Data science is likely the most sought-after profession today. With top tech organizations looking for talent across the world, this field is highly competitive. That’s why professional improvement represents a crucial aspect of this rapidly-evolving industry.
Getting an approved certificate is the best way to gain the necessary knowledge and a confirmation of your data science skills. This article will give you a list of the 10 best online courses and data science certificate programs that offer worldwide recognized certification.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Data Science Certification Course
There’s plenty of criteria to look at when choosing a data science certification course online. Of course, the content of the course will be of most interest, especially since data science is a broad field. But several other aspects are also worth researching:
- Program duration
- Flexibility – is it on a fixed timeline or self-paced
- Instructor quality and the reputation of the institution
- Whether the program offers practical projects and hands-on work
- Whether the institution will help you land your next job
Top 10 Online Data Science Certification Courses & Programs
Here’s a brief overview of what the top online courses in data science have to offer. Courses and programs on our list come from respected institutions that hire world-class lecturers and will provide the best certification for data science you could get without setting foot on campus.
Harvard University – Professional Certificate in Data Science
Getting an education in data science from Harvard University is one of the best options in the market. This online course teaches essential skills in programming, modeling, statistics, data visualization, and numerous data science tools.
The Professional Certificate in Data Science course is self-paced and represents an introductory course tailored for beginners who want to advance their skills. You’ll also learn through relevant case studies by analyzing data from real-life examples. The program includes working in the R environment.
The price of this Harvard program is $991, with an available 10% discount. The course runs through the edX platform, and allows you free access to the entire curriculum at your leisure. If you decide for the minimal 2-3 hour weekly commitment, the certificate will take roughly 17 months to complete.
Cloudera – Data Platform Generalist Certification
The Data Platform Generalist test by Cloudera is excellent because it enables learners to take various roles within the data science industry. While the exam focuses on Cloudera’s data platform, the program certifies you as a general data science professional, meaning you can pursue a career in data engineering and analytics, development, administration, and similar fields.
The certification consists of a single 90-minute exam with 60 questions. Cloudera doesn’t state the minimal score needed to pass the exam because the point of the certification program is to do it the best you can rather than aiming for a specific score.
According to the Cloudera website, this certification costs $330. Upon completing the exam, you’ll get a certificate that lasts for two years.
IBM – Data Science Professional Certificate
As one of the industry leaders, IBM provides an exceptional course in data science. The course teaches the basics of data science, focusing on the work methodology via Python and SQL. The Data Science Professional Certificate program helps beginners in the field via hands-on work, with exercises in data set importing, analysis, cleaning, and visualization.
The online certificate course in data science consists of 10 parts. After the first three introductory courses, the following six focus on working in Python, while the final one deals with applied data science. This is a flexible, self-paced program suitable for beginners.
Enrolling in this IBM data science program is free via Coursera, provided you have a monthly subscription. The courses require about three hours of work per week. At that tempo, you should complete the program and receive your data science certification within five months.
Data Science Council of America – Senior Data Scientist
As the name implies, the Data Science Council of America (DASCA) counts among the leading authorities on data science in the U.S. and worldwide. The Senior Data Scientist program enjoys global recognition and takes place entirely online.
This program provides excellent resources that candidates can use to prepare for the exams. Plus, the resources are quality reading for the purposes of professional improvement. The learning material and the program itself are suitable for more experienced learners.
Upon enlisting, you’ll need to cover a one-time fee of $775. Once you receive the resources, you’ll have six months to prepare for the exam. The recommended study time is up to 10 hours weekly.
John Hopkins University – Data Science Specialization
When a reputable institution like the John Hopkins University offers a specialization in data science, there’s no reason to miss that opportunity. Hosted by Coursera, this Data Science Specialization course is built around practical applications of actual data.
The online program provides learners the chance to create a genuine data product. Along with learning, you’ll also be building a respectable portfolio that will come in handy as a demonstration of your newly acquired skills.
Like other Coursera programs, this specialization is also free with a subscription to the service. The program is flexible in terms of time commitment. If you devote an hour a day to it, you can complete the specialization in about 11 months.
Microsoft – Azure AI Fundamentals
Microsoft has proven to be not only a tech giant but an excellent knowledge hub. With Azure AI Fundamentals, this renowned company offers expertly crafted training in the basics of working with artificial intelligence. Through this certification program, learners can gain a thorough understanding of AI and become skilled in the latest technologies.
