We live in an incredible time for learning new skills. If you have a device and an internet connection, you can access a huge array of online courses, textbooks, and tutorials on virtually any topic. Data science is no exception.
In today’s environment, the hard part is narrowing down which platform and format to use. This challenge is why we built DataKwery in the first place.
There are now more than 1,700 learning resources available in our catalog. In 2022, we will continue to add new search features for you to further narrow down the best path across a variety of decision factors, including price, which is clearly a leading driver in course selection. Thankfully, 47 percent of the offerings in the current catalog are entirely free. But is free better?
Like many things, it depends.
Although there are exceptions within each platform, the major online learning services broadly fall into the following categories:
|Entirely Free||Free with paid upgrades||Pay as you go||Subscription|
Just because there are more reasons listed above to pay for an online course doesn't mean that is always the best decision. In fact, as the free vs. paid learning spectrum becomes less clear, most paid providers either offer some free courses or allow learners to start a course for free.
In addition, many of the historically free platforms are finding ways to monetize. This includes several of the original Massive Open Online Learning (MOOC) companies, who are now balancing their education missions with growing commercial pressures. As a result, the look and feel of free courses will undoubtedly change in the coming years with a greater emphasis on converting free learners into paying customers who (hopefully) will benefit from better content, interaction, and assessment.
This is not necessarily a bad thing. These paid courses, certificates, and micro degrees will remain a fraction of the cost of higher education and — at least in a field such as data science — boast learning outcomes with the potential to rival traditional approaches.
We think the answer to that depends on your background, your timeline, and the specific tools and techniques that you are trying to learn.
Want to learn the basics of how to code in python? Start with something free from FreeCodeCamp or Coursera. If following along becomes too challenging due to maintaining your own code environment and data connections, give DataCamp a trial run to see if their integrated coding tools help out.
Are you convinced you want to be a data scientist and don’t want to waste time experimenting with random free courses? Then maybe it is worth the investment to start a dedicated career track with DataCamp or Codecademy by picking up a subscription and progressing down a proven learning sequence.
Still not sold on paying money to learn data science? No worries, our data scientists have curated career-focused learning paths by aggregating the best free courses from the most trusted providers. Have a look below!
Best wishes on your data journey in 2022 and beyond.