by Thor Olavsrud

The top 11 big data and data analytics certifications

Oct 12, 2021
Analytics Careers Certifications

Data scientists and data analysts are in high demand. Here are the big data certifications that will give your career an edge.

big data certification
Credit: IDG

Data and big data analytics are the lifeblood of any successful business. Getting the technology right can be challenging but building the right team with the right skills to undertake data initiatives can be even harder — a challenge reflected in the rising demand for big data and analytics skills and certifications. 

If you’re looking to get an edge on a data analytics career, certification is a great option. Certifications measure your knowledge and skills against industry- and vendor-specific benchmarks to prove to employers that you have the right skillset. The number of data analytics certs is expanding rapidly.

Below is our guide to the most sought-after data analytics and big data certifications to help you decide which cert is right for you.

If you would like to submit a big data certification to this directory, please email us.

The top 11 data analytics and big data certifications

  • Associate Certified Analytics Professional (aCAP)
  • Certification of Professional Achievement in Data Sciences
  • Certified Analytics Professional
  • Cloudera Data Platform Generalist
  • EMC Proven Professional Data Scientist Associate (EMCDSA)
  • IBM Data Science Professional Certificate
  • Microsoft Certified Azure Data Scientist Associate
  • Microsoft Certified Data Analyst Associate
  • Open Certified Data Scientist
  • SAS Certified Advanced Analytics Professional Using SAS 9
  • SAS Certified Data Scientist

Associate Certified Analytics Professional

The Associate Certified Analytics Professional (aCAP) credential is an independent, entry-level analytics certification that shows education in the analytics process though the individual may not have practical experience yet. The certification focuses on the seven domains of the analytics process: business problem framing, analytics problem framing, data, methodology selection, model building, deployment, and lifecycle management.

Organization: INFORMS

Price: $200 for INFORMS members; $300 for nonmembers

How to prepare: A list of study courses and a series of webinars are available through registration.

Certification of Professional Achievement in Data Sciences

The Certification of Professional Achievement in Data Sciences is a nondegree program intended to develop facility with foundational data science skills. Candidates are required to complete a minimum of 12 credits, including four required courses: Algorithms for Data Science, Probability and Statistics for Data Science, Machine Learning for Data Science, and Exploratory Data Analysis and Visualization.

Organization: Columbia University

Price: Students pay Columbia Engineering’s rate of tuition ($2,196 per credit). The online program includes an additional nonrefundable technology fee of $395 per course.

How to prepare: An undergraduate degree and prior quantitative and introductory to computer programming coursework are required.

Certified Analytics Professional

The Certified Analytics Professional (CAP) credential is a vendor- and technology-neutral analytics certification that certifies end-to-end understanding of the analytics process, from framing business and analytic problems to acquiring data, methodology, model building, deployment, and model lifecycle management. It requires completion of the CAP exam and adherence to the CAP Code of Ethics.

Organization: INFORMS

Price: $495 for INFORMS members; $695 for nonmembers; team pricing available for organizations 

How to prepare: A list of study courses and a series of webinars are available through registration.

Cloudera Data Platform Generalist Certification

Cloudera has discontinued its CCP and CCA certifications in favor of the new Cloudera Data Platform (CDP) Generalist certification, which verifies proficiency with the platform. The new exam tests general knowledge of the platform and applies to multiple roles, including administrator, developer, data analyst, data engineer, data scientist, and system architect. The exam consists of 60 questions and the candidate has 90 minutes to complete it. Specialized certifications are planned, including CDP Certified Administrator, CDP Certified Administrator – Public Cloud, CDP Certified Data Developer, and CDP Certified Data Analyst.

Organization: Cloudera

Price: $300

How to prepare: Cloudera recommends candidates take the Cloudera Data Analyst Training course, which has the same objectives as the exam.

EMC Proven Professional Data Scientist Associate (EMCDSA)

The EMCDSA certification demonstrates an individual’s ability to participate and contribute as a data science team member on big data projects. It includes deploying the data analytics lifecycle, reframing a business challenge as an analytics challenge, applying analytic techniques and tools to analyze big data and create statistical models, selecting the appropriate data visualizations and more.

Organization: Dell EMC Education Services

Price: $230 for exam voucher

How to prepare: EMC offers training courses, available via instructor-led classes (physical or virtual) or on demand.

