My Experience Completing the Microsoft Professional Program Certificate in Data Science

My Experience Completing the Microsoft Professional Program Certificate in Data Science

Earlier this year, Microsoft announced an interesting new educational track designed to help people grow skills in the area of data science. Originally titled “Microsoft Professional Degree”, they later updated the name to the current “Microsoft Professional Program in Data Science” perhaps to lower the emphasis of the certification and instead highlight the value of the skills learned over the course of the program.

As Microsoft was developing the material and solidifying the content, they asked a set of Microsoft employees to complete the 10 courses and provide detailed feedback in an expedited fashion as part of a pilot program to help improve the program. I was lucky to be one of the participants of the pilot program and completed the program in August 2016.

The courses:

The program consists of 10 required courses to complete the program, with 2 or more course options for four of the courses (example: For the 5th course, you can take “Intro to R” or “Intro to Python”). Each of the courses is hosted on, an outstanding online learning platform that supports numerous teaching styles as you will learn over the course of the program. The courses are taught from a variety of industry professionals, MVPs, Microsoft employees, and college professors. The full list of courses can be found here:

The cost:

Each course costs $99 for a verified certificate, with the total cost of the 10 courses equaling $990. When I went through the program in 2016, the prices were a bit lower, with each course varying in cost between $25 - $99, with the total cost of the 10 courses I completed equaling $467. There is an option to audit the courses for free, but you will not obtain the certificate and will not complete the official program, but can complete 100% of the videos, labs, and quizzes from the program.

The time commitment:

While this will vary greatly depending on your background, interest, and motivation to complete the course, it is possible to get consumed with the courses and complete them very rapidly. I completed the first 9 courses in roughly 7 weeks, followed by the final project being open for 6 weeks. In the first week of the final project (course #10), I had a score that I felt was sufficient to safely complete the program, but continued to work on the final project for the entire 6 weeks because I found it so interesting.



Overall, the program was an excellent experience and I highly recommend it to anyone in the data field. I was able to cover content that I haven’t studied in years while exploring new areas that I’ve been wanting to invest in, but haven’t made a priority until now. I have a much better broad understanding of the topics covered in the course and have already started to leverage them in my customer environments.

Let me know if you have any questions or feedback on the courses and program.

Sam Lester (MSFT)

Comments (21)
  1. Mohamed Hefnawy says:

    Hi, I finished the Power BI, and Started the T-SQL Course, I am interested in the complete the program, but I am worried about my time frame, what it is the allowable time frame to complete the program?

  2. Hi Mohamed, good question. I’m not exactly sure, but hopefully one of the following links can help.

    The course schedule is published here:

    And there is a thread in the forums asking about classes spanning multiple course “runs” here:

    If this doesn’t answer the question directly, you can post a question in the Data Science program forums here:


    1. Kibria says:

      Hi Sam, I am from public health field and extensively using data for evidence-based decision making. Not sure how much this course will contribute to my career growth even though I started to take courses.


  3. Tanner Spaulding says:

    Thank you for sharing this!

  4. Zohayer says:

    I am currently enrolled in the current iteration of the program.
    I was wondering if this certificate/degree has any real value in the practical World.
    I mean can I manage to secure a job based on this qualification? Will companies consider this as a reasonable qualification, will Microsoft, for instance, consider it so?
    After all, there must be a reason the certified version is offered at a cost.
    Really looking forward to the possibilities though.

  5. Charaf Yoerk says:

    What chances are in getting a rewarding job once I am getting this certificate? Any idea about the salary average, and chances to go further with Data Science. Thank you guys.

  6. Rick says:

    It sounds interesting, but they probably changed the name of the program because Data Science is the in thing and they want to compete with Coursera and Udacity. Knowing that the courses are offered on EdX and I’ve just finished one of the courses without knowing it was part of a program, it is definitely something I’d consider taking.

  7. Houssem Eddine Alayet says:

    What chances are in getting a rewarding job once I am getting this certificate? Any idea about the salary average, and chances to go further with Data Science. Thank you guys.

  8. Abdoo says:

    Hi. Does one have to get all the courses’ certificates to get the final Microsoft certificate at the end?

    1. Hi Abdoo, the MPP program consists of 10 courses. For each of these, you can receive “credit” for the individual course that can be added to your LinkedIn profile, etc. However, to receive the completed MPP in Data Science certification, you need to complete all 10 of the courses.


  9. Lily Di says:

    Thanks for sharing Sam!! This is really helpful. Does this certificate issued by Microsoft or by edx once completed all the required courses?

  10. ANUJ SINHA says:

    Hello, do any one can help me with this doubt that can I upgrade only to selected courses certificate rather than applying for all 10 courses certificates.
    Like is it the case that you can upgrade to the next course certificate only if you had upgraded for the previous courses?

  11. Sam — I read your post at the beginning of this year and it prompted me to start this track. I’ve recently finished my 9th and have written up some notes for others considering taking these classes. Perhaps others will find these helpful:

    I’ve followed the R sequence rather than the Python. Altogether great courses sharing practical knowledge. The courses by Cynthia Rudin and Steve Elston were particularly good. Looking fwd to capstone in October. Kind regards – Jonathan

    1. Hi Jonathan, congratulations on reaching the final project and thanks for the message. I just checked out a few of your course write-ups and they look great!

      Thanks again and enjoy the capstone project,

    2. Jake says:

      Hi Jonathan, can I just confirm the cost of getting the certifications with you? Samuel mentioned that his total cost for the 10 courses came up to around $467 but every single course says that the certification will cost $99 each which will amount to $999. Is this the case for you as well? Thanks

      1. Hi Jake, I just checked back with Edx and it looks like the prices have increased since I took them in Spring/Summer of 2016. I’ll update the blog article with the updated prices.


        1. Jake says:

          Thanks for the response Sam!

  12. Deepti says:


    I read your blog and wanted to get some information about the course.

    About Me: I am looking for a transition from HR field to Data Science. I am absolutely new to this field. I hold MBA degree in Human Resources.
    – Do you think this would be the right course for beginners ?
    – Does this course ensure a decent job in the industry ?
    – Lastly, Do I need any prior technical experience ?

    Your response is highly appreciated.

    1. Hi Deepti, these are certainly tricky questions to answer. Since you can “audit” the courses for free, I’d suggest that you try them out to see if they are intuitive for beginners. I’ve been in this industry for ages, so it is hard to put myself in the shoes of a beginner on some of these topics. In terms of landing a job when completing these courses, I think that the MPP programs will function like other certifications/accreditations in that they are great to add to your CV/resume, but likely do not stand alone as a qualification for a job. That being said, it is a great starting point to ramp up quickly. Going through these courses will give you a very broad experience across numerous cloud technologies and tools, which will help a lot as you continue to learn. Best of luck in your career transition!

  13. Shyam Srikumar says:

    I have applied to a few Master’s in Data Science programs. I am a software engineer with 11 years of experience. But “no” experience in python/R/data exploration/predictive analytics/ML/AI etc. Attended a 5 day boot camp to gain some. I now have an idea about the field. Started practicing a bit as well. Highest degree I hold is a Bachelors in Computer Science and Engineering. Always wanted an MS. So planning to do online MS. The question I have: should I shed 30 grand and do an MS or Microsoft Professional Program? Is MPP valued like an MS?

  14. Nishant Ajay Mhatre. says:

    Hi. Does one have to paid for all the courses certificates to get the final Microsoft certificate at the end?

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