A journey of 1,000 miles starts with a single step. Or in this case, your journey towards becoming a data analyst expert starts with a single line of code. One of the hardest parts about mastering a new skill is simply getting started. With Data Analytics, you might be wondering what the best entry point is: should you master SQL or Python? Do you have enough foundational statistics skills to succeed? What tools and softwares should you definitely know?
A great way to answer these questions without a significant cost or time investment is by taking a free online course. Options are abundant across the web, and mastering these foundational skills is a great first step towards completing a bootcamp program or degree, or even landing the job of your dreams. In this article, we’re breaking down the best resources across the web to learn data analytics free and on your own time.
Data Analytics Bootcamps vs. Classes
Bootcamps are rigorous programs taught over a period of weeks or months that prepare students to enter the tech workforce through real-world projects and specialized instruction in job critical skills. Data Analytics bootcamps will contain a comprehensive curriculum, including Big Data, data visualization, modeling, Python and SQL. Students can expect to complete the program with intermediate to advanced knowledge of Tableau and/or Power BI, Excel, Jupyter and Matplotlib. Bootcamps almost always offer live instruction, either in-person or remote, and the ability for students to connect one-on-one with their teachers and career professionals.
On the other hand, the Data Analytics class and courses that we’ve outlined here are typically self-directed and require a much lower time commitment. Of course, cost is a differentiating factor. Although the resources on this page are free, some of the providers offer a “premium” or “pro” package, which requires payment of approximately $100-$500/class. The average full-time coding bootcamp cost $14,142 according to Course Report. For these reasons, the resources here are a great place to turn to if you’re not sure where to begin. Already at a more advanced stage and ready to dive into the world of bootcamps? Check out our data analytics bootcamps listings page to learn more about the options available to you.
How Hard is it to Learn Data Analytics?
All things considered, probably easier than you think! Just like any new skills, with time and patience, any can master it. Starting here with foundational skills puts you on the best possible path for success. As you slowly build the vocabulary to identify data types and structures and the methods of data analysis, you’ll find that putting the methodologies into practice comes naturally. SQL and programming languages can be a bit trickier, but the resources here keep you learning at a slow and steady logical progression, and put useful tips in context alongside real-world examples. Remember to think of your learning journey as an investment towards your future and each of your mistakes as an opportunity to grow!
Free Data Analytics Resources for Beginners
Below, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite free data analytics resources found on the web. For each, we’ve provided a summary of the type of learning experience you can expect, and highlighted our favorite courses, if the provider in question offers instruction across multiple topics.
Taking a course from MIT, Harvard or Berkely is actually well within your reach and means. This provider partners with world-class institutions to offer free college-level online courses that can be completed in anywhere from six weeks to six months. Content is mostly taught through video lectures, with additional practice quizzes, open response assessments and virtual environments available in some classes.
Course Offerings Highlights: Data Analytics for Business, Getting Started with Data Analytics on AWS, SQL for Data Science, Big Data Analytics
This company is on a mission to help its users learn the world’s most in-demand data skills. We love its hands-on approach, with each lesson offering students the ability to write and apply code, build practice projects and garner feedback, all directly in the browser. You can sort the course catalog by skill path, career path or programming language and their free accounts never expire. A premium plan for $49/month will grant you additional access to guided projects and assessments.
Course Offerings Highlights: Data Analyst in Python, Data Analysis and Visualization, Machine Learning INtroduction, Probability and Statistics
Udemy is a global online learning provider with more than 183,000 courses available, and more published each month. One of the best aspects of the service is their robust selection of free courses that can be completed in 30 minutes to two hours. This is an excellent option for those looking to simply dip their toes in the water and see if they have a knack for the subject.
Course Offerings Highlights: SQL for Data Analysis: Solving Real-World Problems with Data, Knowledge Exchange: Data Analytics in a Nutshell
This is one of the largest online learning platforms, offering free courses from more than 200 partner institutions, including top-tier schools like the University of Michigan and Yale, and major corporations like Google and IBM. Transparent reviews from past course participants can give you a sense of the course’s difficulty level and subject matter, and help you decide if it’s right for you. The site boasts nearly 2,000 Data Analytics courses with durations from less than 2 hours to more than three months. Be sure to use the search tool to filter for specific skills you might be looking for!
