Microsoft debuted an online certification in data science this week, part of what the company is calling the new Microsoft Professional Degree Program.
Aspiring data scientists can take courses in R and Python programming, as well as principles of machine learning. The virtual classes culminate in a Data Science Challenge, in which students compete with each other to develop and deploy the best solution to a real-world problem.
“Data science is currently one of the hottest areas in technology and the need for data scientists is only expected to grow,” reads a FAQ on the program’s web page. “This pilot curriculum is delivered by experts in the theory and practice of data science from Microsoft and beyond and is designed to deliver the skills employers are looking for.”
Classes are free to audit, but student must purchase certificates of completion for each class, ranging from $25 to $99, from edX.org in order to earn the degree. Microsoft promises the credential will be “digitally shareable” and “résumé-worthy.” Instructors include Microsoft developers and a lead instructor from Coding Dojo, among others.
While it’s the only course currently available in the Professional Degree Program, Microsoft officials told ZDNet that the program was still in beta, leaving open the possibility that more certificates could be offered in the future. Sign up here to be notified when courses open for enrollment.