Top 28 Data Science Certifications [+ Selection Guide]

9 min read
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Careers in data science are in high demand. A recent LinkedIn search revealed more than 260,000 job postings across the U.S. related to  “data science.”  Many well-known companies are looking to fill data science positions, including:

  • Facebook
  • Fidelity
  • Dell Technologies
  • Apple
  • Google
  • Wayfair
  • Zillow
  • Adobe
  • Microsoft
  • Discover Financial Services
  • CVS Health
  • Mayo Clinic
  • Walmart

Even though data science jobs are in demand — the projected growth is 21% in the next ten years, which is much faster than the national average — many positions require a combination of specific advanced education, experience and certifications. 

“Certifications are a great way to give you an edge as a data scientist; they provide you with validation, helping you get hired above others with similar qualifications and experience,”  according to Dataconomy.  “Data science certifications come in many forms. From universities to specific vendors, any of the following are recognized by the industry and will help you hone your skills while demonstrating that you fully understand this area of expertise and have a great work ethic.”

Now let’s explore some of the most popular data science certifications.

List of Relevant Data Science Certifications

These data science certificates are listed in alphabetical order and are not ranked in any specific way. 

  1. Advanced Business Analytics Specialization

According to the Coursera description, “The Advanced Business Analytics Specialization brings together academic professionals and experienced practitioners to share real world data analytics skills you can use to grow your business, increase profits, and create maximum value for your shareholders. Learners gain practical skills in extracting and manipulating data using SQL code, executing statistical methods for descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive analysis, and effectively interpreting and presenting analytic results.” The intermediate level, 100% online course takes approximately 5 months to complete. You can audit the course for free if you only want to view the content, and financial aid is available if you can’t afford the course fee. 

  1. Amazon Amazon Web Services (AWS) Big Data Certification

This certification is geared toward “individuals who perform Big Data analyses with at least two years of experience using AWS technology,” according to Amazon. A new version of the exam became available in April 2020, the AWS Certified Data Analytics – Speciality. The multiple choice test takes approximately 170 minutes to complete and costs $300. 

  1. Business Analytics Specialization

In this course, you will learn how data is used for recruiting and performance evaluation. You will learn how to solve problems with “data-driven decision making” and information about tools used to predict customer behavior. Topics discussed include customer analytics, business analytics, predictive analytics, regression analysis, mathematical optimization and more. This beginner-level course is 100% online with no prior experience required. It takes approximately 6 months to complete. You can audit the course for free if you only want to view the content, and financial aid is available if you can’t afford the course fee. 

  1. Certified Specialist in Predictive Analytics and Data Science

This certification from the CAS Institute “offers analytics professionals and their employers the opportunity to certify skills specifically as applied to property-casualty insurance.” The certification program centers on insurance and technical knowledge. Participants will also complete a project that includes a real-world situation. To earn this certification, you must complete two online courses, pass three exams and complete a case study project. 

  1. Certified Analytics Professional (CAP)

“The Certified Analytics Professional (CAP) certification is a trusted, independent verification of the critical technical expertise and related soft skills possessed by accomplished analytics and data science professionals, and valued by analytics-oriented organizations.” Eligibility requirements to take the exam include: 3 years of experience in MA/MS in a related area; 5 years of experience with a BA/BS in a related area; or 7 years of experience with any degree in an unrelated analytics area. The cost is $495 for INFORMS members and $695 for non-members. 

  1. Cloudera Certified Associate (CCA) Data Analyst

Candidates for this certification include SQL developers, data analysts, business intelligence specialists, developers, system architects and database administrators. The 120-minute exam features 8-12 customer problems; “For each problem, you must implement a technical solution with a high degree of precision that meets all the requirements.” Though there are no prerequisites, Cloudera, which offers the course, recommends first taking the Cloudera Data Analyst Training course. 

  1. Cloudera Certified Professional (CCP) Data Engineer

Individuals who earn this certificate will be “able to perform core competencies required to ingest, transform, store, and analyze data in Cloudera’s CDH environment.” The exam has a time limit of 240 minutes and features 5-10 performance-based questions. 

  1. Data Analytics and Visualization Certificate 

Offered by the University of San Diego, this online professional certificate is designed and taught by expert instructors and faculty and provides practical statistical techniques and sought-after skill sets in data analytics and data visualization. There are four courses that must be taken in order; each one is offered three times per year. The courses are delivered in an asynchronous, fully online format, providing you with the ability to earn your certificate in just 28 weeks. Those who receive this certification will gain proficiency in several key data analytics tools and receive a comprehensive foundation in data analytics concepts, principles, techniques, tools, strategies and more. 

