7 Tips for choosing a big data course

Big data can help you make the right decisions to grow your business fast, but first you have to understand how it works. Luckily there are hundreds of big data courses that will teach you both how to collect this data and how to make use of it.

Use these tips to find the right big data course for you:

1. Know the certification you want before you start looking

There are two big advantages to paying for an accredited course rather than taking one of the many free big data courses online: live feedback on your work and big data certification. There are six main types of big data certification. Each one focuses on different aspects of big data and allows you to specialize in a specific type of big data. Know which one you want before you start looking, and focus only on programs that provide that specific certification.

2. Ask people who have the job you want

Find people working in jobs like the one you want and ask them where they trained and what they liked about it. If you don’t know anyone in the type of position you want research companies you’d love to work for and try to find people in the right type of job. Then offer to take them for coffee in return for the opportunity to ask some questions. Some people will be too busy, but most people love talking about themselves and their work, so eventually you’re bound to find someone willing to chat with you.

3. Choose an online course

High quality instructors in advanced technology fields can be difficult to find. Unless you live in a big city, chances are you won’t find one near you—but many offer live online courses with graded assignments and professional feedback. Always choose one of these courses above a local class with a less experienced instructor. You may also be able to find courses that combine online and in-class lessons.

4. Know the prerequisites

There are many big data courses online that don’t require previous training, but they also don’t provide the same level of certification. If you want to take a big data course at an accredited institution, there will likely be prerequisites. Figure out what those are and if necessary, where you can take them before starting your big data course.

5. Research the instructor

Does your instructor have hands on experience with big data? Are they actively coding or have they done so within the past few years? If the answer to either of these questions is “no”, run the other way. If you can’t find any details about the instructor’s experience on the institution’s website, run the other way. You want an instructor who really know what they’re doing, not someone who bases everything on theory.

6. Ask what type of lab capabilities are offered

A good big data course should have a cloud-based lab. This allows everyone to access materials from remote locations, makes it easy for you to get quick feedback and debugging on code, and ensures that all data is safely backed up. The best courses will offer a multi-computer cloud-based lab. For more info, you can visit Schulich Executive Education Centre for additional professional insights.

7. Check for related publications by the institution and/or instructor

If an institution’s entire online presence is marketing materials and they don’t provide any useful information about big data or advanced technologies, it’s likely because they haven’t hired the right instructors. They don’t need to have an incredibly active publishing presence, but there should be something.