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From propelling today’s talent pool to the bleeding edge of humanity’s advancement, and gifting next-level capabilities to fuel the transformations of whole industries, data science has been an important career buzzword for over a decade. 

So you’ve decided to become a data scientist. You’ve decided to join a growing class of computational rock stars that are shaping high-level decisions in almost every business. 

As seductive as the path may seem, and as much as it brings wealth and glory to its disciples, studying it – and actually mastering it – is a complex feat. A data scientist worth her weight in gold needs soaring aptitudes in math and statistics as well as a high level of fluency with programming languages. 

Of course, there are many paths to mastery. One approach – and frankly, the most commonplace among today’s data elites – is to enroll in online courses to gain the skills and practical experiences necessary for the dream job. 

But finding a reputable one may be a challenge in and of itself. With thousands of courses in data science and related fields to choose from, how would you know you’ve picked the right one? Fair question. 

To aid you on your valiant quest, we’ve scoured the vast interweb to profile six top data science courses worth your time. This assortment of highly-rated classes was assembled for people at various stages and pathways in the data science ecosystem – from beginners to mastery, and further specialization. 

So, without further ado, here’s our list of six top courses to become a skilled data scientist: 


Data Science A-Z™: Real-Life Data Science Exercises Included | Udemy

Created by data science advocate and entrepreneur, Kirill Eremenko, Data Science A-Z on Udemy offers an expansive overview of the entire data science journey. It’s absolutely perfect for the novices, the padawans who are looking for the right course to take that first step into the world of data. 

Data Science A-Z covers key principles such as cleaning & preparing data for analysis, performing basic visualizations, modeling & curve-fitting data, and even an important section on practical presentation tips to impress audiences. 

At the time of writing, this course is currently among the highest-rated data science classes on Udemy. 

What the reviews are saying: 

“Kiril is very knowledgeable about the subject with lots of real-world experience and insights. It makes the whole journey of learning interesting and engaging!”  rico S. Crisostomo

“The instructor was very informative and takes you through each step one at a time! I really enjoy how thorough he was with the content and how he makes each complicated process easy to digest for the normal person who may have little to no experience working with certain programs! I would definitely recommend this course to anyone who wants to get into Data Science without the intimidation factor involved!” David Wan

Data Science Specialization | Coursera

This highly-rated Coursera Specialization class is developed by John Hopkins University to get students into a mastery level of data science.

Taught by the school’s top Biostatistics experts, the course does a great job of balancing theory and application. It also features an invaluable deep dive into statistical analysis and a final project where students create an actual data product using real-world data. 

Data Science Specialization is especially useful for budding data experts who want to master the art of asking the right questions, making inferences in a logical manner, and amassing a portfolio of programming and analysis work through the course exercises. 

The course is free, or $49 if you want a certificate for your effort and graded materials. 

What the reviews are saying: 

“I strongly recommend this course to anyone who has taken statistics / economics / data analysis courses at college and would like to get some training in big-data analysis. This specialization track helped to brush up my data analyzing skills and applications to a broader, larger dataset. Eventually, it helps me transit my career from an economics researcher to a data scientist in a bay area tech company.” Fangfang Tan

MicroMasters® Program in Statistics and Data Science | edX

MITx’s MicroMasters® Program in Statistics and Data Science offered by edX is specially catered to advanced disciples looking to take their data science craft to the next level. 

This intensive, graduate-level course looks to increase your competencies in data science, statistics, and machine learning. You’ll learn how to use probabilistic modeling and statistical inference to understand data intuitively and make data-driven predictions.

You’ll also develop machine learning algorithms using popular supervised and unsupervised methods such as deep neural networks and clustering methodologies. 

As many of these are high-level concepts in data science, make susre you have a good understanding of Python programming and single & multivariate calculus before enrolling. The MicroMasters® Program costs $1,350, and takes 1 year and 3 months to complete on a 10-14 hour per week study schedule. 

Data Analysis with R by Facebook | Udacity

If you’re interested in the analysis pathway of data science, and hence, would like to hone your skills as a data analyst, this free course on Udacity is perfect for you. Data Analysis with R delves into exploratory data analysis, an approach to figure out the data’s underlying structure, establish hunches about the data set, and pick out the best statistical methods to examine the set further. 

This course is great for those who are new to R and the ggplot2 package, and will get you accustomed to key data analytics concepts using the popular programming language as your trusty exploratory tool. 

Data Analysis with R also moves at a moderate pace, getting you accustomed to the basics of plotting before challenging you with more intricate visualizations. When in doubt, Udacity offers a Live Help function where you can check-in with course experts and get your questions answered within 10 minutes. 

What the reviews are saying: 

“The course is self-paced, has tiny modules and heaps of quizzes in between which really helps you understand the concepts. It directly takes you to the next level of R without knowing much about it, and plots and visualizations were never so much fun!” Pravin M

Introduction to Computational Thinking and Data Science | edX

If you already have experience programming with Python and a basic understanding of computational complexity, then hunkering down and mastering the art of computational problem-solving may be the next logical step for you.

And edX’s Introduction to Computational Thinking and Data Science, offered by the prestigious MITx, is a great course to get you started on this specialized discipline. 

The highly-rated course emphasizes plenty of programming time to get students well-adapted to theoretical concepts through real world scenarios. These thought-provoking assignments include writing programs for a robot vacuum and modeling the population dynamics between viruses replicating and drug treatments in a patient’s body.

Introduction to Computational Thinking and Data Science is free, with a certificate available for $75. 

What the reviews are saying: 

“I took this course last year and again I could say this is one of the most intellectually stimulating classes ever. The Psets were challenging and well-designed to help students get familiar with data science.” Thong T

“I love everything about this course.It is the most comprehensive and rigorous beginner cs class online! You will at times struggle with programming assignments but remember,you will emerge with a love for computer science and ability to pick up any new concept.” Dolly Y

Process Mining: Data Science in Action | Coursera

Dive deeper into the data analyst discipline by mastering process mining, a group of techniques in process management to discover, monitor, and improve real processes.

Designed by Eindhoven University of Technology, Coursera’s Process Mining: Data Science in Action course will get you familiarized with techniques and tools using process analysis techniques to support decision-making and business process modeling. 

The class balances theoretical analytics concepts with business intelligence techniques and is great for data scientists who want to master a vital aspect of data mining, or for entrepreneurs looking to improve their business. 

Process Mining: Data Science in Action is one of the most popular data science courses on Coursera and would take approximately 30 hours to complete. As with most classes on the site, the course is free, or $49 if you want certification and graded materials. 

What the reviews are saying: 

“Good content, very thorough, and I learned a LOT! Took more time than suggested, as I learn by taking notes and reproducing diagrams. But the course structure allowed for frequent pauses to do this.” PP

“This is really a great course. a new field which could help any one to find a better position at work and it will help in performing the most common process mining activities. I would recommend this course for any one who is interested to know more about process optimization and discovery. furthermore the course will slightly helps to conduct a process mining project.” Waleed A

Top 6 Data Science Courses to Become A Skilled Data Scientist

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