Data Science Degree or an Online Certification: What’s the Difference?


Data Science provides ample opportunities for students who wish to become professionals in today’s competitive space. With the increasing demand for Data Scientists in several fields, including the likes of energy, finance, tourism, etc., it is widely understood and accepted that it is an indispensable skill. Today, one can easily become a professional in this field and chart out a successful career in the same. The most pertinent question, however, is how to do the same.

Acknowledging the adoption of emerging technologies into traditional education, aspirants ideally have an option between two paths to kickstart their Data Science journey. One is through getting into a Data Science online course through certified institutions, and the other is a traditional degree from a college or a Data Science university. While both ways help the learners to make a career in Data Science, they have their own pros and cons. 

How to Decide Your Career Path: Becoming a Data Scientist

People often get confused between a  Data analyst, a Data Engineer, and a Data Scientist. Well, all the roles are a part of the Data Science stream but are quite different. All the terms might seem similar to anyone, but a Data Scientist’s role requires one to take on more responsibility. So, they are considered seniors to Data Analysts and Data Engineers. A Data Scientist generally begins their career as a Data Analyst or Data Engineer. No doubt the roles of all the three are similar, but a Data Scientist can all alone perform the work of the other two. That’s why the role of a Data Scientist is considered to be senior in the data hub of the company. 

Let us answer two important questions:

  • Why Become a Data Scientist?
  • What Does A Data Scientist Job Entail?

Why Become A Data Scientist?

Data Science or Data Scientist is one of the most sought domains in recent times, and here is why:

  • Data Science is a specialized field that provides you with endless opportunities to work with different brands, and you can gain a good amount of experience in a short period. 
  • While being a Data Scientist, you get to work with top-level management of a company at the very beginning of your career. You get to learn about the core functioning of a company and business from the start, which will help immensely in your future.
  •  Since there is a shortage of efficient and talented scientists in the industry, companies don’t mind paying substantial salaries to skilled scientists to get their job done.  
  • As a Data Scientist, you are often looked up to as a way to fill up the gap between Business Analytics and Data Analytics in a company. That’s why they are paid good compensation for their work. Along with the good pay, this helps improve your technical and non-technical skills. 
  • The opportunities in this field are immense, giving you the flexibility to choose your chosen path. You can choose advanced roles in companies or simply display your skills while working in the core team of the business. 

What Does A Data Scientist Job Entail?

A Data Scientist gathers and analyzes a huge amount of data and uses it to answer the questions of the team and company, which help them develop plans and models for the company’s proper functioning. Data scientists need to have a few skills which help them to better sustain themselves in this field. 

  • After gathering and processing the data, Data Scientists need to analyze that data to obtain meaningful results. Individuals should have good observation skills to spot patterns and establish relations among different types of data. 
  • Data scientists should be fluent in programming languages as they have to spend most of their time analyzing data with the help of programming languages like Python, SQL, and SAS. The Data Science course online will help students learn these languages. 
  • Data Science is not just about programming. You also need to have good statistical and mathematical skills. These skills help individuals to make correct assumptions leading them to derive correct results. 
  • Along with programming languages, a Data Scientist should know how to segregate and present different types of data with the help of tools like Excel, PowerBI, and Tableau. 
  • Having knowledge about Machine Learning and AI can help you do wonders in this field. It helps you gather and analyze data more efficiently, providing faster results. 
  • With the increase in data generation per day, individuals must be able to process Big Data with the help of structured frameworks like Hadoop and Apache Spark. 
  • Along with all the above-mentioned technical skills, you must also have good communication skills to convey your results to the world proficiently. 

Data Science Degrees vs. Data Science Certificates  

In today’s busy world, everything is becoming digital, and education is no exception. This has provided interested learners a unique opportunity to choose between online Data Science courses or traditional university-based degree programs. While both ways can help the students to engage themselves in studies and improve their skills, there are a few differences. If you are aiming at a research-based job in the field of Data Science, you might require a degree, but that doesn’t mean that certificates don’t count. A degree and a Data Science certification can help a student’s data science certifications field. 

