Which Certification Is Best for Data Analytics?

Interested in starting or advancing your career in data analytics? Take a look at CompTIA’s list of the best data analytics certifications out there.

Woman working on laptop with the text: Best Data Analytics CertificationsThinking about becoming a data analyst? If so, your timing is terrific, as data analysts are currently in high demand. Companies across all industries are actively looking for professionals who can gather, organize and use data to create better business outcomes. These may be data specialists, such as data analysts, or they may be professionals in fields like marketing, finance and business operations who use data frequently to guide good business decisions.

No matter your job title, if you have been tasked with analyzing data, you need a certain set of skills to do so effectively and efficiently. That’s where training and certifications come into play. Keep reading to find out what skills you need and how to get them.

Is Data Analytics a Good Career Field? What Skills Does a Data Analyst Need?

A role in data analytics can make for a secure career with plenty of room for growth. In 2020, the Jobs of Tomorrow report, published by the World Economic Forum (WEF), placed data and artificial intelligence (AI) in the seven top-growing professions, with a growth rate of 41%. That is the highest growth rate of all the professions mentioned in the report.

An earlier report by the WEF claimed 96% of organizations are planning to hire those with data analytics skills.

“As a result, the ‘new role’ of data analyst is forecast to be one of the most in-demand jobs by 2022,” wrote Jen DuBois, contributor to quanthub.  

To get a job in data analysis, you’ll need skills that will get an employer’s attention.

A few essential data analytics skills include competencies related to the following:

  • Structured Query Language (SQL)
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Machine learning algorithms
  • Data visualization/Tableau
  • Python and other programming languages
  • Decision-making
  • Building data sets
  • Machine learning models
  • Predictive modeling
  • Statistical analysis
  • Data engineering
  • Regression analysis
  • Data optimization

These skills may sound intimidating, but with the right training they are attainable. You can gain these skills by training for and earning one of the best data analytics certifications on the market.

Which Certification Is Best for Data Analytics?

Finding the right data analytics certification is easier when you have a small pool of certifications to choose from. Here’s a current sampling of some of the best data analytics certifications.

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CompTIA Data+

CompTIA Data+, from IT certifications leader CompTIA, is the perfect data analytics certification to start with. It gives you an inside look at the analytics process. It also validates the data analytics skills organizational leaders are looking for in a data professional.

Also, CompTIA Data+ is the only data analyst certification that covers baseline data analytics skills, assesses hands-on abilities and is vendor neutral.

It is wise to get a vendor-neutral data analytics certification like CompTIA Data+. Vendor-neutral certifications give you the skills you need to perform a job role regardless of the specific programs and tools you’re using. Compare this to vendor-specific certifications, which equip you to work with just one platform (such as Microsoft or AWS).

Additionally, CompTIA Data+ gives you the ability to analyze and report on datasets. It trains you to adhere to oversight and data quality standards, as well as comprehend the following:

  • Data concepts and environments
  • Data mining
  • Data analysis
  • Visualization
  • Data governance, quality and controls

CompTIA Data+ has no official prerequisites. However, it is recommended that candidates have 18–24 months of real-world experience in a role related to data analysis.

If you don’t have at least 18 months of work experience, you can still earn CompTIA Data+. You would just need to train more rigorously than someone with on-the-job experience. With dedicated training and hands-on practice, you can learn the skills you'll need on the job and to pass the certification exam. The CompTIA Data+ certification is equivalent to two years of experience in data analysis.  

The good news about CompTIA certifications is that many of them, including Data+, have a complete line of training products to help you learn the concepts, practice the hands-on skills and prepare for your certification exam. Read more about how to prepare for a CompTIA exam.

CompTIA Data+ and its full training suite are now available.

Cloudera Certified Associate Data Analyst

The Cloudera Certified Associate (CCA) Data Analyst Certification enables data professionals to pull and generate reports in the Cloudera CDH environment using Hive and Impala. Individuals who pass the CCA Data Analyst Certification understand how to use query language statements in Impala and Hive to analyze data on the cluster. They also have expertise in providing structure to data.

The best candidates for this certification are often SQL developers, business intelligence (BI) specialists and data analysts who use Cloudera. Developers, database administrators and systems architects are also good candidates.

