Big Data Certifications

These top 15 Big Data Certifications enable IT staffers to boost their income by demonstrating subject expertise. 


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The number of big data certifications is mushrooming every year as the Big Data field rapidly expands. Some certification have the “big data” name while others are termed data analytics, data science, Hadoop and a variety of other data-related labels.

Dozens of educational institutions and vendors offer training to prepare individuals for a big data world. The good news is that there are now more avenues than ever for expanding your horizons and improving your prospects.

“In addition to traditional classroom training, there are now more options that blend online, self-paced and optional instructor-led training,” said Catherine Truxillo, Ph.D., Director of Analytical Education at SAS. “Typically, students have more time to complete those courses, which adds to the overall flexibility.”

That said, it is important to define the direction you wish to pursue and align any training to that goal. After all, some courses focus on big data system administration which readies you for the challenging world of storing, managing and moving around vast amounts of information. Others are all about data analytics – how you glean insight from big data that can be translated into competitive advantage. And the business intelligence side is concerned with the gathering of data from a diverse range of sources for the purpose of reporting accurately on business activities.

Those seeking to widen their skillset and strengthen their resumes with big data qualifications, then, have some important decisions to make concerning which type of course to select. But those investing the time and effort wisely are likely to realize benefits such as a faster promotion track and perhaps lucrative offers to move elsewhere. HR departments and head hunters are quite likely to favor those with the right qualifications and certifications to their name. Time spent on the right program could translate into a six-figure salary.

“Rigorous industry certifications are a great way to differentiate one’s self to employers—or to prospective employers—from others competing for the same job roles,” said Truxillo.

Top Big Data Certifications

Here, then, are some of the top big data certifications available, in no particular order. In some cases, the organization or vendor provides multiple certifications. In most cases, we grouped these Big Data certifications together to provide a broader overview of the marketplace.

The wide range of options, permutations and intricacies of every vendor and institution are too numerous to detail. Suffice to say, each one has its own way of doing things. Most offer boot camps, elementary level training programs, courses to prepare you for higher level certifications, mock exams and more. Go to each website to find out the specifics for any courses you wish to take.

Microsoft’s MCSE: Data Management and Analytics

The Microsoft slant is the utilization of its own tools such as Azure, SQL Server, as well as its BI and analytics platforms. Its courses educate users on how to build and deploy enterprise databases, run SQL Server systems in cloud environments, operate big data in the Microsoft Azure cloud, and harness these tools to analyze big data effectively. You can learn how to manage organizational reporting, submit BI queries, run a data warehouse, establish data models and much more.

Candidates can specialize in a variety of different flavors of big data. The MCSE: Data Management and Analytics requires you to first earn an MCSA certification and then pass an exam. Courses to choose from are MCSA: SQL Server 2012/2014, MCSA: SQL 2016 Database Development, MCSA: SQL 2016 Database Administration and MCSA: SQL 2016 BI Development, and MCSA: Data Science.

The latter option provides expertise in operationalizing Microsoft Azure machine learning and Big Data with R Server and SQL R Services. It is targeted towards data management professionals, data architects, data scientists, and data developers who design big data analytics solutions on Microsoft Azure. Following that, they must take an exam to earn classification as an MCSA: Data Management and Analytics.

Cloudera Certified Professional

Cloudera offers a number of big data certifications. Cloudera Certified Professional Data Engineers deals with how to develop reliable, autonomous, scalable data pipelines that result in optimized data sets for a variety of workloads. A graduate is armed with the skills required to ingest, store and analyze data in Cloudera's CDH environment.

Cloudera Certified Associate (CCA) sets the groundwork for a candidate to earn a CCP. CCA Spark and Hadoop Developer concentrates on Apache Spark and Cloudera enterprise tools. CCA Data Analyst can load and model Hadoop data in order to define relationships and extract meaningful results from raw input. A CCA Administrator offers Cloudera core system and cluster administrator skills.

Cloudera Certified Professional

The Cloudera certification focuses on the Hadoop stack. 

EMC Data Science and Big Data Analytics Certifications

EMC is another company offering a number of valuable credentials. To become an EMC-certified Data Scientist, you have to earn certifications for each of two courses: EMC Proven Professional Data Scientist Associate (EMCDSA) certification provides an introduction to big data and analytic methods, as well as tools, such as MapReduce and Hadoop. The Advanced Methods in Data Science and Big Data Analytics course takes things to the next level, covering MapReduce and methods for analyzing unstructured data. Students learn Hadoop (including Pig, Hive, and HBase), natural language processing, social network analysis, simulation, random forests, multinomial logistic regression, and data visualization.

SAS Academy for Data Science

Through the SAS Academy for Data Science at its campus in Cary, NC, students master big data management, advanced analytics, machine learning, data visualization and text analytics, along with communication techniques. They can earn three different certifications. SAS Certified Data Scientist is the most challenging. It is comprised of five exams and four complete credentials. The data scientist credential requires SAS Big Data Professional and the SAS Advanced Analytics Professional certifications.

In addition, SAS Certified Big Data Professional requires basic programming skills, It addresses the analysis of big data with a focus on big data management, data quality, and visual data exploration using SAS BI and analytics tools. And SAS Certified Advanced Analytics Professional is comprised of the Predictive Modeler using SAS Enterprise Miner certification as well as machine learning, experimentation, forecasting, optimization, and implementing models from various open source packages.

