Wednesday, May 22, 2024

7 Best Data Analytics Certification Options For 2024

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Data analytics certifications validate your knowledge, hands-on experience, and expertise with the tools of the trade, giving you an edge in a competitive job market. While most certifications cover core data analytics principles, the best data analytics certifications help you specialize in a particular tool, including Power BI, SAS, SQL, Apache Hadoop, and more. To help you find the best data analytics programs and certifications, we’ve reviewed the top options for 2024—here are our recommendations:

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Top Data Analytics Certifications Comparison At a Glance

The following table provides an at-a-glance comparison of the top data analytics certifications you can earn, including the skills you can acquire and program details such as prerequisites, duration, location, and cost.

Certification Skills Acquired Requirements Duration Location Cost
AWS Certified Data Analytics Implementing data pipelines, troubleshooting issues, core data-related AWS services None 130 minutes Pearson VUE testing centers or online proctoring $150
Cloudera Certified Associate Data Analyst Generating reports in a CDH environment; modeling with Spark SQL, using Hive and Impala None 120 minutes Online with remote proctoring Exam voucher
(~ $295)
CompTIA Data+ Data mining and manipulation, reporting and visualization, data governance None 90 minutes
(90 questions)
Online and Pearson VUE Testing Centers Prices may vary
Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate Data analysis and visualization, SQL, basic R programming None Six months Remote $14 per month
IBM Data Analyst Professional Certificate Python programming, visualizing with IBM Cognos Analytics, SQL queries None Four months Remote $39 per month
Microsoft Certified: Power BI Data Analyst Associate Excel data analysis in Power BI, Power Query, interactive data and storytelling None Five months Remote $49 per month
SAS Certified Data Scientist Data visualization using SAS, big data analytics, predictive modeling Six months of programming experience in SAS or any programming language Three months Testing centers or online proctoring $180 per exam

AWS Certified Data Engineer – Associate

Best for Career Advancement and Industry Recognition

The AWS Certified Data Engineer Associate is a technical certification establishing expertise in managing and optimizing data-related services within the Amazon Web Services (AWS) environment. It validates a user’s skills and knowledge in implementing data pipelines, monitoring issues, improving performance, and more. AWS recently created this certification to invest in building new role-based certifications and replace the AWS Certified Data Analytics-Specialty certification, which will soon be retired.

Why We Picked It

This certification is ideal for data professionals looking to advance their careers, as AWS certifications are widely recognized and highly valued—especially for organizations using the AWS infrastructure. Data professionals looking to explore more career opportunities, such as data engineering jobs, will find this certification valuable, as this is an in-demand role with a low supply of skilled professionals. This certification also offers users opportunities to build their credibility in data architecture and other data-related roles.

Skills Acquired

The IBM Data Analyst Professional Certificate equips users with the following skills:

  • Core data-related AWS services
  • Implementing data pipelines
  • Monitoring and troubleshooting issues
  • Optimizing cost and performance
  • Designing data storage solutions with AWS services

Requirements

AWS doesn’t require users to take any specific AWS training before taking the exam but recommends at least two to three years of data engineering and a minimum of one to two years of hands-on experience with AWS services.

Duration, Location, And Cost

Length of Exam/Program: 130 minutes (65 questions)
Location: Pearson VUE testing center or online proctored exam
Cost: $150

AWS provides a free exam prep guide here.

Cloudera Certified Associate Data Analyst

Best for Handling Big Data Analytics Projects

The Cloudera Certified Associate Data Analyst is a technical certification created for SQL developers looking for a competitive edge in the market. This certification will enable users to use SQL (Hive and Impala) and Spark SQL to analyze data in Cloudera’s Hadoop environment.

