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You might be on the search for a data science certificate and wondering if the HarvardX Data Science Professional Certificate is worth it.
I’ve researched the certificate and here’s the short answer:
The HarvardX Data Science Professional Certificate is worth it. Made for data science beginners, the HarvardX Data Science certificate is worth getting for its 208 hours of in-depth data science content, credibility, hands-on projects with real-world case studies using job-ready data science skills for only USD $991.
Your next thoughts might be: why would you say that this certificate is worth it?
Well, here are the 3 main reasons why the HarvardX Data Science Professional Certificate is worth it:
- The HarvardX Data Science Certificate Provides You With a Flexible and Self-Paced Learning Schedule
- The HarvardX Data Science Certificate Teaches You Job-Ready Data Science Skills
- The HarvardX Data Science Certificate Gives You Exposure to Real-World Case Studies
Curious to know more about how each of these reasons contributes to why the certificate is worth it + FAQs?
Read on for more information!
1. The HarvardX Data Science Certificate Provides You With a Flexible and Self-Paced Learning Schedule
By taking on an online certificate such as the HarvardX Data Science Professional Certificate on EdX, you’ll be able to control your learning schedule!
You’ll be learning through a series of flexible and self-paced courses to complete the certificate.
Check out the schedule for yourself in this summary table of the certificate schedule I compiled below:
|Course Title||Time Commitment Per Week||Expected Completion Time|
|1||Data Science: R Basics||2-4 hours||8 weeks|
|2||Data Science: Visualization||1-2 hours||6 weeks|
|3||Data Science: Probability||1-2 hours||6 weeks|
|4||Data Science: Inference and Modeling||2-4 hours||8 weeks|
|5||Data Science: Productivity Tools||1-2 hours||6 weeks|
|6||Data Science: Wrangling||1-2 hours||6 weeks|
|7||Data Science: Linear Regression||2-4 hours||6 weeks|
|8||Data Science: Machine Learning||2-4 hours||8 weeks|
|9||Data Science: Capstone||15-20 hours||2 weeks|
|Total||–||56 weeks or 1 year|
With so many hours of content to go through, there’s a really great benefit of having the flexibility to complete courses in your own time, compared to a fixed night class in college.
In fact, these flexible courses can really benefit 2 groups of people:
- Workers with a 9-5 job
Students: Squeeze in these flexible courses in between your college classes or at whichever time intervals you deem fit! You might also consider completing the course faster if you’re on a longer break.
Workers with a 9-5 job: You aren’t left out too! You’ll appreciate the self-paced nature of the certificate, where you can learn on the go if you’re on the way back from your commute.
You won’t be able to do so much learning if you’re attending a regular college degree with such fixed timings instead of an online professional certificate.
A data science bootcamp might also be a possible option with some flexibility too, but nothing beats having a fully online self-paced certificate.
If you’re planning on learning data science, you can boost your learning with sources of content other than from this certificate .
2. The HarvardX Data Science Certificate Teaches You Job-Ready Data Science Skills
Another great reason to get started with learning through the HarvardX Data Science Professional Certificate is the skills it teaches you!
If you’re thinking of becoming a data scientist, I’m sure you’re looking to pick up the best skills for the job.
And the HarvardX Data Science Certificate is a great way to acquire them in a structured and systematic way!
Just take a look at this summary table of skills and tools you’ll learn below:
|Course Title||Why Is This Course Important?||Tools You’ll Learn||Skills You’ll Learn|
|1||Data Science: R Basics||An essential tool in data science||R Programming||Programming, Data Analysis|
|2||Data Science: Visualization||To convince stakeholders with visuals||ggplot2||Data Visualization, Design|
|3||Data Science: Probability||To test for significant results in your analysis||–||Statistics, Data Analysis|
|4||Data Science: Inference and Modeling||To understand the basics behind predictions||R Programming||Statistics, Data Analysis, Machine Learning|
|5||Data Science: Productivity Tools||Useful tools to boost workflow in data science||R markdown, RStudio, Unix/Linux, GitHub||Version Control, Automation|
|6||Data Science: Wrangling||To access data sources and format them||R Programming, dplyr, Regular Expressions (regex)||Data Cleaning, Data Transformation, Web Scraping, String Processing|
|7||Data Science: Linear Regression||A common model that can be applied in most scenarios||R Programming||Statistics, Data Analysis|
|8||Data Science: Machine Learning||A good introduction to commonly used algorithms||R Programming||Machine Learning, Statistics, Model Evaluation|
|9||Data Science: Capstone||To put your skills to the test in a project-based situation||R Programming||Programming, Data Analysis, Data Visualization, Design, Machine Learning, Version Control, Automation, Statistics, Model Evaluation|
Curious to learn more on those areas instead?