This online data science certificate course will be suitable even for complete beginners, although a basic level of programming skills would give you an easier start. The program comes in two variants: self-paced and led by a professional instructor.
The program costs only €99 and awards a permanent Microsoft certificate. You can also try out the course with a trial subscription, and there’s an available practice assessment test that will help you understand where you stand before enrolling.
MIT – MicroMasters Program in Statistics and Data Science
If you’re looking for an intensive program that will teach you advanced data science skills, MIT has just the thing. The MicroMasters in Statistics and Data Science is a result of a collaboration between the world-renowned MIT and edX, a trusted learning platform.
This program includes working on data sets from real-world examples, as well as understanding the leading machine learning models. Upon finishing, candidates will be eligible for different titles within the field of data science.
The program consists of five courses and may last up to 14 months with about 14 hours of weekly engagement. The edX platform lists the program price at $1,350.
Open Group – Certified Data Scientist
The Open Group consists of numerous global organizations, with some of the most distinct members being technology giants like IBM, Intel, Fujitsu, and Huawei. The Certified Data Scientist certification that the group provides is a credential recognizes around the globe.
The structure of this program is quite unique. It doesn’t include courses or exams. Instead, applicants need to demonstrate practical data science skills in written form. The point of this certification isn’t to educate, but rather to verify the candidate’s professional capabilities.
The time needed to get the certificate will vary depending on your proficiency level. The certificate is permanent, and Open Group discloses its price via contact.
Stanford University – Machine Learning Certification
Stanford University is home to some of the world’s finest lecturers. The institution provides a machine learning program in collaboration with Coursera and, as a practical, hands-on experience, it’s something eager learners shouldn’t miss.
The Machine Learning Certification is an ideal opportunity for beginners to grasp the intricacies of advanced AI and its applications. The program consists of three courses. By the end of the third course, the applicant should be able to build Python machine learning models from the ground up.
Following Coursera’s standard model, this program is free to enroll into, provided the user has a Coursera subscription. With up to nine hours of work weekly, the program shouldn’t last more than three months.
SAS – Certified AI and Machine Learning Professional
SAS is a certification program that operates globally. It offers a Certified AI and Machine Learning Professional program that’s built for people looking for top practical education in these areas. As the name says, this certification is aimed at future data science professionals.
The program includes five courses after which attendees get permanent certification. Upon registering, learners will receive a full year of access to the complete course material, as well as 70 hours of complimentary software use via cloud.
This program is self-paced, but you have to complete it within one year. The price for one year is €1,295.
Tips for Success in Data Science Certification Courses
Enrolling in a data science course is only a part of the process. To be successful, you’ll need to do your best and employ certain techniques:
- Manage your time effectively. Make sure to commit enough time to progress through the course and meet requested deadlines.
- Start building a network with your peers from day one. Collaborate with people who share your interest in data science so that you can build off of each other.
- Never assume you’ve learned everything there is to know. Data science is evolving constantly, and there’s always new skills to develop and additional knowledge to gain.
- Build a strong portfolio that will increase your chances of finding a job in the field. The best data science certification programs represent an ideal start.
Get Certified in One of the Top Professions Today
Getting a data science certificate online can open up a career path in a top-paid profession that continues to grow. With certification from one of the leading institutions in the field, you’ll be on the right track to success.
Our list contains programs and courses from renowned organizations like Harvard, IBM, MIT, and Microsoft. The quality of lecturers is unquestionable, and the programs offer the most up-to-date courses. Whichever certification you choose, you can rest assured you’ll be the best data science certification online.
Soon, we will be launching four new Degrees for AY24-25 at OPIT – Open Institute of Technology
I want to offer a behind-the-scenes look at the Product Definition process that has shaped these upcoming programs.
🚀 Phase 1: Discovery (Late May – End of July)
Our journey began with intensive brainstorming sessions with OPIT’s Academic Board (Francesco Profumo, Lorenzo Livi, Alexiei Dingli, Andrea Pescino, Rosario Maccarrone) . We also conducted 50+ interviews with tech and digital entrepreneurs (both from startups and established firms), academics and students. Finally, we deep-dived into the “Future of Jobs 2023” report by the World Economic Forum and other valuable research.
