Best Data Analytics Certification: Top 7 Picks for 2023 (2023)

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At a time when we’re collectively producing and consuming more data than ever, more and more companies are beginning to understand its importance. And data has become so crucial for guiding business decisions that several companies have even begun harvesting and selling massive amounts of data.

Because of this, many organizations are now adopting data-driven business strategies that enable advanced analytic capabilities. For these reasons, the exciting field of data analytics is booming, with an outlook of 25% growth for jobs between 2020 and 2030.

You can take various courses or watch YouTube videos to learn about data analytics, but your best bet is a data analytics certification. By earning a certification, you can improve your marketability and gain valuable knowledge for a fraction of the time and price of a traditional college degree.

But which is the best data analytics certification? With so many available, how do you make the best choice to help you advance your career?

So, if you’ve found yourself wondering about the best analytics certifications, you’re in the right place. This article will cover some of the best programs and their pros and cons. By the end, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a certified data analyst or maybe even a data scientist.

Ready? Let’s begin!

What’s the Difference Between a Data Analytics Certification and Data Analytics Certificate?

Certificates and certifications sound so similar that you may think they’re one and the same. Despite sounding alike, they are fundamentally different.

You earn certificates by completing a course. For example, if you enroll in a Udacity course or attend in-person training, you will receive a certificate of completion at the end.

This means you can use certificates to demonstrate that you have completed some training or gained knowledge and skills. For example, as a data analyst or scientist, you can join the best data analytics programs to learn SQL and earn a certificate once you’ve finished.

On the other hand, certifications can be far more challenging to acquire. To earn a certification, you must take and pass an assessment examination.

Passing an exam demonstrates that you have the necessary knowledge and skills to become a certified professional in a given field, skill, or niche. Some employers may require certifications from job applicants. For example, companies may advertise for certified data scientists or analysts.

Certificates and certifications can both help further your career. But deciding between them depends on your career goals and aspirations. If you have the resources, we’d suggest enrolling in the best data analytics program to earn some certificates. And once you’re prepared, aim for data analytics certifications.

Is It Worth It to Earn a Data Analyst Certification?

Are data analytics certifications worth the time and financial investment?

Data analyst certificates can show a potential employer that you’ve taken the time and effort to learn more about a subject. Proving that you’ve taken a course, especially if it’s a high-quality program from a well-respected provider, may mean that an employer will look at your resume more favorably.

But what about certifications?

In this 2020/21 report by the BLS, you can clearly see that the median weekly wage for those with certifications is higher than those without — even if they aren’t licensed (if applicable). Of course, this report covers a broad scope of professions, but it does indicate the potential for boosting earnings by earning the best data analyst certification.

This 2020/21 BLS report also shows that the unemployment rate for individuals with certifications may be much lower than without.

Here’s the information at a glance. For this example, we’ve focused on the 25-54 age demographic.

Median Weekly Earnings

Unemployment Rate

Without certifications or licenses

$955

8.1%

With a certification, but no license

$1,318

5.0%

With a license

$1,188

4.2%

In summary, this BLS data indicates that the best data analyst certifications may allow you to make a better impression on potential employers, while also improving your earnings and chances of employment.

Best Data Analytics Certification: Top Choices in 2023

Here’s our list of the best certifications for data analyst career paths:

Let’s jump into the first data analyst certification on our list!

1. CDP Data Analyst Certification [Formerly Cloudera Certified Associate (CCA Data Analyst)]

Best Data Analytics Certification: Top 7 Picks for 2023 (1)

The Cloudera Certified Associate or CCA Data Analyst was a data analytics certification for

  • Business intelligence specialists
  • Database administrators
  • Data analysts
  • Developers
  • System architects

The CCA Data Analyst certification was designed for SQL developers looking to stand out from the competition. This data analysis certification required you to successfully

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  • Analyze cluster data using QL (Query Language) statements in Impala and Hive
  • Prepare data for queries using ETL (Extract, Transfer, Load) processes
  • Use DDL (Data Definition Language) statements to alter or create structures in the metastore used by Impala and Hive

The 120-minute exam required you to solve 8-12 problems with a unique and large data set and a CDH cluster.

However, Cloudera recently retired the CCA Data Analyst certification, replacing it with the CDP Certification Program. This new program contains four certifications: the CDP Generalist, CDP Administrator-Private Cloud Base, CDP Data Developer, and CDP Data Analyst.

The CDP Data Analyst certification costs $300 (the same for each certification in the program), meaning it will cost you $1,200 to earn all four. The 50-question examination tests your data analytics knowledge of the Cloudera Data Platform.

