Harleen, a data security specialist and consultant at Microsoft, shares how the Microsoft Professional Program Certificate in Data Science helped her begin a new career in data science.
Before I took the Microsoft Professional Program Certificate in Data Science program on edX, I had been in the IT industry and working for Microsoft for almost eight and a half years. My work was primarily as a developer, but I had made the move into consultancy and was looking for a way to get kick-started into the world of data science.
This world was something in which I was a complete newbie, so I was looking for a comprehensive, step by step program that I could tackle without having a data science background. When I discovered the Professional Certificate, I realized it was the perfect option for me — not only was it affordable, but since I was still working full-time as a consultant, the flexibility of an online program was ideal.
After completing the Professional Certificate program, I have seen two very significant impacts on my career. The first relates to the fact that I was able to secure a new job in the field of data security. Because I had the knowledge I gained from the courses in the program, I was able to make this career move and really crack that interview! The Professional Certificate allowed me to demonstrate that I had the data science skills necessary for my new role and, ultimately, enabled me to make this career move.
The second impact I saw from the program was something I saw during my role as a consultant — the role I was in while taking the courses and before securing a new position in data security. During this time, I saw value overnight, since I was able to use the information I was learning almost immediately. The moment I started to complete courses, for example the Programming with R for Data Science course, I was able to quickly use the information to help actual Microsoft customers and solve real world problems. In fact, one of the projects I worked on and applied my new knowledge to transformed from a solution for an individual customer to an open source project that my fellow consultants could use for their own customers!
While completing the courses in the Professional Certificate program, I was most impressed by the way that the material was presented. It was exciting! Also, the mixture of quizzes and short videos helped me to remain engaged. Another distinguishing element of the program was the fact that there was no application process and no pre-requisites — all that you need is the desire to learn! You do not need a specific degree or to be studying at a graduate level; in fact, you don’t even need to be a graduate. With this online program, you are your own boss when it comes to learning and you can learn whatever you want, which is very motivating.
Based on my experience, I have already recommended the program to my colleagues and friends looking to break into the world of data science! The main reason I am always eager to do this is because the program was designed to give you a start — it’s a stepping stone to enter into the field. As I begin to explore and grow in my new role in the data security field, I work with many data scientists and the program has truly prepared me to work together with them as a team, since I am able to speak to them in their own language. The knowledge that I gained from the Professional Certificate program has both empowered me to make an exciting career change and also energized me to continue to learn more and more about data science.