best online data science courses

Best Online Data Science Courses

Since the last few years, the demand for data scientists has gone up, and if sources are to be believed, this demand is only going to go up. With the emergence of new data technologies, several big organizations are moving in to capitalize on it. This is the new approach to take on business and science problems. Those who are already in the field are feeling the need to re-skill, and for anyone who is looking for a career in this field, it is a great opportunity.

Naturally, there are plenty of massive open online course (MOOC) providers that have jumped on this opportunity and are offering courses, so, in a way it is great that anyone who wants to learn has more than one option. But finding out the best online courses for data science is no easy task. And so to narrow the search down, we have compiled a list of the best online courses for data science offered by two prominent MOOC providers, namely Coursera and edX.

Top 15 Best Online Data Science Courses

These are the best online courses for data science, thoroughly reviewed for you. Let’s take a look and find the perfect one for your needs.

Data Science Specialization

best online courses for data scienceOffered by the John Hopkins University in the Coursera platform, this program is taught by leading professionals and is touted as an introduction to data science in a total of 10 courses, leaving you with a fantastic set of essential skills.

This comprehensive course covers the following:

  • Getting and Cleaning Data
  • R Programming
  • Exploratory Data Analysis
  • Statistical Inference
  • Reproducible Research
  • Practical Machine Learning
  • Regression Models
  • Data Science Capstone
  • Developing Data Products
  • Data Scientist Tools such as GitHub, RStudio and so on

In all, the learner would have covered the concepts they would need in the data science gamut in this course. The learner needs to have beginner-level experience in Python and a familiarity with regression. Experience in any programming language and working knowledge of algebra is recommended. The learner does not need to know calculus or linear algebra. The course can be completed in 3-6 months but can also be completed based on the learner’s schedule.

You can “audit” the course for free, which means you can view and read the course. You earn a certificate after the completion of the course, and if you cannot afford the fees, you can apply for financial aid here. This course is completely online, which means that at no point you will have to appear in person in a classroom and can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection.

For more details on the course, head here.

IBM Data Science Professional Certificate

If you want to pursue a course in machine learning and study data science in detail, this is the course for you. The program’s offered by IBM in the Coursera platform and it has 9 well-designed courses that cover the following:

  • Python
  • Databases
  • SQL
  • Data Analysis
  • Machine Learning
  • Methodologies
  • Libraries
  • Open Source Tools
  • Data Visualization

After the course, you will be ready to work on various projects in the industry because you would be practicing on real-world data sets in the IBM Cloud. You don’t require many skills to enroll for the course, but if you are familiar with computers and willing to self-learn, this is a program for you. You do not require any programming skills for this program.

The entire course can be finished in 3 months, with 12 hours of study per week. By the end of the certification program, you would have completed several assignments and would have built a portfolio on the subject to wade into the wonderful world of data science and a digital badge from IBM.

To get access to this course, the subscription fee is $39 (per month) for a limited time to get access to graded materials and the certificate.

For more details on the course, click on this link.

Introduction to Data Science

Part of the Microsoft Professional Certificate in Data Science, this edX program will get you started on your data science journey. The course will have the following modules:

  • Visual techniques in Excel
  • Basic data exploration
  • Planning your course schedule and navigating the curriculum
  • Working of the Microsoft data science curriculum

While you start with the program, you will connect with teaching assistants and fellow students. You will learn statistical, analytical and visualization techniques as you go. The entire length of the course will be about 6 weeks, with the study requirement of 2-4 hours a week.

You can audit this introductory-level program for free, or you can go in for a verified certificate for $99. This course is being taught by Graeme Malcolm, a senior content developer from Microsoft Learning Experiences and Liberty J. Munson, principal psychometrician and quality lead from Microsoft.

You can read more about this program here.

Online Master’s in Data Science

You can earn your Master’s in Data Science from top schools in the Coursera platform.

