I am pursuing the Microsoft Professional Program for Data Science, which includes a professional certification. This is a curriculum of 15 courses (11 required) covering such topics as statistics, data analysis, visualization, machine learning, and predictive modeling. There are two separate sub-tracks supporting a focus on the R language or Python.
I just completed the course called DAT201X: Querying with Transact SQL. The course objective is to provide a strong foundation in the Data Management Language portions of SQL, especially the T-SQL used with Microsoft’s SQL Server products. While the course focused on Data Management Language, it also provided basic instruction on the Data Definition Language and the Transactional Control Language parts of SQL.
The course supports learning on a few platform options. I chose to study using the Microsoft SQL on Azure service using Microsoft Visual Studio 2015 on my desktop as the client interface and development platform.
The lab exercises were well structured, but the lectures were a bit disjointed. I believe there needed to be more deep thought applied to what was expected of the audience. The lectures seemed to presume some real-world familiarity with relational databases, but presumed absolutely zero programming experience (as evidenced by the very rudimentary introduction to looping and branching statements.) The lecturer’s two very different British regional accents were entertaining, but the use of British sport terminology to explain SQL ranking was a bit surreal. For many of the more complex topics, I frankly found it more useful to watch the edX video, then spend time on the corresponding materials from W3Schools, TutorialsPoint, and a few other resources for better understanding.
The course incorporated about 24 hours of video in about 60 lectures in 11 modules. There were 11 subject tests and 11 accompanying exercises (with files included.) The course is structured to be taken part-time over about 6 weeks. I focused about half of my business weekday hours, and pressed through in about 2 weeks.
A hint for anyone taking any of these courses: the test questions are all multiple choice, but the wording sometimes hides the fact that some questions require selecting two or more answers.
This course includes a final exams, final grades, and certifications. (I got a 93% final score.) You can view my shiny certification on edX here.
(Image courtesy of jarmoluk at Pixabay)