Prerequisites:

  • Familiarity with Salesforce, BI Tools, Google Sheets, MS Excel, and Python/R
  • Further information on topics covered is available here

Price: $300

Total Exam Questions: 50

Content: Tests your knowledge of the Cloudera Data Platform as well as other related skills

Duration: 120 minutes

Who is it best for?: Business intelligence specialists, database administrators, data analysts, developers, and system architects

You can sign up here.

2. Microsoft Certified: Power BI Data Analyst

Best Data Analytics Certification: Top 7 Picks for 2023 (2)

Microsoft offers a range of technical certifications, with the Power BI Data Analyst Associate certification (DA-100) having a solid reputation. However, in early 2022, Microsoft retired the DA-100 and replaced it with Microsoft Power BI Data Analyst (PL-300).

This certification tests your ability to gather value from business data assets by using advanced analytics skills. As a result, it is popular among data professionals and business intelligence analysts who have a solid understanding of data modeling, data analysis, data visualization, and data preparation.

Prerequisites:

  • Knowledge of data processes and repositories
  • Various Microsoft prep courses (recommended)

Price: $165

Total Exam Questions: 40-60

Content: Single and multiple-choice questions

Duration: 180 minutes

Who is it best for?: Data professionals and business intelligence analysts

You can sign up here.

3. Associate Certified Analytics Professional (aCAP)

Best Data Analytics Certification: Top 7 Picks for 2023 (3)

Are you an entry-level analytics professional with little to no experience? Do you have comprehensive knowledge and hopes for starting a data analytics career? Then you should check out the Associate Certified Analytics Professional (aCAP) certification. Earning the aCAP certifies that you

  • Have a Master’s level education in some form of data analytics, i.e., theoretical knowledge of data analytics and related technologies
  • Are aligned with the analytics code of ethics
  • Are a competent data analytics professional

The aCAP certification is based on seven areas of the analytics process

  • Business Problem Framing
  • Analytics Problem Framing
  • Data
  • Methodology Selection
  • Model Building
  • Deployment
  • Lifecycle Management

Prerequisites:

  • MA/MS in a related field
  • Under three years of work experience

Price:

  • $200 (INFORMS members)
  • $300 (everyone else)

Total Exam Questions: 100

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Content: Multiple-choice questions

Duration: Three hours

Who is it best for?: Entry-level data professionals with little experience but plenty of knowledge; examinees must have a master’s degree in a related field

You can sign up here.

4. Certified Analytics Professional (CAP)

Best Data Analytics Certification: Top 7 Picks for 2023 (4)

The Certified Analytics Professional (CAP) certification is undoubtedly in the running for top data analytics certification.

A step up from the aCAP, passing the vigorous CAP exam sets you apart from the competition. This certification demonstrates competence in various data areas like regression, predictive and prescriptive analytics, pattern recognition, job task analysis, data visualization, and more.

To achieve this certification, you’ll need to

  • Meet the education and experience requirements
  • Master the art of “soft skills”
  • Commit to the CAP Code of Ethics
  • Pass the CAP exam

The CAP certification needs to be renewed every three years via professional development units. This data analytics certification has global reach due to its computer-based testing.

To get started, you must submit your application to the CAP panel for review. If they approve your application, you can then sit for the examination. The CAP is a portable credential based on the practice of analytics professionals.

Prerequisites:

  • Either a bachelor’s degree with 5 years of professional experience or a master’s degree with 3 years of professional experience

Price:

  • $495 (INFORMS members)
  • $350 (aCAP certified candidates)
  • $695 (everyone else)

Total Questions: 100

Content: Four-option, multiple-choice questions

Duration: Three hours

Who is it best for?: Data professionals that meet the aCAP standards, but also have at least five years of experience and the necessary soft skills

You can sign up here.

5. IBM Data Science Professional Certificate

Best Data Analytics Certification: Top 7 Picks for 2023 (5)

The IBM Data Science Professional Certificate is a set of courses that aims to teach you the fundamentals of data science, including how to think like a data science professional. You’ll gain hands-on experience and knowledge in data science tools and methodologies, data analysis and visualization with Python, machine learning with Python, and more.

Unlike a certification, the IBM Data Science Professional Certificate does not require you to pass an examination.

You earn this certificate via Coursera’s professional certificate programs. These are structured courses that help you learn the knowledge and skills necessary to start a career in a certain profession. So when you finish the course, you’ll earn a certificate from the course provider and a digital badge from IBM itself.

The best thing about earning this certificate is that you’ll have a credential to help you make a career change. In fact, the IBM Data Science Professional is one of the best data analytics certificate programs for those who want to shift careers into the lucrative field of data science.

Prerequisites:

  • A Coursera Plus subscription

Price:

  • “Free,” meaning you don’t pay any extra on top of your Coursera Plus subscription
  • Coursera Plus costs $59 per month (if paid monthly) or $399 per year up-front, and there’s a 14-day money-back guarantee

Duration: Eleven months if you have four hours or less to study per week (faster if you have more time)

Who is it best for?: Anyone who wants to learn the career skills necessary to succeed in data analytics and data science — beginners welcome

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You can sign up here.

