticated data visualization, and comprehensive reporting strengthens its increasing popularity.
How quick is the hiring process with Toptal?
Typically, you can hire an R programmer with Toptal in about 48 hours. Our talent matchers are experts in the same fields they’re matching in—they’re not recruiters or HR reps. They’ll work with you to understand your goals, technical needs, and team dynamics, and match you with ideal candidates from our vetted global talent network.
Once you select your R expert, you’ll have a no-risk trial period to ensure they’re the perfect fit. Our matching process has a 98% trial-to-hire rate, so you can rest assured that you’re getting the best fit every time.
What is R used for?
R is a powerful programming language commonly leveraged for statistical analysis and data visualization, making it an essential tool for research, statistics, financial analysis, and data science projects. The R language enables a programmer to formulate and test statistical models, conduct exploratory data analysis, and generate high-quality visualizations. It offers a rich ecosystem of packages and solid machine learning and data mining capabilities. Overall, R is an engine for driving evidence-based decision-making, offering a robust platform to transform raw data into actionable business insights.
Rodrigo is a data scientist and full-stack developer who has served as the CTO and CEO of AI-focused companies. He specializes in data analysis and visualization, and has used R to develop visually engaging dashboards. Rodrigo has also worked on projects ranging from search algorithms and recommendation engines to web e-commerce platforms.
Amid the Boom of Big Data, R Developers Meet Complex Analysis Needs
The big data market is on the rise, boasting a strong CAGR of 13.5%. At the same time, there is a growing need for reproducible studies. In response to these surges, R—a powerful programming language designed for specialized data analysis—has been continually expanding and evolving. Certain R functions have undergone a tenfold increase in usage in less than a decade, and it ranks among the top 20 programming languages according to the TIOBE index.
The growth of big data and R’s complementary strengths have increased competition for skilled R programmers, resulting in rising salaries and condensing talent pools. For projects involving specialized tasks like heavy statistical analysis, sophisticated data visualizations, or comprehensive reporting, hiring an R developer can ensure optimal project outcomes. Due to the language’s extensive collection of packages tailored to fields like healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and academia, R programmers fill a highly specialized niche.
This guide provides an overview of R, along with resources to navigate the competitive landscape and make informed hiring decisions. With valuable insights into the abundance of available R libraries and tools, and the core concepts needed to assess candidates effectively, you will be well prepared to find and attract the right individuals to drive your organization’s data analysis initiatives forward.
What attributes distinguish quality R Developers from others?
R programmers possess unique skills that can significantly benefit clients across information projects. Successful R professionals have a strong foundation in mathematical and data-focused concepts, and the complementary soft skills required to present findings to team members and stakeholders:
Statistics – One of an R engineer’s primary responsibilities is navigating complex data sets using statistical concepts. Expertise in hypothesis testing, linear regression, probability theory, and causality empowers developers to extract meaningful information and derive actionable conclusions.
Data visualization and manipulation – Skilled candidates excel in data visualization; they can harness the powerful capabilities of R to communicate complex visual information clearly and effectively. This ability helps stakeholders to grasp insights quickly and make informed decisions. In addition, data manipulation and cleaning skills are critical for handling messy and unstructured data efficiently and producing accurate and reliable analyses.
Database management – Working with databases is a common requirement for R developers. Proficiency with SQL and experience working with relational databases like MySQL or PostgreSQL helps engineers retrieve, manipulate, and store data effectively.
Machine learningand predictive analytics – Familiarity with machine learning algorithms and techniques for predictive analytics is becoming increasingly important for R programmers. Experts who are well versed in implementing and evaluating models for tasks like classification, regression, clustering, and recommendation systems can add value to an organization. Look for candidates who stay abreast of the latest algorithms—particularly deep learning ones—to help your business remain competitive in the fast-moving field of machine learning.
Reproducible research – The ability to create reproducible workflows using tools like R Markdown and literate programming techniques ensures that analyses can be easily replicated and shared, making a company’s data analysis projects more reliable.
Version control – Proficiency in version control systems like Git is crucial for collaborative software development. Although R experts may not be fully integrated into the development environment, they should have experience with Git workflows, repositories, and commands such as branching and merging.
Problem-solving – Soft skills such as strong problem-solving abilities are essential for tackling the complex challenges of data analysis. Candidates must also possess creative- and analytical-thinking abilities to innovate and overcome obstacles effectively.
Communication and collaboration – The ability to concisely communicate the results of an analytical procedure is crucial when working with data. R professionals should be able to effectively articulate their findings and insights, ensuring smooth project execution and fostering productive collaboration as part of a team.
Along with these general R developer skills, it is advantageous for an R engineer to be familiar with the industry at hand, and you’ll want to identify any specializations your project requires.
How can you identify the ideal R Developer for you?
To determine the specialized skills to advance your R applications effectively, you should first define your skills gap or compose a problem statement. Projects may require specific advanced techniques, so matching candidates’ skills to your business requirements is crucial for success. These steps ensure that the engineer you hire for your project has the expertise to handle complex tasks and deliver high-quality results. You may also consider whether your project allows for hiring remote R developers or if onsite engineers are required and whether you seek dedicated or freelance R developers.
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On the whole, R engineers are less versatile and have fewer AI or machine learning (ML) libraries available compared to Python developers, who work with a general-purpose programming language. However, R engineers best Python developers when it comes to robust statistical computing methodologies and data visualization or reporting capabilities—and hiring managers who work on these types of projects should opt for a candidate who is proficient in R.
Use cases for R vs. SQL developers
R and SQL developers serve different yet complementary roles when it comes to data analysis:
R developers are best suited for statistical modeling, data analysis, and data visualization projects. R provides a much more sophisticated tool set for these purposes, with a vast array of statistical tests and models readily available; however, it’s not designed to handle data retrieval from databases.
