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Learn data science with online courses and programs

An online data science degree expands your analytical skills and enables you to solve real-world problems. Take online data science courses delivered through edX.

What is data science?

Data science is a multidisciplinary field that combines mathematics and statistics, specialized programming, advanced analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning to transform raw numbers into actionable insights — empowering business decision-making, strategy, and scientific discovery.

John W. Tukey is credited with developing the first data analysis techniques in 1962, allowing statisticians to form conclusions from partially flawed data.Footnote 1 As data generation continues to evolve in terms of speed, volume, and variety (otherwise known as big data), modern data science requires a robust technical skillset.Footnote 2

Data scientists rely on a strong working knowledge of computer programming, data mining, AI, and predictive analytics to effectively organize, analyze, and extract meaningful insights from data.

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Why learn data science?

Whether you want to improve business strategy or solve complex, scientific problems, data science helps professionals make sense of various kinds of information. This is invaluable in the era of big data, when data sets are often too large and complex to fit into the memory of a single computer. 

A data science degree can expand your analytical skills and sharpen your knowledge of statistics and mathematics, enabling you to address real-world problems across multiple sectors — from retail and social sciences to agriculture, finance, and health and fitness.Footnote 3 An online data science degree also means learners can absorb data analysis and machine learning concepts at their own pace.

Data science course curriculum 

Learning data science is a springboard for learners eager to master big data, develop their analytical skills, and open up multiple career avenues. There are numerous online data science courses available — whether you’re looking to dip your toes in programming languages and exploratory data analysis or eager to dig deep into natural language processing. There are also self-paced options to study data engineering concepts or focus on the visualization components of data science. The outcome remains the same whichever course of study you chose — you will learn to leverage technology to interpret and predict complex data.

A typical curriculum for data science or data analytics includes courses in math, statistics, computer modeling, programming, and big data and data science.

These courses will introduce you to a variety of new skills and concepts, including R programming, statistical analysis, regression analysis, data structures, neural networks, Structured Query Language (SQL), TensorFlow or other machine learning platforms, basic data analysis with Excel, and data visualization with Tableau or Power BI.

Explore data scientist jobs

Companies hire data scientists with the expectation that they will identify patterns, analyze structured and unstructured data, and create and deploy algorithms. In other words: data scientists possess a unique skill set that is valuable across disciplines. 

A degree in data science can open the door to various career opportunities including data analyst, data engineer, machine learning scientist, applications architect, business intelligence developer, academic researcher, survey researcher, statistician, economist, and financial analyst.Footnote 4 Data analysts, engineers, and machine learning scientists in particular can benefit from a strong foundation in data science. This helps them to perform advanced duties within their roles. One way to gain this knowledge is through intensive boot camps

It’s also important to note that learning data science on its own does not mean you automatically have the skills required for all the jobs listed above. Some may require additional know-how and a bachelor’s or master’s degree

How to become a data scientist online

Having a bachelor’s degree in computer science and/or a master’s in data science or related fields such as science, statistics, and mathematics can be helpful in your job search. If you don’t have a bachelor’s or master’s, you’ll still want to work on acquiring some coding and analytical skills for your desired data science role.

You may learn data science and its prerequisite skills, like data analytics, in another educational setting, such as a boot camp. However, it’s important to bear in mind that every job is different and each company will have unique hiring requirements, so consider that when planning out your educational journey.