  • University of Michigan: Master of Applied Data Science

The applicant must have a bachelor’s degree with a 3.0 GPA from social sciences or professional schools. No GRE is required. The program takes about 12 months to complete and costs anywhere between $31,000-$42,262.

  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: Master in Computer Science

The program which has 8 courses, costs $21,000 (for 12-36 months) and requires the candidate to have a Bachelor’s degree with a 3.0 GPA in the last 2 years and a background in algorithms, data structures and computer programming.

  • Imperial College London: MSc in Machine Learning

This course is for those who are just starting their careers in data science and those who are already in professions such as business analysis, statistics and data analysis.

  • University of Colorado Boulder: Master of Science in Data Science

This program is open to all, regardless of their academic background. The program takes about 2 years to complete and includes 30 short courses.

All the programs offer peer-to-peer support, competent teachers and hands-on learning. Read more about this fantastic program here.

Professional Certificate in Data Science

Offered by Harvard University, this program is taught by Professor of Biostatistics at the Harvard University, Professor Rafael Irizarry. This comprehensive course includes these 9 skill-building courses:

  • R Basics
  • Visualization
  • Probability
  • Inference and Modeling
  • Productivity
  • Wrangling
  • Linear Regression
  • Machine Learning
  • Capstone
  • Professional Certificate Details
  • Job Outlook

This self-paced program would last about 2-4 months with about 185 study hours in total. Along with the fundamental R programming skills, you will become familiar with RStudio, GitHub, Unix and Linux. You will be able to implement machine learning algorithms and get familiar with modeling, inference and probability and learn how to implement them in real-world scenarios.

The program uses studies and comprehensive question and answer sessions through data analysis and some of the case studies include election forecasting, US crime rates and the 2007-2008 financial crisis. The program costs approximately $439.

You can read more about this program here.

Applied Data Science with Python Specialization

This program is introduced by the University of Michigan and has a total of 5 detailed courses that someone already familiar with R or basic Python will find comfortable. The program covers the following:

  • Introduction to Data Science in Python
  • Applied Plotting, Charting and Data Representation in Python
  • Applied Machine Learning in Python
  • Applied Text Mining in Python
  • Applied Social Network Analysis in Python

You will be able to use various tools such as matplotlib, scikit-learn, pandas, ntlk to get more information about actual data. You will also be able to apply social network analysis, information visualization and machine learning techniques using these tools.

The course takes about 5 months to complete with a suggested 7 hours of study per week. The first three courses are recommended to be taken in that order and the last two can be taken in any order, but all 5 courses need to be completed to earn a certification.

With the completion of the course, you will be able to recognize whether a given data is “good” or “bad”, use the applied machine learning to enhance a data analysis among other applications.

All of the following online data science courses are offered by Udacity. Udacity is an educational organization like the Coursera and edX and has a lot of data science courses on offer. Let us see these in brief:

This intermediate program is in collaboration with the Georgia Institute of Technology and lasts approximately 16 weeks. It requires prior programming experience and covers data analysis, regression, R and data visualization.

The duration of this program is about 2 months and requires the candidate to have Python programming experience and a strong interest in data science among other skills. It covers MapReduce, pandas and data analysis process.

This program’s duration is approximately 2 months and requires the candidate to have a basic understanding of Descriptive Statistics. It covers hypothesis testing, ANOVA, and inferential statistics.

This 4-week course is beginner level and covers the use of SQL.

This is a beginner-level, 6-week course and an introduction to data analysis. It covers pandas, data analysis NumPy and Python.

This is a comprehensive course and requires the students to have experience with Excel data and algebra. The course duration is 3 months and covers classification, data wrangling, forecasting, segmentation and much more.


Data science is a vast and growing field and this is an exciting time to get involved with it. As you may have gleaned from our article about the best online courses for data science, you would require certain skills to undertake some of them. Remember, to excel in this field, you will need extensive knowledge, patience and a passion for data science.

If you want to discover more learning opportunities, then be sure to take a look at our list of the best online courses. Thanks for reading and as always, have a great day!

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