🔍 Phase 2: Selection – Crafting Our Roadmap (July – August)
Our focus? Introducing new degrees addressing critical workforce shortages and upskilling/reskilling needs for the next 5-10 years, promising significant societal impact and a broad market reach.
Our decision? To channel our energies on full BScs and MScs, and steer away from shorter courses or corporate-focused offerings. This aligns perfectly with our core mission.
💡 Focus Areas Unveiled!
We’re thrilled to concentrate on pivotal fields like:
- Advanced AI
- Digital Business
- Metaverse & Gaming
- Cloud Computing (less “glamorous”, but market demand is undeniable).
🎓 Phase 3: Definition – Shaping the Degrees (August – November)
With an expert in each of the above fields, and with the strong collaboration of our Academic Director, Prof. Lorenzo Livi , we embarked on a rigorous “drill-down process”. Our goal? To meld modern theoretical knowledge with cutting-edge competencies and skills. This phase included interviewing over 60+ top academics, industry professionals, and students and get valuable, program-specific, insights from our Marketing department.
🌟 Phase 4: Accreditation and Launch – The Final Stretch
We’re currently in the accreditation process, gearing up for the launch. The focus is now shifting towards marketing, working closely with Greta Maiocchi and her Marketing and Admissions team. Together, we’re translating our new academic offering into a compelling value proposition for the market.
Stay tuned for more updates!
Far from being a temporary educational measure that came into its own during the pandemic, online education is providing students from all over the world with new ways to learn. That’s proven by statistics from Oxford Learning College, which point out that over 100 million students are now enrolled in some form of online course.
The demand for these types of courses clearly exists.
In fact, the same organization indicates that educational facilities that introduce online learning see a 42% increase in income – on average – suggesting that the demand is there.
Enter the Open Institute of Technology (OPIT).
Delivering three online courses – a Bachelor’s degree in computer science and two Master’s degrees – with more to come, OPIT is positioning itself as a leader in the online education space. But why is that? After all, many institutions are making the jump to e-learning, so what separates OPIT from the pack?
Here, you’ll discover the answers as you delve into the five reasons why you should trust OPIT for your online education.
Reason 1 – A Practical Approach
OPIT focuses on computer science education – a field in which theory often dominates the educational landscape. The organization’s Rector, Professor Francesco Profumo, makes this clear in a press release from June 2023. He points to a misalignment between what educators are teaching computer science students and what the labor market actually needs from those students as a key problem.
“The starting point is the awareness of the misalignment,” he says when talking about how OPIT structures its online courses. “That so-called mismatch is generated by too much theory and too little practical approach.” In other words, students in many classes spend far too much time learning the “hows” and “whys” behind computerized systems without actually getting their hands dirty with real work that gives them practical experience in using those systems.
OPIT takes a different approach.
It has developed a didactic approach that focuses far more on the practical element than other courses. That approach is delivered through a combination of classroom sessions – such as live lessons and masterclasses – and practical work offered through quizzes and exercises that mimic real-world situations.
An OPIT student doesn’t simply learn how computers work. They put their skills into practice through direct programming and application, equipping them with skills that are extremely attractive to major employers in the tech field and beyond.
Reason 2 – Flexibility Combined With Support
Flexibility in how you study is one of the main benefits of any online course.
You control when you learn and how you do it, creating an environment that’s beneficial to your education rather than being forced into a classroom setting with which you may not feel comfortable. This is hardly new ground. Any online educational platform can claim that it offers “flexibility” simply because it provides courses via the web.
Where OPIT differs is that it combines that flexibility with unparalleled support bolstered by the experiences of teachers employed from all over the world. The founder and director of OPIT, Riccardo Ocleppo, sheds more light on this difference in approach when he says, “We believe that education, even if it takes place physically at a distance, must guarantee closeness on all other aspects.” That closeness starts with the support offered to students throughout their entire study period.
Tutors are accessible to students at all times. Plus, every participant benefits from weekly professor interactions, ensuring they aren’t left feeling stuck on an educational “island” and have to rely solely on themselves for their education. OPIT further counters the potential isolation that comes with online learning with a Student Support team to guide students through any difficulties they may have with their courses.
In this focus on support, OPIT showcases one of its main differences from other online platforms.
