How can you Master Data Science without a Degree in 2020?

Ram Dewani 30 Nov, 2020 • 6 min read


Becoming a data scientist has become like the “American Dream” – everybody wants to have it!

However, for all the beginners out there – a big question remains unanswered – Do I need to have a degree to become a successful Data Scientist?

Data Science is a relatively newer field, even the top-notch universities have started offering specialized courses only recently, which has created a sudden buzz and confusion in the industry. In this article, we are going to break down the question and look at all its aspect.

If you are a beginner, starting out on your data science journey, we have compiled a clear-cut free roadmap guide to building a career in Data Science that is created by expert curators at Analytics Vidhya – 


Can I get a job without a Data Science Degree?

The straight answer is YES! Don’t get me wrong here, a degree has its own Pros and Cons which we will discuss in detail in the article, but you can definitely get a job on the basis of your skills and projects.

Have you ever gone to an interview and the interviewer instantly gave you the job because you had the “degree”? NO! He’ll test the depth of knowledge and only then offer you the job. Therefore a degree might land you the “opportunity” of the job but “getting” the job takes skills and effort!


Pros and Cons of a Data Science Degree


  • Access to Expert Faculty – The universities and colleges have professors and experts on each of the subjects. There is no doubt that these programs provide you access to some of the great minds especially if you are looking forward to getting a Ph.D.
  • One on one sessions – Learning is always better when you get to interact with the experts and mentor one-on-one. This helps in clearing doubts, getting advice and the overall experience is much better.
  • Clearly defined curriculum – The curriculum of a degree course is well defined with clear industry standards. These are comprehensive and give a holistic view of data science.
  • More accessible to recruiters – Universities and Colleges have tie-ups with organizations and hence there are ample opportunities to land a coveted job directly after the degree.


  • The high cost of course – Data Science is in great demand but this comes at a huge cost. You may have to loosen your pockets by Lakhs of rupees. Moreover, a good degree from a European or an American University may be much higher and may cost you in 7 figure rupees.
  • Time is taken to complete the course – If you are already a working professional, it will be hard for you to give up a paying job and commit yourself for 1-2 years without an incoming salary.
  • The selection process usually prefers people from technical and statistics field – If you are coming from a non-technical or a non-stats background, you’ll probably not get the priority. The selection process and the interview process of the majority of universities are designed in a way that technical people have a higher advantage.

Alternatives to getting a degree

Now getting a degree is not the only way to land the title of  “The Sexiest Job of the 21st century”. There are a couple of other alternatives. It will definitely take some time and effort but it will be worth it. So let’s see –

Take up a comprehensive Certification Course

Certification courses are a great way to learn Data Science from scratch and mastering the field. These courses typically range from 6-12 months and offered at a much less price. Although you will need to keep a few things in mind before buying the course –

  1. Make sure the course is comprehensive
  2. The course instructors must be experts
  3. The course must be up-to-date
  4. It should offer plenty of real-life projects.
  5. A one-on-one mentorship would be great.
  6. Job assistance along with Resume building and interview preparation.

Sadly, there are tons of courses out there which charge a premium but do not offer all the features mentioned above. But there’s one course that provides all and helps you become an industry-ready data science professional.

The AI and ML Blackbelt+ course offers –

  1. Mastery in 15+ Tools
  2. Expertise in Data Science, Machine Learning & Deep Learning Subjects
  3. Ability to solve real-world industry problems
  4. 1:1 Mentorships with Industry Practitioners
  5. Comprehensive & Personalised Learning Path
  6. Dedicated Interview Preparation & Support

Build knowledge via free course

Free Courses are a great way to build upon your knowledge in the initial phase of your journey. These courses offer a great introduction to data science concepts. But beware, these courses are for beginners and if you have mastery over a few subjects I would recommend you to move on to specialized courses. Let’s look at the list of a few important free courses –

  1. Introduction to AI and ML – The perfect course to understand and navigate the Artificial intelligence and Machine Learning industry. It mentions all the skills, tools, career path to become an AI and ML professional.
  2. Python for Data Science – Python is one of the most powerful and most widely used languages to build machine learning models. This course is great for Python beginners and also provides free certification!
  3. Introduction to Natural Language Processing – If you are an NLP enthusiast, this is the perfect course for you. You will get to learn the basics of Natural Language Processing, Regular Expressions & text sentiment analysis using machine learning in this course.
  4. Getting Started with Neural Networks – Deep Learning has picked over the last decade and many enthusiasts are interested in learning neural networks. The course answers questions like – What is a neural network? How does it work? What does a neural network do?


A few Must have things

Participate in competitions – Data Science competitions are a sure shot way to build and prove your skills and get noticed by potential recruiters..  You can go on the DataHack platform and pick a problem statement of your choice and get started. Recruiters love the candidates who have built their knowledge through practical applications.

Master Data science Without Degree - Hackathon

Start writing articles – If you have a knack for data science and a passion for writing then what is a better way to express yourself than writing articles? Article writing helps you learn all the hard technical concepts and turn them into easy-to-grasp topics. Article writing is another great way to help you catch the eyes of potential recruiters.

Master Data Science without Degree Blogathon

Start from internships – The problem with getting a full-time job in data science is “required experience”. The best way to get that experience is through internships. Although you may have to start from the beginner of the ladder even though you have experience in some other field but it’s definitely worth it.


End Notes

In order to get into data science, you must not make a degree an excuse for building a successful career. In this article, we discussed the Pros and Cons of having a data science degree and alternatives to a full-time degree.

One of the best alternatives to undergoing a comprehensive program that provides you with beginner-to-advanced courses along with tons of real-life projects. The AI and ML Blackbelt+ program provides you with 15+ courses and 39+ real-life projects. What’s the best part? You get 1:1 mentorship sessions so that you get a customized learning path that is customized just for you and you never get off track!

Ram Dewani 30 Nov 2020

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