I have no idea who it was, but someone who is well known in the data science community said MOOCs make you look unprofessional.
I couldn’t disagree with this more, so did pretty amazing people like JT Kostman.
MOOCs are what got me interested in data science in the first place, at the time I dabbled with going back to university and doing further study but a few things prevented me:
The cost of going back to full time study both in opportunity cost from a lack of paid work, and also tuition fees meant this was not an option.
The fact that we were a single income family meant this was not possible
The biggest thing however for me was at the time I could get a better quality education than anything that was on offer in Australia for free. I used to audit MOOCs and not get the credentials, so I would essentially get the knowledge and do the assignments for free. More recently they have clamped down on access to assignments for non-paying students.
So, MOOCs have placed me where I am today. I think the knowledge I gained is invaluable and it was free. Now, if I was to do my time again I wouldn’t have just audited the courses, I would have paid for a certificate. Why? Well, I think doing MOOCs and having credit for them is a strong signal to an employer that you are the kind of passionate person who is willing to invest their free time into their craft. It points to enthusiasm, endeavor and hunger.
Other people than me think along the same lines, I interviewed Martin Paver from Projecting Success, a company applying AI to the project management industry. He spoke about seeing someone applying for a data science position and thinking “Ok, you have dropped some money on your education, but show me your enthusiasm and passion, are you going to hackathons, are you completing MOOCs and projects on your own? In other words I need to see evidence of your passion for data science”.
A simple MOOC path to your first data science job
So without further ado, if I was to start my data science career over again this is what I would look to do as an introduction.
Introductory Python Path
SQL for data science
Version Control with Git
Applied Data Science with Python Specialization
Introductory R Path
SQL for Data Science
Version Control with Git
Data Science Specialization from John Hopkins University
That’s pretty much all you would need to walk into most data science positions. If I saw someone with these credentials I would immediately take notice. Someone who has completed these MOOCs would be a well rounded new data scientist who would be able to make a solid contribution in their role.