While we will primarily rely on Excel to do your empirical projects and for examples in class, if you have an interest in programming, I encourage you to explore the free statistical programming language R.
The links below highlight applications of the R programming language. Some of these are far more advanced than what we will address in class, and some don't necessarily involve statistics-but I share them with you to illustrate how flexible the language can be for a number of things. Learning to use R for statistics is a great way to get started. If you are interested in learning more, please don't hesitate to contact me.
Visualizing Taxes and Deficits Using R and Google Visualization API
R in the New York Times
How to integrate R into web-based applications (video) using Rapache
Using Social Network Analysis to Analyze Tweets with R