  1. DataCamp’s Data Scientist Certification

The curriculum for this professional certification includes timed exams that cover exploratory analysis, data management, model development and statistical experimentation. Participants will also have access to the DC Certified Community, which includes member-only career preparation and networking events. A premium DataCamp subscription includes the cost of this certification and grants full access to DataCamp’s content library as well as additional certificates and projects.

  1. Data Science Council of America (DASCA) Senior Data Scientist (SDS™)

According to the company’s website, this certification is “the world’s most powerful credential for professionally accomplished big data analysts and experts who aspire to stamp their data leadership potential and showcase their knowledge of the bleeding edge in data science.” There are four tracks to becoming a SDC, depending on your education and work experience. The SDS certification program fee is $775. 

  1. DASCA Principal Data Scientist (PDS™)

The PDS qualification is for those with at least 10 years of experience and a graduate/master’s degree in business, technology, mathematics or a related field. There are four tracks, two of which are for invited or nominated applicants only. The certification program fee ranges from $750 to $1,450 depending on the track. 

  1. Dell Technologies: Data Science – Associate

This certification “enables the learner to immediately participate in big data and other analytics projects” and will qualify you toward a specialist-level certification in the Dell EMC Proven Professional Data Scientist track. The exam focuses on data analytics, the data scientist role, the data analytics lifecycle, exploring data with R, statistics and more. 

  1. Dell Technologies: Specialist – Data Scientist, Data Engineering 

This certification is beneficial for “aspiring data engineers, data scientists, data stewards or anyone who is responsible for managing or processing data sets.” You must achieve the associate-level certification prior to enrolling (Associate – Data Science Version 1.0 and 2.0). This exam “focuses on the role of a data engineer in successful analytic projects and the various tools and techniques, including SQL, NoSQL, the Hadoop ecosystem, Apache Spark, data governance, streaming and IoT data processing, Python and building data pipelines.”

  1. Digital Analytics Association (DAA) Web Analyst Certificate

The purpose of this certificate is to demonstrate proficiency in and knowledge of web analytics. Eligibility requirements include: either a high school diploma and five years of online business experience (three of those years must focus on specified web analytics topics outlined in the requirements); or a four-year degree and three years of web analytics experience. The exam is offered in an online format; the fee is $649. 

  1. Google Professional Data Engineer Certification

This certification will assess your ability to design data processing systems, operate machine learning models, and build and operate data processing systems. The two-hour, multiple-choice exam can be taken either remotely or in person at a testing center. There are no prerequisites, though it’s recommended that applicants have at least three years of industry experience, including at least one year of designing and managing solutions using Google Cloud. The registration fee is $200. 

  1. HarvardX’s Data Science Professional Certificate

This self-paced course takes approximately 1 year and 5 months to complete (averaging 2-3 hours per week). Applicants will learn fundamental R programming skills and statistical and data science concepts and become familiar with essential tools, such as Unix/Linux, GitHub and more. Courses in this program cover a variety of topics, including R basics, visualization, probability, productivity tools, data wrangling, machine learning and linear regression. The cost of the program is $792.80. 

  1. IBM Data Science Professional Certificate

In the courses for this certificate, applicants will learn all about data science — including aspects of a data scientist’s job, building and evaluating machine learning models, the importance of developing hands-on skills and much more. The certificate takes approximately 6-12 months to complete (for part-time learners) or 2-3 months for full-time learners. Open to anyone with a job and academic background, this certificate does not require any prior computer programming experience, though applicants should be familiar with computers and high school math and possess good communication and presentation skills. Upon completion, you will receive instructions on how to claim your IBM Badge.

  1. Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Fundamentals

Though there are no prerequisites, interested candidates should have some understanding of machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) concepts and Microsoft Azure services. This certification covers AI workloads and considerations, fundamental principles of ML on Azure, Natural Language Processing (NLP) workloads on Azure and more. The exam fee in the United States is $99, but the price will change based on the country in which the exam is proctored. 

  1. Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Scientist Associate

Applicants for this certificate “should have subject matter expertise applying data science and machine learning to implement and run machine learning workloads on Azure.” Applicants should also have data science knowledge and experience using Azure Machine Learning and Azure Databricks. The exam fee is $165 in the United States, but the price will change based on the country in which the exam is proctored.

  1. Open Certified Data Scientist (Open CDS)

There are three levels of Open CDS certifications: Certified Data Scientist (Level 1); Master Certified Data Scientist (Level 2); and Distinguished Data Scientist (Level 3). This program “has been developed out of a requirement of the IT sector to verify that data scientist professionals have the qualities and capabilities required to produce effective analysis of data for the overall improvement of the business.” 

