By Keith McCormick, Jesus Salcedo, Aaron Poh

IBM SPSS Statistics users are all over the world. The Internet is a powerful medium through which you can join the SPSS community, and this list points you in the right direction.

The Statistics & Consultants Group on LinkedIn

The Statistics & Consultants Group on LinkedIn is one of the largest groups of its kind. At the time of this writing, there are more than 40,000 members. Almost every day, a new discussion is initiated on some aspect of statistics, statistical software, or professional development. Joining the group is completely free and well worth your time. Before you know it, you’ll be not only reading the discussions, but also initiating them and eventually answering other people’s questions.

To join, visit the group’s profile page on LinkedIn. Note that the group is private so you need to submit a request to join, but requesting membership is easy — just have a fairly complete LinkedIn profile. There are no special statistical qualifications necessary.

SPSSX-L

SPSSX-L has been around for years and years. In fact, it predates most of the other resources you’ll find on the Internet. SPSSX-L is a listserv, which is an email-based posting system. You send an email to join, and the posts come back to you in the form of email.

You may find the listserv format surprising if you’re young enough that you’ve always had the Internet. Even if the idea of a listserv is a bit quaint, you don’t want to miss out on the wisdom that’s available through this group. Some of the most knowledgeable and veteran SPSS users out there are active in SPSSX-L, and they sincerely want to help other users.

IBM SPSS Statistics certification

If you’re in a corporate setting or looking to get a corporate job using SPSS, it may help to get certified in SPSS. Having this certification listed on your LinkedIn profile or résumé may help when you’re ready to transition to another role or organization.

If you’re in a university setting, than this test probably wouldn’t be as useful as taking (and doing well) in a university class that uses SPSS. At the time of this writing, there are five approved Global Training Providers (GTPs) in the IBM training economy:

  • Arrow ECS Education

  • Avnet Academy

  • Global Knowledge

  • Ingram Micro Training

  • LearnQuest

Online videos

You can find both free and for-fee videos online. You can find full video case studies from IBM. If you want to go the for-fee route, video courses are a great option. Here are some you may want to check out:

  • Lynda.com: Lynda.com is a popular website for video training. It offers training for all kinds of popular software products, and has a subscription-style pricing structure. They offer one SPSS Statistics course, “SPSS Statistics Essential Training,” which is popular and well done.

  • Udemy: Udemy offers several SPSS classes for a variety of topics and at varying lengths and prices.

Twitter

Twitter might seem like a strange suggestion at first. After all, what can you learn about SPSS in just 140 characters? Of course, the tweet itself won’t help, but what you’ll find on Twitter are thought leaders in the SPSS community and the latest and greatest information on SPSS.

Here are some recommendations on who to follow:

  • IBM Training (@IBMTraining): Official news on IBM training including SPSS Training.

  • IBM SPSS Software (@IBMSPSS): Official IBM SPSS tweets.

  • developerWorks (@developerworks): The latest news on SPSS programming.

  • IBM Insight (@IBMInsight): Tweets about the big annual IBM conference in Las Vegas that features a lot of info about SPSS.

  • Keith McCormick (@KMcCormickBlog): Keith is one of the authors of this book. Check out some of the folks that Keith follows to get more suggestions.

  • Jon Peck (@jkpeck): An employee of SPSS, Inc. (now IBM) for most of SPSS’s history. His tweets are a great way to find out about the latest new programming features.

  • Bob Muenchen (@BobMuenchen): Author and speaker who specializes in teaching SPSS users (and SAS users) about R.

  • Armand Ruiz (@armand_ruiz): A young IBMer who is an emerging IBM leader in SPSS programming.

Here are some Twitter accounts that are great for data visualization and analytics in general:

  • The American Statistical Association (@AmstatNews): The American Statistical Association is the world’s largest community of statisticians.

  • SignificanceAp Magazine (@signmagazine): A joint statistics magazine from @RoyalStatSoc and @AmstatNews. Great source for interesting articles both in an out of the magazine.

  • Simply Statistics (@simplystats): Simply Statistics blog by Jeff Leek, Roger Peng, and Rafael Irizarry.

  • Nathan Yau (@flowingdata): Very influentially author and blogger specializing in Data Visualization.

  • Edward Tufte (@EdwardTufte): Famous for his data visualization books and harsh critique of PowerPoint presentations.

  • Gregory Piatetsky (@kdnuggets): Gregory I. Piatetsky is a Data Scientist, co-founder of KDD conferences and ACM SIGKDD association for Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining, and President of KDnuggets, a leading site on Business Analytics, Data Mining, and Data Science.

  • Meta Brown (@metabrown312): Author of Data Mining For Dummies and a thought leader in predictive analytics.

  • Hans Rosling (@HansRosling): Brilliant lecturer famous for his TED talks.

  • Nancy Duarte (@nancyduarte): Author of Slideology. Owner of a successful company that polishes corporate presentations. She became famous when she helped Al Gore with his slide presentations.

  • Dean Abbott (@DeanAbb): Well-known data miner who speaks at the Predictive Analytics World conferences.

  • Andrew Ng (@AndrewYNg): Chief Scientist of Baidu; chairman and co-founder of Coursera; Stanford CS faculty.

  • Gil Press (@GilPress): Tech journalist. Everything he writes is worth a quick read.

Blogs

Blogs can be a great way to get current advice on SPSS. Books may be updated every time a new version of SPSS is released, but between versions new tips and tricks materialize and that’s where blogs can be a great resource.

Not all blogs are created equal, but here are some recommended ones:

  • AnalyticsZone: AnalyticsZone is an IBM blog that has a lot of good current material. They frequently announce new plug-in code that you can borrow to improve the functionality of your copy of SPSS.

  • Keith McCormick: He has posted lots of useful advice over the years. Some of it is at an intermediate level.

  • Raynald’s SPSS Tools: This SPSS-related blog that has been popular for decades.

Most blogs have a blog roll (a list of other blogs that particular blogger recommends), so when you start reading one blog you can find others that are similar. Twitter can be a great way to find more blogs, too. Most bloggers announce their new posts on Twitter.

Online courses with live instruction

There are plenty of instructors out there waiting to teach you a live class. Many of these classes are quite reasonably priced. There is a whole economy of SPSS software instruction out there. Make sure to find out who’s doing the actual teaching, and don’t be shy about emailing them or chatting with them before you choose a class.

One interesting option for learning SPSS Statistics is a brown-bag lunch format that is offered by The Analysis Factor. They also offer more extensive seminars on a variety of topics. They cover advanced topics in nonthreatening, shorter formats, too. The training isn’t limited to SPSS Statistics, but SPSS content is common.

A very extensive list of course options is awaiting you at Statistics.com. These courses are like university short courses with homework and the whole nine yards. The classes are typically asynchronous so you might see recordings of lectures, but you’ll have access to the instructor during the multiple weeks of the course. A long list of statistics professors and textbook authors are among their ranks. Statistics.com offers serious, in-depth classes, which may be just what you’re looking for.

Finally, Coursera has become especially popular in recent years. You’re much more likely to find a course about statistics than you are one specifically about SPSS Statistics software operation, but more classes are added all the time, so check it out!

Tutorials

Finding free SPSS content on the Internet isn’t difficult. The challenge is finding good free content. The folks at UCLA have maintained a great website with tutorials for years.