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Data Science Online Courses: Coursera, edX, Udacity, Or Udemy?

Data Science online courses are available on many course platforms. Read our summary of popular online classes for beginners.

Data Science Online Courses: Coursera, edX, Udacity, Or Udemy?
Pictures: geralt/pixabay

The digital economy creates tons of data. There are already 40x more bytes than stars in the universe (44 zettabytes to be precise).

Do you want to analyze that data? This is what Data Science does.

To learn Data Science, you can choose from hundreds of online courses.  

Coursera, EdX, Udacity and Udemy have courses from providers such as Harvard, Microsoft and Google.

Which courses are available for beginners? 

(Jump to see all Data Science online courses.)

Note before taking a course:

  • Many courses are free to learn. Some offer optional (paid) certificates that may help your career.
  • Data Science uses statistical methods. You can learn basic statistics here if it is not part of your course.
  • Data Science frequently uses Excel. We also list dozens of relevant courses.
  • Data Science may require programming. If not included in your course, you can learn Python (which is easier) or R (for heavy statistical analysis) separately.

1. Data Science Online Courses at Coursera

Coursera is a large provider of online courses from universities and companies. Learners can choose between introductory courses and longer course series over several months. The courses are usually professional with high-quality content.

  • IBM's What Is Data Science is a short course for absolute beginners. It takes a couple of hours to complete and gives you an overview of the subject.
  • The Crash Course in Data Science from Johns Hopkins University also gives a brief overview for learners without much prior knowledge.
  • More than 300,000 students have already taken Intro to Data Science in Python. This course from the University of Michigan gives an introduction to the field based on Python.
  • The Intro to Data Science Specialization is for learners who want to get a full professional training. The program takes approximately one month to complete and includes Python and SQL.
  • A more extensive course series is the Data Science Specialization. It consists of 10 online courses and includes R programming and machine learning. It will take several months to complete.
  • For learners in a business role, the Executive Data Science Specialization offers practical applications and a case study.
  • UC San Diego offers Code Free Data Science if you want to learn the basics without the need to program.

(View the Coursera courses.) (Or go to Coursera's Data Science Academy.)

2. Data Science Online Courses at edX

EdX is similar to Coursera in terms of the course content and quality. They offer courses from universities such as Harvard and Berkeley and also list corporate training programs (for example, from Microsoft).

  • Introduction to Data Science gives an easy introduction to a longer course series from Microsoft. It explores working with data mainly in Excel and introduces data visualization and statistical concepts in Big Data.
  • Microsoft also has two online courses about the relevant programming languages in the field, Python for Data Science and R for Data Science. Both courses have already been taken by several hundred thousand students.
  • UC Berkeley's Foundations of Data Science consists of three courses that include Python as well as machine learning. It is designed for beginners without coding or statistics knowledge who want to get an in-depth training.
  • Harvard University offers one of the most extensive course series in Data Science. It is based on the R programming language (which is part of the courses) and also includes machine learning and other more advanced topics.
  • Columbia University's Data Science for Executives offers an introduction to the field for business managers who "want to understand basic concepts in Data Science without getting into the weeds of programming".
  • The MicroMasters Program in Statistics and Data Science takes about one year to complete and is based on the on-campus courses at MIT.

(View the edX courses.) (Or go to the edX Data Science hub.)

Data Science Online Courses: Coursera, edX, Udacity, Or Udemy?

3. Data Science Online Courses at Udemy

Udemy's courses are created by individual experts, not by universities. Some learners find their courses to be hands-on but less focused on theoretical concepts. The quality can vary a lot between courses. These are some of their popular courses:

  • Data Science A-Z aims to take learners from no prior knowledge to data science expert through 200 video lessons. The teacher is a data scientist who claims to have taught more than one million online students overall.
  • The Data Science and Machine Learning Bootcamp is based on the R programming language and is also designed for beginners with no prior experience.  
  • Data Science and Machine Learning With Python is for learners who have some prior coding experience and at least high school-level math skills. It also covers more advanced machine learning and deep learning topics.

(View the Udemy courses.) (Or go to the Udemy Data Science hub.)

4. Data Science Online Courses at Udacity

Udacity is another leading online learning provider and creates its own course content. It also offers nanodegrees, which are in-depth course series that aim to be an accepted industry standard in their field.

  • Intro to Data Science is a free beginners course that offers a general introduction and first insights into data analysis and visualization.
  • The well-known Data Science Nanodegree requires some prior experience in coding, machine learning and statistics. While strictly speaking it can be suitable for some beginners in Data Science, it is actually targeted at more experienced programmers. It takes four months to complete and was designed with industry partners such as IBM and Bertelsmann.
  • There are two separate programming nanodegrees in Python for Data Science and R for Data Science.
  • In addition, Udacity offers a short career-related online course on Data Science Interview Preparation.

(View the Udacity courses.) (Or go to Udacity's School of Data Science.)

Further Learning Resources

Other providers of Data Science online courses include FutureLearn, Codecademy, and Cognitive Class

Data Camp offers paid courses and tracks in Data Science and related fields.

Reddit has a very active Data Science community. They also list some recommended Data Science books.

FreeCodeCamp offers a video tutorial (no additional course materials or certificates):

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