10 Best Data Analytics Certifications To Pursue in 2024

by Finn Patraic

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In the rapidly evolving field of data analytics, staying ahead requires continuous learning and up-to-date certifications.

Whether you're a seasoned professional or just starting, the right certification can significantly enhance your career prospects.

In 2024, several certifications stand out for their relevance and industry recognition.

This article highlights the 10 best data analytics certifications to pursue this year.

Read on to discover which certifications can help you excel in the data-driven world.

Top 10 Certifications for Data Analytics in 2024

We’ve done extensive research to provide you with the best certifications. These will help make your resume stand out and sharpen your skills further. Whether you’re looking for an entry-level position or want to step up your skills for promotions in data analytics, these certifications are for you.

1. Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate

  • Key Features: 100% online, self-paced, hands-on projects, career resources.
  • Duration: 3 to 6 months completion time
  • Cost: $49/month through Coursera
  • Benefits: Beginner-friendly, recognized by Google, job-focused curriculum.

Acknowledged by Google, this is a great, entry-level certification program for people who want to get into the world of data analytics. The course takes you through the fundamentals of data analysis. You’ll learn about things such as SQL and data visualization.

2. IBM Data Science Professional Certificate

  • Key Features: 10 courses, hands-on labs, real-world projects, IBM cloud access.
  • Duration: 5 months, 10 hours a week
  • Cost: $49/month through Coursera
  • Benefits: Comprehensive, project-based, recognized by IBM, career-oriented.

This is an in-depth certification program that consists of 10 courses. You’ll be able to learn at your own pace while learning a variety of necessary skills in data analytics. You will learn things, such as Python programming, data analysis, machine learning, and data visualization. During that time, you’ll also work on portfolio projects to help with your job search.

3. Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Scientist Associate

  • Key Features: Covers Azure machine learning, data storage, and processing.
  • Duration: Varies depending on exam preparation
  • Cost: $165 per exam
  • Benefits: Focuses on Azure cloud platform, relevant for cloud-based data roles, industry-recognized.

This intermediate course is for data scientists who want to work on more cloud-based projects. You’ll train machine learning models, create pipelines, and learn how to run jobs for production. To pass the exam for this course, you’ll need knowledge of Azure machine learning and MLflow.

4. Certified Analytics Professional (CAP)

  • Key Features: Rigorous exam, covers seven domains of analytics, requires several years of experience.
  • Duration: Varies depending on exam preparation
  • Cost: $495 for INFORMS members, $695 for non-members (including application fee)
  • Benefits: Highly respected in the industry, demonstrates mastery of analytics, and a broad scope of knowledge.

This is one of the most widely accepted data analytics certification programs. It covers analytics in a wide area, from framing business problems and creating solutions. This certification is for experienced professionals who want to illustrate that they’ve mastered and understood the process of data analytics.

5. Associate Certified Analytics Professional (aCAP)

  • Key Features: One exam, covers seven domains of analytics, geared towards early-career professionals.
  • Duration: Varies depending on exam preparation
  • Cost: $55 application fee and $150 exam fee for INFORMS members or $245 for nonmembers.
  • Benefits: Accessible for early-career professionals, validates core analytics skills, pathway to CAP.

The aCAP is an entry-level analytics program for new professionals. It’s a great certification program for people who are knowledgeable about the data analytics process, but may not have the experience yet. 

6. Cloudera Certified Associate (CCA) Data Analyst

  • Key Features: One performance-based exam, focuses on data ingestion, transformation, and analysis using Cloudera tools.
  • Duration: Varies depending on exam preparation
  • Cost: $295
  • Benefits: Specific to Cloudera's ecosystem, validates big data skills, relevant for Hadoop-based roles.

If you’re into big data, then the CCA Data Analyst certification is a great choice to consider. This is a hands-on certification that tests your ability to analyze and use large datasets. You’ll make use of various Cloudera tools, such as Hadoop and Spark.

