Top certifications for SAS, R, Python, Machine Learning or Big Data
We released our rankings for various long duration analytics programmes in India for 2014 – 15 last week. They were greeted with unparalleled enthusiasm and response from our audience. We continue our journey to help our audience decide the best analytics trainings and resources.
This week, we will focus on ranking short duration courses or certification courses.
Latest Rankings: Top Certification Rankings of 2015 – 2016
Scope of these rankings:
In this round, we are ranking various short duration certification courses accessible in India. So the consideration set will include courses either run in India or are available online. We will exclude courses / certifications / boot camps running in other countries.
Apart form this, we have also categorized the courses in 5 tracks – the most popular tracks in data science across the globe. These are for learning SAS, R, Python, Machine Learning and Big Data. These should cover the needs of most of the people. If you have any other need, please feel free to ask them in comments below and we will be happy to share our assessment of the courses.
Why rank certification courses and not institutes?
One of the conscious calls, we took while coming up with the rankings was to rank courses and not the institutes. Why? Because that is how we think and that is what we need to make our learning decisions. We usually need to find the best courses specific to learn a language or a tool. You would want to do the course which is best to learn R or SAS or Python. Institute ranking would not be the right way to make these decisions.
Hence, we decided to rank the courses individually and not institutes. So, here are the ranks for various courses:
Certification courses for SAS:
- Foundation Course in Analytics by Jigsaw Academy: Foundation course from Jigsaw Academy is an ideal first course for your data science career, if you want to learn SAS. The content is lucid and leaves you with enough knowledge on the subject to start your data science career. The coverage of the course is holistic as well – it covers everything from collecting and cleaning data to how to build various predictive models. What I really like about this course is that it makes the journey of becoming a data scientist easier. With its simple step-by-step approach, it is an ideal course for those who come from a non-statistics or a non-programming background.
- SAS Institute – Predictive modeler: Predictive Modeler certification from the SAS institute is probably the best short term certification available on SAS. Typically run over 5 days, this course assumes that you know Base SAS and have been using it for about 6 months (SAS also offers a Base SAS certification separately). The reason why this course has been ranked second is because of the cost. SAS charges INR 75k+ for this certification. There can be travel costs over and above and if you want to learn Base SAS as well, you would double up the cost – pretty hefty for a 10 day course. For the motivated folks, SAS institute has started offering 2 courses online for free. You can do them to start, then practice for a few days and take up this course. This will save the cost to some extent, but you still need to shell out a fortune for this course.
- Certified Business Analytics Professional by Edvancer Eduventures: A lower cost option compared to the first 2 courses. This course from Edvancer covers SAS and predictive modeling comprehensively. Edvancer provides a good proposition to get 60 hours of instructor led trainings at a relatively low cost. Definitely check them out if cost is a significant constraint for you.
There are other courses offered in the industry from the likes of AnalytixLabs, EduPristine, Analytics Training Institute which are not comprehensive from the stand point of becoming a predictive modeler. You should only consider them if cost is the only factor for you to decide.
Certification courses for R:
- Data Science specialization on Coursera: Probably the most definitive set of courses available for free. These are easy to follow, 2 – 3 hours per week per course. You can pick the courses you need and avoid the ones which you don’t need immediately or do them simultaneously, if you have more bandwidth. The only downside to this certification is lack of guidance from a mentor. You need to rely on forums for that role.
- The Analytics Edge on edX: One of the most intensive course to pursue, this course requires you to spend 15 – 16 hours every week. And if you do put them, it covers everything you need to learn with R in less than 4 months. By end of this course, you will be competing on a competition on Kaggle!
- Data Science Certification from Jigsaw Academy: Again a comprehensive offering from Jigsaw with good quality content and instructors. This course provides you with all you need to know to become a data scientist. The only complain I have about the course is the cost – INR 26K for self paced and INR 42k for Instructor led might seem high, given that there are a lot of free resources available on R. On the flip side, this course will expose you to business case studies and real world problems better than any other course I have come across. If you are confident about your ability to pick up complex knowledge, stick to the free courses. But, if you are intimidated by statistics or programming and feel you need some hand holding, Jigsaw is the ideal place to learn.
- Business Analytics with R from Edureka: A cost effective instructor led offering from Edureka, which covers the concepts well. You can also consider the data science offering from them for slightly higher fees and get functional knowledge about Hadoop and Machine Learning with R as well.
- Certified R Programmer from Edvancer: This offering from Edvancer tries to serve people in the middle – those who are motivated enough to learn by self paced tutorials, but still need on demand support to help them out at times. Given that there is no dearth of self paced videos / tutorials on R, you should consider this course for its on demand support.
Data Analysis with R from Udacity also covers basic exploratory data analysis in R, but does not provide enough learning to build predictive models.
Certification courses for Python:
- Mastering Python by Edureka: I personally like Python as a tool for data science. The ecosystem for Python is still evolving. Hence, it is difficult to find courses as comprehensive in Python as this one from Edureka. The course starts from basics of Python and goes on to make sure that you can apply machine learning using Python. One of the best offering to learn Python for data science.
- Intro to Data Science by Udacity: Udacity has a whole bunch of courses which assume that you know Python. This particular course is a good introduction to Pandas and data wrangling using Pandas. While the course is a good introduction, it falls short on comprehensiveness and does not cover all your needs as a data scientist through this course.
Certification courses for Machine Learning:
- Machine Learning by Andrew Ng on Coursera: I would probably not be wrong, if I call this course as the most popular course on Machine Learning. Prof. Andrew Ng explains even the most complicated topics in easy to understand manner. A must do course if you want to learn Machine Learning from scratch
- Learning from Data on edX: One of the most intensive course run by Prof. Abu-Mustafa. The course contains some really intensive exercises and assignments. The course is not for the people with light heart, but for those who can endure – this is the best course on the subject.
- Machine Learning courses from Udacity: The machine learning offerings from Udacity fall some where in between the two courses mentioned above. They don’t simplify the subject matter to the extent Prof. Andrew Ng did and the problem sets are also not as intensive as the course on edX.
Certification courses for Big Data:
- Courses from bigdatauniversity.com: Big Data University has a range of courses on Big Data – most of them being free! If you can deal with some ambiguity and are motivated enough to search through courses yourself, bigdatauniversity might just be the right place for you. However, if you feel lost with so many courses, just skip to the next courses
- Big Data specialist from Jigsaw Academy: If you need a guide or a mentor to take you through the complex world of Big Data – this might be the best place to start. Again a comprehensive offering from Jigsaw, if you know R already. Again, my assessment of the course remains the same, it is a good course and the certification from Wiley is an added advantage, but it comes at a cost! The biggest USP for this course is that it teaches big data from a data scientist’s perspective rather than from an IT professional’s perspective. If you want to become a big data analyst, this is a great course. You can read a detailed review about the course here.
- Big Data and Hadoop from Edureka: Although the course does not come with Wiley certification, it is a very cost effective option. The course covers Big Data and Hadoop ecosystem in good details and is clearly the most popular course from Edureka offerings.
A few other courses worth mentioning here are MongoDB fundamentals on Udacity and Mining massive datasets on Coursera. As the name suggests, the course on MongoDB provides you all the basics of working with MongoDB. Mining massive datasets on the other hand is a blend of machine learning and Big Data.
Short note about the methodology:
You can read more details about our methodology here. We ranked the courses on 4 parameters:
- Breadth of the coverage
- Quality of the content
- Industry recognition
- Value for Money
Hope these rankings and information would help our readers in making the right choices about picking the certification courses. If you have been part of any of these courses or want to add further information, please feel free to add it through comments below or on the individual course pages.