6. Amazon AWS Certified Data Analytics

Best Data Analytics Certification: Top 7 Picks for 2023 (6)

If you want to demonstrate your experience and capabilities with Amazon Web Services (AWS), then the AWS Certified Data Analytics certification is an excellent choice.

This certification was designed for those who already have experience working with AWS to design, build, and maintain analytics solutions with this Amazon cloud platform. So, it’s best for early-career data analytics professionals that want to improve their chances of success.

Prerequisites:

  • Although not required, Amazon recommends at least five years of experience with various data analytics technologies, and at least two years of practical experience working with AWS

Price: $300

Total Questions: 65

Content: Multiple-choice or multiple-response questions

Duration: 180 minutes

Who is it best for?: Those with AWS service experience. Amazon recommends a few years of experience designing, building, securing, and maintaining analytics solutions using AWS

You can sign up here.

7. Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate

Best Data Analytics Certification: Top 7 Picks for 2023 (7)

Google’s Data Analytics Professional Certificate is an online program for absolute beginners with zero prior experience.

The provided lessons teach students the process of cleaning, visualizing, and analyzing data, as well as how to use SQL, spreadsheets, and the R programming language. If you can commit 10 hours of study per week, you can finish this course in six months.

Much like the IBM certificate discussed above, this course is a collaboration between Coursera and Google. So once you’ve completed the lessons, you will receive a Google Career Certificate and a Coursera certificate.

Prerequisites:

  • No prerequisites for enrolling in this program

Price:

  • “Free,” meaning you don’t pay any extra on top of your Coursera Plus subscription
  • Coursera Plus costs $59 per month (if paid monthly) or $399 per year up-front, and there’s a 14-day money-back guarantee

Duration: Six months if you commit to 10 hours of learning per week

Who is it best for?: Anyone, including beginners, that wants to learn the skills needed for a career in data analytics

You can sign up here.

Best Data Analytics Certifications Comparison

Each of the data analytics certifications that we’ve covered could help further your career. To make the comparison easier for you, we’ve compared their key features in the table below.

Certification

Price

Duration

Ideal For

Cloudera Data Platform Data Analyst Certification (CDP Data Analyst)

$300

50 questions, 120 minutes

SQL Developers and Data Analysts that use Cloudera

Microsoft Certified: Power BI Data Analyst

$165

40-60 questions, 180 minutes

Data and Business Intelligence Professionals

Associate Certified Analytics Professional (aCAP)

$200 (INFORMS members)

$300 (everyone else)

100 questions, 3 hours

Entry-level Data Professionals

Certified Analytics Professional (CAP)

$495 (INFORMS members)

$350 (aCAP certified candidates)

$695 (everyone else)

100 questions, 3 hours

Experienced Data Professionals a master’s degree and more than five years of experience

IBM Data Science Professional Certificate

Free but requires a Coursera Plus subscription; $59 per month or $399 per year

11 months if you study for 4 hours per week

Anyone that wants to learn the career skills necessary to succeed in data analytics and data science — beginners welcome

Amazon AWS Certified Data Analytics

$300

65 questions, 180 minutes

Data professionals in the early stages of their career with at least five years of experience

Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate

Free but requires a Coursera Plus subscription; $59 per month or $399 per year

6 months if you commit to 10 hours of weekly study

Anyone, including beginners, that wants to learn the skills needed to start a career in data analytics

How to Choose the Best Certification for a Data Analyst

As data-related careers grow in popularity and professionals rush in to fill the talent gap, one of the best ways to differentiate yourself is by earning a certification.

Because of this, more certifications are appearing all of the time. And with more options comes harder choices, so much so that you may find yourself frozen by indecision.

Your Budget

One thing’s for sure — certifications are not cheap!

They’re great investments as you can potentially boost your chances of getting hired or increase your earnings. But if you don’t have much disposable income, it’s a good idea to consider your budget before selecting a certification.

Some certification programs will take you from zero knowledge to certification-ready, all while offering payment plans to make it more affordable. So you can consider those options, but you’ll still need to pay for the certification itself!

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Your Level of Knowledge and Experience

The best data analytics certifications for you will fit your level of experience and knowledge. If you attempt to sit an assessment exam for a certification that’s far above your current level, there’s a good chance that you’re wasting your time and money.

If you’re a beginner, aim for certifications designed for beginner to intermediate professionals.

If you really have your eyes set on a particular certification, the best way to proceed is to start with a course or one of the top data analytics certification programs. A prep program can also help you quickly raise your level to that required for certification.

The Certification Provider

Some certifications are more credible than others. Don’t waste your time, money, and energy on certifications from providers that are not recognized or respected in the industry.

