Top Big Data
Because big data professionals are in demand, you can expect a lot of competition for this career. When applying for positions, a big data certification can differentiate you from other candidates. If you already have a job in big data, getting a certification can attract your employer’s attention and help you get a promotion.
This article reviews the best big data certifications and explores valuable training courses to help you advance your career.
Demand for Big Data Skills in 2021
Businesses and organizations have realized the importance of data. The Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF) reports that 69 percent of US executives favor applicants who have data skills. Meanwhile, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that jobs for data scientists will grow by nearly 31 percent by 2029.
Now, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, big data skills are even more important. Scientists and health experts are sifting through large amounts of data to uncover hidden trends, and the methods of big data allow them to study and predict the disease’s spread.
How Much Do Big Data Jobs Pay?
Big data is a diverse field with many job opportunities. According to PayScale, the average salary for someone with big data analytics skills is $112,575.
As PayScale data indicates, some of the most common job titles for someone with these skills are data scientist, data analyst, and data engineer. If you become a data scientist, you can look forward to an average salary of around $99,000. The average data analyst, meanwhile, earns roughly $66,000, and the average data engineer makes about $98,000.
Overall, the average annual salaries for jobs related to big data are sky-high. The pay for experienced professionals is even higher.
Why Get a Big Data Certification
Big data has evolved from a buzzword to an integral part of many businesses and organizations worldwide. Having a big data certification makes you a valuable hire for any modern company.
Below are some reasons why getting a big data certification can help you in the long run.
To Grow Your Career
The demand for big data skills is vast and there is a shortage of skilled labor in this field. Certifications assure that have a strong footing for starting or progressing in your career.
To Get Bang for Your Buck
There is a wide range of certifications and courses available. Most of them cover an array of industry standards, tools, and techniques in a short amount of time. The best big data certifications are highly effective and provide maximum value for your money.
To Gain Proof of Expertise
Almost every certification program comes with a list of learning outcomes and tests your knowledge before conferring the award. Accordingly, a certification is definitive proof of your proficiency in a particular domain. A big data certification is no exception.
To Fulfill Company Requirements
Sometimes a company or organization will require a particular certification. It’s not the norm, but being prepared for it could be helpful. If the certification is truly vital, some companies will even cover the cost of your certification program.
To Validate Your Skills Across Various Industries
Many industries look favorably upon certifications from big-name companies. For instance, IBM and Microsoft certifications are widely acclaimed. In a competitive market, a certification from one of the big shots could give you a significant edge.
Top Big Data Certifications
You should target certification programs that are worth the effort and money. While many certifications are available online, not every program is worth the money. Find one that adds value to your portfolio and validates your expertise.
With all that in mind, let’s look at some of the best big data certifications.
SAS Certified Advanced Analytics Professional Using SAS 9
Cost: $610 for all the three courses
Validity: 3 years
Average Salary: $112,917
An SAS 9 Advanced Analytics certification validates a machine learning engineer’s ability to analyze and interpret big data using various statistical modeling techniques.
Candidates are expected to demonstrate expertise in applying predictive modeling and machine learning to big data. Moreover, candidates should have experience with time series forecasting, pattern detection, optimization algorithms, and business intelligence. To meet these requirements, you might consider an online machine learning certificate program.
EMC Data Scientist Associate (EMCDSA)
Average Salary: $96,609
This certification, offered by Dell EMC, validates a candidate’s ability to contribute to big data projects, including understanding the data analytics life cycle, modeling a business problem, and exploring datasets to solve such problems. It also tests their expertise in data visualization and creating statistical models.
Dell EMC also provides instructor-led courses to cover the content for this certification. An associate certificate boosts your portfolio and never expires.
Open Certified Data Scientist (Open CDS)
Validity: 3 years
Average Salary: $96,609
The Open CDS certification verifies your ability to analyze data for insights that could help a business make decisions. Specifically, it covers creating statistical models, analyzing massive datasets, and developing solutions for business problems.
Open CDS is unique because it doesn’t require you to take an exam. A panel of experts carries out an experience-based assessment and the certification process is divided into many stages. This certification qualifies a data scientist for jobs anywhere in the world.
Cloudera Certified Professional (CCP) Data Engineer
Validity: 2 years
Average Salary: $92,489
This certification requires a candidate to pass exams that test basic data engineering concepts, including data extraction, transformation, and storage. It also covers the fundamentals of data analytics and data structures.
The CCP Data Engineer exam is for skilled data professionals looking to stand out above the competition.
SAS Certified Big Data Professional Using SAS 9
Cost: $360 for both the exams
Validity: 3 years
Average Salary: $79,498
This is a big data analytics certification for SAS programmers who want to validate their ability to use open source and SAS data management tools to prepare big data for statistical analysis.
SAS data management and analytics tools allow professionals to deal with massive amounts of data in a controlled way. This certification requires passing two exams.
Microsoft Certified Data Analyst Associate
Validity: 2 years
Average Salary: $69,597
Designed for anyone who wants to become a business intelligence analyst, this certification tests your Microsoft Power BI skills. Power BI is a valuable tool in the industry for data analytics and visualization.
Microsoft also offers free online training for Power BI, which is a helpful way to study for the certification exam. Considering that Power BI is one of the most in-demand skills these days, this certification would help you boost your career.
Certified Analytics Professional (CAP)
Validity: 3 years
Average Salary: $61,669
CAP validates expertise and advanced knowledge in data analytics. The exam tests candidates on their understanding of the entire data analytics process.
There are helpful resources on the official website to help candidates in their preparation. Candidates who want extensive help with exam prep can purchase dedicated courses.
