Digital technologies pretty much run the modern world. From our phones and computers to manufacturing, finance, and retail, so many aspects of life rely on machines crunching unimaginable quantities of data.
As a discipline at the core of this digital era, data science is still expanding its scope. Leading organizations in this sector never seem to get enough of new talent, and the demand for data science specialists is constantly rising.
Luckily, the same digital-first environment that depends on data science also gives ample opportunities for learning this essential trade. You can easily find a data science course online, and the same goes for certifications. Better yet, there are Masters programs you can take without leaving your home.
If the prospect of online data science courses sounds exciting, this article will recommend some of the best available programs.
Top Data Science Online Courses
There’s no shortage of options to learn data science online. The courses that made our list come from prestigious institutions and offer the most comprehensive approach to the subject.
When choosing the top courses, we followed straightforward criteria. We looked into institution reputation, hands-on experiences, lecture quality, and comprehensiveness. Here are the best online data science courses that excelled in these categories.
Metis – Data Science & Analytics Training
If you’re looking for an online course with live lectures, then Data Science & Analytics Training from Metis will be a great choice. The lecturers come from leading tech companies, giving lessons that cover the complete data science process.
While there are advanced bootcamps on offer, Metis provides a comprehensive beginner data science online course with certificate, which lasts for six weeks. The price for this course is $750 (roughly 695 euros at time of writing). This course offers an accredited certificate.
Dataquest – Introduction to Python Programming
Dataquest is somewhat unique as it represents a knowledge repository for standalone learning or as a supplementary resource. If you want to learn data science with this platform, the Introduction to Python Programming course is a quality choice.
The class is brief, informative, and suited for beginners. It consists of six lessons and a practical project, with an estimated 12 hours needed to complete the self-paced course. While the introductory course doesn’t offer certification, it will open up a learning path with Dataquest that does end up in winning an expert-reviewed credential.
A third of the learning resources is available for free. The full access to Dataquest courses will require a subscription to the service with a monthly or yearly model.
Harvard University – CS109 Data Science
Getting education from Harvard is about as elite as one can get. The CS109 Data Science course embodies all the benefits of learning from a prestigious institution like Harvard. The course teaches data science essentials, including Python programming, statistics, and machine learning. The complete material is accessible on dedicated GitHub pages. You can clone the repository to get access to the entire curriculum.
Since this is just the repository of resources, going through them won’t give you a certificate. However, it’s free and completely available online, making it an educational opportunity you shouldn’t miss. With the detailed knowledge of the basics under your belt, you’ll progress to more complex (and pricier) courses with ease.
Online Data Science Master’s Programs
You might think that getting a master’s diploma requires you to physically attend a college. And while that used to be the case only a few decades ago, you can enroll in a master’s program online. Better yet, you may do so at a reputable institution with a world-leading data science department.
We picked several top-tier online data science masters programs online. Our choice was based on similar criteria as for the courses:
- How reputable is the institution?
- Does the program offer practical knowledge?
- Are the lectures comprehensive and quality-made?
With all that in mind, here are our top choices of online master’s programs in data science.
University of Aberdeen – Data Science MSc
The University of Aberdeen is one of the leading educational institutions in the UK. The Data Science MSc program is the university’s regular MSc data science online program that’s also completely available online. The curriculum includes vital skills concerning algorithms, data analysis, mathematical modeling, and more.
With full-time learning, the degree can be completed in one year. However, you can study at your own pace and take as much time as you need between individual courses. The limit for completion is six years, and enrolling in the program will cost £14,920.
Rome Business School – International Online Master in Data Science
The International Online Master in Data Science from the Rome Business School represents an excellent opportunity to learn, get in touch with industry-leading companies, and build a professional network. The school houses bootcamps across Europe and worldwide, which may increase your job market reach.
The participation fee for this program is €6,700. If paid after starting the course, applicants can split the cost into six installments, free of interest. Covering the fee in installments in advance will grant you a 5% discount. Paying in a lump sum comes with a 10% discount.
European Leadership University – Professional Master in Data Science & Leadership
The European Leadership University offers a comprehensive program that includes individual and group work, as well as interactive workshops. Completing the Professional Master in Data Science & Leadership program will earn you a master’s degree and two recognized certificates: in data science and leadership.
The program is priced at €5,000, with the option to pay the fee in five installments during the study period. Upfront payments come with a 10% discount. The program includes classes on machine learning, statistics, data collection and handling, Python programming, and more. This master’s course lasts for 19 months.
Key Skills to Learn in Data Science
Data science consists of numerous fields, some of which are more theoretical while other lean heavily towards practical applications. The later data science aspects include essential skills that you can use in the market:
- Programming languages
- Data visualization and reporting
- Machine learning and AI
- Big data
In programming, languages like Python, R, and SQL are used to create program environments and write specific commands. As a data science skill, the study of programming languages explores the limitations and possibilities of existing and new languages.
Data visualization deals with representing complex datasets in a more comprehensive way. It’s related to reporting and may be viewed as its subset. Visualization tools include charts, graphs, and presentations.
Machine learning might be the most well-known aspect of data science. Technologies like deep learning are at the core of AI development, enabling machines to learn from limited data input. Recently, great advances were made in unsupervised learning, which doesn’t require human input at all.
Big data refers to processing and analyzing large amounts of information. Handling massive data volumes presents specific challenges in terms of computational capacity and error reduction.
Finally, statistics form one of the cornerstones of practical data science use. Statistical analysis is helpful in business, demographics, and numerous social and natural sciences. Reliable statistics help researchers create predictive models and projections, allowing for efficient planning down the line.
Benefits of Earning a Data Science Certificate or Degree
Getting a degree or certificate in data science offers you an edge both in professional improvement and in the job market. The very process of gaining credentials is an opportunity to learn and practice essential skills. Plus, you can build a respectful portfolio along the way.
A degree or certificate means better job opportunities. Every reputable employer in the field will want to see recognized credentials from their applicants, and that’s particularly true when hiring for better-paid positions.
If you’ve already got a starting-level job in data science, credentials from reputable institutions will help advance your career. That kind of growth also creates a potential for better salaries and work benefits.
Finally, once you enroll in a data science degree or certificate program, you’ll meet other people pursuing similar interests. This will be an excellent opportunity for networking. Combined with the credentials, your new network of colleagues can help you advance even further.
Tips for Choosing the Right Data Science Online Course or Program
When you start searching for the right program online, it’s vital to consider several factors:
- The content and curriculum of the course
- Instructor expertise and reputation in the industry
- The duration of the program
- How flexible the course is
- Pricing and whether there are options for financial aid
- Testimonials or reviews from previous students
Besides these considerations, you should account for your personal preferences. Define your goals and what you want to achieve with the program. Also, it’s important for the program to match the learning style that suits you the best.
Gain the Essential Skills for the Hottest Profession Today
Our data science course suggestions include a selection of programs from the most respected industry leaders. With the high-quality courses on offer, all you’ll need to do is pick the program that matches your career goals.
Today’s job market has a high demand for data science experts. Getting certified or earning a degree in the field will help you start a career easier, which is why you should consider this important move as soon as possible.
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.