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The invaluable knowledge of data science has proven to be indispensable in the world today, especially for businesses who depend on data-based solutions to maintain optimal financial health. As a result, data scientists are looking for opportunities to improve their skills and polish their resumes. But, is the MITx MicroMasters Data Science course worth it?
MITx MicroMasters Data Science is worth undertaking as it boosts your professional development and helps you enhance your career by polishing your hands-on skills. The credential positions you for better job opportunities and forms a foundation for advanced learning in the field.
Many data scientists are graduating from universities with their certificates of a Bachelor’s degree. While this degree is enough to get one job, it can only be at entry-level. Some of these graduates are looking to advance their careers to be better positioned for higher positions in the workplace.
When thinking of advancing your career, it’s essential to consider how each credential you get propels you to reach your goal. In this article, we explore the MITx MicroMasters Data Science program to help you determine if it’s an excellent choice for you.
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Employers recognize the MITx MicroMasters Data Science program because not only the expertise it provides to professionals in the field, but also the reputation of the school that teaches it. Although it doesn’t guarantee you a job, adding it to your resume might impress the hiring managers and get you the job.
The rigorous and detailed learning coupled with support from the experts equips data scientists pursuing this program with impeccable skills for solving complex data-related problems and steer sound decision-making processes in organizations.
These quality skills add value to companies where they work.
Also, the MicroMasters credentials boost your academic portfolio and open a way for learners to gain an advanced degree. However, it does not provide a guarantee that Universities will accept it as credit for an entire Master’s course.
If you complete your MicroMasters course and earn your certificate, you can get a chance to enroll for a Master’s degree in the same or a different specialization. Here, the MicroMasters certificate will be counted towards the degree.
The MITx and MIT Institute for Data Systems and Society (IDSS) offer the MicroMasters Data Science course through a multi-disciplinary approach to cover core topics to equip a data scientist for the job effectively.
The program structure requires you to study four courses, where three are mandatory core courses, and one is a selection from two electives. The three core courses are:
The course will help build on your knowledge of data science. It introduces probabilistic models and calculations, Inference methods, Random processes, random variables, and the laws of large numbers and how they apply to data analysis.
Former students in their testimonials praise the course as an in-depth learning course with excruciating details on probability and statistics.
The course introduces machine learning to you, covering the basics of linear models to deep neural learning networks and reinforcement learning.
You’ll understand machine learning principles and how to implement and analyze all models for different applications.
For your projects, you’ll do them on Python as your primary programming language. You must familiarize yourself with Python before enrolling in the course because it’s not taught in this course.
This course instills in you a deep understanding of statistical inferences like estimation, hypothesis testing, and prediction.
You’ll learn to construct estimators, differentiate between maximum likelihood methods and moments, quantify uncertainty, choose between models, and make predictions using different models.
The details in this course sufficiently prepare you to handle actual data on the job through relevant statistical models for excellent results.
The electives are:
If you choose to do this course, you’ll gain hands-on experience with the relationship between computation and statistics when analyzing accurate data. You’ll learn to model data and form hypotheses, as well as to conduct statistical analysis on data.
The exhaustively detailed course will train you to use Gaussian models for modeling environment data and conclude on possible outcomes. You’ll also learn to communicate results with your team members.
Those who choose to do this course learn the different methods they can use to harness and analyze data to answer questions from social, cultural, economic, and policy interests.
These courses build on your prior knowledge of data science and offer you hands-on experience in data analytics and Machine Learning techniques.
You’ll master the fundamentals of statistics, probability, ML algorithms and implement data analysis.
Upon successfully completing the four courses, your skills will be tested through a virtually proctored Capstone exam. Once you pass the exam, you’ll get your credentials, and you can use them to advance your career as you please.
Here’s what you’ll learn in the MITx MicroMasters Data Science course:
- Analysis of big data for data-based predictions using probability and statistical models.
- Fundamentals of data science, machine learning, and statistics.
