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Data science interest spikes with COVID-19: Here are the online courses to get you started

We're all amateur epidemiologists and data scientists with time on our hands. Here's a look at some of the options to bolster your data science knowhow.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

With the COVID-19 pandemic bringing terms like data sets, modeling, and predictive analytics to the forefront, there's a spike in data science interest.

Simply put, we're all amateur epidemiologists with time on our hands. With that reality in mind, here's a look at some of the options to bolster your data science knowhow as we all pick through COVID-19 data sets and models. These courses had high ratings on various platforms. Some are free and others charge. In addition, data science players such as Google, IBM, and Microsoft have free offerings. 

Disclosure: ZDNet may earn an affiliate commission from some of the products featured on this page. ZDNet and the author were not compensated for this independent review.

General knowledge

A free IBM course on Coursera that walks you through the basics and frames future learnings. Coursera's reviews give the course 4.7 out of 5 stars.

This LinkedIn Learning course is designed to define data analytics and do basics such as cleaning data as well as joining data sets. The course is designed for both generalists and aspiring data scientists.

A Johns Hopkins University course with an intro to data science and a look at career options as well as using R to clean, analyze and visualize data and using GitHub to manage projects.


This category revolves around those of us that know just enough Tableau or Microsoft Power BI to be dangerous or largely consume data produced by a team of in-house data wonks.

This course is for those of us that are largely Tableau consumers but need to figure out calculated fields from time to time.

If you want a career in data science, you need to know Python. The University of Michigan offers a course that walks through Python

Also: Learn Python: Online training courses for beginning developers and coding experts | Python is eating the world: How one developer's side project became the hottest programming language on the planet (PDF)

This LinkedIn Learning course walks through techniques such as clustering, anomaly detection, and association analysis.

This ZDNet Academy course covers a bevy of areas ranging from natural language processing to R to interview prep.

This course highlights the roles and tools needed to be a data engineer as well as preparing data for analytics and machine learning. Not surprisingly, these techniques use Google Cloud Platform infrastructure and platform services. The primary skills in the course revolve around TensorFlow and BigQuery.


This Johns Hopkins University course is highly rated and is primarily for folks in the field looking to move up. Skills include developing public data products, prediction functions and drawing conclusions from data.

This course helps data scientists understand relational data stores, which typically hold the transactional data needed to drive the business.

This course, via National Research University Higher School of Economics in Russia, includes a bevy of instructors focused on competitive data science. These contests can develop your career and boost your exposure.


The Monday Morning Opener is our opening salvo for the week in tech. Since we run a global site, this editorial publishes on Monday at 8am AEST in Sydney, Australia, which is 6pm Eastern Time on Sunday in the US. It is written by a member of ZDNet's global editorial board, which is comprised of our lead editors across Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America.

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