Before deciding, do your due diligence by researching the certifications and providers in question.

Your Platform of Choice

Some certifications are better than others when it comes to working with specific systems.

For example, if you want to work with AWS, you may want to earn an AWS certification. If you want to beef up your Google Analytics skills, it’s probably best to earn a certification that prepares you for that specialism.

Certification Duration and Renewal Frequency

Technology advances at a swift pace. For this reason, many certifications are only valid for a few years. When you earn your certification, there’s a good chance you’ll need to renew it every few years to maintain its validity.

Additionally, some certifications have “versions”, which means that if you are certified with a previous version rather than the current iteration, you will no longer be qualified. Versions are less common in data analytics than in an area like cyber security, but it’s still something to keep in mind!

One last thing to consider is a certification’s maintenance cost. Some may require you to pay an annual fee, while others only require you to pay again when you renew your qualification.

Benefits of Earning a Certification in Data Analytics

Beyond the potential for increased earnings and an improved chance of being hired, certifications can offer further benefits to boost your chances of success as a data analyst. Let’s take a closer look at these benefits.

  • Prepares you for a highly lucrative careerwith plenty of job security: With difficult assessment exams, certifications are notoriously hard to earn, so this sets you apart after you’ve passed. But this also means that you’ll likely need to join a course, a data analytics certification program, or undertake intense self-study
  • More attractive and competitive resume: If employers require certification for a certain position, you’ll be ready to apply at a moment’s notice, putting you ahead of the pack. Not to mention, a resume with many qualifications and credentials is much more attractive to employers
  • Makes your capabilities instantly known: Having a certification on your resume instantly tells hiring managers that you have the knowledge and skills needed for the job without diving deeply into your resume
  • Deepens your knowledge & solidifies your skills via practical experience: The rigorous nature of cert prep and the challenging examination increases your understanding of specific fields. You also benefit from a structured approach to learning, so no more jumping from topic to topic or being unsure how to proceed

In addition to these benefits, there’s also the fact that a growing number of employers are looking to hire certified individuals. So having certifications will instantly make you more appealing to a company.

Conclusion

Right now, there’s an almost insatiable demand for data professionals in various industries. And despite this demand, there continues to be a talent gap, which makes it hard for businesses to find the employees they need. Starting a career as a data analyst or data scientist can be one of the best paths to success, especially if you set yourself up to succeed from the get-go.

One of the best ways to prepare yourself for a career in data analytics is to complete some programs and earn a certificate or two (or as many as you want!). But if you can, earning a certification can really improve your chances of getting hired, as it shows an employer that you have the knowledge and skills needed for the job.

However, you should also remember that even the best data analytics certification cannot guarantee you a successful and satisfying career. You also need experience and a ‘go-getter’ attitude to continually further your knowledge. Working on your soft skills can also be highly beneficial. Good luck!

Ready to start your career in Data Analytics? Learn more about the data analytics tools you’ll need for the job!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is a Data Analytics Certificate Worth It?

We think certifications are more worth it than certificates to improve your marketability when looking for a job. However, certificates and certifications are both worth it when it comes to expanding your knowledge.

2. What Jobs Can I Get With a Data Analytics Certificate?

You can improve your chances of scoring a variety of data jobs with a data analytics certificate, such as

  • Business Intelligence Analyst
  • Data Analyst
  • Data Scientist
  • Data Analytics Consultant
  • Operations Analyst
  • Marketing Analyst

3. How Long Does It Take To Get a Data Analytics Certification?

It depends on the specific program and the time you commit to studying. You may need to study for a few months to pass a certification exam, but for others, it can take a couple of years to gather the prerequisites and knowledge.

4. Which Certification is Best for Data Analytics?

The best data analytics certification matches your career needs, lifestyle, and personal interests.

For example, the Microsoft Power BI Data Analyst certification is one of the most cost-effective on this list, and it’s also a great fit for data analytics and business intelligence professionals.

5. Is Google Analytics a Skill?

Google Analytics is a valuable tool for many, including, as you may have guessed, data analysts and scientists. So the answer is yes, Google Analytics is a skill that may boost your career prospects and your salary potential.

6. What Are the Most In-Demand Qualifications in Data Analytics Today?

There are many skills and qualifications that are highly in demand in the data industry, such as

  • Proficiency in Python and R
  • Knowledge of SQL/NoSQL
  • Data visualization skills
  • Cloud-related skills
  • Math and statistics skills
  • AI and Machine Learning

7. Which Certification Is Good for Data Analytics?

Many certifications can help boost your data analytics career. Some of the best have been covered in this article, including the Google Data Analytics Professional Certification or the Microsoft Certified Power BI Data Analyst Certification. But if you’re unsure whether a certification is credible, research the provider and its industry reputation.

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