In this very article, I’ll try to answer all your questions related to data science like How do I become a data scientist? What are the skills required for a data scientist? What are the courses available online to learn data science? Is data science a good career path?
So, you want to be a Data Scientist. Fine, Data Scientist is the trendiest job in the 21st Century and also one of the highest-paid ones. But do you actually fit in this role? Because in order to become a data scientist one first needs to be a problem solver. This job tests your curiosity in solving problems. Data Science is the fourth paradigm of science besides empirical, theoretical, and computational in which you’re unifying the knowledge of statistics and machine learning so as to derive useful insights out of the data that matters.
So, Who is Data Science for? Basically, data science is for anyone who is centered on solving problems.
What are the skills to look for? If you’ve got a good mathematical and statistical background then this is enough to start with. You’ll deal with machine learning algorithms as you progress but statistics is the base for data science.
By now, you’re well-aware of data science – the field, scope, required skills. Let’s discuss the courses available to you on data science online.
Over the years there are a bunch of courses on data science available online for beginners to advanced level candidates. There’s been an explosion of courses offered on various different platforms from various institutes. And if you’re new to data science and want to find the best way of learning in order to become a data scientist or a data analyst and move into that career path then go through the following list of various different courses and enroll in the one that would be of benefit to you.
Udemy has thousands of courses and there are also so many courses on data science. But you have to be quite careful with Udemy because a lot of the courses are quite low quality. On the other hand, you can find one or two gems in there. If you’re really new to this and you haven’t decided whether you want to commit time and resources into becoming a data scientist or data analyst, you’re just testing the water.
There are one or two courses on Udemy that might be worthwhile and the great thing about Udemy is that there are tons of promotions going all through the year. You’ll get a course for about $10 or the equivalent in your own currency and it will give you a good introduction as to the sort of thing that you might be doing as a data scientist or a data analyst. Udemy gives certain skills that you will need to become a data scientist in a cheap way.
Go to Udemy and check out the courses by Jose Portilla and he’s done quite a few courses on Python and Python for data science. One of the courses by him is Python for Data Science and Machine Learning Bootcamp in which you’ll learn how to use NumPy, Pandas, Seaborn, and other Python machine learning libraries.
Datacamp and Dataquest
The platforms of Datacamp and Dataquest are known for their high benchmarking capabilities. Quality is much greater compared to Udemy in these online learning platforms so is the price. It’s a sort of mid-range price. It’s a few hundred dollars a year when you’re going to subscribe to Datacamp and Dataquest.
The great thing about Datacamp is the various different tracks that they offer. There’s a data scientist with R, Data scientist with Python and it takes you through all the things that you need to know and there are quizzes, videos and there are sort of interactive coding challenges where you go through and accrue points by doing that.
Key USPs of Datacamp:-
- You don’t have to install any software or hardware for the course. You can do all the exercises, projects, and coding with the help of a browser only.
- Interact and learn with more than 30,000 peers and experts.
- Instant feedback on your work with an explanation.
- Get hands-on experience by taking on real-world projects.
- Spend less time watching videos and more time on coding.
The same sort of thing, you’ll get from Dataquest. What makes Dataquest different from Datacamp is the way they teach. They’re much more focused on project style learning and practicality. Anyone that has learned data science and data analytics will tell you the best way of learning this stuff is to take up a project. You can go through books and go through online courses and the exercises and you just follow what you see in those exercises and on the video lectures and you’ll kind of understand those bits that you go through but you’ll find it very difficult to apply what you’ve learned to other settings.
If you learn by using projects and go through from start to finish that’s where you really learn how to apply this stuff. It’s a bit like learning a musical instrument. You could watch how to play the guitar as much as you like for hours but if you’ve never touched a guitar then you’re going to find it very hard to do that and it’s the same with data science you need to work on your own projects and Dataquest focused more on project-based learning.
edX and Coursera
edX and Coursera are two really great platforms and what is unique about them is that they partner with very well-known and well-respected institutions like Johns Hopkins University, University of Pennsylvania, MIT, Harvard. So, the kind of thing you’re getting is really high quality.
One of the popular Coursera courses in the data science specialization by Johns Hopkins University. This really does take you from beginner level to really quite a competent intermediate level. If you know a bit of Python or some other programming language, you should be fine and it gives you a general overview of data science. It teaches you how to program in R. It teaches you how to clean data and how to acquire data. The course also helps in exploring your data like what models might be appropriate for your data and then there’s a section on statistics and regression and in the end, there’s a project for you to work on. Projects are incredibly important so this one is definitely recommended.
Key Topics Covered:-
- R Programming
- Basics of data cleaning
- Exploratory Data Analysis techniques
- Statistical analysis tools used to publish data
- Fundamentals of Statistical Inference
- Regression model, ANOVA, and ANCOVA
- Training and Test Sets
- Modeling error such as Overfitting
- Building Prediction Functions
- Fundamentals of creating data products
The other course is the applied data science with Python specialization by the University of Michigan now this is not for beginners so it might be a good one to do after you’ve done the previous course but this just makes it a little bit further and it teaches you how to do data science in Python. It teaches you data visualization. There’s a bit more on machine learning and then there are sort of some practical applications of text mining and social network analysis using Python.
Key Topics Covered:-
- Basics of the python programming environment
- Data Visualization basics
- Social Network Analysis in Python
- Text mining and Text Manipulation basics
- Applied Machine Learning in Python
- Network analysis using NetworkX library
edX again falls into the category of more expensive courses but really good quality. They are also partnered with reputed institutions like MIT and Harvard and their data science courses really stand out. One of the courses is with the University of California San Diego and another one is with MIT.
The course by the University of California San Diego is the micro master’s program in data science which uses Python for data science. It’ll teach you how to use Python. It’ll teach you probability and statistics which of course is essential if you want to do data science and machine learning too. And then it teaches you Big Data analytics using Spark. These courses are really liked by a number of students –micro master’s program in statistics and data science from MIT. This starts off by giving you an overview of probability and then digs much deeper into statistics and then it brings in the modeling using Python.
Key topics covered:-
- How to use Python tools such as Matplotlib, Pandas, and Git
- Statistical and Probabilistic approaches
- Fundamental of Machine Learning
- Big Data Analytics using Jupyter notebooks, Spark, and, MapReduce
So those are the suggestions if you are looking for a really good online data science course. Believe it or not, data science is a really good career option if you’re interested and the demand for data scientists will remain high. Since the industry is changing so fast, it is imperative to keep learning new things by reading research papers and blog posts, meeting and connecting with people, listening to podcasts. As the whole dynamics of learning is transforming very fast, it is very important to be a part of this change.