I’d recommend the following:
- Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate for data analytics
- IBM Data Engineering Professional Certificate for data engineering
- Coursera Stanford Machine Learning Course for machine learning
Here are the main tools you’ll be learning throughout the courses in the certificate:
Based on my previous experience as a bioinformatics data scientist, these are some of the best tools used in data science!
Here’s why the tools you’ll learn in the HarvardX Data Science Certificate are good choices:
R Programming: R programming is the 3rd most used language in data science.
As you can see from the graph above, R is a pretty popular tool!
For some inspiration for you to learn R, you can take a look at how R has been used for data science in healthcare in my article here.
Thinking of just learning R? You’ll need to know how long that would take first!
RStudio: RStudio is the only major Integrated Development Environment (IDE) used among data scientists for programming in R. 79% of R programmers use RStudio to code in R.
Github: 35% of data science organizations use GitHub as one of their data science tools.
GitHub is an amazing version control platform that I commonly used in my data science work!
Here’s how my GitHub profile looks like, where I upload all my codes:
Unix/Linux: Linux shell scripting is commonly used to automate scripts and speed up data science workflows.
Here’s another additional aspect I love about this certificate in learning new skills:
The certificate includes an application capstone project!
If you haven’t heard about the benefits of completing a data science project, you really should!
Here are some benefits of learning data science skills through the project in the HarvardX Data Science Certificate:
- Brings together all learned skills in a real application
- Increased confidence in data science skills
- Provides a method for recruiters to view your experience in your data science portfolio
Now, this is what makes the HarvardX Data Science Certificate so worth it!
However, unlike the IBM Data Science Professional Certificate, this certificate does not cover the most popular data science programming language out there, Python.
This is something I found rather disappointing as many machine learning libraries can only be accessed using Python.
If you’re interested in learning Python instead, I’d recommend trying the IBM Data Science Professional Certificate.
Nonetheless, the R programming learned in the HarvardX Data Science Certificate is also great for data science!
3. The HarvardX Data Science Certificate Gives You Exposure to Real-World Case Studies
In every online data science certificate, you should always ensure that you’ll get enough hands-on practice.
In the HarvardX Data Science Professional Certificate, you’ll receive plenty of such hands-on practice through real-world case studies!
Check out the table below for a list of case studies for each course in the certificate:
|Course Title||Case Study|
|1||Data Science: R Basics||Analyzing Crime in the United States|
|2||Data Science: Visualization||Visualizing world health, economics, and infectious disease trends in the United States|
|3||Data Science: Probability||–|
|4||Data Science: Inference and Modeling||Creating a simplified election forecast model for the United States 2016 elections|
|5||Data Science: Productivity Tools||–|
|6||Data Science: Wrangling||–|
|7||Data Science: Linear Regression||–|
|8||Data Science: Machine Learning||Building a movie recommendation system|
|9||Data Science: Capstone||Final data analysis project|
Nothing beats real hands-on experience on real-world projects!
If you’re looking to sharpen your data science skills, these real-world case studies will help a lot.
Upon completion of the HarvardX Data Science Professional Certificate, you’ll be armed with 5 experiences in real-world case studies in data science.
These experiences are what make this certificate really worth it!
How Long Does It Take to Complete the HarvardX Data Science Professional Certificate?
It will take 208 hours or 1 year to complete the HarvardX Data Science Professional Certificate. The completion time may vary depending on previous programming knowledge, learning speeds, and time commitment. Although EdX suggests completing the certificate in 1 year and 5 months, most can finish earlier.
The HarvardX Data Science Professional Certificate is content-heavy and requires a lot of commitment and time to learn.
Here’s a summary of how long you’ll need to complete the certificate:
|Course Title||Expected Hours to Complete||Expected Completion Time|
|1||Data Science: R Basics||32 hours||8 weeks|
|2||Data Science: Visualization||12 hours||6 weeks|
|3||Data Science: Probability||12 hours||6 weeks|
|4||Data Science: Inference and Modeling||32 hours||8 weeks|
|5||Data Science: Productivity Tools||12 hours||6 weeks|
|6||Data Science: Wrangling||12 hours||6 weeks|
|7||Data Science: Linear Regression||24 hours||6 weeks|
|8||Data Science: Machine Learning||32 hours||8 weeks|
|9||Data Science: Capstone||40 hours||2 weeks|
|Total||208 hours||56 weeks or 1 year|
Being a data scientist requires time and experience to learn the necessary skills so you should expect to learn them over a longer period of time.
