It could be that I had very different expectations, or that I already have too much background in Python for another introductory course, but I certainly wasn’t impressed and I’m loath to pay for the verified certificate.
In a nutshell: This felt more like an overview than a proper introduction. If this was in a university setting, this would have been the first day when the instructor gives out the syllabus and walks through the course expectations. If (s)he’s a smart alec they’d force an awkward icebreaker.
Would I discourage you from taking the course? Yes actually.
(To follow my progress on the program, check out the Microsoft Professional Program tag)
DAT208x claims to “cover Python basics and prepare you to undertake data analysis using Python”. Similar to the Microsoft courses that come before it, it is a self-paced course composed of modules that comprise of video lectures and lab exercises.
The modules are as follows:
- Python Basics
- Functions and Packages
- Plotting with Matplotlib
- Control Flow and Pandas
This course is brought to you by a partnership between Microsoft and Data Camp, an online Data Science school similar to DataQuest. In an old post I mentioned my apprehension with Data Camp as I’ve heard they favor R over Python, but I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt and give their Python course a try.
Its due to this partnership that most of the lab activities are outside of edX. i.e., we’re redirected to DataCamp’s interface for the lab exercises.
These exercises are the meat of the course. If you’ve tried DataQuest before then the DataCamp interface should be familiar:
Instructions to the left, interactive Python shell to the right.
Unlike other Microsoft courses I’ve tried, this one has a final exam. You are given 4 hours to answer 50 questions: a mixture of knowledge checks, pseudo coding, and actual coding.
Considering the knowledge checks, exercises, and final exam, you need to score at least 70% to pass the course. An easy feat considering 40% is just course surveys.