Why We Picked It

We picked the Cloudera Certified Associate Data Analyst credential because it validates how data professionals and developers handle big data analytics projects with Hadoop-centric tools. Cloudera is also a well-respected name in the data analysis industry, so its certifications are recognized in the field. SQL developers who earn this certification after passing the exam (CCA159) establish their ability to perform the core competencies required to generate reports in a Cloudera Distributed Hadoop (CDH) environment using Impala and Hive. This certification also specifically targets scenarios with massive datasets, validating that the users can work within a highly scalable environment.

Skills Acquired

The Cloudera Certified Associate Data Analyst credential will teach you the following:

  • Basic data analysis and modeling with Spark SQL
  • Complex SQL query writing and optimization
  • Using Apache Hive and Apache Impala
  • Data ingestion and transformation with Cloudera environment
  • Cloudera’s data architecture and management
  • Using the CDP Public Cloud data warehouse

Requirements

While there’s no strict prerequisite for this certification, we recommended that you start by taking Cloudera’s Data Analyst training course, which has the same objectives as the exam. Candidates are also expected to know how to use the Data Definition Language (DDL) and Query Language (QL) statements in Hive and Impala to analyze data.

Duration, Location, And Cost

Length of Exam/Program: 120 minutes
Location: Online with remote proctoring
Cost: Exam voucher (~ $295) plus additional cost for prep materials

Browse through exam prep guides, sample questions, and other Cloudera resources here.

CompTIA Data+

Best for Validating Foundational Data Skills

The CompTIA Data+ Certification is an early-career data analytics certification verifying foundational data analysis skills and understanding of data-related concepts. Through this certification, users can learn about data mining, data manipulation, visualization, reporting, and core data governance procedures.

Why We Picked It

The CompTIA Data+ Certification is ideal for showcasing an data analyst’s foundational data skills, as it provides an in-depth understanding of core data principles applicable in a wide range of software and database contexts. Passing this certification program demonstrates baseline skills, and users can explore careers as data architects, business analysts, data scientists, and more. Additionally, one of its advantages compared with other certifications is that CompTIA Data+ employs a vendor-neutral approach, which provides a broader skillset across various tech stacks and platforms.

Skills Acquired

This certification will provide the following skills:

  • Data concepts and environments
  • Data mining
  • Data analysis
  • Data manipulation
  • Visualization
  • Data governance, quality, and controls
  • Basic statistical methods
  • Analyzing complex datasets

Requirements

There are no strict prerequisites, but CompTIA recommends 18 to 24 months of experience in a reporting analyst or business analyst job role, experience in using databases and analytical tools, and a basic understanding of statistics and data visualization.

Duration, Location, And Cost

Length of Exam/Program: 90 minutes (maximum of 90 questions)
Location: Pearson VUE testing centers and online testing
Cost: Exam voucher cost varies by vendor; see the full list of prices here

For an additional fee, CompTIA offers CertMaster Practice, an official final exam prep. Users can also access free and practiced tests for Data+ on ExamCompass and Udemy.

Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate

Best for Building Foundational Data Analysis Skills

The Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate on Coursera is a beginner-friendly program designed to teach core data analytics concepts and in-demand skills. It focuses on practical projects and a career-focused approach, covering topics in R programming, SQL, Python, Tableau, and more.

Why We Picked It

We recommend the Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate because it’s ideal for building data analysis skills, doesn’t require prior experience, and offers a structured path for beginners. Users can gain an immersive understanding of a data analyst’s day-to-day job and also gain practical focus with real-world case studies and hands-on projects. This program also equips users with analytical skills using in-demand tools including spreadsheets, SQL, basic R programming, and Tableau. Additionally, it stands out among other certifications for its affordability and the opportunity to receive financial aid, as well as its eligibility for college credit at participating U.S. colleges and universities.

Skills Acquired

After taking the the Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate courses, users will gain the following skills:

  • Data analysis and visualization
  • Data collection and cleansing
  • Data calculation
  • Creating case studies
  • Metadata
  • SQL
  • R Programming
  • Tableau Software

Requirements

There are no prerequisites for the Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate, but users should finish the eight-course series to gain a shareable professional certification.