- Identifying and deploying relevant models to extract information from data, useful in decision-making.
- Designing and creating ML algorithms for manipulating unstructured data to extract helpful information from it.
- Mastering both supervised learning methods like deep learning neural networks and unsupervised learning methods like clustering methodologies.
- Mastering modern data analysis tools like R and Python to skillfully aggregate big data sets.
Anyone can work through this course and master data science through detailed and rigorous training. However, you can make sure you have some basic prerequisite skills like familiarity with college-level calculus, strong math reasoning, and proficiency in Python as you’ll use it for programming needs.
Suppose you lack in either of the prerequisite skills. In that case, you can take up preparatory courses like Multivariable Calculus on the MIT Open CourseWare, Introduction to Computer Programming (Python), or Introduction to Computational Thinking and Data Science.
You can also find other relevant courses that can prepare you to undertake the MITx MicroMasters Data Science course.
The courses are facilitated by the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS) and taught in the MIT faculty, where both online and on-campus students follow an instructor-based program for all the courses.
The instructor-based program ensures that all the students follow through the curriculum for each course with the guidance of experts and participate rigorously in the hands-on experiments included.
Each course takes a different duration, considering the workload that each of them comes with. All the courses require the learner to effectively commit 10-14 hours per week to cover the courses in the estimated time.
The first course on probability takes an estimated 16 weeks to complete, while course 2 on machine learning takes about 15 weeks. Fundamentals of Statistics take 15 weeks, and the electives take 16 weeks.
In total, one can take about 62 weeks to complete the whole course and then do the Capstone exam in two weeks.
The courses are always available online so that you can revisit them anytime. Therefore, even though the courses are linked with the on-campus schedule and follow an instructor-led model, you can follow through at your own pace and complete the course.
However, if your goal is to enroll in a blended course using this credential after earning it, you may want to follow through with the estimated time and complete the program to meet the course’s specific requirements.
The Capstone exam is only available after completing all the courses. Once it’s available, you can enroll and complete it in two weeks. The results are displayed on the students’ dashboard, which is accessible to all learners.
The MITx MicroMasters Data Science course on EdX costs a bit more than other courses in the same category offered in other institutions. When enrolling, you can choose to pay per course or upfront for the whole course.
For each individual course, you pay $300. Since there are four courses, you pay $1200 total, plus the fee for the Capstone exam, $300. Therefore, someone paying for each course pays $1500, including the exam for certification.
However, if you choose to pay upfront for the complete course, you enjoy a discount of $150 and only $1350. For learners’ experiencing financial challenges, EdX offers financial aid so you can check if you meet their selection criteria.
In recent years, the field of data science has experienced growth on all fronts. As companies disregard theory-based solutions and adopt data-based solutions, there is a rising demand for experienced data scientists who can accurately extract information from all kinds of data.
The US Bureau of Statistics outlines the rising demand as new jobs for data scientists are predicted to grow at 27.9 percent, with about 50,400 getting employment. In companies where big data is involved, it’s challenging to find professionals who can make sense of the volumes of data.
The talent available in the market comprises graduates holding a Bachelor’s degree, and this is entry-level. As competition is increasing for entry-level data scientists, those who take the initiative to advance their skills with the MITx MicroMasters Data Science Course stand out and get a better chance of employment.
The course is crowned with a shareable certificate that validates your skills and confirms your eligibility to prospective employers.
With this certification, you can work in job positions like Data Analyst, Business Intelligence Analyst, Data Engineer, Data Scientist, System Analyst, etc.
Any addition to your academic portfolio is worth getting; after all, knowledge is unlimited. In the MITx MicroMasters Data Science course, you gain in-depth knowledge that not only makes you a better data scientist but also makes you a better candidate for a higher rank at your workplace.
You’ll also boost your confidence to attend that interview with a MicroMasters certification showing on your resume. If you’ve been thinking of enrolling in the course, you go for it.