Course Offerings Highlights: Data Analysis and Presentation Skills: the PwC Approach, IBM Machine Learning, Excel Skills for Business, Introduction to Business Analysis Using Spreadsheets
You’d be hard pressed to find a data analytics role that doesn’t incorporate Python programming language on an everyday basis. Fortunately, the language’s official site Python.org offers also sorts of useful tutorials and a lengthy beginner’s guide. If you still can’t find the answers you’re looking for, check out the sites’ community forums, where community members are happy to answer any question you might have, or visit the tutor list to become connected with the right type of interactive help.
SkillUp by Simplilearn
This well-known provider contracts to provide classes to employees at firms like Bosch, Citi, Dell and Microsoft, but is also available totally free to anyone who wants to sign up! Among its thousands of offerings are several new courses on the topics of business analytics. Classes are updated regularly to account for new technologies and typically take two to nine hours to complete. Each course awards students a completion certificate.
Course Offerings Highlights: Excel Dashboard for Beginners, Introduction to Data Visualization, Business Intelligence Fundamentals, Python Libraries for Data
Google Analytics Academy
Google Analytics stands on its own as an online tool for tracking website traffic and related data. Its widespread adoption across the business world has led to the tech giant to create its own series of courses to help individuals master the measurement tool. While these courses are technically hosted on Coursera, we wanted to spotlight them as an excellent item to have on a resume (and because they’re totally free of course!)
Course Offerings Highlights: Google Analytics for Beginners, Getting Started with Google Analytics 360, Introduction to Data Studio
Yes, this platform is primarily known for its K-12 educational content, but its signature short and easy-to-digest videos can serve as a great primer for anyone totally new to the world of data analytics, particularly on the programming side. Or, if you’re looking for that essential quick brush-up on high school or college level statistics and probability, this could be the site for you! The curriculum takes students through a mix of video tutorials and embedded challenges and projects.
Course Offerings Highlights: Intro to SQL, Statistics and Probability, Computer Science Principles
Almost any data principle you can think of has a corresponding course at Data Camp. Three paths are available to potential students: “learn a new technology,” offering classes in Python, R, Tableau, Excel and more, “launch your career,” with options for Data Analyst, Data Scientist, Programming and Statistician, or “master a specific skill,” with a plethora of choices from data literacy to machine learning to applied finance. The site’s free plan offers access to the first chapter of all courses, seven projects and the practice challenge sets. To unlock all 350+ courses offered, users have to pay, with plans starting at $25/month.
Course Offerings Highlights: Introduction to Python, R, and SQL, Data Visualization for Everyone, Exploratory Data Analysis in SQL, Cleaning Data with Pyspark
Despite its name, this site has applicability beyond the world of coding and programming. Each of its courses awards a certification after the student completes five required projects. More than 40,000 people have gotten jobs at tech companies like Google and Microsoft upon completing freeCodeCamp’s courses. Each course takes about 300 hours to complete, but if you’re not ready to make that commitment just yet, you can check out thousands of hours of video course content available a la carte on their YouTube channel.
Course Offerings Highlights: Data Analysis with Python, Data Visualization, Machine Learning with Python
Cognitive Class by IBM
The computer giant’s educational offerings unsurprisingly focuses on leading-edge technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence and cloud computing. Students have the option of completing individual guided projects or can combine related projects and courses to earn completion “badges” across subject areas. The content here tends to lean towards the more intermediate to advanced side, and is geared towards those with professional experience looking to level up in a specific skill. This could be a great resource for those wanting to make the jump from data analytics to data science.
Course Offerings Highlights: SQL and Relational Databases 101, Deep Learning Fundamentals, NoSQL and DBaaS 101, Data Visualization with R
Embarking on a Data Analytics Career
We hope this article has given you a sense of the type of free online resources you can expect to find as you embark on your learning journey. Becoming an expert in data analytics is only the first step towards a successful career within the booming tech industry. Be sure to check out all the resources right here on codingbootcamps.io if you’re curious about some of the education and professional opportunities that might await! These include:
- Our comprehensive listings of Data Analytics Bootcamp programs around the country and online
- Career guides for roles like Data Analyst, Data Scientist, Database Administrator, and more
- Subject guides for need-to-know skills such as SQL, Python, R, Tableau, and more
- Everything you need to know about leveling up your Data Analyst career
- Our interview with a Data Analyst
- Industry trends, including which tech jobs are in high demand for 2022 and command the highest salaries.