Duration, Location, And Cost

Length of Exam/Program: Self-paced; approximately six months at 10 hours a week
Location: 100 percent online through Coursera
Cost: Users can choose a monthly subscription to Coursera ($14/month) or a one-time course fee

While there aren’t specific practice tests mirroring the exams and quizzes in the Google Data Analytics Certification, users can try exercises for SQL practice on websites like LeetCode, HackerRank, or SQLZoo.

IBM Data Analyst Professional Certificate

Best for Learning Data Analysis with IBM Tools

The IBM Data Analyst Professional Certificate is a beginner-friendly program designed to prepare users for a career as a data analyst. Through this program, users can gain in-demand data analysis skills and hands-on experience using IBM-centric tools and methodologies. It covers topics like data wrangling, visualization, Python basics, SQL, and more.

Why We Picked It

IBM (International Business Machines Corporation) is a leader in data science; its certifications and programs earn global recognition. IBM’s Data Analyst Professional Certificate enables you to use tools like IBM Cognos Analytics, which is ideal for those who plan to join companies that employ an IBM-focused approach to data analysis. This nine-course series also equips users with real-world case studies through hands-on labs and projects, helping them build a portfolio to showcase their work.

Skills Acquired

The IBM Data Analyst Professional Certificate equips users with the following skills:

  • Data analysis
  • Python programming
  • Using Pandas, Numpy, and APIs
  • Visualizing with Tableau and IBM Cognos Analytics
  • Data cleaning and preparation
  • SQL queries for data manipulation
  • Microsoft Excel for data-related tasks

Requirements

No prior experience is needed, but basic computer literacy and high school-level math can be helpful.

Duration, Location, And Cost

Length of Exam/Program: Self-paced; four months at 10 hours a week
Location: 100 percent online through Coursera
Cost: Users can choose a monthly subscription to Coursera ($39/month) or a one-time course fee

Check out SQL practice exercises on LeetCode, HackerRanz, and SQLZoo.

Microsoft Power BI Data Analyst Professional Certificate

Best for Demonstrating Power BI Expertise

The Microsoft Power BI Data Analyst Professional Certificate helps users learn how to use Power BI to connect data sources and transform them into valuable insights. It helps users prepare for the Microsoft PL-300 certification exam and focuses on mastering Power BI’s capabilities for data modeling and analysis and creating compelling visualizations.

Why We Picked It

We picked the Microsoft Power BI Data Analyst Professional Certificate because it provides a deep dive into Power BI, building expertise on DAX formulas, advanced modeling, and optimizing Power BI processes. Through this program, learners can receive professional-level training from Microsoft and learn about content aligned with the Microsoft PL-300 exam. This eight-course series will help users demonstrate their newly learned skills with portfolio-ready projects and their proficiency with the Microsoft ecosystem. Another key reason we recommend this course is its affordable monthly subscription via Coursera and the 50 percent discount on the PL-300 certification exam for users who complete it.

Skills Acquired

Microsoft Power BI Data Analyst Professional Certificate will offer many skills to users who complete the program, including:

  • Data cleaning and analysis
  • Preparing Microsoft Excel for analysis in Power BI
  • SQL
  • Power Query
  • Using DAX language
  • Interactive data and storytelling
  • Creating compelling reports and dashboards
  • Building complex data models

Requirements

There is no prior experience required for the Microsoft Power BI Data Analyst Professional Certificate, but users should complete the eight-course series to access professional certification and earn degree credit.

Duration, Location, And Cost

Length of Exam/Program: Self-paced; approximately five months at 10 hours a week
Location: 100 percent online through Coursera
Cost: Users can choose a monthly subscription to Coursera ($49/month) or a one-time course fee

Users can take several practice tests together with this certification to prepare for the Microsoft PL-300 certification on websites like MeasureUp and Udemy.

