Completing the Microsoft Professional Program for Data Science
Microsoft has two data related certifications in their Microsoft Professional Program - one for Data Science and another for Big Data. I recently completed the one for data science and want to share my experience to others interested in doing the same.
The data science program consists of 10 courses, with one being an orientation and the last being a final capstone project. In order to get credit you do need to receive a passing grade (70% for all courses other than the capstone in which you need 76%), and to purchase a verified certificate. The certificates cost $99 so the whole course will cost you $990. A good chunk of change if your employer won't reimburse you on it, so I would definitely check that first before committing the time.
The main course materials cover the following:
- Coding in R or Python
- Machine Learning
- Visualizing Data
The courses all differ in how they do the grades, but usually they have either a lab or quiz after each section and a final exam at the end of the course. The questions usually allow you two chances to get the correct answer, but some may only offer one.
Most of the courses are easy as long as you pay attention to the lectures and actually do the labs. The instructors were all knowledgable and presented the materials well, however, I think there was an issue with the materials involving the math and statistics.
To go over the math portions to try to explain a concept, they showed slides of the formulas and just talked about what the formulas mean...and that's basically it. I don't think this was needed at all since the concepts were explained much better once they were put as demos. Just going over formulas isn't the best way to teach any kind of math. Showing the applications of it, though, is. Then if you need to go back to the formula you can while relating it to the application.
Speaking of which, the statistics course was the hardest for me. I barely made a passing grade. The course structure was slightly different
A couple of things that may be useful to you if you do decide to take this course:
- Audit the course first. Then, once you know you've gotten a passing grade, purchase the certificate. There's nothing worse than paying for something and come to find out you barely missed the passing grade and you've payed $99 for nothing.
- The statistics course was harder than expected. Not only do they only allow one choice to choose an answer instead of the usual two, the questions don't make it clear what part of the lectures it comes from. I would definitely go back over the lectures after reading each question. They will mostly come from the Excel portions of the lectures.
Would I take this course again if I needed to? I probably would, but I love to learn. I did learn a lot of things, such as tuning models in Azure Machine Learning, how awesome PowerBI is and all the things you can do with it, and time series analysis concepts.
In the end, you get a certificate that you can share on LinkedIn or to your boss. However, keep in mind that there's still tons more to learn and projects to work on to futher solidify the concepts from this course.