IBM Data Science Professional Certificate

The IBM Data Science Professional Certificate is a beginner-level certificate that demonstrates an individual’s skills in data science topics, including open source tools and libraries, methodologies, Python databases, SQL, data visualization, data analysis, and machine learning. Earning the certificate requires completing nine courses (taking roughly three months at 12 hours per week), during which the candidate will complete several hands-on assignments and build a portfolio of data science projects. At the end, candidates earn a Professional Certificate from Coursera and a digital badge from IBM recognizing proficiency in data science.

Organization: Coursera

Price: $39 per month for access to graded materials and a certificate

How to prepare: No prior computer science or programming knowledge is necessary.

Microsoft Certified Azure Data Scientist Associate

The Microsoft Certified Azure Data Scientist Associate credential is a measure of a candidate’s ability to define and prepare Azure development environments, prepare data for modeling, perform feature engineering, and develop models. The exam requires the candidate to use applications involving natural language processing, speech, computer vision, and predictive analytics. The credential does not expire.

Organization: Microsoft

Price: $165 for the exam

How to prepare: Microsoft offers free online training and a paid, instructor-led course.

Microsoft Certified: Data Analyst Associate

The Data Analyst Associate certification is one of several role-based certifications that replaces the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE): Data Management and Analytics certification that Microsoft will retire in January 2021. This certificate demonstrates subject matter expertise in enabling businesses to leverage their data assets using Microsoft Power BI. Holders of this certificate can design and build scalable data models, clean and transform data, and enable advanced analytic capabilities.

Organization: Microsoft

Price: $165 per exam

How to prepare: Microsoft offers free online training and a paid, instructor-led course.

Open Certified Data Scientist

The Open CDS is an independent global certification that qualifies the skills, knowledge, and experience of data scientists. Open CDS requires candidates demonstrate their skills and experience against a set of conformance requirements through written applications and peer interviews. It does not include training courses and there are no written exams. Attaining the certification follows three stages: First, the candidate must obtain four to five milestone badges; second, the candidate must complete the Experience Application Form; finally, the candidate must attend a board review. The certification lasts for three years, after which the holder may re-certify.

Organization: The Open Group

Price: $400 for a Level 1 certification, $500 for a Level 2 certification, and $550 for the Level 3 certification. Each certification requires the completion of certain milestone badges, which carry an additional fee. There is no specific recertification fee, but there are fees to maintain milestone badges.

How to prepare: The Open CDS certification is an evaluation of a candidate’s skills and experience. Candidates should use the certification self-assessment tools on the certificate authority’s website to validate their readiness to certify at the level and discipline they’ve selected.

SAS Certified Advanced Analytics Professional Using SAS 9

The SAS Certified Advanced Analytics Professional Using SAS 9 credential validates the ability to analyze big data with a variety of statistical analysis and predictive modeling techniques. Candidates should have experience in machine learning and predictive modeling techniques and their application to big, distributed, and in-memory data sets. They should also have experience with pattern detection, experimentation in business, optimization techniques, and time series forecasting. The certification requires passing three exams:

  • Predictive Modeling Using SAS Enterprise Miner 7, 13, or 14
  • SAS Advanced Predictive Modeling
  • SAS Text Analytics, Time Series, Experimentation and Optimization

Organization: SAS

Price: The Predictive Modeling Using SAS Enterprise Miner exam is $250, while the others are $180 each

How to prepare: SAS recommends candidates prepare using its Applied Analytics Using SAS Enterprise Miner training and SAS Academy for Data Science: Advanced Analytics training or several eLearning courses. It also recommends answering sample questions it provides and taking a practice exam.

SAS Certified Data Scientist

The SAS Certified Data Scientist credential validates the ability to manipulate and gain insights from big data with a variety of SAS and open source tools, make business recommendations with complex machine learning models, and deploy models at scale using the SAS environment. The certification requires a combination of the SAS Data Curation Professional, SAS Advanced Analytics Professional, and SAS AI & Machine Learning Professional credentials.

Organization: SAS

Price: $180 for each exam

How to prepare: SAS recommends candidates prepare using its SAS Academy for Data Science, or several eLearning courses. It also recommends answering sample questions it provides and taking a practice exam.