SAS Certified Data Scientist

Best for Data Professionals Using SAS Suite

The SAS Certified Data Scientist is a multi-exam certification path establishing advanced data science skills using SAS software. This certification validates that the examinee is proficient in using SAS tools for data manipulation, analysis, and data modeling in complex projects.

Why We Picked It

We chose the SAS Certified Data Scientist program because it helps users demonstrate SAS expertise using a wide range of SAS and open source tools, as well as the ability to make business recommendations using complex machine learning models. Users can also establish their skills in deploying models at scale via the robust SAS environment. For data professionals working in niche-specific industries, including pharmaceuticals, government, and finance, having a SAS certification helps you stand out in a competitive job market.

Skills Acquired

This SAS Certified Data Scientist program will help you acquire the following skills:

  • Data curation
  • Advanced programming
  • Advanced analytics
  • AI and machine learning
  • Predictive modeling techniques
  • Model performance optimization
  • Data visualization using SAS tools
  • Working with big data within the SAS ecosystem

Requirements

To enroll in the SAS data science certification program, users need at least six months of programming experience in SAS or any programming language.

SAS also recommends that the user complete the SAS Programming 1: Essentials and Statistics 1: ANOVA, Regression, and Logistic Regression courses. Users who’d like to have an edge in learning the SAS ecosystem might also consider taking the SAS Programming 2: Data Manipulation Techniques and Predictive Modeling Using Logistic Regression courses.

Duration, Location, And Cost

Length of Exam/Program: Three months
Location: Testing centers or online proctoring
Cost: $180 per exam

Check out the SAS Resource Center for prep guides and the SAS Support Community for practice problems and exam advice.

Is A Data Analytics Certification Worth The Investment?

Data analysts have recently become some of the most in-demand professionals in the job market. Certification in data analytics offers validation of your skills and makes you a more valuable candidate to employers, potentially leading to job offers and better pay. Having certifications proves that you’ve invested your time, resources, and effort in your career development.

The field of data analytics is continuously evolving, and certifications provide a structured learning path for beginners and learning opportunities for data professionals needing to stay ahead of the game. Ultimately, a certification by itself won’t guarantee a job offer, but most data analytics programs pair core knowledge with hands-on experience, enabling users to have a portfolio to showcase their work.

How To Choose The Right Data Analytics Certification

Finding the right data analytics certification can be challenging, especially if you’re investing your time, money, and effort into a program that could potentially offer better career opportunities. Here are several factors to consider when choosing a data analytics certification:

  • Assess your current skills, strengths, and weaknesses. Choose a certification that matches your knowledge and understanding of data analytics.
  • Outline your career goals and the data roles you aspire to achieve. If it’s difficult to determine your goals, research the current job market, including what’s in high demand.
  • Look for certifications aligned with your goals. Or, seek certifications that align with the requirements of the job you want. Also consider the duration of the program, the examination costs, and the mode of teaching that’s most suitable for you.
  • Focus on the tools and technologies included in the curriculum. Do you want to specialize in specific tools like Power BI or Tableau? Do you prefer a vendor-neutral approach for more flexibility, like what CompTIA and Cloudera offer?
  • Consider the resources you’re willing to invest. Before enrolling, research the entire cost of the program and prep materials, as well as prerequisites and time commitment. If you’re a student or working a full-time job, consider what your schedule will look like once you enroll in a certification course or program.
  • Seek advice from data professionals. Join community forums, read reviews, and ask people you know who work in the field to gain a first-hand understanding of the program you would like to invest in.

Bottom Line: The Best Data Analytics Certification For 2024

Choosing the program and certification is an investment in your career in data analytics. Before deciding on a data analytics certification, assess your existing skills, career goals, and tools that are most valuable in your field. Consider our list to explore and narrow down your options, and find the ones that align with your aspirations and the resources available. Also, seek advice from data professionals, join an active learning community, or explore free courses to assess your knowledge and skills gap.

If you’d like to deep dive into data analytics and how it’s used for business, read our in-depth guide to data analytics for businesses.

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