The top 11 big data and data analytics certifications for 2020

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

Top Big Data Certifications Available Today
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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 Certified Associate (CCA) Data Analyst
  • 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 Big Data Professional Using SAS 9

Associate Certified Analytics Professional

The Associate Certified Analytics Professional (aCAP) credential is an 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: $300, though discounts may be available for INFORMS members 

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 non-degree program intended to develop facility with foundational data science skills. The program consists of four courses: Algorithms for Data Science, Probability & Statistics, Machine Learning for Data Science, and Exploratory Data Analysis and Visualization.

Organization: Columbia University

Price: $1,968 per credit (a minimum of 12 credits, including the four courses, are required to complete the program). In addition, there is an $85 non-refundable application fee for the on-campus program and $150 for the online program. The online program also includes an additional non-refundable 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 general 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 non-members; team pricing available for organizations 

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

Cloudera Certified Associate (CCA) Data Analyst

A SQL developer who earns the CCA Data Analyst certification demonstrates core analyst skills to load, transform and model Hadoop data to define relationships and extract meaningful results from the raw output. It requires passing the CCA Data Analyst Exam (CCA159), a remote-proctored set of eight to 12 performance-based, hands-on tasks on a CDH 5 cluster. Candidates have 120 minutes to implement a technical solution for each task. They must analyze the problem and arrive at an optimal approach in the time allowed.

Organization: Cloudera

Price: $295

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: $1,250 upon application for certification; $250 upon application for re-certification.

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 Big Data Professional Using SAS 9

The SAS Certified Big Data Professional Using SAS 9 credential validates the ability to use open source and SAS Data Management tools to prepare big data for statistical analysis. The certification requires passing two exams:

  • SAS Big Data Preparation, Statistics and Visual Exploration
  • SAS Big Data Programming and Loading

Organization: SAS

Price: $180 for each exam

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

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