7. SAS Certified Advanced Analytics Professional

  • Key Features: Multiple exams, covers SAS programming, statistics, optimization, and more.
  • Duration: Varies based on exam preparation
  • Cost: Varies based on exams taken
  • Benefits: Deep dive into SAS, advanced analytics skills, valuable in industries using SAS extensively.

SAS is a big name in analytics, and this certification shows you've got a high level of skill in using their software. You'll tackle advanced statistical modeling, machine learning, and data mining techniques. If you're a data nerd who loves geeking out on algorithms, this one's for you.

8. Data Science Council of America (DASCA) Principal Data Scientist

  • Key Features: Rigorous exam, requires extensive experience, covers a wide range of data science domains.
  • Duration: Varies depending on exam preparation
  • Cost: Ranges from $850 to $1450
  • Benefits: Top-tier credential, validates expertise in advanced data science, opens doors to leadership roles.

This is one of the highest-tier of data science certifications. It’s a prestigious certification that shows complete mastery of more advanced topics, such as natural language processing and deep learning. If you’re looking for more advanced positions in data science, this is a worthwhile certification to acquire.

9. Open Certified Data Scientist (Open CDS)

  • Key Features: Performance-based assessment, portfolio review, covers the entire data science lifecycle.
  • Duration: Varies depending on assessment preparation
  • Cost: $400 – $550
  • Benefits: Vendor-neutral, focuses on practical skills, recognized by Open Group, emphasizes real-world application.

Recognized by the Open Group, this vendor-neutral certification comes in three levels. The levels range from certified to distinguished data scientists. It’s a great certification to earn as you work your way up the ladder in data science and gain more experience.

10. Microsoft Certified: Power BI Data Analyst Associate

  • Key Features: One exam (PL-300), covers data preparation, modeling, visualization, and analysis using Power BI.
  • Duration: Varies depending on exam preparation
  • Cost: $165
  • Benefits: Focuses on Power BI, relevant for business intelligence roles, valued by organizations using Microsoft tools.

This Microsoft Power BI certification is for people who want to specialize in data visualization. It’s an intermediate certification, which means you’ll need to have some experience before undertaking it. It’ll test your ability to prepare and model data, visualize and analyze data, and deploy and maintain assets.

Why are Data Analytics Certifications Important

Data analytics certifications are proof that you’ve learned the information needed to work in your industry. You’ll receive valuable knowledge while taking your certification course and prove you’ve retained that knowledge through passing exams. By receiving a certification, you prove to potential employers why you’re an important asset to the company. Whether you’re looking for a new position or currently working in the field, it can be beneficial to pursue one or more data analytics certifications.

Benefits of Data Analytics Certifications

So, what do you get out of investing time, energy, and even money in pursuing these certifications? You gain the following:

Skill Enhancement and Validation

First and foremost, certifications are a fantastic way to level up your skills. The process of preparing for a certification exam often involves diving deep into specific topics, mastering new tools and techniques, and gaining a deeper understanding of data analytics concepts.

It’s not just about gaining more knowledge either. It’s also about proving your knowledge. Certifications are a straightforward way for employers and colleagues to see that you’ve put in the work and are serious about your career development.

Increased Credibility and Career Opportunities

Another benefit of getting a certification is that it helps in the competitive job market. A certification can be just what you need to get ahead of other prospective employees. Employers appreciate people with certifications as they verify their skills and demonstrate their commitment to professional development.

The increased credibility translates into better job opportunities and higher earning potential. According to Fortune, employees with a relevant certification can raise their salary by as much as 20%. Certifications can also help you when seeking out leadership roles, as they signal that you’re able to take on more complex tasks and responsibilities.

Networking and Community Building

Many certification programs offer opportunities to connect with a community of fellow data professionals. This can be a valuable resource for networking, learning from others, and staying informed about industry trends. You might even find mentors or potential collaborators through these communities.

