A Guide to the Best Online Data Science Courses in 2020

By: The SwitchUp Team
Last Updated: July 15, 2020

Data science is a rapidly growing field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists job growth at 16% between 2018-2028, and Glassdoor ranked data scientist third on their 50 Best Jobs in America for 2020 list. Because of the growing career opportunities, now is a good time to explore if data science is right for you.

Data science requires a solid foundation of mathematics and statistics, and it's important to be analytical. It's also helpful to possess strong communication and presentation skills so you can effectively explain and discuss relevant information with executives and other key stakeholders.

Enrolling in a data science course is a cost-effective way to discover if you have what it takes to pursue a career in the field. In this guide, we will look at some of the course options available. We'll cover free data science courses, bootcamp prep courses, data science courses for beginners, and data science courses offered by top-level universities.

Choosing the Best Online Data Science Course for You

The best way to get started with your data science course search is to first answer some questions, which can help you identify what course to take. As you narrow your search for data science courses, here are some things to ask yourself:

  • Do I have the basic skills like a strong understanding or aptitude for math and statistics?
  • What are my ultimate career goals? (Think salary, position, or company you'd love to work for)
  • What skills do I need to get my dream job, and do I have any of those skills already?
  • How much money do I want to invest in new skills?
  • How much time do I have to dedicate to data science courses?
  • What courses best suit my learning style (e.g. scheduled or self-paced, live instructor or videos, available support community, hands-on practice, or challenges)?

Keeping these questions and your answers in mind, look through our list of available programs and platforms that offer online data science courses. Someone new to data science may want to look for a course for beginners, and those looking to save money can search for a free data science course. The list will highlight skill levels, specialty courses, and pricing.

If you have more questions about data science, jump to Data Science FAQs at the end of the list.

The Best Online Data Science Courses in 2020


Codecademy offers data science courses to begin or advance a career in data analysis or data science. Students have a range of course options, including the fundamentals of data science, big data, data mining and visualization, and automated data processes. Courses will give students hands-on experience and some will have them complete data science projects that let them gain real-world experience in the field.

Codecademy's online Data Science courses are:

  • Beginner to Pro level
  • Specialized courses in SQL, Python, machine learning, AI, and more
  • Subscription

Cognitive Class

Cognitive Class offers learning paths by creating a set of data science courses that allow students to concentrate their training in the area that best suits their professional interests. Courses include topics about the fundamentals of big data and data science. They also teach the tools and programming languages used in the application of concepts and techniques, such as Hadoop and Scala.

Cognitive Class Data Science courses are:

  • Beginner to advanced level
  • Specialized courses in data science tools, methodologies, and technologies
  • Free


Coursera hosts a range of online collegiate and professional data science courses taught by technology professionals and university professors. Coursera partners with leaders in the industry in offering expert-led courses, including IBM, Stanford University, and Johns Hopkins University. Courses include real-world projects to help students expand their learning experience. Students can find courses that cover the techniques of mining, analyzing, and visualizing data through the use of data science tools and technologies, including Python.

Coursera's online Data Science courses are:

  • Beginner to advanced, collegiate and professional level
  • Specialized courses, including Applied Data Science, R foundations, and Python
  • Both free and paid


DataCamp provides instruction in data science techniques and technologies through short, hands-on training videos. Over 300 beginner to intermediate courses are offered in a vast collection of topics, including statistics, programming, data manipulation and visualization, Python, R, and SQL. Course videos run between 4-7 hours and consist of several chapters of instruction and real-world application exercises. Courses can be combined into specialized career tracks. DataCamp also offers an assessment to determine the level of expertise and recommended courses of participants. The platform is subscription-based, and a free option that provides limited access to chapters, coding challenges, and projects is available.

DataCamp's online Data Science courses are:

  • Beginner to intermediate courses
  • Specialized courses in data science content areas, including data engineering, machine learning, and Python
  • Free and subscription


Dataquest offers several data science courses that can be taken individually or in combination along a career pathway. Specialty areas include Data Analyst in R, Data Analyst in Python, Data Scientist, and Data Engineer. Basic and premium subscriptions require a fixed monthly cost and allow users to complete any number of courses each month. Students can choose to follow one of the four established paths or tailor their training to best suit their career interests and goals. Courses offered are many and varied and include beginner, intermediate, and advanced instruction in statistics, linear algebra, machine learning, command line, deep neural networks. Subscribers can also learn to apply the techniques of data science through courses in Python, NumPy, pandas, Apache Spark, and SQL.

