Data science is being applied throughout the business world as more and more businesses are collecting data. Industries such as energy, telecommunications, medicine, financial services and more are hiring data scientists and online courses are a great way to get started in data science.
Whether you are an IT professional wanting to gain skills for your job or just getting started, data science online courses could be a great option for you.
What are Data Science Online Courses?
There are online data science courses for students at many levels, from beginner to advanced. Though many courses expect some level of programming experience, others are appropriate for beginners. Courses generally require at least 80 hours to complete. Some courses are free with certificates available for an added fee.
There’s a data science course for just about any topic you can imagine including data science for business, data analysis, and machine learning.
Finding the Best Online Data Science Courses for You
In order to find the best online data science courses for you, it’s important to take your educational background and interests into consideration.
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Data Science Course Topics
Online data science courses cover a wide range of topics, from machine learning to data extraction. Some courses are designed to teach data science essentials, such as programming languages like R and Python.
Other courses may cover more advanced topics such as artificial intelligence strategy, deep learning techniques like neural networks, and statistics. Machine learning is most often conflated with neural networks and deep learning. Though these techniques are not the only type of machine learning, they are very popular.
You may also find courses covering topics in ETL (extract, transform, load) such as web scraping, data cleaning and data warehousing; these are key skills for a data scientist.
Softer skills, such as courses on data communication and visualization are just as useful in data science. Courses covering data presentation and business applications may also be available.
Who Could Benefit From an Online Data Science Course?
The applications of data science are seemingly endless. Though many of these techniques and processes were originally developed for scientific applications, they are useful in many other areas. Online courses can help professionals get up to speed in emerging topics in their field and are less expensive than going back to school. Or, if you are looking for work, a certification may also help build out your resume and help you land a job in a related field.
An online course could also be a great way to gain new experience and move up in your career. Data science and analytics skills are valuable to businesses and employees who gain this type of experience can help their companies solve important business problems.
Value of Data Science Online Courses
Data science online courses offer a way to gain skills in data science without the commitment and expense of a masters or other degree program. The remote learning environment may better allow students to fit learning into their busy schedules. Stand-alone courses have the added benefit of relatively small time commitments so that students can gain skills when they have time.
Data Science Course Duration
Online data science courses offer a selection of learning styles. Self-paced online courses could make it more feasible for students to fit learning into a busy schedule, whereas on-campus courses may offer a more defined timeline with tests and benchmarks at specified times.
Ranging from 10 to 100 hours, there are many levels of total time commitment available. The complexity and familiarity of the topics covered will dictate the total time requirement. Courses often take between two to six weeks to complete. Weekly commitments in online courses generally range from two to 10 hours per week.
Data Science Skills Learned
General introductory online data science courses all tend to all teach the core skills of data science. Essential skills include:
- Programming language such as Python and R as well as SQL.
- Structuring the data science process, and how to defining a problem and interpreting results.
- Collecting and organizing data in a useful format through data acquisition, cleaning, storage and access.
- Deriving meaning from datasets by discovering patterns and developing a model.
- Using data to tell a story that convinces stakeholders and leads to decisions.
Projects in Data Science Courses
Data science online courses often include a project to allow students to apply their learning. The nature of these projects depends upon the class.
Courses in data cleaning may provide an opportunity for students to use the python library pandas to clean up a messy dataset and use exploratory data analysis to make sense of the data. A course in communication and interactive data visualizations could include a final presentation where data is used to tell a compelling story.
Any data science course project will provide the opportunity to apply the course’s subject matter to a real-world problem. This provides a way for students to test their learning. A good data science course project allows students to work through the entirety of the data science process on their own. Experiential learning provides students with an opportunity to learn through doing.