SQL developers excel at performing data extraction, manipulating database structures, and conducting basic analysis and data cleaning, as SQL is designed for managing and manipulating structured data within relational databases.
In short, R engineers fulfill data analysis needs while SQL experts focus on the preparation and handling of data. In many data-intensive projects, these skills are often complementary: Data retrieved and cleaned with SQL can then be analyzed and visualized using R. In order to understand queries, basic knowledge of SQL is useful for an R developer. Hiring managers often look for both types of engineers or search for candidates who are proficient in both SQL and R.
R programming vs. R data analysis: Which do you need for your business?
Consider which R skills align better within the context of your project, programming or data analysis. Both specializations can add value to a business, each with a slightly different use case:
R programming is essential for developing custom functions, scripts, and applications, and integrating R with other tools. It is crucial when businesses need to create new algorithms, build custom analytical tools, or automate data-related tasks.
R data analysis best serves endeavors that require in-depth analysis of large data sets, statistical modeling, predictive analytics, and data-driven decision-making.
By administering exercises, you can check an R programming candidate’s ability to code. You can evaluate R data analysis skills by how a candidate handles sample data sets. Additionally, you can request past data analysis or programming projects to provide insight into the candidate’s ability to execute a task.
Choosing between junior and senior talent
Finally, you must determine whether to invest in senior or junior talent. This decision depends on the complexity and urgency of your project. Junior engineers are typically sufficient for less complex or lower-stakes projects where the learning curve is lower and the data is well structured. On the other hand, senior developers are necessary for tasks that require specialized skills and a deep understanding of the subject matter; they can handle complex problems and build innovative solutions with minimal supervision. Senior talent are ideal when data is not easily available or an analysis mandates advanced tools like scraping, ML algorithms, or interactive dashboards. Companies should carefully assess their project requirements, complexity, and urgency to weigh the benefits and costs of hiring senior versus junior talent.
How to Write an R Developer Job Description for Your Project
The most important aspect of a job description is a clear statement of your needs and project requirements. When considering R developers for hire, you may choose between a variety of specialized skills based on your goals:
Commonly Required Skills
ggplot2, Highcharts, R Markdown
ML or deep learning
You might also include critical information about the company and role:
The industry and the source of your data
The insights you are trying to extract
The technology stack used
The level of expertise you seek
The role location and type (remote developers or on-site engineers)
Sharing these details allows candidates to evaluate whether their skills match your current goals and gets you one step closer to your ideal engineering team.
What are the most important R Developer interview questions?
Preparing thoughtful R interview questions will help you assess a candidate’s proficiency in R and their ability to deal with the daily challenges of their project work. You may start with questions designed to gauge how familiar the candidate is with R in a working setting:
What is your experience with R’s package ecosystem? How have you used libraries to extend the functionality of the language?
Can you speak to a few examples of projects where you have performed data visualization in R?
Are you familiar with Shiny? Can you describe previous dashboards you have built?
Candidates should be familiar—and have real-world experience—with the common packages, such as Tidyverse, required for R engineers to conduct data analyses. In addition, they should be well equipped to compose good visualizations; experienced candidates may detail the visualization tools they have used, such as Plotly or Tidyverse’s ggplot2. However, these tools are less important than the candidate’s ability to build simple and interpretable graphs. Finally, if you desire highly interactive visualizations inside a dashboard, make sure that the candidate is familiar with Shiny.
Next, you should probe a candidate on more complex topics relevant to your project, such as data formatting requirements, integrations, and advanced R techniques:
Which data formats have you dealt with previously?
This question will provide insight into a candidate’s familiarity with various data types. You shouldn’t assume that all R programmers have extensive knowledge of all formats. They typically specialize in a certain format, such as text, audio, or image. Identify the type of data available for your project in advance so that you can better filter for the specialized data experts you need.
What is your experience integrating R with other languages and tools, such as Python or SQL? How do you handle integrations in your workflow?
The candidate’s answer should reflect strong complementary skills to R. SQL, for example, is essential to the daily activities of most data analysts. Understanding Python is a great bonus since it expands a candidate’s abilities to include repeated data manipulation, scripting, AI/ML tasks, and more general software development tasks.
Can you describe advanced R applications and techniques that bring value to businesses?
This question is most important when hiring senior developers who influence the direction of your project and architects who make impactful decisions. These candidates can handle complex tasks, improve organizational efficiency, and drive business innovation. They should be able to speak to the benefits of employing advanced R techniques, such as optimized performance and innovation or the ability to handle large data sets.
Advanced R applications and techniques include ML algorithms, high-performance computing for handling large datasets, web scraping and API integration, and Shiny app development for interactive web applications. In order to employ these strategies, a candidate must be proficient in packages like caret (for ML), data.table (for large data sets), TensorFlow (for deep learning), and Shiny (for interactive dashboards).
Across all industries, the rise of data-driven decision-making mandates sophisticated data visualization and reporting—two areas where R excels. This is where R experts add value to businesses. R engineers contribute to the discovery and analysis of crucial information in various ways, including:
Identifying hidden patterns.
Applying statistical software concepts and hypothesis testing.
Visualizing data effectively.
Cleaning and manipulating data.
Creating automatic and interactive reports.
Presenting results clearly.
R programmers can smoothly adapt to the specific needs of various industries due to the breadth of tools available to help them synthesize different types of information. With this guidance, you can identify and hire the R specialist with the skills and library knowledge that match your project needs, giving you a competitive edge and driving your project toward success.
The technical content presented in this article was reviewed by Margarida Campos.