Saturday, September 13, 2014

Data Science Course Series by Johns Hopkins University

By now, it is clear to everyone in the enterprise software industry that big data is the next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity. I was wondering for a while about what this means to regular employees and managers in organizations. After several months of researching this topic it is clear to me that big data is not a topic for specialists alone. It is going to add to the value of every regular enterprise software person who embraces it and diminish the value of a person who ignores it.

I decided to embrace it wholeheartedly and signed up for a 9 month course series to understand the tools and the technical fundamentals. The course series is offered by Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg school of Public Health via Coursera. While the course is free, the certification is not. I paid for the certification to motivate myself. It is a nine month series with every course lasting a few weeks. I am done with two weeks of the first course and just completed part of the course project, which involved setting up the tools, such as R and R Studio, required to perform data analysis.

I must mention that the course is well designed to suit the needs to working professionals and is available for consumption as video, even from mobile devices. The content is all video so far and is designed for consumption in short spurts, like YouTube videos. There are even features to speed up the video or slow down depending upon your preference.

As a final note I want to add that corporate learning management systems can learn a thing or two from Coursera about using video in a course. Coursera is generations ahead of corporate learning management systems, which are still stuck in the 90s. I know because I designed some of them.

The first course on the Data Science Series.

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