Do you love looking at a spreadsheet and noticing patterns? How about explaining those patterns to others in a way that’s easy to understand? If that sounds like something you would *cough* excel at, then this rundown of the top data analytics courses is for you.
Today we’re going to cover the best online introductory courses for data science and analysis. So, whether you’re a beginner or just want to learn if analyzing data is something you’d interested in, this post is for you.
But first, here’s a quick overview of what a data analyst does on a day-to-day basis.
What is data analytics?
Collecting and analyzing data is a key part of running a successful business. Regardless of industry, companies use data to help inform their business operations to maximize profits, reduce waste, and make overall better business decisions.
Data analysts use several tools to help them collect and analyze information and then report their findings. Depending on the industry you work in, you could be working with Google AdWords, Google Analytics, Excel, and Tableau. And, you might be programming languages like Python, SQL, R, and SAS.
But, don’t worry if you have little or no experience coding. Today’s courses are for beginners and newcomers to data analytics. They’re designed to give you an overview and get you started on your path towards becoming a data analyst.
Keep in mind, however, that most of these data analytics courses assume that you have a basic understanding of concepts in algebra, statistics, and how to edit a spreadsheet.
How we ranked the courses
Our ranking system is based on three main criteria:
- The ability to take the courses completely online without having to download or purchase accompanying textbooks or ebooks
- Being beginner-friendly and providing an overview of the field of data analytics as it stands today
- User reviews, when available, by people who have taken the courses
And now for the ranking.
1. Complete Data Analytics Course for Beginners – Udemy
This intro course from Udemy provides the best foundation for the type of work data analysts do each day–cleaning, analyzing, and visualizing data. It introduces students to Excel, Tableau, and SQL, tools you would use on a regular basis as a data analyst.
This course also serves as an introduction to databases, data modeling, and data warehousing, core concepts that are frequently left out of introductory data analytics courses.
2. Data Science Specialization – Coursera
The data science specialization program from Coursera is a fully fleshed-out 10-course curriculum with weekly projects and a certificate of completion. However, for our purposes, the real value for beginners can be found in course one, The Data Scientist’s Toolbox.
This course provides an overview of the type of problems data analysts seek to solve and the tools they use to their solutions
This course can be completed for free during Coursera’s 7-day free trial period. Then, upon completing the course, you can choose to continue on the learning path if you think it’s a good fit.
3. Data Science Essentials – edX
In this 6-week course (18 – 24 hours total), edX tackles the theory behind data science. They also provide an introduction to machine learning, something that is quickly becoming a vital asset to the industry of data science and analysis.
With a combination of Python, R, and MS Azure, you’ll also be introduced to the most cutting-edge tools used in the industry today.
This data analytics course covers a lot of ground, and you’ll know quickly whether data science is something you’ll want to keep learning. But if you do end up completing the full 6-week course, you can get a certificate of completion.
4. Data Analyst Nanodegree – Udacity
Nanodegrees from Udacity are a serious endeavor and commitment. So, if you came to this article knowing that you want to immerse yourself in the world of data and absorbing the latest tools and trends in the industry, this is probably the course for you.
The Data Analyst Nanodegree sits at number four on our list because it’s not designed for people who want a quick intro to data science and then to move on to something else. In many ways, it’s a career-track program for serious students of data analysis.
However, term one of the program does provide one of the best introductions to concepts in data analysis and statistics, making it a huge asset to those who are just beginning on their data science educational journey.
5. Data Analysis Training and Tutorials – Lynda.com
Not everyone learns the same way. For those of us who prefer to learn by solving our own, real-life problems, these tutorials from Lynda.com might be the perfect environment to get started in.
If you’re the type of person who likes to learn by doing and only stop to watch tutorials when you get stuck, this is the program for you.
Lynda.com offers tutorials for tools like Excel and Tableau and courses for statistics and data mining. But, in addition to those common tools and skills, they also offer tutorials in more niche programs like ArcGIS and SAP Crystal Reports.
That’s our list! Feel free to check out our other online course rundowns, like The Top Four Free Intro to Marketing Online Courses.