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 between $25 and $99 for a verified certificate, 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 (7)

  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.

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