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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. Companies are increasingly reliant on data and are eager to hire data professionals who can make sense of the information the business collects. If you are looking to get into this lucrative field, or want to stand out against the competition, certification can be key.

Data science 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 validate 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 experience as a new grad, hone vendor-specific skills or demonstrate your knowledge of data analytics, the following certifications (presented in alphabetical order) will work for you.

Top 15 data science certifications

  • Certified Analytics Professional (CAP)
  • Cloudera Certified Associate: Data Analyst
  • Cloudera Certified Professional: CCP Data Engineer
  • Data Science Council of America (DASCA) Senior Data Scientist (SDS)
  • Data Science Council of America (DASCA) Principle Data Scientist (PDS)
  • Dell EMC Data Science Track
  • Google Certified Professional Data Engineer
  • Google Data and Machine Learning
  • IBM Data Science Professional Certificate
  • Microsoft MCSE: Data Management and Analytics
  • Microsoft Certified Azure Data Scientist Associate
  • Open Certified Data Scientist (Open CDS)
  • SAS Certified Advanced Analytics Professional
  • SAS Certified Big Data Professional
  • SAS Certified Data Scientist

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 understands data, can draw logical conclusions and express to key stakeholders why those data points are significant. If you’re new to analytics, you can start with the entry-level Associate Certified Analytics Professional (aCAP) exam and then move on to your CAP certification.

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

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

Cloudera Certified Professional: CCP Data Engineer

Once you earn your CCA, you can move on to the CCP exam, which Cloudera touts as one of the most rigorous and “demanding performance-based certifications.” Those looking to earn their CCP need to have deep data engineering experience and a “high-level of mastery” of common data science skills, according to Cloudera. The exam consists of eight to 12 customer problems that you will have to solve hands-on using a Cloudera Enterprise cluster. The exam lasts four hours and you’ll need to earn a 70 percent or higher to pass.

Cost: $400 per attempt — each attempt includes three exams
Location: Online
Duration: Self-paced
Expiration: Valid for three years

Data Science Council of America (DASCA) Senior Data Scientist (SDS)

The Data Science Council of America (DASCA) Senior Data Scientist (SDS) certification program is designed for professionals with five or more years of experience in research and analytics. It’s recommended that students have knowledge of databases, spreadsheets, statistical analytics, SPSS/SAS, R, quantitative methods, and the fundamentals of object-oriented programming and RDBMS. The program includes five tracks that will appeal to different candidates — each track has different requirements in terms of degree-level, work experience and pre-requisites to apply. You’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree and more than five years of experience in data science to be eligible for each track, while other tracks require a master’s degree or past certifications.

Cost: $650
Location: Online
Duration: Self-paced
Expiration: 5 years

Data Science Council of America (DASCA) Principle Data Scientist (PDS) 

The PDS program includes four tracks that appeal to professionals who are at different places in their data science careers. Track 1, the QualiFly Route, is for DASCA alums with a master’s degree and at least 10 years of experience in technology. Track 2 is for data professionals working at a DASCA-partner organization with at least 10 years of experience in the industry and a master’s degree. Track 3 is for those who earned their SDS certification and are ready to advance onto the next level — you’ll need at least 10 years of experience in technology and 5 years of experience in data engineering or analytics. Track 4 is for open applications to the program — you’ll need at least a master’s degree and 12 or more years of experience for this track.

Cost: $850, track 1; $850, track 2; $300, Track 3; $950, track 4
Location: Online
Duration: Self-paced
Expiration: Credentials do not expire

Dell EMC Data Science Track

The Dell EMC Data Scientist Track (EMCDS) includes two programs — the Data Science Associate v2 (DCS-DS) certification and the Data Science Specialist (DCS-DS) certification. At the associate level, you’ll cover the foundations of data science and big data analytics — the courses can be completed in-person or online. Once you complete the associate-level program, you can move onto the specialist-level which covers topics such as natural language processing, advanced analytical methods, Hadoop, Pig, Hive, HBase and visualization methods.

