There’s no denying that being a data scientist is the 21st century’s sexiest job. Companies worldwide are scrambling to hire data scientists, offering some of the most competitive salaries and creating unprecedented demand for data science talent. As someone with a particular interest in the field of data mining and modelling, I wanted to build my data science profile, sharpen my skills, and gain real industry exposure by working on case studies and projects. To date, my knowledge consisted mostly of understanding analytical functions and SQL database coding, but there was so much more I wanted to master in order to become truly invaluable to my company and get that promotion I’ve been gunning for, while also opening myself up to other opportunities in data science elsewhere.
While I have typically been skeptical of online courses, my timetable this year was so intense it did not lend well to committing to a regularly scheduled, physical class – so I took the online route. I went with Simplilearn and signed up for their Data Science with Python Training Course, opting for the Online Classroom Flexi-Pass option which offers 90 days of flexible access to instructor-led online training classes, lifetime access to e-content and 24/7 learner assistance and support (which I for one definitely need). At a cost of $599 it was no small investment so I did my research beforehand, checking the reviews and proposed course content to ensure it was actually relevant and useful.
The course promised it would establish in its students ‘a mastery of data science and analytics techniques’ using the most common coding language – Python. By teaching the essential concepts of Python programming through focusing on data science algorithms and data visualization, Simplilearn’s course promised to really add value to students’ resumes, giving them a real-life understanding of data mining and data modelling. Among other things, the course teaches machine learning using Scikit-Learn package, data science processes, data wrangling, data exploration, data visualization, hypothesis building, and testing. It allows teaches students an understanding of supervised learning and unsupervised learning models including linear regression, logistic regression, clustering, dimensionality reduction, K-NN and pipeline.
In 68 hours of in-depth learning, with four real-life industry-modelled projects (in telecom, stock markets, etc) using interactive learning approaches such as Jupyter notebooks labs, I think what struck me as most valuable was the lifetime access to self-paced learning and the dedicated mentoring session from industry experts included in the course price.
As mentioned, I was skeptical about forking out money to undertake a course via an online portal, but I must admit Simplilearn made a potentially really dull course an interesting one. The course is jam packed with real life examples and demos and getting hands on assignments really helped me to make sense of what I was learning as I went. All along the way, I had a team of seasoned professionals teaching me about data science, all of whom had incredible industry knowledge and who put serious effort into explaining every detail of the course – which obviously made it easier to follow. Anirban in particular clearly had an excellent understanding of statistics and Python, and so after just four lessons I felt comfortable with most of the concepts in Python. The teachers were always prepared for class, with notes which turned out to be very useful after class, too, to enhance the learning experience.
Perhaps the highlight for me – and the thing that set this course apart from others – was the high standard of customer service. As we all know, learning a new technology or skill or becoming familiar with an online course is never a simple process, but thankfully there was a team of dedicated CS professionals on hand 24/7 to help me with my queries both on chat and telephone. I had some serious issues in becoming familiar with how the course was laid out (it was actually very clear and straightforward, I’m just easily confused) and there was one community support officer who led me through it all clearly and patiently (several times, too!). I went back to her whenever I had a problem and always received a response pretty quickly. I think the longest time I had to wait was 12 hours overnight?
The way the course is actually laid out is clear and makes sense, with the online webex sessions excellent in quality – I had no disturbances while I studied. And the self-paced system was awesome, it worked with my otherwise very busy schedule and I was able to slot in learning whenever I had a spare few hours. I would definitely recommend this particular course on Simplilearn. I can’t speak for the other courses, but the Data Science with Python Training Course was really well done with practical examples and the opportunity to learn the concepts of Realistic Data Points hands on, giving you the confidence to tackle the same tasks in a real-life environment. I was satisfied with the course overall.