  1. SAS Certified Data Scientist

Earn a SAS Data Science Certification with a combination of the following credentials in the SAS Academy for Data Science: Data Curation Professional, Advanced Analytics Professional and AI & Machine Learning Professional. Global certification exams are available at a 50% discount to employees, educators, teachers, students, faculty and staff who are associated with academic institutions and school districts. 

  1. SAS Certified Professional: AI and Machine Learning Professional 

This program is “designed for individuals who wish to showcase their AI and analytics talent using open source and SAS tools to garner insights from data.” Candidates will demonstrate skills in machine learning, natural language processing, computer vision and model forecasting. Each exam attempt costs $180 (in the United States and India), except for the predictive modeling exam, which is $250. 

  1. SAS Certified Big Data Professional

Geared toward individuals “who want to validate their ability to use open source and SAS Data Management tools to prepare big data for statistical analysis,” this certificate requires the passing of two exams. Each exam attempt costs $180 (in the United States and India), except for the predictive modeling exam, which is $250. 

  1. TDWI’s Certified Business Intelligence Professional (CBIP) Credential 

Named one of the top business intelligence certifications to advance your career by CIO Magazine, this program is aimed at senior-level employees in the information systems and technology industry. This certificate may be a good fit if you’re looking to advance your business intelligence career and have two or more years of experience in computer information systems, data modeling, data planning, systems analysis or information technology management. The full CBIP preparation and certification bundle costs $1,799, which includes two online prep courses, three remotely proctored exams, an exam guide and full certification. 

  1. Tableau Data Scientist 

This program from Tableau is considered a learning path and not a certification, though it can certainly be valuable. The curriculum includes topics such as Tableau Basics, Visual Analytics and Data Science with Tableau.

  1. Tableau Data Analyst

This learning path includes courses such as Get Started with Tableau, Connect to and Transform Data, Create Views and Dashboards, Explore and Analyze Data and more. 

  1. Tableau Desktop Specialist

This certification is for those who have the basic Tableau skills and knowledge and at least three months of experience with the platform. The exam is 45 multiple choice, multiple response questions and a time limit of 60 minutes. The fee is $100, and there are no required prerequisites.

  1. TensorFlow Developer Certificate

Aimed at individuals who want to highlight their ML expertise, this certificate “is intended as a foundational certificate for students, developers, and data scientists who want to demonstrate practical machine learning skills through the building and training of models using TensorFlow.” You should be comfortable with ML and deep learning foundational principles, building ML models in TensorFlow 2.x, exploring strategies to prevent overfitting — among other topics. The exam fee is $100.

What Careers Would Benefit from a Data Science Certification?

It’s safe to say that most positions related to data science would benefit from certifications. Here are some popular career paths and average salary ranges to consider:

  • Data Scientist — $105,000 to $165,000
  • Data Science Manager — $145,000 to $250,000
  • Data Analyst — $62,000 to $86,000
  • Data Engineer — $92,000 to $130,000
  • Data Architect — $80,000 to $132,000
  • Machine Learning Engineer — $108,000 to $150,000
  • Business Intelligence Analyst — $65,000 to $105,000
  • Marketing Analyst — $60,000 to $80,000

How to Select the Right Data Science Certification

If you’re targeting a specific job, do your research and see which data science certifications are essential for which positions. If it’s required, the certification should be listed in the job posting. 

Another option is to contact the specific data science certification program for more information. You can also speak with industry professionals/colleagues and ask about their experiences with data science certifications. 

Tips for choosing the right data science certification, according to Indeed:

  • Choose based on your career level
  • Focus on certain skills
  • Train in certain platforms

FAQS

What are the primary reasons to obtain a data science certification?

There are many benefits to obtaining a certification. Not only do certifications give you an edge over other applicants with similar qualifications and experience, but they validate you as a data scientist and demonstrate your commitment to furthering your career goals in the data science industry.

Are data science certifications required?

It depends on the position. If a specific data certification is required, it should be explicitly stated in the job posting.

Which data science certification is right for me?

Again, it depends. What are your overall career goals? Have you been eyeing certain positions that require specific certification? The answers to these questions will help dictate which data certifications may be best for you.

Are certifications sufficient for data science positions, or should I pursue an advanced degree?

An advanced degree may not be required, but it can certainly demonstrate your commitment to furthering your data science education. Plus, a combination of certifications and an advanced degree can certainly set you apart from other job candidates.

How much do data science certifications cost?

The cost will depend on the program, but you’ll typically find certifications ranging from $100 to a few thousand dollars.

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