“In a study of 54 million employee profiles, examined which career skills translated into salary bumps and SAS skills topped the list,” said Truxillo.

MongoDB Certified Developer Associate

The open source MongoDB has become a very popular NoSQL database due to its ability to manage loosely structured and unstructured data. Not surprisingly, certifications in this field are in demand. MongoDB Certified Developer Associate teaches software engineers how to design and build MongoDB applications. Courses are available for Java, Node.js, .NET Developers and others. In addition, this certification concerns the fundamentals and intricacies of MongoDB itself. They are available in instructor-led classrooms and online through the MongoDB University.

HPE Big Data Certifications

These certifications from Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) validates those who can successfully manage one of the HP Big Data solutions. Those completing it can drive superior performance and perform advanced administrative tasks such as manual projection design, troubleshooting, diagnostics and database tuning. Typical candidates are technical specialists with at least six months of experience administering, managing, and operating Vertica.

IBM Certified Data Architect – Big Data

This high-level certificate is aimed at data architects. It is oriented to helping data architects to be able to work closely with customers and solutions architects so that any big data tools developed can serve business needs. Candidates are advised to take short courses such as SPSS Modeler to InfoSphere BigInsights in preparation.

The Big Data Architect graduate can design large-scale data processing systems for the enterprise and provide input on the architectural decisions including hardware and software. The resulting systems and models can handle structured, semi-structured, unstructured data. Further, governance and security challenges are understood. 

The IBM Professional Certification Program also offers the IBM Certified Data Engineer – Big Data certificate to big data engineers who have to build large-scale data processing systems. These courses are tailored to the IBM ecosystem, which goes beyond analytical tools into areas such as mainframe, databases, storage, ERP, CRM and more.

IBM Professional Certification Program

The IBM certification covers structured, semi-structured and unstructured data.

Oracle Business Intelligence Foundation Suite 11g Certified Implementation Specialist

Oracle has a massive certification operation and offers a wealth of alternatives. Many different Oracle Business Intelligence (BI) certifications are available based on Java and Oracle Middleware. This includes Oracle Business Intelligence Foundation Suite 11g Certified Implementation Specialist, BI Enterprise Edition, BI Applications, Endeca Information Discovery, and Essbase.

Oracle Business Intelligence Foundation Suite 11g Certified Implementation Specialist targets architects, analysts, developers and administrators working with the Oracle Business Intelligence Suite. It teaches them how to construct dashboards, submit queries, configure software, building a BI Server metadata repository, defining security settings and managing BI tools. The company offers a boot camp to prepare a person for the exam.

Certified Analytics Professional

Certified Analytics Professional (CAP) is vendor-independent organization providing big data training and certification training in analytics. This includes framing business and analytic problems, acquiring data, developing analytical methodologies, model building, implementation, and model lifecycle management. It is a good option for those not committed to any specific vendor who wish to gain a basic understanding of the analytics process, model building and deploying analytics in the real world. It is available all over the world.

Certification of Professional Achievement in Data Sciences

Columbia University’s Certification of Professional Achievement in Data Sciences (CPADS) is a data science certification offered through The FU Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science and The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Elements include algorithms for data science probability & statistics, machine learning for data science, and exploratory data analysis and visualization. It is available in class and online. Prerequisites include an undergraduate degree and familiarity with computer programming.

Certificate in Engineering Excellence Big Data Analytics and Optimization (CPEE)

Available through the International School of Engineering (INSOFE), this four-month program has 10 lecture and lab courses covering big data using R and Hadoop and many other aspects of analytics such as statistics, modeling, machine learning and data mining.

Mining Massive Data Sets Graduate Certificate

The Mining Massive Data Sets Graduation Certification is offered through the Stanford Center for Professional Development is primarily for those who are already software engineers, statisticians, predictive modelers, data miners or analytics professionals. It consists of four courses. As its name suggests it is all about how you deduce actionable conclusions from huge datasets. But it’s a long haul. It typically takes a year or two to complete.

Certificate in Analytics: Optimizing Big Data

The Certificate in Analytics: Optimizing Big Data is on offer from the Professional & Continuing Studies unit of the University of Delaware. It is suitable for business, marketing and operations managers, as well as data analysts. It comprises statistics, communication basics, analysis of large data sets, modeling, and correlation.


Hortonworks is a major player in Apache Hadoop. To become a Hortonworks Certified Professional, you need to earn at least one of the following: Hadoop Certified Developer, Hadoop Certified Apache Spark, Hadoop Certified Java Developer, Hadoop Certified Administrator and Hortonworks Certified Associate. Those completing these courses become skilled in the design, development, and management of Hadoop big data environments.  

MapR Certified Hadoop Developer

MapR has a converged data platform running on Hadoop. The company offers several certifications such as the MapR Certified Hadoop Developer, MapR Certified Hadoop Administrator and the MapR Certified HBase Developer. For the big data administrator, developer or analyst, these courses cover Hadoop Clusters, MapReduce, YARN, HBase and distributed NoSQL databases.

“Certifications provide industry validation of skills and expertise, and increased credibility with an employer as a technical professional committed to personal growth,” said Truxillo. 

Tags: big data, big data certification

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