You don’t simply receive course material before being told to “get on with it.” You have the flexibility to learn at your own pace while also having a support structure that serves as a foundation for that learning.
Reason 3 – OPIT Can Adapt to Change Quickly
The field of computer science is constantly evolving.
In the 2020s alone, we’ve seen the rise of generative AI – spurred on by the explosive success of services like ChatGPT – and how those new technologies have changed the way that people use computers.
Riccardo Ocleppo has seen the impact that these constant evolutions have had on students. Before founding OPIT, he was an entrepreneur who received first-hand experience of the fact that many traditional educational institutions struggle to adapt to change.
“Traditional educational institutions are very slow to adapt to this wave of new technologies and trends within the educational sector,” he says. He points to computer science as a particular issue, highlighting the example of a board in Italy of which he is a member. That board – packed with some of the country’s most prestigious tech universities – spent three years eventually deciding to add just two modules on new and emerging technologies to their study programs.
That left Ocleppo feeling frustrated.
When he founded OPIT, he did so intending to make it an adaptable institution in which courses were informed by what the industry needs. Every member of its faculty is not only a superb teacher but also somebody with experience working in industry. Speaking of industry, OPIT collaborates with major companies in the tech field to ensure its courses deliver the skills that those organizations expect from new candidates.
This confronts frustration on both sides. For companies, an OPIT graduate is one for which they don’t need to bridge a “skill gap” between what they’ve learned and what the company needs. For you, as a student, it means that you’re developing skills that make you a more desirable prospect once you have your degree.
Reason 4 – OPIT Delivers Tier One Education
Despite their popularity, online courses can still carry a stigma of not being “legitimate” in the face of more traditional degrees. Ocleppo is acutely aware of this fact, which is why he’s quick to point out that OPIT always aims to deliver a Tier One education in the computer science field.
“That means putting together the best professors who create superb learning material, all brought together with a teaching methodology that leverages the advancements made in online teaching,” he says.
OPIT’s degrees are all accredited by the European Union to support this approach, ensuring they carry as much weight as any other European degree. It’s accredited by both the European Qualification Framework (EQF) and the Malta Qualification Framework (MQF), with all of its courses having full legal value throughout Europe.
It’s also here where we see OPIT’s approach to practicality come into play via its course structuring.
Take its Bachelor’s degree in computer science as an example.
Yes, that course starts with a focus on theoretical and foundational knowledge. Building a computer and understanding how the device processes instructions is vital information from a programming perspective. But once those foundations are in place, OPIT delivers on its promises of covering the most current topics in the field.
Machine learning, cloud computing, data science, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity – all valuable to employers – are taught at the undergraduate level. Students benefit from a broader approach to computer science than most institutions are capable of, rather than bogging them down in theory that serves little practical purpose.
Reason 5 – The Learning Experience
Let’s wrap up by honing in on what it’s actually like for students to learn with OPIT.
After all, as Ocleppo points out, one of the main challenges with online education is that students rarely have defined checkpoints to follow. They can start feeling lost in the process, confronted with a metaphorical ocean of information they need to learn, all in service of one big exam at the end.
Alternatively, some students may feel the temptation to not work through the materials thoroughly, focusing instead on passing a final exam. The result is that those students may pass, but they do so without a full grasp of what they’ve learned – a nightmare for employers who already have skill gaps to handle.
OPIT confronts both challenges by focusing on a continuous learning methodology. Assessments – primarily practical – take place throughout the course, serving as much-needed checkpoints for evaluating progress. When combined with the previously mentioned support that OPIT offers, this approach has led to courses that are created from scratch in service of the student’s actual needs.
Choose OPIT for Your Computer Science Education
At OPIT, the focus lies as much on helping students to achieve their dream careers as it does on teaching them. All courses are built collaboratively. With a dedicated faculty combined with major industry players, such as Google and Microsoft, it delivers materials that bridge the skill gap seen in the computer science field today.
There’s also more to come.
Beyond the three degrees OPIT offers, the institution plans to add more. Game development, data science, and cloud computing, to name a few, will receive dedicated degrees in the coming months, accentuating OPIT’s dedication to adapting to the continuous evolution of the computer science industry. Discover OPIT today – your journey into computing starts with the best online education institution available.