Cloudera University Data Analyst Certification
Cost: $295, plus $2,235 for 180 days of access to the course
Validity: 2 years
Average Salary: $61,593
Cloudera Educational Services provides a four-day training course for the Cloudera Data Analyst exam. The course trains a participant to apply data analytics and business intelligence to big data.
This course is intended for data analysts, developers, business intelligence specialists, database administrators, and system architects. You should learn SQL and acquire basic Linux skills before enrolling. Beginners may find this course challenging.
After taking this course, a participant will be able to take the exam. At least a 70 percent score is required to qualify for the certification.
Associate Certified Analytics Professional (aCAP)
Validity: 3 years
Average Salary: $56,556
This certification helps entry-level business analysts gain professional credibility. A candidate is expected to have basic familiarity with data analytics, business intelligence, and machine learning.
It’s suitable for students who have no hands-on experience and are still in the learning phase. An aCAP certification sets you apart from your early career competition and prepares you to become a Certified Analytics Professional (CAP) later on.
Choosing the Right Certification
There are hundreds of third-party certification bodies. However, some are better than others. You can also expect to find differences in time to completion, cost, and validity.
Personal preference will play a vital role in your decision. Your level of interest, available time, and disposable income are essential factors to consider before choosing a certification program. Below are some valuable tips that can help you choose the right certification.
Set Your Goals
You need to align your certification plans with your personal goals. If you’re looking for career progression, you need to make sure you’re up to date on the latest developments in tech. Act fast, because technology paradigms shift swiftly. In some cases, you may need more than one certification to accomplish your goal.
If you’re in it more for self-improvement than professional certification, go for a certificate program instead.
Figure Out Your Interests
Certifications are usually expensive and take time to prepare for. The main force that could lead you to successful completion is your level of interest. If you’re not passionate about it, you may end up wasting both time and money.
Always pick the certifications that interest you the most. Your interest will keep you engaged and help you stay motivated through the certification exam.
Research, Research, and Research Some More
Don’t follow your instincts. Instead, do proper research before making a final move. For each certification, check how much it costs and how much time it takes to complete. Is the certifying organization recognized globally? If so, what are the prerequisites? Find out the answers to all these questions.
If, after you’ve sorted it all out, a particular certification seems to align with your budget, schedule, and personal preferences, go for it.
Professional Certification vs Certificate Program and Courses
Professional certification and certificate programs are not the same. A professional certification is granted by a third party to verify a candidate’s proficiency based on standardized criteria. The use of the credential is sometimes time-limited.
Getting a professional certification indicates your expertise in a particular field, so it could attract a potential employer. It’s essentially a license to show that you’re able to do a particular job.
In contrast, a certificate program is usually a course or a training program that teaches participants about a subject. The platform that offers the course awards a certificate of completion. Some popular certificate courses are on Coursera, Udemy, and edX.
Best Courses to Prepare for Big Data Certification Exams
You have to be knowledgeable before you take certification exams. Below are some courses that can help you prepare.
IBM Data Science Professional Certificate by Coursera
Duration: 10 months
Outcome: Certificate and Digital Badge
The IBM Data Science Professional Certificate helps anyone interested in building a career in data science or machine learning. The course requires no prior experience in computer science or programming languages, which means it’s a great option for beginners.
The nine courses in this program will teach you the latest industry-relevant tools and skills. You will learn Python, SQL, databases, data analysis, data visualization, statistical analysis, machine learning algorithms, predictive modeling, and open source tools. You’ll also get practical experience using IBM Cloud’s real-time data science tools and real-world datasets.
From Data to Insights with Google Cloud by Coursera
Duration: 2 months
This comprehensive four-course program aims to teach participants data analytics and visualization using the Google Cloud platform. The course recommends some proficiency in ANSI SQL, but it’s not mandatory.
The program teaches participants how to process petabytes worth of data. It includes hands-on laboratory work that simulates practical scenarios using real Google BigQuery datasets.
Harvard Professional Certificate in Data Science by edX
Duration: 7 – 8 months
This course prepares you with relevant career skills and knowledge and puts you in a competitive position. It emphasizes the mathematical concepts that govern data science and the tools and technology that most industries seek.
You’ll learn fundamental concepts like probability, regression, inference, and machine learning. The course aims to furnish participants with a skill set that includes R programming, RStudio, data wrangling, data visualization, file handling in Unix/Linux, Git, and GitHub.
Courses by Dataquest
Cost: $399 (annual subscription)
Duration: 5 – 6 months
Outcome: Certificate for every completed module
Dataquest offers a highly customizable and personalized learning journey for subscribers. Its four career paths include Data Analyst in R, Data Analyst in Python, Data Scientist in Python, and Data Engineer.
Each of the career paths is specific and involves different skill sets. This platform is especially suited for beginners because its content is elegantly crafted into straightforward, hands-on exercises.
Dataquest rewards you with a certificate upon completion of every module. As the platform gains traction, the certificate will help you prove your skills to your employer.
Learning Python for Data Analysis and Visualization by Udemy
Duration: 21 hours and 5 minutes
This is a fast-paced course that aims to teach aspiring data analysts about the Python programming language. It covers the fundamentals of various Python libraries, such as NumPy, Matplotlib, Seaborn, and scikit-learn. These libraries are what make the language an integral part of data science.
This course will set you up to take advanced courses in big data.
Should You Pursue a Big Data Certification?
If you’re a complete beginner, it’s high time to consider a career in big data. The importance of big data and the perks of pursuing it as a career are growing. Before getting certified, you should learn everything about big data that you can. When it’s time to seek employment opportunities, go for a certification and boost your chances of getting hired.
But if you’re already in big data and want a promotion, a certification is especially crucial. It will equip you with the leading tools and technologies, putting you ahead of the competition.