Who doesn’t want to learn about data scientist these days? The field is still hot, and the ample job listings for data scientists might make folks working in other fields instantly jealous. For young students, there are full degree programs and specialized courses to prepare them for the data-driven world but for those already in the field it’s not so simple. Going back to school is a huge and pricey ordeal. Thankfully, there are several online options. Whether you want to learn the basics for fun, sharpen your technical knowledge, or feel properly trained on specific platforms, there’s a course for you.
Choosing a course isn’t easy. It’s important to know exactly what goal the course should fulfill and what your limitations are.
Big Data University is the IBM-founded initiative based on the idea that education should be a right, not a privilege. The “data science for a social good” platform is designed to democratize access to useful data skills. Courses mostly range from two to ten hours and several are available in Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese and other languages. Courses are self-paced and mostly free. Big Data University offers a big data fundamentals course as well as several programming and database usage courses.
Code School. Coding is not the first thing that comes to mind when talking about data science, but it’s easily one of the most important pieces. Learning the right languages is absolutely paramount to succeeding in the field. Many beginner Data Science courses introduce programming languages but that might not be enough. Choose your weapon, presumably either Python or R, and get started with at least the basics. Note that, while many prefer the video-based learning style of Code School, there is also Code Academy which is work-based and completely free while Code Academy costs $29 per month.
Coursera is a popular MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) and home to the famed Data Science Specialization track, a nine-course program from Johns Hopkins University. While it is an introductory course, it’s not exactly beginner-friendly when it comes to statistics and algorithms. Coursera also hosts a Machine Learning course from Stanford professor Andrew Ng, one of the most regularly recommended courses online. These courses, however, do only start on specific dates. Luckily, Coursera has a huge breadth of other offerings, all of which vary wildly in duration, commitment-level and cost.
DataQuest and DataCampare two often recommended and surprisingly comparable online programs designed to take users from zero to fully-prepped data scientists. The only glaringly obvious difference between the two programs is that DataQuest is often touted as Python-focused and DataCamp R-focused. DataQuest is also more comprehensive, appearing much like a typical university curriculum. Both platforms are similarly priced, DataQuest at $29/month and DataCamp at $25/month.
Educast, run by data storage company EMC, is a pricier option for those with specific needs. While there are some free courses, like one on data lakes, their focus is on paid options with video access starting at $600 and going up from there.