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Data Science Course For Everyone Now Online
Source: Sue Gee




Launched on campus in 2015 Foundations of Data Science is Berkeley's fastest growing program with more than 1,000 students enrolling every semester. Now it is available on edX as a Professional Certificate made up of three 5-week courses.

Intended to help students from any major or any background to address questions that interest them, Foundations of Data Science is an introductory stats class taught in a modern hands on way that introduces Python and weaves in issues like data privacy and bias.

It gives students:

a new lens through which to explore the issues and problems that you care about in the world. You will learn the core concepts of inference and computing, while working hands-on with real data including economic data, geographic data and social networks.

Its three instructors from the University of California, Berkely, statistics professor Ani Adhikari; computer science professor David Wagner; and fellow computer scientist John DeNero, introduce the course in this video:

Professional Certificate programs on edX are career-oriented and teach in-demand skills. In this instance data science is one of the fastest growing job areas in the US, required in variety of industries including technology, manufacturing, retail, government, and finance.

The full Foundations of Data Science program covers:

        How to think critically about data and draw robust conclusions based on incomplete information.
        Computational thinking and skills, including the Python 3 programming language for visualizing and analyzing data.
        How to make predictions based on machine learning.
        How to interpret and communicate data and results using a vast array of real-world examples.

It comprises three separate courses, sixteen weeks in all, with 4-6 hours effort per week expected:

        Computational Thinking with Python - April 3, 2018 - 5 weeks
        Inferential Thinking by Resampling -    May 22, 2018 - 6 weeks
        Prediction and Machine Learning -    July 10 - 5 week

If your sights are set on the Professional Certificate, enrolling for the complete program saves 10% - $357.30 rather than $397. If you don't require official recognition then the Audit route allows free access to to all the course material, activities, tests, and forums but you'll need to enroll in each one separately. Notice that the first one, in which you'll learn the basics of computational thinking using Python, has just started. Originally the first homework was due on April 8th but this has been extended to April 15th and future homewoks will be due two weeks after being posted.

This course aims to teach you basic programming skills for manipulating data showing how to use Python to organize and manipulate data in tables, and to visualize data effectively. The examples given in the course involve real world data from diverse settings. Not all data is numerical – you will work with textual data and with maps.

The course description states:

Though the term “data science” is relatively new, the fundamental ideas of data science are not. The course includes powerful examples that span the centuries from the Napoleonic era to the present day.

Throughout, the underlying thread is that data science is a way of thinking, not just an assortment of methods. The course also emphasizes interpretation and communication, which are essential skills for all data scientists.

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