Do short term courses in data science boost your career?

Why a career in data science?

An approximate of 2.5 billion GB (if 2.5 billion GB pennies are laid out flat, will cover the Earth five times!!!) data is produced every day. Imagine someone who can analyse/organise such a huge amount of data to give business insights and solution! Indeed a hero, right?

There were 2.3 million job openings in the year 2015 in India alone and the estimated job vacancies in 2018 were 2.9 million. This certainly paints a picture of requirement of data scientists in India. According to a recent report by Great Learning, there are more than 50,000 jobs in machine learning and data science unfilled in India. One of the reasons being we just don’t have enough expertise to fill them. Also, these two professions consists of twice as many jobs as job seekers.

 

This is a clear indication that Indian professionals need to up skill, Great Learning, in an insight shared with Economic Times, but how?

On googling what are some of the ways to boost a career in data science, the most common answers one finds are:

1. Take specialisation courses in data science on websites such as coursera, udemy, edx, etc. or certification courses or short term certification courses to get the foundation clear.

2. Participate in data science challenges on Kaggle , Econolytics and hackathons on multiple platforms available.

3. Contribute back to the community, be it with blogs/open source code in the field.

Short term courses are the educational or non educational courses that can be completed in a short span of time, majorly in the free time. But the real question is can one actually learn data science or get a boost in their career through these short term courses? Let’s talk about some pros and cons of these short term courses for data science.

Pros:

1. In a study from Microsoft, 91 percent of hiring managers claimed that certification played a major role in the candidate selection process.Holding a certificate in data science will provide you with a lot of great options, not just only domain wise but job titles and career wise as well.

2. It certainly takes less investment than a college degree or learning on the job. Comparatively, college degrees take longer and costs more.

3. Any kind of a self learning course shows a candidate’s degree of passion, self motivation and commitment. Not only a course validates skills, it also displays credibility.

4. Online courses also offer a flexibility in terms of time and location. You can learn a completely new skill along with an ongoing job.

5. Last but not the least, it keeps you updated with the latest trends in the industry.

Cons:

1. It is true that short courses can give you a brief idea or prepare you for some interview but you can not master data science in 1 month or 2.  Courses that claim that in my opinion are a hoax. But you can definitely choose them to begin with.

2. These short term courses gives you just the tip of the iceberg. One must get in the field and get their hands dirty to get the real knowledge which means a lot of practicing with real life problem statements and data environments.

3. The pace of these courses is so fast at times that an individual might get lost and may not be able to grasp the amount of information fed within the time frame.

4. Most short term courses/certifications in data science talk about techniques, be it machine learning or deep learning. Believe me when I say that the most important and time consuming part in a real life scenario is data gathering and cleaning for your problem statement. Very few courses give a sense on these.

A very crucial debate when it comes to learn data science is should it be theory/online course based or project based. You might have come across these debates all over the internet while searching for ways to boost your career.

Econolytics decided to find out itself the answer to the question of whether short term courses in data science boost your career or not. So, we dug out our database which gave us about 100 resumes that contained certification courses and the dates. These resumes were then analysed for the job titles before and after the certification/online course. Not much to our surprise, 50% of the people either gets a job or a better job after completing a certification or an online course in data science.

So, do short term courses in data science boost your career? 

The answer is probably not surely. But, what we can say for sure is that only short term courses or only projects will not help you boost your career or help you improve your skills. What one needs is an amalgam of both the approaches, courses as well as projects. Having said that, I would also like to point out that project-based learning have a slight upper hand for the fact that they are self-taught and may prove to be more aggressive.

It can only be concluded that there is no right or wrong way to get acquainted or hone a skill, efficiency and hard work is the key to boost any form of career.

 

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