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If you’re looking for a job that’s impactful, well-paying, and in high demand, becoming a data scientist may be the path for you — and could be one of the happiest careers you could pick, according to Glassdoor.
Drawing from techniques in statistics and computer science, data scientists translate large, seemingly incomprehensible sets of data into meaningful insights that can help drive important business decisions. Given the job’s complexity and impact, companies are looking for data scientists in droves and are willing to pay up: the median base salary in 2020 is $107,801.
And with online courses, it’s actually possible to jump-start a career in data science without spending thousands of dollars or putting a wrench in your current job. One e-learning option is Harvard University’s Data Science Professional Certificate Program ($792.80), an intensive , 17-month-long online edX program that prepares you with the skills, knowledge, and confidence to pursue roles in data science. (You can also test out most of the courses for free before committing, or pay to earn professional certificates in individual courses.)
The courses are taught by Harvard professor of biostatistics Rafael Irizarry, yet costs under $800 and takes place entirely online, offering a combination of access, affordability, and flexibility previously unattainable at the actual school.
Each course in the program is designed so you can progress at your own speed, but you should expect to spend about 2-3 hours per week per course. There are nine courses total, beginning with foundational basics and culminating in a capstone project in which you’ll apply your new knowledge. This final project provides students with a tangible product to show potential employers or educational programs. Here are all the courses you’ll take in the Data Science program:
- R Basics
- Inference and Modeling
- Productivity Tools
- Linear Regression
- Machine Learning
Upon completion of the program, students receive an official certificate that they can highlight on their resumes and LinkedIn profiles to not only indicate their relevant data science skills but also to signal initiative, self-motivation, and a willingness to learn — traits that employers love .
Past students of the program appreciated the engaging content and teaching style, hands-on exercises, and flexibility:
“Excellent class. Really helpful instructor and lots of hands-on materials. It covers the essential things you need to know and builds on material sequentially. I really look forward to taking the rest of the modules in the sequence. I am a busy professional and so being able to complete this course on my own time when I am traveling is very convenient and effective.”
“Perfect! I loved the course and I’m going to complete the whole Harvard Data Science program. I liked the instructor, the subject is perfectly clarified, and the videos are engaging. The course is very concise — no chance to get bored. Perfect solution for everyone looking for R fundamentals and a basic statistics course in one place.”
For about $88 per course, you can get your foot in the door to the fascinating, rapidly growing world of data science. Since edX is available on computers, tablets, and phones, you can do so anywhere and on your own time.