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15 data science certifications that will pay off

Looking to get ahead as a data scientist? Earning one of these data science certs will help you stand out in one of the hottest careers in IT.

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Data scientist is one of the hottest jobs in IT. What’s more, it's the best job you can get, period, according to data from Glassdoor. If you're looking to get into this field, or you want to stand out against the competition, look no further than data science certifications.

Data science is important to nearly every company and industry, but the skills that recruiters are looking for will vary across businesses and industries. Certifications are a great way to gain an edge because they allow you to develop skills that are hard to find in your desired industry. They're also a way to back up your skills, so recruiters and hiring managers know what they’re getting if they hire you.

Whether you’re looking to earn a certification from an accredited university, gain some experience as a new grad, hone vendor-specific skills or demonstrate your broad knowledge of data analytics, at least one of these certifications (presented here in alphabetical order) will work for you.

1. Applied AI with DeepLearning, IBM Watson IoT Data Science Certificate

To earn IBM’s Watson IoT Data Science Certification, you’ll need some experience coding, preferably in Python, but they will consider any programming language as a place to start. Math skills, especially with linear algebra, are recommended but the course promises to cover the topics within the first week. It’s aimed at those with more advanced data science skills and classes are offered through Coursera.

Cost: $79 for the course
Location:
Online
Duration
: Self-paced
Expiration
: Does not expire

2. Big Data Certification, UC San Diego Extension School

The Big Data Certification offered through UC San Diego’s extension school offers online and in-person courses, workshops and bootcamps. Courses focus on data mining, analyzing spacial-data with GIS, building predictive models, and using machine-learning algorithms. You can opt for a more specialized data certification with the Data Mining for Advanced Analytics Certificate.

Cost: $4,690
Location
: Online
Duration:
At least one year; one year and three months is average
Expiration
: Does not expire.

3. Certified Analytics Professional (CAP)

CAP offers a vender-neutral certification and promises to help you “transform complex data into valuable insights and actions,” which is exactly what businesses are looking for in a data scientist: someone who not only understands the data but can draw logical conclusions and then express to key stakeholders why those data points are significant.

Cost: $495 for INFORMS members, $695 for non-members; team pricing for organizations is available on request.
Location:
In person at designated test centers
Duration
: Self-paced
Expiration
: Valid for three years.

4. Cloudera Certified Associate - Data Analyst

The CCA exam demonstrates your foundational knowledge as a developer, data analyst and administrator of Cloudera’s enterprise software. Passing a CCA exam and earning your certification will show employers that you have a handle on the basic skills required to be a data scientist. It’s also a great way to prove your skills if you’re just starting out and lack a strong portfolio or past work experience.

Cost: $295 per exam specialty and per attempt.
Location:
Online
Duration
: Self-paced
Expiration
: Valid for two years.

5. Cloudera Certified Professional: CCP Data Engineer

Once you earn your CCA, you can move onto the CCP exam, which Cloudera touts as one of the most rigorous and “demanding performance-based certifications.” According to the website, those looking to earn their CCP need to bring “in-depth experience developing data engineering solutions” to the table, as well as a “high-level of mastery” of common data science skills.

Cost: $600 per attempt — each attempt includes three exams.
Location:
Online
Duration
: Self-paced
Expiration
: Valid for three years.

6. Certification of Professional Achievement in Data Sciences, Columbia University

You’ll need an undergraduate degree to earn Columbia University’s Certification of Professional Achievement in Data Sciences. It requires a background in quantitative coursework, which includes calculus, linear algebra and similar subjects. The course focuses on preparing students for a career in data science – it’s best suited for those looking to advance their careers or change their career path to data science.

Cost: $1,936 per credit
Location:
Online or on campus
Duration
: Must complete within five years
Expiration
: Does not expire.

7. Certification in Data Science, Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies

Georgetowne’s Certificate in Data Science will teach you everything you need to know to collect, clean, model and present data. Students use the Python programming language and get hands-on experience creating and presenting visualizations, predictive models and analytics, to prepare you for working with data in a business setting.

Cost: $6,6760
Location
: On campus
Duration
: 8 courses over 6 months
Expiration
: Does not expire.