Point of differences   Data Science Degree  Data Science certificate 
Basic Qualification   Qualified university entrance exam 10th and 12th certificates from an education board recognized by the state or the central government.  Online PG certification programs Require you to have completed your graduation with at least 50% marks in the relevant subjects. 
Time consumed  A traditional degree program usually lasts for 4 years.    An online certification program lasts for 8 to 9 months. 
Cost  A degree program from a good institute can cost you up to 6 lakhs  A certification program costs you around 1.5 lakhs. 
Work experience   No prior work experience is required.  Online PG certification requires some amount of work experience 
Career opportunities  A degree is required if you want to land directly into the advanced roles as a Data scientist.  A degree can be a good choice for you if you are ready to invest the time and money required.  This is a good choice for you if you want to get your hands on the industry right from the basic level. Even if you have a degree, having an online certificate will help you increase your opportunities in this field and provide you an edge over your competitors.  

Do Online Data Science Certification Courses Help You Master the Necessary Skills?  

There are many online Data Science certification programs out there. When you plan to enroll in a certification program, you look for the price, placement ratio, course duration, and, most importantly, the quality of education offered by the program. If you are looking out for the Data Science best certification program, then UNext’s PG Certificate Program in Data Science & Machine Learning is your best possible choice. With this program, you can learn about Data Science and its applications in two different fields, namely Business Analytics and Machine learning, through two separate courses.  

Recruiters mostly look at skills and projects accomplished by a student in their portfolio. Certification in these programs assures the recruiters that the individual is constantly improving and has the required skills for the role. These programs will help you take yourself from being a novice to becoming an expert in this field. Even if you have earned a degree in Data Science, a certification program will immensely help you to boost your skills and help you present yourself better in the corporate world. 

Along with the live learning sessions, you get access to placement enablement sessions which help to increase your aptitude and problem-solving skills and incorporate critical thinking.  

With the best Data Science certification like the one offered by UNext, you can prepare yourself to take on the data world by storm. 

Do the Online Data Science Certification Courses Have Enough Market Value?  

The curriculum of our Data Science program is designed to help aspirants to improve their skills within a short amount of time and, most importantly, at a reasonable and affordable price. The courses take around 8 to 9 months and offer instructor-based live sessions. 

Just a degree or certificate in Data Scientist can’t guarantee you a job as a Data Scientist; all that counts are your skills. However, having a Data Science certification certainly helps you get better job opportunities and gives you an upper hand over your peers. These programs give you first-hand experience of the real-world challenges that you would have to face as a Data Scientist assuring the employers that you can actually do the job. With an online certificate, you can unlock those exclusive job opportunities that are very challenging and allows you to have a successful Data science career path. 

 These certification programs provide more than enough knowledge required to become a capable Data Scientist. All you need is to adapt and learn throughout the process. 

Moreover, these programs have helped our freshers obtain an average CTC of 7 lakhs per annum, double the National Average CTC of a Data Scientist in India. With the 100% guaranteed* placement in these programs, you can learn and improve without having to worry much about your future job. Our placement partners include companies like Amazon, Flipkart, Pepsico, Infosys, Deloitte, IBM, and many more. 

Career as a Data Scientist 

Well, you know what it takes to become a data scientist, but what happens after you become one? 

Once you become a Data Scientist, you will always have to push yourself over your limits and establish yourself as a strong and capable scientist in the corporate world because if you don’t, there’s always someone ready to fill up the space. UNext’s program prepare you to stand out from the crowd and help sustain yourself in the competition. The programs are designed in such a way that you can establish yourselves as experts in this field. 


No doubt, Data Science provides endless opportunities, but individuals must prove themselves in this field to avail of the rewards. With the increase in data production, career-enhancing opportunities in this field are limitless. 

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