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 \u2014 a challenge reflected in the rising demand for big data and analytics skills and certifications.\n\nIf you\u2019re 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.\n\nBelow is our guide to the most sought-after data analytics and big data certifications to help you decide which cert is right for you.\n\nIf you would like to submit a big data certification to this directory, please email us.\n\nThe top 15 data analytics and big data certifications\n\nAssociate Certified Analytics Professional\n\nThe 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.\n\nOrganization: INFORMS\n\nPrice: US$200 for INFORMS members; US$300 for nonmembers\n\nHow to prepare: A list of study courses and a series of webinars are available through registration.\n\nAWS Certified Data Analytics\n\nThe AWS Certified Data Analytics - Specialty certification is intended for candidates with experience and expertise working with AWS to design, build, secure, and maintain analytics solutions. Amazon recommends candidates have five years of experience with common data analytics technologies, two years of hands-on experience with AWS, the ability to define AWS data analytics services and understand how they integrate with each other, and the ability to explain how AWS data analytics services fit in the data lifecycle of collection, storage, processing, and visualization. The exam consists of 65 multiple-choice or multiple-response questions, which the candidate has 180 minutes to complete.\n\nOrganization: AWS\n\nPrice: US$300\n\nHow to prepare: Amazon offers free exam guides, sample questions, practice tests, and digital training. It also offers additional practice materials with a subscription to AWS Skill Builder, paid classroom training, and whitepapers.\n\nCertification of Professional Achievement in Data Sciences\n\nThe 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.\n\nOrganization: Columbia University\n\nPrice: Students pay Columbia Engineering\u2019s rate of tuition (US$2,362 per credit). The online program includes an additional nonrefundable technology fee of US$395 per course.\n\nHow to prepare: An undergraduate degree and prior quantitative and introductory to computer programming coursework are required.\n\nCertified Analytics Professional\n\nThe 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.\n\nOrganization: INFORMS\n\nPrice: US$495 for INFORMS members; US$695 for nonmembers; team pricing available for organizations\n\nHow to prepare: A list of study courses and a series of webinars are available through registration.\n\nCDP Data Analyst\n\nThe Cloudera Data Platform (CDP) Data Analyst certification verifies the Cloudera skills and knowledge required for data analysts using CDP. The exam tests knowledge of Cloudera Data Visualization, Cloudera Machine Learning, Cloudera Data Science Workbench, and Cloudera Data Warehouse, as well as SQL, Apache Nifi, Apache Hive, and other open source technologies. The exam consists of 40 questions and the candidate has 120 minutes to complete it.\n\nOrganization: Cloudera\n\nPrice: US$330\n\nHow to prepare: Cloudera recommends candidates have familiarity with Salesforce, BI tools, Google Sheets, Microsoft Excel, and Python\/R. Optional training is available through Cloudera Educational Services.\n\nCDP Generalist\n\nThe Cloudera Data Platform (CDP) Generalist certification verifies proficiency with the Cloudera CDP platform. The 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.\n\nOrganization: Cloudera\n\nPrice: US$330\n\nHow to prepare: Cloudera recommends candidates take the Cloudera Essentials for CDP and CDP Generalist Exam Preparation courses.\n\nCompTIA Data+\n\nThe CompTIA Data+ certification is an early-career data analytics certification that validates the skills required to facilitate data-driven business decision-making. Candidates show facility with data concepts and environments; data mining; data analysis; data governance, quality, and controls; and visualization. The exam consists of 90 multiple-choice and performance-based questions administered via Pearson VUE. Candidates have 90 minutes to complete the exam.\n\nOrganization: CompTIA\n\nPrice: US$246\n\nHow to prepare: CompTIA offers elearning, interactive labs, and exam prep through CertMaster, study guides, and instructor-led training.\n\nGoogle Data Analytics Professional\n\nThe Google Data Analytics Professional certificate is a beginner-level certificate that validates understanding of the practices and processes required by junior or associate data analysts. Individuals with the certificate understand how to clean and organize data for analysis, and complete analysis and calculations using spreadsheets, SQL, and R. They can visualize and present data findings in dashboards, presentations, and commonly used visualization platforms. The certificate requires completing an eight-course series that takes six months at 10 hours a week.\n\nOrganization: Google and Coursera\n\nPrice: US$49 per month after a 7-day free trial period.\n\nHow to prepare: No degree or prior experience is required.\n\nIBM Data Analyst Professional Certificate\n\nThe IBM Data Analyst Professional Certificate is a beginner-level certificate that demonstrates proficiency in data wrangling and data mining, creating charts and plots, building dashboards with IBM Cognos Analytics, and visualizing data using Python libraries. Individuals with the certificate can describe data ecosystems and compose queries to access data in cloud databases using SQL and Python. Earning the certificate requires completing nine courses (taking roughly four months at 10 hours per week).\n\nOrganization: Coursera\n\nPrice: US$49 per month after a 7-day free trial period\n\nHow to prepare: No degree or prior experience is required.\n\nIBM Data Science Professional Certificate\n\nThe IBM Data Science Professional Certificate is a beginner-level certificate that demonstrates an individual\u2019s 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 five months at 10 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.\n\nOrganization: Coursera\n\nPrice: US$49 per month after a 7-day free trial period.\n\nHow to prepare: No prior computer science or programming knowledge is necessary.\n\nMicrosoft Certified Azure Data Scientist Associate\n\nThe Microsoft Certified Azure Data Scientist Associate credential is a measure of a candidate\u2019s 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.\n\nOrganization: Microsoft\n\nPrice: US$165 for the exam\n\nHow to prepare: Microsoft offers free online training and a paid, instructor-led course.\n\nMicrosoft Certified Power BI Data Analyst Associate\n\nThe Power BI Data Analyst Associate certification is a measure of a candidate\u2019s proficiency with using Power Query and writing expressions by using Data Analysis Expressions (DAX). They know how to assess data quality and understand data security, including row-level security and data sensitivity. Holders of this certification can collaborate with enterprise data analysts and data engineers to identify and acquire data. They can also transform the data, create data models, visualize data, and share assets by using Power BI.\n\nOrganization: Microsoft\n\nPrice: US$165 per exam\n\nHow to prepare: Microsoft offers free online training and a paid, instructor-led course.\n\nOpen Certified Data Scientist\n\nThe 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.\n\nOrganization: The Open Group\n\nPrice: US$400 for a Level 1 certification, US$500 for a Level 2 certification, and US$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.\n\nHow to prepare: The Open CDS certification is an evaluation of a candidate\u2019s skills and experience. Candidates should use the certification self-assessment tools on the certificate authority\u2019s website to validate their readiness to certify at the level and discipline they\u2019ve selected.\n\nSAS Certified Advanced Analytics Professional\n\nThe SAS Certified Advanced Analytics Professional 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:\n\nOrganization: SAS\n\nPrice: The Predictive Modeling Using SAS Enterprise Miner exam is US$250, while the others are US$180 each.\n\nHow 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.\n\nSAS Certified Data Scientist\n\nThe 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.\n\nOrganization: SAS\n\nPrice: US$180 for each exam\n\nHow 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.