8. Data Science Certificate, Harvard Extension School

To earn a data science certificate from the Harvard Extension School, you’ll need to complete and earn at least a B grade in four certification courses within three years. You can choose two electives from a select group, one required data science course from another select group and both an entry-level and advanced-level statistics course. This certification is best for those who already have knowledge of programming — specifically Python — and those looking to pursue graduate credits.

Cost: $2,700 per course, with a required three to five courses.
Location:
Online and in person
Duration
: Must complete within three years
Expiration
: Does not expire

9. Data Science A-Z: Real Life Data Science Exercises

If you prefer to teach yourself on your own time, you might be interested in the Data Science A to Z class offered through Udemy. Students get access to step-by-step instructions through data mining, modeling, tableau visualizations and more. It includes 21 hours of on-demand videos, lifetime access to the content and a certificate of completion; there’s also a 30-day money back guarantee if you aren’t satisfied.

Cost: $199, but currently on sale for $13.99
Location
: Online
Duration
: Self-paced
Expiration
: Does not expire.

10. Data Science for Executives,  Columbia University

Columbia University’s Data Science for Executives certificate program, offered through EdX, is geared towards executives who want to learn more about statistical thinking, machine learning and how data will impact businesses in the future. It addresses the unique information that executives need to know as data becomes fundamental in the enterprise. The courses are taught by professors at Columbia University through EdX’s online platform.

Cost: $347
Location
: Online
Duration
: 5 weeks per course
Expiration
: Does not expire.

11. Dell EMC Proven Professional

Dell EMC offers a data science associate certification that promises a hands-on, practitioner approach in what it describes as the “industry’s most comprehensive learning and certification program.” Once you pass the exam, you’re considered a “Proven Professional”. The data science certification path offers both an associate level and a more advanced specialist level.

Cost: $200 per Proven Professional certification exam; you’ll also need to purchase any books or other course material.
Location:
Online via Pearson VUE
Duration
: Self-paced
Expiration
: Valid for two years.

12. Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert

MCSE certifications cover a wide variety of IT specialties and skills, including data science. For data science certifications, Microsoft offers two courses, one that focuses on business applications, and another that focuses on data management and analytics. However, each course requires prior certification under the MCSE Certification program, so you’ll want to make sure you check the requirements first.

Cost: $165 per exam, per attempt.
Location:
Online
Duration
: Self-paced
Expiration
: Valid for three years.

13. Microsoft Professional Program in Data Science

The Microsoft Professional Program in Data Science focuses on 8 specific data science skills. These include T-SQL, Microsoft Excel, PowerBI, Python, R, Azure Machine Learning, HDInsight and Spark; Microsoft claims there are over 1.5 million open jobs looking for these skills. Courses run for three months every quarter and you don’t have to take them in order; it’s self-paced with a recommended commitment of two to four hours per week.

Cost: Must purchase credits through EdX, some materials are free
Location
: Online
Duration
: 6 weeks
Expiration
: Does not expire.

14. SAS Academy for Data Science

The SAS Academy for Data Science includes three programs: one that focuses on big data skills, another that focuses on data analytics skills and a third program that includes both data analytics and big data skills. It’s a great way to get exposure and experience using data science tools through hands-on learning, training, case studies and access to the SAS community. You can complete courses in person, which requires six weeks of instructor-led classes Monday through Friday. Or, you can choose the self-paced option and complete the course on your own time over six months.

Cost: Individual certification courses start at $2,250, while in-person classroom courses start at $9,000. Completing both courses at once costs $4,400 and $16,000, respectively.
Location:
Online
Duration
: Self-paced over 12 weeks
Expiration
: Credentials do not expire, but some exams may be retired as software changes.

15. Springboard Introduction to Data Science

Springboard’s Introduction to Data Science covers all the foundational topics you’ll need to start a career in data science. It focuses on R programming, statistics, organizing datasets, making data-driven decisions, communicating data findings with stakeholders and career guidance. Students will walk away with a portfolio that will help them land a job in data science or to start doing freelance work for companies.

Cost: $499 per month
Location: Online
Duration: 2 to 4 months on average
Expiration: Does not expire.

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