Hi, I’m Olga, a former lead data scientist at eBay and now advisor at Pathrise. I work with candidates who are looking to land great jobs in data science. Check out my article with resources to help you learn data science.
Updated in 2021
Data science is quickly emerging as one of the most sought after fields in the tech industry. In fact, data scientist has been in the top 3 positions on Glassdoor’s 50 best jobs in America list for the past 4 years.
So, how can you break into the lucrative and rapidly growing field of data science? The first step is to have the right background knowledge. Depending on your education and prior experience, you can determine the role that fits you best to kickstart your data science career.
Whether you are looking to learn data science from scratch, need to brush up on your skills, or want to learn more advanced topics, these resources can help.
- NYC Data Science Academy
- General Assembly
- SQL Zoo
- Mode SQL tutorial
Classes on Udacity range from introductory level to advanced. They are most well known for their nanodegree programs, which they offer in data visualization and programming for data with R or Python as well as career paths for data analyst, data engineer, data scientist, and business analytics. These are project and skills-based educational credential programs, which are very helpful for people looking to learn data science skills.
The nanodegree programs require students to work 10-15 hours per week on their courses. The length varies from 3 months on the low end to 7 months on the high end. They cost between $1100-$1500. Learn more about Udacity in our review.
The data science careers track on Springboard is very popular. Students work 15-20 hours per week for 6-9 months and receive technical 1-on-1 sessions with an expert mentor as well as access to career coaching and feedback. Upon completion of the course, students get a six-month runway to secure a role in their industry of choice. If they don’t get a job after six months, they receive 100% of their tuition back. Learn more about Springboard in our review.
There are 3 different ways to learn data science on DataCamp – courses, skill tracks, and career tracks. There are 300 courses, all in varying topics within the umbrella of data science. Users can filter by technology (R, Python, SQL, Git, etc) or by topic (programming, machine learning, data visualization, probability & statistics, etc).
The skill tracks are meant for the student to gain proficiency in a specific technology, methodology, or domain. They are 14-24 hours and consist of 3-5 courses. Career tracks are even more in-depth. The goal of these is to begin a career in data science, so the tracks are named after the role the student would become (example: data scientist in R or data analyst with Python). Students need to commit 43-100 hours, depending on the topic, for the 9-26 courses that make up these tracks.
DataCamp has a free option, where users gain access to the first chapter of each course or track as well as some challenges and projects. For those who want to complete the courses and tracks as well as get access to more challenges and projects, they can choose to pay $29 per month or a yearly subscription or $300 for an annual subscription. They do offer discounts at certain times, like Thanksgiving, so frugal students should look to see if they can make use of these opportunities.
With 60 courses on a variety of data science topics in varying difficulty levels, the goal of Dataquest is to teach specific tools through coding and hands-on projects. While some of the courses are fundamentals-based and for beginners, the majority are more intermediate or advanced and would be better suited for someone with some background in the subject.
Dataquest operates on a subscription model. Some of their courses are free, but for the rest, users can choose to pay $29 per month for the basic plan or $49 per month for premium.
With a full-time immersive bootcamp and part-time introduction courses, Metis is a good option for aspiring and current data scientists. The 12-week bootcamp meets Monday-Friday from 9am-5pm. At least three hours a day are dedicated to independent project work. Attendance is highly encouraged, as lectures are not recorded. Metis also offers part-time, online courses in the fundamentals of math and Python. These courses meet twice a week for 2-3 hours in the evening and run for 1-2 months. Learn more about Metis in our review.
6. NYC Data Science Academy
The immersive on-campus or online bootcamp from NYC Data Science Academy (NYCDSA) lasts 12 weeks and teaches Python and R with machine learning, data analytics, and data visualization. Students also participate in 4 company-sponsored projects and receive career services. The bootcamp prep course, which combines 3 courses, costs $5,000. On their own, courses cost between $1,435 and $2,800. The bootcamp costs $17,600 and a $5,000 deposit is required upon acceptance.
7. General Assembly
One of the most well known bootcamps, General Assembly has full-time, part-time, and 1 day courses in data science and other topics. They offer classes online or onsite on their many campuses around the world. Students learn the skills needed to work in the industry as well as work on projects that they can add to their resumes and portfolios to help with their job applications. Those in the full-time immersive programs also have the opportunity to work with a career coach as they get closer to starting their job search. Learn more about General Assembly in our review.
Udemy is an online platform with courses in a variety of subjects. They have 1000 data science resources, ranging in topics. The majority of their language courses are in Python, but there are also Java, SQL, and R courses. You can also filter their courses by level to match your background.
The courses include pre-recorded videos as well as related articles and resources to help students understand what they are learning. After completion, students are given a certificate of completion. Courses on Udemy range in price, from around $50 to $200, though they often have coupons available online as well as large discounts, often bringing the price down for courses to $9.99.
Codecademy is an online educational tool with both free and paid resources. For data science, they have one career path that lasts 35 weeks, 3 skill paths on Python, SQL, and machine learning that last 7-10 weeks, and 15 courses. Of the 15, 3 are free – Learn SQL, Learn R, and Python 2. Courses can take between 1 hour and 20 hours to complete.
Students learn by watching pre-recorded videos, taking quizzes, practicing problems, and creating projects. Learn more about Codecademy in our review.
Similar to Codecademy, Coursera has various types of programs. Courses are a mix of recorded video lectures, assignments, and community discussion forums, which teach a new skill in 4-6 weeks. Specializations are focused on career-specific skills through a variety of courses on the subject over 4-6 months.
Students who complete the courses and specializations receive shareable certificates. Many of their classes are verified by universities, like Duke, Johns Hopkins, and Stanford. They also offer professional certificates, which last between 50-85 hours, and online degrees (master and bachelor) from universities like Michigan, Arizona State, and U Chicago. They also offer free courses that do not come with a certificate, so people who are just interested in learning new skills could benefit from these.
If you are looking more specifically for SQL resources, here are two sites that we often recommend to our job-seekers who are looking for SQL practice. Both of them allow users to practice without installing SQL.
1. SQL Zoo
SQL Zoo is a Wiki for people who are looking to learn data science with a focus on SQL. For the new learner, there is a full tutorial that you can use to learn SQL from the ground up. There are also references, resources, and assessments for people who are looking to brush up on their skills and advance their knowledge.
2. Mode SQL tutorial
These SQL classes come from Mode, a data analytics company, and are designed to help more people master this tool and be able to understand data on their own. Specifically, the target audience is “aspiring analysts who have used Excel a little bit but have no coding experience.” There are 15 lessons in the Basic SQL course, 20 lessons in the intermediate course, 8 lessons in the advanced course, and 8 lessons in the SQL analytics training course. To participate, users need to have the Mode platform, which is free.
If you are looking to take the next step towards a career in data science, these tools can help you get the necessary background you need to succeed. We created a guide to help you with each step in the process to find a great job in data science.
If you would prefer to have a mentor in your corner during your job search, Pathrise is a career accelerator that works with students and professionals 1-on-1 so they can land their dream job in tech. If you want to work with our industry and career mentors to get help with your data science job search, join Pathrise.