At $25 (beta price), this orientation course is overpriced for what it offers.
Update: To follow my progress in this program, check the Microsoft Professional Program tag.
The program is still in beta, so:
1. Microsoft needs the feedback, and
2. Potential students would want to know if the program will be worth their time, money, and effort.
The program is pretty extensive, so I thought it best to break my reviews by course as I take them. This review is on the orientation course, DAT101x Data Science Orientation.
For context, I took the course around late September 2016, and got my certificate early October.
Module 1:The Data Science Curriculum
This was one of the modules I felt the course could do without, or at least shorten. Most of the content is already covered off by the Microsoft site for the program anyway.
On that note, the site could use some design improvements. I have to search around before finding what I need. There are also too many pictures that they distract from the content. Maybe a top-level menu would help?
If the site was good, they shouldn’t need videos to explain it. The videos are broken up into small manageable chunks but I played them all at 2x speed anyway.
Module 2: Data Science Fundamentals
This module, hands-down, was my favorite of the whole course.
I thought that the structure was effective:
Explain Concept 1 via an example, then demo in Excel. Explain Concept 2 via an example, then demo in Excel. Do the same for Concept 3, 4, ... etc.
A lab section would have been great, but admittedly overkill for this module.
Module 3: Statistics Overview
This one was good, not great.
Its been a long time since I dealt with statistics concepts so I appreciated the refresher. I also liked the lemonade-selling example as it really brought the concepts home.
Delivery was a bit dry though. This should have been integrated with the lab section.
A minor nitpick: I sincerely admire the female lecturer’s passion for statistics. However as a lecturer, her speaking could use some improvement. There were a lot of awkward breaks, and the flow of her thoughts were sometimes disorganized. I dabble in public speaking so I tend to notice these things, but it shouldn’t bother most people.
Lab: Exploring Data with Excel
This section is a MUST as it simulates what a typical course will be like. I had already started on the Excel course before the orientation, and I made mistakes on my first quiz because I didn’t know how the submission and check buttons worked. If I had gone through the orientation first, this shouldn’t have happened. But I don’t like reading manuals so this is a classic mistake for me 🙂
Overall, I think this is a great orientation course. Some background in statistics and Excel pivots would be useful but not required.
If you’re just auditing the course I’d recommend it. If you’re paying for the $25 verified certificate though*, it’s not a good value for the money.
*Unfortunately a requirement to qualify for the Microsoft Professional Program Certificate in Data Science.