Kick start your Data Science Career with these 4 affordable online courses



Considering skilling up in data science but not sure how or where to find the right resources? Sara Metwalli, member of our Blog Squad has done the research so you don’t have to - here she shares 4 affordable online data science courses.


As a tech person and a data scientist, I understand why people would find the field of data science appealing. It’s an interdisciplinary field where you can simultaneously do tech, programming, science communication, and business. And on top of that, it also pays very well if you have a solid portfolio. So, it makes perfect sense that many people are considering following a career in data science.

Because of the popularity of the field, thousands of materials, resources, and videos are available online for anyone who wants to learn any aspect of data science. But having multiple options is not always a good thing. Sometimes it can be very overwhelming, which is the case with data science online resources. When you find this crazy amount of resources, you need to sit down and filter the good from the not-so-good and decide which one you can benefit from the most. Which one covers more materials? How long will it last? What’s the cost of it? And does it require any previous knowledge?

When I started my data science learning journey, I asked myself all these questions and more. I was overwhelmed with the amount of information on becoming a data scientist and what you need to know. So I spent a lot of time trying different blogs, YouTube channels, and courses to pin down which works best for me and best covers the essential information. 

With this article, I hope to help you navigate the wide world of data science learning materials better by pointing out 4 good online courses that you can take for free or pay a small fee for a certificate. 


№1: IBM Data Science Professional Certificate On Coursera

One of the most popular online course providers is Coursera, and three of the courses on this list can be found there. The first course I will talk about is one offered by IBM. It is a professional certificate program in data science. IBM is one of the leading tech companies that cares a lot about providing high-quality learning resources. 

Notepad and PC

This certification program consists of 9 courses covering all the basics of data science. It is meant to take you from zero to hero. The different courses provide hands-on experience using real-life problems and projects to help you build up a strong portfolio and get a job after completing it. Going through this certification course, you will learn the basics of programming, data science, machine learning, how to use Jupyter notebooks efficiently, interact with databases using SQL, and efficiently visualize your results. You can take this certification course for free or pay $49/ month to get the certificate.

№2: Harvard Data Science Professional Certificate on edX

The other very popular course provider is edX. The next course I propose to you is another certification program, but this time offered by Harvard University. Harvard is one of the top educational institutes out there known for the quality of their courses. This certificate program contains 9 courses similar to the IBM certification we just went over.

But, unlike the IBM certificate, this group of courses uses the R programming language to teach all the basics of data science. If you decide to take these certification courses, you will learn the mathematical background behind data science, Git and version control basics, and some essential fundamental knowledge, such as working with Unix/ Linux systems.

My favourite part about these courses is the use of case studies to explain the main concepts. These case studies ask real-life questions that help you build an intuition about addressing data science projects and help you be a successful data scientist.

№3: John Hopkins Data Science Course on Coursera

Back to Coursera: our 3rd course on this list is the John Hopkins University 10-course data specialization program. This certification uses the R programming language to build the data science foundation similar to the Harvard offered course. This series of courses starts with explaining the basics of programming concepts and algorithms that form machine learning.

Code on screen

These courses focus on essential topics that are often overlooked by other classes. Topics like setting up an efficient development environment, how to deal with Markdown, Git tips and tricks, and the best use of RStudio.

Moreover, there are two courses at the beginning of the certificate dedicated to cleaning and collecting data. These courses cover all you need to know and learn about extracting useful information from your data. Finally, the last course of this series sheds some light on the research side of data science and the state of the field right now.

№4: University of Michigan Applied Data Science with Python Specialization on Coursera

Last but not least, another course offered on Coursera, but this time by the University of Michigan. This 5-course program is an excellent option if you want to get into data science focusing on natural language processing. This series of courses covers all the basics of data science using Python and the primary programming languages by going deeper into different Python packages used to build applications. The last two courses in this series go beyond machine learning and focus mainly on building a solid foundation of natural language processing by addressing text mining and social network analysis.


Data science may seem like an intimidating field to decide on and join, but it doesn’t always have to be a difficult task. Luckily, the internet and the availability of information allow the existence of many resources available online that you can use to learn data science, so many that you can get overwhelmed and lose your way trying to find the resource that will work best for you.

I have been through this journey, lost my way sometimes, and found great resources some other times. So I just want to help you get on your journey and start learning as fast as you can. In this article, I proposed 4 online, free to take courses that you can start right now and get learning. These courses will provide you with all the information you need to kick start a career in data science. I believe these courses are good options for beginners. They are not the only resources available out there but they all cover the basics and help you build a portfolio. So, I hope you find one among them that will help you on your learning journey.

Sara A Metwalli

AUTHOR: Sara A Metwalli – SheCanCode Blog Squad

To find out more about Sara please click here.




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