Should we convert every categorical variable in our model to factor before running the randomForest algorithm?

categorical
random_forest

#1

Hello,

I have a doubt regarding converting the categorical variables in my dataset to factors before running the randomForest algorithm on the data. I know that I cannot have the variables in character format. randomForest algorithm will throw an error in that case.

So is it necessary to convert the categorical variables into factors OR numeric/integer types would work in the same way? And is this true in case of just randomForest or do we need to take care of this while applying any algorithm?

Thanks