Big data is transforming the way we make business decisions. It allows far greater insight into our future potential. It illuminates the customer journey in ways that self-reporting doesn’t reveal. It cuts through all the BS to show us where our efforts are paying off or falling flat.
Whether you’ve hired a data scientist or you’ve got a team of citizen data scientists, there’s a lot you need to know about big data yourself. You may have taken a free course in the past, but it’s time to level up your knowledge so that you’re ready at that next meeting to lead your people.
The following online certifications for data science are excellent ways to give yourself the foundations you’ll need in data science to make excellent business decisions. If professional growth is on your calendar this year (and when isn’t it?), add these online certifications to your list.
3 Data Science Certifications For Business Leaders
If you’re ready to commit to your professional development and provide business real value, here are our top three recommendations for online certifications (you don’t even have to leave your office).
Professional Certificate in Data Science for Executives – edX.org + ColumbiaX
Best For: Business Leaders who already have a data science team
Data Science for Executives includes introductory courses designed to give C-Suite level executives the foundations for how data science operates and what it can accomplish. You’ll leave with an understanding of the history of data science, your data science team’s process, and what the future holds.
Three courses include:
- Statistical Thinking for Data Science and Analytics – why statistical thinking is central to data analytics
- Machine Learning for Data Science and Analytics – principles of machine learning, foundational algorithms
- Enabling Technologies for Data Science and Analytics – The Internet of Things – big data’s relationship to IoT and what it means for the business of the future.
Udemy Business Analytics with Big Data – Udemy + Global Learning Labs
Best For: Leaders who want a broad overview of the basics
Business Analytics with Big Data gives students an overview of what kind of data you’re dealing with, how to process it, and how to create interventions based on those insights. It includes foundations of analytics and big data, plus an understanding of these principles from a business perspective.
6 Core Lecture Series Include:
- Introduction to Business Analytics – application, benefits, evolution, and the different phases of analytics related specifically to business
- Business Analytics for Business – the scope and importance of data, data insights, adopting solutions
- Understand Data – quality, cleaning, and maturity.
- Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, and Data Mining – the difference between business analytics and intelligence, data mining methods, and benefits
- Understand Big Data and Analytics– data trends and growth, opportunities and challenges of data, big data analytics
- Social Media Analytics – needs and goals of social media analytics, social media influences on business, social media analytics process
Executive Data Science Specialization – Coursera + Johns Hopkins
Best For: Leaders currently building a team
The Executive Data Science Specialization is a series of courses plus a hands-on project that will help you master the fundamentals of using data science from a business perspective. You’ll be able to navigate the data science pipeline, develop your team, and overcome challenges that commonly doom data science projects to failure.
The five-course certification includes:
- A Crash Course in Data Science – data science fundamentals, including statistics, identifying successful and unsuccessful projects from the start, structuring the data science project, and the role of the data science manager
- Building A Data Science Team – the different roles on a data science team, how to interview for data science teams, managing on-boarding, guiding and empowering teams.
- Managing Data Analysis – the iteration process, appropriate data sets, types of data pulls, modeling, interpretation and presentation methods.
- Data Science in Real Life – perfect versus imperfect data, pitfalls of data, solutions (including a/b testing, randomization), strategies for managing data quality
- Executive Data Science Capstone – leading a virtual team to develop a data science solution, prepare and submit a presentation to your certification peers.
Free Introductory Courses To Get Started This Weekend
Not Ready for A Full Commitment Yet? Here are two excellent (free) courses you can take to give you a head start just before your next data analytics sprint.
Knowledge Management and Big Data in Business – edX + Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Best For: Picking Up the Fundamentals Before that Critical Meeting
Learn the fundamentals of managing your knowledge in the era of big data. You’ll learn how data creates real value and become familiar with everything your data science team talks about in their processes, tools, and techniques for capturing that data.
You’ll also learn how your team is analyzing big data (and what it is) along with practices for using Cloud services to handle those big data needs. Combined with social media analysis, you’ll have the necessary foundations for applying all these principles to business specifically.
It’s self-paced and has no due dates. You can complete the course in as little or as much time as you need.
Introduction to Big Data – Coursera + UC San Diego
Best For: Understanding your team’s challenges from a Hands-On Perspective
Learn how big data is changing the landscape of business. It will teach you the core concepts of big data problems and applications, plus what systems are commonly employed. It also helps you understand one of the most common frameworks for big data analysis (Hadoop), and how those architectural models can be deployed at scale. It’s hands-on but requires no previous programming experience.
Become Conversant in Data Science
Leading your team requires that you have a basic knowledge of their processes, problems, and solutions. Whether you have an excellent team and need a better understanding of their data “language” or you’re assembling a team and need to get it right, these courses and certifications will get you started to lead your business in the era of big data.