Business Insider Ranks the Top Coursera Certificates

What the 18 best Coursera certifcation courses? Business Insider has a list.

In today's world, online training for business professionals is the norm, with in-class learning mostly a distant memory. Thus, it's interesting to dive into some leading certificate programs from a top 10 (or even top 3) online course delivery platform — namely, Coursera.


That's just what Business Insider (BI) did, in a Jan. 21 story headlined (in part) "The 18 most popular online professional certification programs on Coursera" Here's how BI describes Coursera:


Coursera, one of the most popular online platforms, offers a number of professional certificate programs through top employers such as IBM, Meta (f.k.a. Facebook), Google, and Amazon Web Services, often taught by experts at those companies.


They also report that Coursera primarily works as a monthly subscription service wherein courses cost between $39 and $49 per month. Thus, quick studies get rewarded with reduced costs. For those in for a longer haul, BI also observes that those planning to take multiple courses, or sequences of courses, should "consider a Coursera Plus subscription if it saves you money." Good advice!


Where's the Top 18 List Already?


It's coming up shortly, with links to elements named. The BI story describes these as "the 18 most popular entry-level certificate programs on Coursera." Interestingly most are IT-focused, though some wander outside that domain. I have numbered the items in their order of appearance in the story:


1) Google Data Analytics: This course prepares students to fill the role of associate or junior data analyst, with a focus on skills that include data cleaning, data analysis, and data visualization (through R and SQL programming languages, and the Tableau tool).


2) Google Project Management: This is an introductory PM curriculum focused primarily on software development, topics covered include Agile project management basics, especially Scrum events, artifacts and roles. Soft skills emphasize communication in real-world situations.


3) Google UX Design: Starting with a general overview of design processes, this course focuses on user experience (UX) design. Students must complete a portfolio of 3 UX projects: a cross-platform experience, a working website, and some kind of mobile app.


What the 18 best Coursera certifcation courses? Business Insider has a list.

4) Google IT Support: This course aims to prepare entry-level IT workers in basic support activities that include PC assembly, wireless networking setup and configuration, installing and configuring software, and more. Special emphasis on customer service, troubleshooting techniques, and debugging IT problems or issues.


5) IBM Data Science: This course provides basic, job-oriented skills and knowledge in the areas of machine learning and data science. No prior computer science or programming language skills are required.


6) Facebook Marketing Analytics: This is a basic, entry-level course designed to take newbies from beginner to job-ready status in the area of marketing analytics.


7) Google IT Automation with Python: Students interact with and acquire skills related to Python, Git, and automation scripting, testing, and more. Focus is on scripting in Python, troubleshooting IT issues, and managing cloud-based IT resources.


8) IBM Data Analyst: A collection of eight classes cover topics that include data manipulation, plus workplace-oriented use of recommended analytical tools and techniques. The latter includes SQL, Python, Excel, Cognos Analytics and Jupyter Notebooks.


9) Facebook Social Media Marketing: This is a five-course sequence designed to deliver workplace ready, entry-level social media marketing professionals. Topics covered include creating and assessing effective advertising campaigns for specific target populations; building a creative brief; establishing and managing a professional social media presence, and working with Facebook Ads Manager to improve and enhance online advertising.


What the 18 best Coursera certifcation courses? Business Insider has a list.

10) IBM Cybersecurity Analyst: This is an eight-course learning program designed to prepare students with the technical skills needed to work as a cybersecurity analyst. The course begins with a basic grounding in networking and security principles and best practices.


Other topics covered include: incident response and remediation; forensics analyses based on real-world cases; learning and using data protection, endpoint protection and SIEM (Security Information and Event Management).


11) Intuit Bookkeeping: This course prepares students to work in bookkeeping across the areas of public accounting, or in private industry, government, or non-profit operations. The course prepares students to take and pass the Intuit Certified Bookkeeping Professional exam (Intuit is a leader in bookkeeping and tax preparation software and services).


12) SAS Programmer: SAS is a leading platform provider for a broad range of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings. SAS programmers are in extremely high demand. This course prepares students for the SAS Base Programmer certification, which means learning SAS programming language fundamentals, accessing and working with various data types (SAS, Excel, Text, etc.), and putting SAS programming principles to work in building practical, real-world projects and examples.


13) Salesforce Sales Operations: A leading platform and toolset in sales organizations around the globe, Sales Operations staff must know how to build reports, charts and dashboards in Salesforce. They also learn how to work with Salesforce Sales Cloud Lightning for account management, and need a good, working understanding of how CRM (Customer Relationship Management) works in business scenarios.


14) Salesforce Sales Development Representative: This is a five-course series that prepares student to fill entry-level SDR (Sales Development Representative) job roles. A basic stepping stone for would-be sales staff in organizations that use Salesforce, and a great entr�e into thousands of such organizations.


What the 18 best Coursera certifcation courses? Business Insider has a list.

15) IBM Full Stack Cloud Developer: This is a multi-course program that teaches student about Cloud Native and Full Stack Development. Along the way, students complete hands-on projects using HTML, JavaScript, Node.js, Python, Django, Containers, Microservices and more. A great foundation for entry-level work as a cloud developer.


16) IBM Data Analytics with Excel and R: Learn to use data analysis and visualization tool. Students work through numerous scenarios and datasets to transform data into usable, intelligible insight and information using the R programming language and Microsoft Excel.


17) IBM Data Engineering: This is a six-course sequence to equip students with the skills and knowledge they need to work as an artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning (ML) engineer, along with a portfolio of projects to demonstrate what they're learned, and know how to do.


18) IBM Applied AI: Kick off a career path in artificial intelligence by building AI-powered solutions working with IBM Watson AI Services, APIs and Python. Other topics include developing custom image classification models that are then deployed into the cloud.


Pondering the List, Its Content, and Implications


To begin with, there's really only one outlier that falls outside a broad interpretation of "IT worker" — namely, the Intuit Bookkeeping item. Given that it comes from the market leader in bookkeeping, accounting, and tax prep software for small-to-medium-sized businesses, in the context of more than 6 million U.S. companies that fit the description, I totally get why it's on this list.


What the 18 best Coursera certifcation courses? Business Insider has a list.

BI doesn't explain what makes its top 18 the leading courses at Coursera. I can only assume these items emerge from an analysis of course enrollments and completions.


The rest of the list is quite interesting. We've got seven IBM items, five Google items, two each Salesforce and Facebook items, and a one-off for SAS. I have to believe this reflects partnering efforts between IBM, Google and Coursera as much as it does on-the-ground market realities (otherwise, we'd see AWS and Azure right up there with Google, and probably ahead of IBM).


I also think the mix of courses reflects an ever-growing focus on cloud platforms and technologies, as well as related software development, project management and cybersecurity concerns. Indeed, it's an interesting and informative list, albeit one that's very likely a little skewed because of ongoing business relationships between Coursera and third parties. Nothing wrong with that, to be sure.


Give the BI list a visit and see what you think for yourself. It's an interesting walk-through and a useful snapshot of where and how IT entry-level jobs are happening these days.


Would you like more insight into the history of hacking? Check out Calvin's other articles about historical hackery:
About the Author

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran who's worked as a software developer, technical marketer, consultant, author, and researcher. Author of many books and articles, Ed also writes on certification topics for Tech Target, ComputerWorld and Win10.Guru. Check out his website at, where he also blogs daily on Windows 10 and 11 topics.