This is Not a Real Data Science Degree

Learn data skills with friends using the internet’s best resources.

  • Build a community of learners eager to break into data science and help them flourish together.
  • Just show me your picks: Sure! Curriculum. Curriculum explainer.
  • Prerequisites: Basic arithmetic and high school algebra.
  • Target role: The analyst-machine learning expert hybrid.
  • Languages: 85% Python, 10% SQL, 5% R.
  • Two terms: Term 1 covers basic data analysis. Term 2 covers machine learning and advanced data analysis topics.
  • Time commitment: Each term is roughly 65 days, where one day contains 4–5 hours of focused learning. You set your schedule and location.
  • Price: Varies since some resources require a subscription. As little as $249 for those who complete the curriculum in six months, and $375 for a year.
  • Community: I’m creating a community so you don’t have to learn alone. Parts of the community will be paid ($8/month or $67/year) so members are invested and engaged. Join the waitlist!
  • Why I’m doing this: To help democratize education. I chose an affiliate revenue model blended with a paid community to make maintaining the curriculum and building the community my full-time job.
  • Next steps: scroll to the very bottom!

Motivation

My name is David, and I created this curriculum for my former self.

  • Blogging about what I learned via the projects I created could effectively replace my university’s “trusted” credential and a GPA.
  • with new content from 50+ expert instructors (the data education industry has proliferated)
  • with better learning tools (software is eating the world),
  • and with a paid community (they work).
Two trends disrupting every industry: 1) Power is shifting from organizations to individuals. 2) Media presence is key. In education, #1 means teachers are free agents. We can source content from the best instructors in the world. #2 means creating content for/with a vibrant community of learners. (Video: Shawn Kanungo, October 2020)

But how will I get a job without a “real” degree?

When you finish this program you won’t get a certificate from a “trusted” institution, and you may even get filtered out of some job applications. This outcome would be a blessing since companies that don’t embrace technology (educational, in this case) tend to fare poorly in the long run. You’re better served to find a company that properly values discipline and the desire for learning, or starting your own.

Find a company that properly values your discipline and desire for learning, or start your own.

Data-forward organizations don’t subscribe to credentialism. These are the places you want to be.

Prerequisites

This program starts from the beginning. No prior knowledge beyond basic arithmetic is required, though high school algebra (as taught in Khan Academy’s Algebra I) is helpful.

Becoming an analyst-ML expert hybrid

The name of this curriculum is misleading in the sense that you won’t become a data scientist as Cassie Kozyrkov (Head of Decision Intelligence at Google) defines the title:

  • The online resources available for learning analytics and machine learning are better than those for pure statistics right now.

Python-focused, plus the basics of SQL and R

For this curriculum, you’ll focus on learning data skills in Python. The content split by language is:

  • 10% SQL
  • 5% R
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The Python logo.

Two terms

The curriculum lives in this public Airtable. There are two terms to the program:

  • Term 2: Machine Learning & More
  • It’s nice to break up the curriculum into smaller pieces. Take a little vacation in between and treat yourself.

Learn → Frame → Assess → Create

Each term is then broken into multiple chunks, where each chunk contains a series of content in the following order:

  1. Frame: Blog posts or YouTube videos that allow you to frame the skills you just learned in the broader data science industry.
  2. Assess: Adaptive tests that assess your grasp on these new skills. Your scores will be part of your digital transcript you’ll create at the end of the program to prove what you learned.
  3. Create: A self-directed project. You’ll use your new skills to create something unique on a subject that you’re passionate about. Your projects will also be a part of your digital transcript.
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The process you’ll use to build your new data skills.

Since I’m not employed by any company, I can be more objective about the individual resources I recommend. My only goal is to create the best possible curriculum.

A nice feature of me not being employed by any company is that I’m able to be more objective about the resources I recommend. My goal is to create the best possible curriculum from everything available on the internet, rather than from the catalog of my employer only.

Time commitment

Each term is roughly 65 days, where one day contains 4–5 hours of focused learning. Those estimates put us around six months for the entire curriculum if you study four to five days per week. This timeframe is comparable to popular data science bootcamps.

Price

The price of the curriculum is determined by the individual resources within the curriculum. Some of them are free, some of them are behind a paywall. I estimate that the learner that completes the program in six months will spend as little as $249. Those who complete it in twelve months will spend around $375. Price varies with number of months because some resources require a subscription.

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NBA superstar Kevin Durant is excited about you driving down the price of education.

Community

I’m creating a community so you don’t have to learn alone. We’ll use a platform powered by Circle for chat and Q&A, YouTube for virtual events, and Deepnote to collaborate on data science projects.

  • Q&A and community commentary for projects
  • Exclusive content, including articles, live streams, and podcasts

Why I’m doing this

My main incentive is to help democratize data education. I believe:

  • Improving that access has an outsized impact on society.
  • Education technology improves that access the most.
  • Paid community: Access to the full community experience is $8/month or $67/year.

Next steps

Interested in taking the program? Here are your next steps:

  • Follow the steps in this post to set up your learning experience.
  • Start learning.

Curating the internet’s best data science program.

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