What is Data Science and why the hype?
Declared “the sexiest job in the 21st century” by Harvard Business Review, it is no wonder why data science roles are some of the most coveted job positions today. As a multi-disciplinary field, data science draws upon a combination of domain expertise, programming skills, and statistical knowledge to extract insights from data.
The most exciting part of this job involves the use of computer algorithms, known as machine learning models, to generate meaningful insights and create tangible business value. As a result, companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Netflix have seen phenomenal returns on investments; in fact, a McKinsey report attributes 35% of Amazon’s sales to recommendations driven by data science!
Why Should You Be A Data Scientist?
Data science is not just a fascinating career; anyone monitoring the latest job postings would notice that data science professionals are in huge demand. This is fuelled by the aggressive expansion of large tech MNCs in Singapore, creating significant talent shortages in data-related roles.
Lately, we have seen a meteoric rise in data scientist salaries, and this trend is set to continue. In 2021, the average Data Scientist salary is reported to be $109,057/year!
If you are keen on jumping on the data science bandwagon, here are some programmes we have specially curated to equip you for this attractive and fulfilling career.
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Types of Data Science Training Programmes
Amidst the rising demand for data science talents, a myriad of data science programmes has sprouted in Singapore’s tech education scene.
It can be challenging to pick the right programme as they vary greatly in target audience, duration, delivery, content, and prerequisites. However, they can be summarised in these broad categories:
We have geared this article towards those already in the workforce and are interested in data science, because the options available for this group are far more varied and complex to navigate. Nonetheless, many of these options can benefit anyone regardless of the category you belong to.
This list is not intended to be exhaustive, but serves as a curation of data science and data analytics programmes that successfully meet the following considerations:
- Provides good value for money and recommended by student reviews,
- Has learning outcomes that match the industry requirements,
- Are taught by instructors who are experienced practitioners, and
- Offers something unique in their curriculum or method of delivery that others typically do not.
For a more exhaustive list, you could refer to this related article.
*All course fees are for 2021/22 intakes unless specified, and are subject to changes depending on the school; fees do not include misc. fees.
Short courses in Singapore
- Background: Heicoders Academy is a tech education academy that provides a fresh take on Data Science education, with its industry-relevant curriculum and innovative delivery style. Their instructor team is helmed by data science professionals currently working in large MNCs and tech companies.
- Program Duration & Format: The Artificial Intelligence track comprises a series of short modular courses taken in succession:
- AI100: Python Programming & Data Visualization
- AI200: Applied Machine Learning
- AI300: Deep Learning with TensorFlow
AI100, AI200, and AI300 each comprise 8 sessions of 3 hours. These courses provide in-class practices, take-home assignments, and a final capstone project.
- Course Fees: Limited time offer of $600 per course (subsidies available)
- X-Factor of this program: The capstone projects are eye-catching and geared towards bolstering your portfolio for employment in data-related roles. In AI200 for example, students compete to build the best predictive model on Kaggle, the world’s largest data science community platform for recruitment by companies like Netflix and Facebook.
- Who it is suitable for: This series of courses is suitable for beginners without prior programming background seeking a structured introduction to data science. Those familiar with Python programming would be suited to take AI200 and AI300 to expand their existing skills.
- Background: General Assembly (GA) is one of the earliest pioneers of bootcamp-style data science education and has a presence in more than 30 cities around the world. The company is incredibly passionate about tech education, routinely providing workshops and learning resources free of charge on their website.
- Program Duration & Format: The General Assembly Data Science Immersive program involves 60 hours of coursework and up to 25 hours of self-learning prior to class. The course ends with a capstone project of the student’s choice.
- Course Fees: $5,350 (subsidies available)
- X-Factor of this program: General Assembly is a brand name in the field of data science education and is known for its intense and rigorous coursework.
- Who it is suitable for: As the General Assembly Data Science Immersive program is a full-time program, it is highly suitable for those already set on a career transition and can take a leave of absence from their current job.
- Background: Le Wagon started out as a coding bootcamp that received raving accolades from students who managed to find employment as web developers after graduation. Recently, it ventured into the field of data science education and has an impressive international presence in over 40 cities around the world.
- Program Duration & Format: Le Wagon offers both a full-time and part-time data science course:
- Full-time – 9 weeks (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)
- Part-time – 24 weeks (Tuesday & Thursday, 6.30pm to 9.30pm, & Saturday 10am to 5pm)
- Course Fees: $10,000 (subsidies available)
- X-Factor of this program: Le Wagon’s data science program strives to give you a taste of the Silicon Valley startup-style environment. This program consists not only of coursework but also elements to help you relax after a long day of coursework—such as yoga classes!
- Who it is suitable for: Le Wagon’s courses are suitable for people who can afford the considerable time commitments and intensity of a full-day program (part-time or full-time).
