Looking to get ahead in data science? Do what data scientists do: advance your career through online courses.
According to a survey from Kaggle, 32% of full-time data scientists started studying machine learning or data science through an online course. When data scientists are asked how they stay on top of this rapidly developing field, online courses are listed as one of their top three learning resources.
Choose Courses that Teach Critical Skills
There are plenty of courses out there. How do you choose one that’s right for you? Start by focusing on courses that teach the skills that industry leaders are seeking. Python, R, and SQL are three core skills needed for most data science jobs, according to Glassdoor. Acquire these skills and you’ll have the essentials for seven out of 10 data science job openings.
Next, look for course providers that employers recognize for delivering quality instruction. Providers like Coursera and edX partner with top universities and corporations, drawing from cutting-edge research by professors who are leaders in their field.
Data Analysis for Life Sciences, for example, is taught by Rafael Irizarry, Professor of Biostatistics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Professor Irizarry is one of the founders of the Bioconductor Project, an open source and open development software project for the analysis of genomic data.
Find the Right Format and Cost
Make sure the course fits your schedule and budget. Some courses have specific start and end times; others are self-paced. Fees for online learning, while more affordable than traditional courses, can vary. You can audit any course on edX, the leading nonprofit provider, for free.
You’ll also find an array of certificates — from Coursera's Specialization to edX's Professional Certificate program and XSeries — available for a fee. Composed of a series of courses, certificates show you have a deep understanding of a specific skill set or area of study. The HarvardX Data Science Professional Certificate program contains nine courses that dig deep into crucial data science essentials including R and machine learning.
When choosing a certificate, be sure it is identity verified, so employers are assured that you — and only you — completed and passed the course.
Show What You Know
While online learning is quickly gaining traction with employers, be prepared to go the extra step to demonstrate your knowledge. Employers may ask you to answer additional interview questions to assess what your understanding or invite you to show your skills through a trial project.
Take charge of your data science career by enrolling in an online course. Don’t be shy about your credentials — they signal to employers that you are a self-starter who actively seeks out the skills needed for today and tomorrow’s jobs in data science.
Top Data Science Courses from HarvardX
- Causal Diagrams: Draw Your Assumptions Before Your Conclusions
- Using Python for Research
- Principles, Statistical and Computational Tools for Reproducible Science
- Professional Certificate Program: Data Science
- XSeries: Data Analysis for Life Sciences
- XSeries: Genomics Data Analysis