Personal Satisfaction and Growth

Beyond the tangible benefits, there's something intrinsically rewarding about achieving a certification. It's a testament to your hard work and dedication, and it can boost your confidence and motivation to continue learning and growing in your career.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Certification

Now that you have a stronger understanding of what the best certifications are, you should figure out which ones are the best for you. Consider the following factors to determine what the best certification is to pursue.

Industry Recognition

Not all certifications carry the same weight in the job market. Some are widely recognized across industries, while others might be specific to certain sectors or technologies. Before committing to a certification, research which ones are valued by employers in your field of interest.

For example, the Certified Analytics Professional (CAP) is a well-respected, vendor-neutral certification that's recognized across various industries. On the other hand, the Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Scientist Associate is highly relevant for companies using Microsoft's Azure cloud platform. Talk to professionals in your field or look at job postings to see which certifications are frequently mentioned.

Cost

Certifications can range in price from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. The cost often reflects the depth and breadth of the content, the prestige of the certifying organization, and the resources included in the program (e.g., study materials, practice exams, mentorship).

Consider your budget carefully and weigh the potential return on investment. While a more expensive certification might offer greater career benefits, a more affordable option could be a good starting point if you're just beginning your data analytics journey.

Time Commitment

Earning a certification requires time and effort. Some certifications can be obtained in a matter of weeks, while others might take months or even years of preparation. Be realistic about your schedule and choose a certification that fits your available time.

Factor in the time you'll need to study the material, complete practice exams, and, if applicable, gain the required work experience. If you have a full-time job or other commitments, a self-paced online certification might be more manageable than a boot camp or intensive program.

Course Content

What you learn should align with your career goals and interests. If you're passionate about machine learning, a certification focused on data visualization might not be the best fit. Look for certifications that cover the topics and tools you'll need to excel in your chosen field.

Some certifications offer a broad overview of data analytics, while others specialize in specific areas like big data, cloud computing, or business intelligence. Examine the syllabus and learning objectives to ensure they match your learning needs and career aspirations.

Career Goals

Are you aiming to become a data analyst, data scientist, data engineer, or business intelligence analyst? Each role requires a different skill set, and certain certifications might be more relevant for specific career paths.

For instance, the Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate is an excellent starting point for aspiring data analysts, while the IBM Data Science Professional Certificate is better suited for those interested in machine learning and data science. The AWS Certified Big Data – Specialty certification is ideal for individuals targeting cloud-based data roles.

Your Learning Style

Are you a self-motivated learner who prefers to study at your own pace, or do you thrive in a structured environment with deadlines and instructor support? Consider your learning style when choosing a certification.

Some certifications offer flexible online courses with self-paced learning, while others might have strict deadlines and scheduled classes. Choose a format that complements your learning preferences and helps you stay motivated throughout the process.

Exam Format and Difficulty

Certifications typically culminate in an exam that assesses your knowledge and skills. The format and difficulty of the exam can vary significantly. Some exams are multiple-choice, while others are performance-based or require a portfolio review.

Research the exam format and requirements in advance so you know what to expect. Some providers offer practice exams or study guides to help you prepare. If you're a nervous test-taker, a certification with a less intimidating exam format might be a better choice.

Conclusion: Your Path to Data-Driven Success

Data analytics is a field overflowing with opportunities, and certifications are your compass to navigate it successfully. Whether you're a beginner eager to break into the field or a seasoned pro looking to level up, there's a certification out there that's perfect for you.

Remember, the best certification is the one that aligns with your career goals, budget, and learning style. Don't rush into a decision – take the time to research your options, explore different course offerings, and consider the factors we've discussed.

Earning a data analytics certification isn't just about adding a fancy acronym to your resume. It's about investing in your future, honing your skills, and demonstrating your commitment to excellence in this exciting and rapidly growing field. So, take the plunge, embrace the world of data, and watch your career soar to new heights.

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