Short courses on Online Learning Platforms
- Background: DataCamp is one of the leading interactive online learning platforms designed to help beginners pick up technical skills for data science. Their current catalogue comprises over 300 courses that cover everything from an introduction to python, all the way to intermediate machine learning.
- Program Duration & Format: Video lectures are broken into digestible parts, accompanied by hands-on practice.
- Course Fees: $399 USD / year (Gives you access to all courses and projects)
- X-Factor of this program: DataCamp has an innovative online learning platform with an integrated coding environment for students. It focuses on providing training for specific technical skills, and not as much of the computational thinking process for solving complex data problems. Still, DataCamp’s approach to simplifying concrete technical education with interactivity is very refreshing especially for beginners.
- Who it is suitable for: These courses are geared towards complete beginners or those with intermediate programming proficiency looking to improve their skills.
- Background: Coursera is a MOOC provider founded by Professor Andrew Ng, one of the most famous and influential data scientists in the world. Coursera offers more than 4000 courses, and most are developed by Coursera’s 150 university and company partners (such as Stanford University and IBM).
- Program Duration & Format: Most courses follow the typical duration and format of university courses: lectures followed by hands-on assignments.
- Course Fees: The price for each course differs, ranging from $39 to $79 USD.
- X-Factor of this program: Most courses offered are actual courses being taught in renowned universities, so they allow you to learn from world-class faculty at a small fraction of their tuition fees. Moreover, many courses are provided for free on Coursera as well.
- Who it is suitable for: Coursera classes are more suitable for people with programming and statistics backgrounds looking to formally learn data science. As courses can be rather challenging, they are also suitable for those who are already in a data science related role and are looking to deepen their expertise.
- Background: Udacity is another popular MOOC provider. Udacity pioneered the concept of a nanodegree (series of short courses) built in partnership with the world’s most innovative tech companies and taught by industry leaders.
- Program Duration & Format: 4 months (10 hours/week) of self-paced online learning with coursework.
- Course Fees: Udacity has a unique payment structure where you continue paying for access to the course as long as you have not completed the course. This incentivises you to finish the course as soon as possible. There are two payment formats:
- Pay as you go ($138 USD / month)
- 4-month access ($469 USD)
- X-Factor of this program: The nanodegree is built by the industry for the industry, meaning that the content taught is highly current and relevant to industry needs.
- Who it is suitable for: This program is suitable for people with a background in programming and statistics, and are seeking to formally pick up data science.
Data Science Master’s Degree
The popularisation of MOOC courses has paved the way for even renowned colleges to offer their Master’s degrees online at a fraction of the cost. In our curated list, we primarily focus on specific online Master’s degrees from overseas colleges because:
- Graduates of these online courses would receive the exact same transcripts and degree certificates as those studying on the college campus.
- These degrees are much cheaper than similar Master’s degrees offered in local or overseas universities.
- These attractive degrees are not well-known in Singapore, and we see a need to spread awareness of these programs given their quality, global recognition, and value-for-money proposition.
- Background: Georgia Institute of Technology (Gatech) has one of the top computer science programs in the world, and was one of the first universities to offer its Master’s degree online at a fraction of the original cost.
- Program Duration & Format: 1 – 2 years, depending on how many modules you take in each semester.
- Course Fees: $10,000 USD
- X-Factor of this program: Gatech’s data science program is internationally recognized; in fact, you would find on Linkedin that many data scientists from Lazada and Shopee have taken, or are currently enrolled in, this program.
- Who it is suitable for: This degree is highly intense in terms of depth and commitment and thus is only suitable for people who already have sufficient technical background and are looking to acquire deeper expertise in the field of data science.
- Background: University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) also offers an online Master’s in Data Analytics, awarding the same official degree certificate as the one for students studying on campus.
- Program Duration & Format: 1 – 3 years, depending on how many modules you take in each semester.
- Course Fees: $10, 000 USD
- X-Factor of this program: UT Austin’s data science program boasts of small class sizes, which means you will have access to more teaching resources at a very affordable cost for a Master’s degree.
- Who it is suitable for: This course caters only to people with a relevant Bachelor’s degree in statistics, computer science, or engineering.
- Background: University of Illinois (UIUC) is another college based in the US that offers a renowned computer science degree with a data science track.
- Program Duration & Format: 1 – 5 years, depending on how many modules you take in each semester.
- Course Fees: $21, 440 USD
- X-Factor of this program: UIUC’s data science program is well-regarded around the world. This program is also cheaper than most local and overseas Master’s degrees.
- Who it is suitable for: This course caters only to people with a Bachelor’s degree in statistics, computer science, computer engineering or electrical engineering.
Choosing the Right Programme for Yourself
Just as many roads lead to Rome, there are multiple paths you can take to prepare yourself for a data science role. The key consideration is to weigh your own time commitment, before taking the plunge on a course that best suits your learning needs.
All the very best as you embark on your data science journey!