Is the HarvardX Data Science Professional Certificate Hard?
The HarvardX Data Science Professional Certificate is hard. The certificate provides in-depth coverage of data science fundamentals that beginners might hard. The certificate has 9 content-heavy courses that
The HarvardX Data Science Professional Certificate has 208 hours of content and 9 heavy courses to go through.
If you’re thinking of getting into data science, things might be hard at first but I’m certain that with some effort and pushing through, you’ll also make it!
If you’re looking for a simpler data science program that doesn’t follow a certification program, I recommend trying out DataCamp!
Here are 2 alternatives you can try:
Do check out my article on DataCamp Subscriptions before you buy if you’re interested!
How Much Does the Harvard Data Science Professional Certificate Cost?
The HarvardX Data Science Professional Certificate costs $991 USD. However, this pricing may vary depending on promotions on EdX. The certificate pricing is typically reduced to $792.80 USD during promotional sales.
The starting cost of the HarvardX Data Science Professional Certificate might seem quite steep to you but if you consider how this certificate will last you a year long, you’ll realize it’s really fairly-priced!
Here’s a comparison between the costs of the HarvardX Data Science Professional Certificate and college degrees:
|HarvardX Data Science Professional Certificate||Bachelor’s College Degree in the United States|
|Cost||$991 USD||$10,000 to $20,000 USD|
|Program Time||1 year||4 years|
As you can see the cost of the HarvardX Data Science Professional Certificate is much lesser than taking a college degree in the US!
If you’re looking for a cheaper option to get into data science, I’d recommend getting the IBM Data Science Professional Certificate on Coursera instead.
Is the Harvard Data Science Professional Certificate Free?
The HarvardX Data Science Professional Certificate is not free. The entire certificate costs $991 USD. However, the courses within the certificate can be audited individually for free. Auditing the courses does not include certificates, graded assignments and exams, and only provide a limited time to access resources.
If you find that the certificate is too expensive, you can also consider taking the audit track to access the resource for free.
Here’s a screenshot of the landing page when you select an individual course in the certificate:
However, you won’t be issued any certificate upon completion and would only have a limited time of 1-2 months to access all the content.
My recommendation: If you’re really serious in learning data science properly, I’d still recommend going for the full paid certificate, if you can afford it.
Learning data science can be tough but it can be made much smoother through the HarvardX Data Science Professional Certificate.
If this post has been been useful for you and you’d like to make a purchase, do use my affiliate link here, it helps to support the site.
Thanks for reading!
Some Professional Certificates You Might Like:
- Google IT Support Professional Certificate
- Google IT Automation with Python Professional Certificate
- Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate
- Google Digital Marketing & E-commerce Professional Certificate
- IBM Data Analyst Professional Certificate
- IBM Data Science Professional Certificate
- IBM Data Engineering Professional Certificate
- Meta Marketing Analytics Professional Certificate
My Favorite Learning Resources:
My Recommended Learning Platforms!
|Learning Platform||What’s Good About the Platform?|
|1||Coursera||Certificates are offered by popular learning institutes and companies like Google & IBM|
|2||DataCamp||Comes with an integrated coding platform, great for beginners!|
|3||Pluralsight||Strong focus on data skills, taught by industry experts|
|4||Stratascratch||Learn faster by doing real interview coding practices for data science|
|5||Udacity||High-quality, comprehensive courses|
My Recommended Online Courses + Books!
|1||Data Analytics||Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate||–|
|2||Data Science||IBM Data Science Professional Certificate||–|
|3||Excel||Excel Skills for Business Specialization||–|
|4||Python||Python for Everybody Specialization||Python for Data Analysis|
|5||SQL||Introduction to SQL||SQL: The Ultimate Beginners Guide: Learn SQL Today|
|6||Tableau||Data Visualization with Tableau||Practical Tableau|
|7||Power BI||Getting Started with Power BI Desktop||Beginning Microsoft Power BI|
|8||R Programming||Data Science: Foundations using R Specialization||Learning R|
|9||Data Visualization||–||Big Book of Dashboards|