Can I get a job as a Data Scientist after taking an online course?

Originally answered on Quora

The trending question on Quora last week was actually a bit more detailed than the title of this post, specifically regarding the John Hopkins (10 course) Data Science “Specialization” credential from Coursera.

I briefly answered this on Quora but want to expand the explanation just a bit here. Here’s the short Quora version:

Not only is there a chance, but you will be in incredibly high demand.
One note — don’t rest/stop there — keep learning and advancing your expertise and you’ll always have your job of choice.

Now for some background explanation:

Data Science is projected to be one of the most in-demand job skills of the future. The need for data scientist already outstrips the supply and this demand/supply gap is growing by the day. (Reference)

So the answer is much less to do with the specific Coursera course and much more to do with data science in general. The caveat is that a prospective data scientist student can’t look at it as:

“Once I take this course I have all the knowledge I need, and I’m done.”

But they have to have the attitude (backed by action) that:

“This course is going to prepare me in data science — maybe a little maybe a lot — but as long as I continue lifelong learning and continual improvement in my data science expertise, I will be a valuable data scientist, very much in-demand in the workforce.”

I believe lifelong learning is no longer an option, but rather it is a prerequisite to keeping up with the ever-increasing pace of change.

I believe that online learning, and specifically online credentials associated with courses (whether it be a Specialization from Coursera or a Nanodegree from Udacity or something that doesn’t even exist today…) is going to be the hallmark of verifiable, continuous lifelong learning.

Your ePortfolio of your learning (hopefully you are keeping it at :) is going to carry immense weight with employers and be an integral part of job and career advancement.

Hope this helps some!

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Kevin Stock is the CEO at CredEd, inventor of the NED (sleep apnea and snoring device), and author of Yourdrum (←read this. just do it.)