Dataquest online Data Science courses are:

  • Beginner to advanced level
  • Focused on specialty areas and software, including data analysis, Python, SQL, and machine learning
  • Free trial, as well as basic and premium, paid subscriptions


EdX offers students the opportunity to complete individual courses or combined course pathways in data science. EdX facilitates courses taught by leaders in the industry and professors from notable universities, including Harvard, MIT, and IBM. Courses range from instruction in techniques and technologies used in the industry to the knowledge and skills necessary to master before a career in data science.

EdX online Data Science courses are:

  • Beginner to advanced, collegiate and professional level
  • Courses in specialized data science tools, including Python, R, and SQL
  • Free and paid courses


Flatiron School's Data Science Bootcamp Prep course is a free introduction to the fundamentals of Python programming and machine learning. Students in the course collaborate with peers and instructors, utilize industry tools and technologies, and access open-source curriculum through Flatiron's online learning platform. The goal of the bootcamp prep course is to equip students with the basic knowledge necessary to further their learning in a data science bootcamp.

Flatiron's online Data Science course is:

  • Beginner level
  • Bootcamp prep specializing in Python, machine learning, and math fundamentals
  • Free


Galvanize's Data Science Prep courses ready participants to pursue advanced training in the discipline. Students are instructed in the fundamental techniques and tools of data science, including statistics, linear algebra, SQL, and Python. All courses are online, and students can choose from several levels of immersion and interaction, ranging from self-paced learning to live lectures to one-on-one mentorship.

Galvanize's online Data Science courses are:

  • Beginner level
  • Basic, premium, and mentored bootcamp prep that specializes in Python and statistics
  • Both paid and free courses

General Assembly

General Assembly offers an on-demand online course in data analysis in addition to an ongoing list of short-form workshops and classes that help build skills for a career in data science. The self-paced data analysis course assesses student skills and provides lessons, quizzes, hands-on training, mentorship, and more. Students have up to a year to complete the course and will receive a letter upon completion.

General Assembly's online Data Science courses are:

  • Beginner to intermediate level
  • On-demand data analysis
  • Paid

LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn Learning, formerly Lynda.com, offers a vast selection of data science training courses and learning paths for those interested in beginning or advancing a career in a data-driven industry. A monthly subscription grants users access to hundreds of training videos in several areas of data science, such as statistics, machine learning, and data mining and analysis. LinkedIn Learning also offers courses in the technologies and tools used in the industry, including Python, Excel, R, NumPy, and Tableau. Course and learning path videos vary in length depending on the subject matter and the number of content modules included, but can range from around 1-20+ hours.

LinkedIn Learning's online Data Science courses are:

  • Beginner to advanced level
  • Courses in the skill sets and tools of data science, including data analysis and Python
  • Monthly and annual paid subscriptions and free for some library cardholders


Metis offers beginner prep courses in Admissions Prep and Python and Math and an intermediate prep course in data science, all designed to prepare students to advance to the Metis Data Science Bootcamp. All courses are online, with the admissions course being self-paced and the Python and Data Science prep courses facilitated through 36 hours of live instruction. The beginner courses require no previous experience, while the intermediate Python course requires a basic understanding of Python, linear algebra, and statistics. The prep courses introduce the fundamentals of the discipline, offering students a foundation to build on. The intermediate course covers the tools and techniques of data science in greater detail and includes instruction in machine learning and coding.

Metis online Data Science courses are:

  • Beginner and intermediate level
  • Bootcamp Prep for Python, math, and machine learning
  • Either free or paid


Pluralsight's data professional courses provide students the opportunity to gain a thorough understanding of data types, analysis, and design and the management of data through current industry technologies. Courses are conducted by experts in the field who use their experience to provide real-world instruction. Prospective students can take a free, five-minute assessment to determine their level of expertise in the subject matter and choose courses accordingly.

Pluralsight's online Data Science courses are:

  • Beginner to advanced level
  • Focused on specialty areas of data science, including SQL, data warehouses, and temporal data
  • Subscription with a free trial


Skillshare offers a range of business analytics courses providing students an education in data science, data visualization, business intelligence, and data analysis in the business sector. Classes are taught by industry professionals with experience working in a variety of data-oriented roles. Students can choose the course and teachers that best match their unique career interests and goals.

