You Ask, I Answer_ How to Choose a Data Science Course

Sherry asks, “What sets apart a good data science course? What should I look for in the curriculum?”

Great question, and an important one in today’s world when companies are offering “crash courses” and “become a data scientist in X weeks”. Would you feel comfortable going to someone who did the “crash course in surgery” curriculum or “learn trial law in 10 weeks”? I sure wouldn’t. In this video, learn what data science courses and degrees should contain, and a semi-secret indicator that you’re looking at a great course.

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Machine-Generated Transcript

What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.

In today’s episode Sherry asks what do you look for in a good data science course? What’s an indicator that of course is worth paying for and and what isn’t as really good question

because there

are a lot a ton of these crash courses and instant courses and and learn data science and five weeks now

just for a moment consider data science is a profession just like any other profession,

would you feel comfortable going to say a doctor who learned surgery in 10 weeks I crash courses surgery taken, you know, learn everything you need to know in 10 weeks,

I don’t know that I would feel comfortable going to a doctor like that I would like to see the doctor have you know, some time some extreme taking a full education as opposed to just the the fastest way to become a search equally true I if I were on trial, I would not think to look for like who became a lawyer if you took the crash course in in trial law

not that doesn’t make me feel super reassured that the same thing is true for data science for analytics for machine learning,

there is more than just a course or if there’s going to be a course there should be tons of prerequisites, and tons of follow up work to surround that data science portion with

all the other things that are important to know in order to be an effective data scientist. So keep that in mind when you hear instant or fast results and stuff like that.

I don’t know that I would feel comfortable trusting my company data to somebody who tried to get the basics down in 10 weeks, can you learn something in in 10 weeks? one course? Absolutely. You can learn some things. But could you reasonably call yourself a full time professional data scientist with the same credibility that someone who is a doctor, a lawyer, a an accountant, with just a course Probably not. So keep that in mind. So what are the things that you should be looking for in a data science curriculum? Number one, there should be very heavy emphasis on statistics. Statistics is the core of data science. It is you know, statistics and probability are basically everything that happens in data science happens with those foundations. The second thing you should spend a lot of time on our algorithms and the math behind them,

but not

like using particular pieces of software not like the the IBM way or the Tablo way or the our way. But the algorithms themselves. What is the algorithm? How does it work? When do you use it, when do you not use it? So everything from basic linear regression, you know, what is it when you use it, how to use it all the way up to things like, you know, Pretto multi objective optimization,

big, you know, big $10,

your curriculum should be focusing heavily on learning the techniques learning when they’re appropriate learning when they’re not appropriate, learning how to do them. And that’s where you should be using some of the tools and technologies chances are, you’re going to use either our or Python because those are open source languages. And they are sort of the the gold standards in data science and machine learning especially are because if it’s statistical background, another language you will probably run into, certainly in the corporate world will be SPSS.

But

avoid looking at courses that promise very specific technologies. We all know that the technology landscape is always changing, that something that is is hot today may be gone tomorrow.

And you don’t want to be the the data science equivalent of that person who specialized in my space, right person who specialize now in Google Plus, you want to be the person who knows how to do things like regression and prediction and clustering and all the techniques and that’s tool agnostic. So of course, is leading with, you’re going to learn these technologies, these hot market technologies, okay, as opposed to, you’re going to learn the fundamentals of how to do the thing and how to do it intelligently, no matter what tools on the market when you look at something, for example, like IBM Watson studio is drag and drop modules from SPSS and the neural network modeler and all these different techniques and you look at this long list of techniques like the all the Basie and clustering you have in the neural model, you have boosting and all this stuff.

If a data science course has prepared you. Well, you should look down that list of techniques of all the things you can drag and drop in the interface and go Yep, I know what that one does. Yep, I know what that one does. Yep, I know what that one does. I know I know when to use it. I know when in what sequence to put these blocks in. And that’s the most important thing is knowing conceptually what order to put the things in where to put a when to use them when not to use them. And so of course, that’s heavy on the algorithms heavy on the techniques. The third thing that you definitely want to look for is you want to look for a course that has a at least one if not a complete standalone course on ethics. Data ethics is one of the most critical pieces of data science, it is one of the most overlooked and it is the quality indicator, of course, so

for example,

when you go to a sushi restaurant, there are three things you look at number one, you look at the color of the tuna, if a tuna is kind of a bright red

tuna should generally be a dark red, we look at the color of the avocado, the color is anything other than vibrant green, yellow,

it’s been sitting out too long. And he’s so you know, the, the, the food doesn’t turn over that fast, or they prepare their stuff way in advance and shouldn’t have third and this is the the, the quality indicator of a sushi restaurant Do they have fresh rosov, the best sushi restaurants have fresh wasabi fresh from Warsaw real wasabi, not colored horseradish. And as well, there’s little gimmicks you learn. But it it tells you very much about that restaurant based on

that one will ingredient. The same thing is true in data science.

If there is an ethics component that is prominent in the course description, you know, you got a winning course, you know that you got a course that has been well thought out. Because someone who wants to get up to speed as fast as possible in 10 weeks or less

ethic. Ethics isn’t their thing right there, they want to

kind of person that attracts is someone who just wants to ride the wave and get up and running as fast as possible, not someone who wants to learn it thoroughly and have thoughtful consideration about what techniques to use. And therefore they’re not going to sit through an ethics course. But someone who really wants to know the thing is going to take the ethics course and be okay with having that be a part of the curriculum part of the time that they invest. So look for that. That’s the indicator of a great ethics of a great data science courses. Having that that’s that little is that little sushi moment right there within the courses. So those are the things to look for now, are there good courses to

take? Yes,

look at the the statistical courses within the mathematics department at major universities, MIT, Stanford, all these things. And by the way, a fair number of the actual classes are available for free. You don’t need to pay 510, 15, $20,000

in order to learn the stuff what you paid for, when you take a course or a degree like that is you’re paying for the name, you’re paying for the certification, basically, the MIT or whoever says, yep, you know, the thing, you passed our exams, we validate that you know, the thing, but to actually get the knowledge itself. So many of these these individual classes on things like statistics and probability and such are completely and totally free. They’re available online. So if you want the knowledge, go get the knowledge first. And it’s a good way, by the way to test yourself to see like, Okay, I’m going to go and take stats one on one, if you just can’t stomach it is Oh, my God, what did I do? You didn’t pay money for it, right? You didn’t shell out five or 10 grand for the for the certification, you know, just from the first course thought my thing and and you can go and focus on something that you do want to be good at. So make sure that you try out some of those courses. But yes, definitely look at reputable schools that have strong stats and math programs like the MIT Sullivan Stanford’s of the world as a starting point. So great question, important question, very important question about what is real and what is not in the data science. Well, thanks for asking. And as always, if you have if you have questions your own leave them in the comments here or leave them on my website and subscribe to the YouTube channel and the newsletter

Talk to you soon. Take care one help solving your company’s data analytics and digital marketing problems.

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