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Stanford University Offers Killer Online Certificates in Data Mining

Data mining certifications
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One of the better recommendations we've received from reader input recently is a pointer to this great online certificate program from Stanford University (ranked No. 3 in the latest US News & World Report Education Rankings and Advice for Computer Science graduate programs). It seems one very usable offshoot from that University's highly-regarded Data Science Initiative is helping IT pros advance their careers, chop-chop!

The Stanford Data Mining Certificates Online program currently includes two certificate offerings, each of which entails completing four courses as shown below:

This certificate aims to teach efficient and capable programming algorithms and techniques so that practitioners can transform large collections of data into business intelligence.

This certificate seeks to teach practitioners how to develop and use predictive models and analytics to best extract meaning and value from large data collections, and to inform and guide sound business decisions and strategies.

All courses are taken for graduate credit and a grade, so they may also be applied to degree programs later on, should candidates elect that option. Those in pursuit of a certificate must maintain a minimum B (3.0) average in each of the required courses. One core course may be substituted with another course by arrangement with primary (full-time) Stanford faculty. Applicants should possess basic computer science skills and knowledge and be able to write what the Web pages call a “non-trivial” computer program. Some knowledge of or familiarity with algorithms, data structures, basic probability and statistics, and linear algebra is needed, and additional useful background skills include work with computer systems, artificial intelligence (AI), and database systems. It's ideal for someone with an undergraduate degree in computer science or some related discipline (computer engineering, MIS, informatics, and so forth). To pursue one of these certificates, candidates must apply for graduate admission to Stanford.

Now for the hard part: Tuition for the certificates, which requires completing 12-15 graduate units via Stanford's online extension, costs anywhere from $13,440 to as much as $19,800. Time to complete the certificate is usually one to two years, but it must be completed in no less than three years. Active duty military and veterans, and individuals who work for members companies that support the Stanford Center for Professional Development (SCPD) may qualify for reduced tuition, which is handled through the University's Tuition & Fees web page.

This is a great program that constitutes somewhere between one-third and one-half of a Master's degree, but with a high level of focus on workplace-relevant skills, knowledge, and experience. The price is high, to be sure, but the resulting value is also significant. IT Pros who've earned one of these certificates generally report major career boosts as a result of their completion. Could one such future IT pro be you? Check it out.

Ed Tittel

Ed is a 30-year-plus veteran of the computing industry, who has worked as a programmer, a technical manager, a classroom instructor, a network consultant and a technical evangelist for companies that include Burroughs, Schlumberger, Novell, IBM/Tivoli and NetQoS. He has written and blogged for numerous publications, including Tom's Hardware, and is the author of over 140 computing books with a special emphasis on information security, Web markup languages and development tools, and Windows operating systems.