Skillshare's online Data Science courses are:

  • Beginner to advanced level
  • Classes like Python for Machine Learning, Excel Data Visualization, and Essential Data Science are a sample of courses offered
  • Subscription


Springboard's online Data Science Prep course provides mentored training to those intending to enroll in the Data Science Career Track. No previous experience in computer coding is necessary to enroll. Students in the prep course program gain the knowledge, tools, and techniques necessary to pass the technical skills survey to continue their education in Springboard's career track bootcamp. Coursework covers the beginning fundamentals of data science, including Python software, probability, algorithms, and data discovery. Cohorts begin every Monday, and the course is typically completed within four to six weeks. Students receive 1:1 mentorship throughout the course and dedicated guidance on the course's culminating Python case study project. The tuition paid for the prep course may be applied to that of the Data Science Career Track.

Springboard's online Data Science course is:

  • Beginner level
  • Mentored bootcamp prep courses, specializing in Python
  • Paid courses


Udacity offers courses in data science that provide students with the opportunity to gain knowledge and technique and build a professional portfolio under the guidance of a mentor. Students can choose individual courses to best complement their career interests and goals or pursue one of Udacity's established career pathways in a specialized area of data science. Courses offered include instruction in SQL, data analysis, business analytics, and programming for data science.

Udacity's online Data Science courses are:

  • Beginner to advanced level
  • Focused on data science technologies, including SQL, Git, and Python
  • Free and subscription


Udemy hosts many training courses in data science in a range of experience levels and specialized areas. Levels range from beginner to expert and areas of instruction include Python, SQL, R, NumPy, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and data mining, analysis, and visualization. Udemy also offers instruction courses in knowledge areas essential to the understanding and application of data science software and techniques, including statistics, probability, and linear algebra. Most courses are paid, though several free, introductory courses are available.

Udemy's online Data Science courses are:

  • Beginner to expert level
  • Focused on several areas and technologies used in data science, including data analysis, Python, and R
  • Free introductory and paid courses

Data Science FAQs

What is Data Science?

Data science involves extracting valuable information from data and using that data to propose solutions and find patterns. Because today's businesses are pulling in large amounts of information, data scientists are critical for identifying what data is important, what it means, and how to use it. They will often develop optimal methods for finding pertinent data within large data sets and present their insights so businesses can use them to inform decisions. As the field of data science grows, the number of careers that use the skills has also expanded.

How do you become a data scientist?

There are several ways to become a data scientist, but the two most common are to get a degree or to attend a bootcamp. If you're interested in traditional higher education, you can enroll in a college or university and pursue a degree in data science or a related field such as mathematics, statistics, or computer science. If an immersive, hands-on education is a better match for you, you can enroll in a data science bootcamp, which is often shorter and more affordable than a degree program. Another way to become a data scientist is to gain data science skills through courses and certificate courses.

What programming languages are important in data science?

Python is currently one of the most important programming languages for data science. However, R, SQL, Java, JavaScript, C++, MATLAB, Swift, Scala, and Julia are commonly used as well.

What skills do you need to be a data scientist?

It's essential to have tech industry skills, strong communication skills, and a solid background in math and statistics to be a data scientist. Some of the most common skills desired in the field include critical thinking, programming, machine learning, data analysis, data visualization, data wrangling, and the ability to communicate with a variety of people.

What Jobs Can You Get in Data Science?

Because data science is an emerging field, you may want to know what career tracks are available with a data science background. Here are popular jobs:

  • Data Scientist: Data scientists work to understand a business's goals and how to use data to achieve those goals. They may also create predictive models or algorithms to clean, extract, and analyze data, sharing their insights with people who make decisions
  • Data Architect: Data architects help companies create systems that manage, store, secure, and optimize their data. In essence, they design the blueprint, or framework, for data systems, which allows employees to easily access critical information when needed.
  • Data Engineer: Data engineers develop and maintain data pipelines. They also transform data into formats that can be easily analyzed.
  • Data Analyst: Data analysts collect, process, and perform statistical analysis on data so they can uncover trends and provide business insights.
  • Business Intelligence Developer: Business intelligence (BI) developers design, develop, and implement BI systems. BI is a combination of the technologies, strategies, processes, and presentation methods used to analyze data and inform business decisions.
  • Machine Learning Engineer: Machine learning engineers create programs that are trained to execute specific tasks on their own, which is an application of artificial intelligence (AI). Regarding data science, machine learning models use data to learn how to independently make accurate predictions, answer questions, and categorize data into classes.

How much do data scientists make?

According to Glassdoor, entry-level data scientists make an average salary of $104,995, and senior data scientists make an average salary of $157,817. Salary will also depend on job title. For example, Data analysts have an average base pay of $62,453, while the average salary for a data architect is $108,278.

Learn Data Science Today

There are many data science course options. Data science courses are an excellent way to discover and learn if data science is a good fit for you. They will also help you decide if you want to invest in a data science bootcamp, which will help you further develop your skills and expand your career options.

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