Data science courses are everywhere. You can watch free tutorials on YouTube, you can join online courses, or have formal data science education at university, but which one is the best option? After researching these highly-rated data science courses. At last, I understand there’s no single course/program that works for everybody, so in this article, I would like to share with you the pros and cons of each option based on my personal experience.

**Criteria**

The selections here are focused more on individuals getting started in data science, so I’ve filtered courses based on the following criteria:

- The course goes over the entire data science process
- The course uses popular open-source programming tools and libraries
- The instructors cover the basic, most popular machine-learning algorithms
- The course has a good combination of theory and application
- The course needs to either be on-demand or available every month or so
- There are hands-on assignments and projects
- The instructors are engaging and personable
- The course has excellent ratings – generally, greater than or equal to 4.5/5

## 1. Data Science Specialization — JHU Coursera

This course series is one of the most enrolled and highly rated course collections on this list. JHU did an incredible job with the balance of breadth and depth in the curriculum. One thing that’s included in this series that’s usually missing from many data science courses is a complete section on statistics, which is the backbone of data science.

Overall, the Data Science specialization is an ideal mix of theory and application using the R programming language. As far as prerequisites go, you should have some programming experience (doesn’t have to be R) and you have a good understanding of Algebra. Previous knowledge of Linear Algebra and/or Calculus isn’t necessary, but it is helpful.

**Price –** Free or *$49/month* for certificate and graded materials**Provider –** Johns Hopkins University

## 2. Applied Data Science with Python Specialization — UMich Coursera

The University of Michigan, which also launched an online data science Master’s degree, produce this fantastic specialization focused on the applied side of data science. This means you’ll get a strong introduction to commonly used data science Python libraries, like matplotlib, pandas, nltk, scikit-learn, and networkx, and learn how to use them on real data.

This series doesn’t include the statistics needed for data science or the derivations of various machine learning algorithms but does provide a comprehensive breakdown of how to use and evaluate those algorithms in Python. Because of this, I think this would be more appropriate for someone that already knows R and/or is learning the statistical concepts elsewhere.

If you’re rusty with statistics, consider the Statistics with Python Specialization first. You’ll learn many of the most important statistical skills needed for data science.

**Price –** Free or *$49/month* for certificate and graded materials**Provider –** University of Michigan

## 3. Data Science MicroMasters — UC San Diego edX

MicroMasters from edX are advanced, graduate-level courses that count towards a real Master at select institutions. In the case of this MicroMaster’s, completing the courses and receiving a certificate will count as 30% of the full *Master of Science in Data Science* degree from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).

Since these courses are geared towards prospective Master’s students, the prerequisites are higher than many of the other courses on this list. Since the first course in this series doesn’t spend any time teaching basic Python concepts, you should already be comfortable with programming. Spending some time going through a platform like Treehouse would probably get you up to speed for the first course.

**Price –** Free or *$1,260* for certificate and graded materials**Provider –** UC San Diego

## 4. CS109 Data Science — Harvard

With a great mix of theory and application, this course from Harvard is one of the best for getting started as a beginner. It’s not on an interactive platform, like Coursera or edX, and doesn’t offer any sort of certification, but it’s definitely worth your time and it’s totally free.

## 5. Python for Data Science and Machine Learning Bootcamp — Udemy

Created by Andrew Ng, maker of the famous Stanford Machine Learning course, this is one of the highest-rated data science courses on the internet. This course series is for those interested in understanding and working with neural networks in Python.

**Price –** Free or *$49/month* for certificate and graded materials**Provider –** Deeplearning.Ai

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