Cost: $230 per exam
Location: In-person or online via Pearson VUE
Duration: Self-paced
Expiration: Does not expire

Google Certified Professional Data Engineer

The Google Certified Professional Data Engineer certification is best suited for those with foundational knowledge of Google’s cloud platform (GCP) and experience designing and managing solutions using GCP. The exam will test your abilities with designing, building, securing and operationalizing machine learning models and data processing systems.

Cost: $200

Location: Online

Duration: Two hours

Expiration: Credentials do not expire

Google Data and Machine Learning

The Google Data and Machine Learning certification includes three tracks for data analysts, data engineers, and data scientists. The data analyst track focuses on garnering insights from the Google Cloud Platform (GCP), with one three-day module focused on the skills needed to be successful as a data analyst, business analyst, or BI professional. The data engineering track has two one-day modules and one three-day module that cover machine learning, data engineering fundamentals and one module for exam prep. The data scientist track includes a one-day module on GCP and machine learning and two five-day modules on machine learning and TensorFlow.

Cost: $200
Location: Online
Duration: Self-paced
Expiration: Credentials do not expire

IBM Data Science Professional Certificate

The IBM Data Science Professional Certificate consists of nine courses in data science, open source tools, data science methodology, Python, Databases and SQL, data analysis, data visualization, machine learning and a final applied data science capstone. The course takes place online with a flexible schedule and takes an average of three months to complete, but you are free to take more or less time. The course includes hands-on projects to help you build a portfolio to showcase your data science talents to potential employers.

Cost: Free 7-day trial; $39 per month for a Coursera subscription after the free trial
Location: Online
Duration: Self-paced
Expiration: Credentials do not expire

Microsoft MCSE: Data Management and Analytics

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

Microsoft Certified Azure Data Scientist Associate

The Azure Data Scientist Associate certification from Microsoft focuses your ability to utilize machine learning to “train, evaluate and deploy models that solve business problems,” according to Microsoft. Candidates for the exam are tested on machine learning, AI solutions, natural language processing, computer vision and predictive analytics. The exam focuses on defining and preparing the development environment, data modeling, feature engineering and developing models.

Cost: $165
Location: Online
Duration: Self-paced
Expiration: Credentials do not expire

Open Certified Data Scientist (Open CDS)

The Open Group Professional Certification Program for the Data Scientist Professional (Open CDS) is an experience-based certification without any traditional training courses or exams. You’ll start at level one as a Certified Data Scientist, then you can move to level two where you’ll become a Master Certified Data Scientist and finally, you can pass the third level to become a Distinguished Certified Data Scientist. Certification requires a three-step process that includes applying for the certification, completing the experience application form and attending a board review.

Cost: Contact for pricing

Location: On-site

Duration: Varies by level

Expiration: Credentials do not expire

 

SAS Certified Advanced Analytics Professional

This program covers machine learning, predictive modeling techniques, working with big data sets, finding patterns, optimizing data techniques and time series forecasting. The certification program consists of nine courses and three exams that you’ll have to pass to earn the designation. You’ll need at least six months of programming experience in SAS or another language and it’s also recommended that you have at least six months of experience using mathematics or statistics in a business setting.

Cost: $180 per exam
Location: Online
Duration: Self-paced
Expiration: Credentials do not expire

SAS Certified Big Data Professional

The SAS Big Data certification includes two modules with a total of nine courses. You’ll need to pass two exams to earn the designation. The course covers SAS programming skills, working with data, improving data quality, communication skills, fundamentals of statistics and analytics, data visualization and popular data tools such as Hadoop, Hive, Pig and SAS. To qualify for the exam, you’ll need at least six months of programming experience in SAS or another language.

Cost: $180 per exam
Location: Online
Duration: Self-paced
Expiration: Credentials do not expire

SAS Certified Data Scientist

The SAS Certified Data Scientist certification is a combination of the other two data certifications offered through SAS. It covers programming skills, managing and improving data, transforming, accessing and manipulating data and how to work with popular data visualization tools. Once you earn both the Big Data Professional and Advance Analytics Professional certifications, you can qualify to earn your SAS Certified Data Scientist designation. You’ll need to complete all 18 courses and pass the five exams between the two separate certifications.

Cost: $4,400
Location: Online
Duration: Self-paced
Expiration: Credentials do not expire

This story, "15 data science certifications that will pay off" was originally published by CIO.

  
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