Microsoft Certified: Data Analyst Associate

Microsoft Certified: Data Analyst Associate helps you optimize the value of an organization's data assets by using Microsoft Power BI. It provides the skills necessary for cleaning and transforming data, as well as designing and building scalable data models. Those who earn Microsoft Certified: Data Analyst Associate are proficient in data preparation, data modeling, data visualization and data analysis in the context of Power BI.  

Ideal candidates for this certification are data professionals and business intelligence professionals. These individuals should have a working knowledge of and experience with Power BI.

Other Data Analysis Certifications

There are several niches within the data analytics field, such as big data analytics and business analytics. After getting a foundational data analysis certification, like CompTIA Data+, earn a certification that prepares you for the role you want. For example, if you want to go into big data analytics, seek a big data certification. SAS Certified Big Data Professional is a great choice. 

SAS Certified Big Data Professional enables you to work with Hadoop. Hadoop is one of the best open-source tools for successfully storing large datasets. It enables candidates to run applications on clusters of commodity hardware and is helpful to those working with big data.

Certified Analytics Professional (CAP) is an advanced analytics certification designed for those who have extensive knowledge of and hands-on experience with data analysis. Data professionals who earn Certified Analytics Professional are proficient in business problem framing, analytics problem framing and methodology selection. Model building, deployment and lifecycle management are other skills certified individuals possess.

Interested in working with a certain platform, such as AWS or Azure? Opt for a vendor-specific certification, like Amazon AWS Certified Data Analytics or Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Scientist Associate.

What’s the Difference Between Data Analytics Certifications and Certificates?

Although the terms data analytics certification, certificate and certificate program sound similar, they have different definitions.

  • A data analytics certification proves that you have passed an examination or assessment of the skills required to perform a given job role and met an industry standard.
  • A data analytics certificate indicates that you have received education in a given area. It doesn’t prove that you possess specific skills, only that you have completed a course of study.
  • A data analytics certificate program consists of a series of training courses. A certificate program doesn’t lead to a professional certification.

Generally, certifications hold more weight than certificates and certificate programs. They prove that you possess the skill set you need to land a job in data analytics. While certificates don’t meet this standard, they are still valuable. They show employers that you are serious about learning data analytics.

A couple of examples of data analytics certificate programs include:

  • IBM Data Science Professional Certificate
  • Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate

The IBM Data Science Professional Certificate covers SQL, Python, data science, machine learning and data analysis and visualization. A couple of the online courses included in the program are “What is Data Science?” and “Tools for Data Science.”

The Google Data Analyst Professional Certificate by Coursera covers key information about data analytics and includes online courses such as “Introduction to Data Analytics” and “Google Data Analytics Capstone.” The latter course will help you learn to complete case studies.

The Best Data Analytics Certifications and Certificates, Compared

Data analytics certifications are designed to prove you know data management and analytics concepts and are proficient in data analysis skills. On the other hand, data analytics certificates and certificate programs are designed to help you learn more about the field.

Before you can confidently choose the best data analytics certification or certificate for yourself, it’s important to understand their differences. Here’s a quick comparison of CompTIA Data+ to the most popular certifications and certificates.

 

Type

Recommended Experience

Vendor Neutral

Cost

CompTIA Data+

Certification

18-24 months

Yes

$239

Cloudera Certified Associate (CCA) Data Analyst

Certification

No specified experience, but the Cloudera Data Analyst Training Course is recommended before taking the CCA exam

No

$295

Microsoft Certified: Data Analyst Associate

Certification

No specified experience

No

$165

SAS Certified Big Data Professional

Certification

No specified experience

No

$180

Certified Analytics Professional (CAP)

Certification

College degree + 3-5 years of experience

Yes

$495 for INFORMS members, $695 for non-members

Amazon AWS Certified Data Analytics

Certification

2 years of experience with AWS; 5 years of experience with data analytics technologies

No

$300

IBM Data Science Professional Certificate

Certificate Program

No specified experience

No

Free for the first 7 days, then $39 monthly until certificate is earned

Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate

Certificate Program

No specified experience

No

Free for the first 7 days, then $39 monthly until certificate is earned

 

Are Data Analytics Certifications Worth It?

Getting one of the best data analytics certifications requires an investment of money, time and effort. But are the certifications really worth it? We think so.

In general, certifications set you apart from other job applicants. They look impressive on your resume and LinkedIn profile. More importantly, they let employers know that you have the exact skill set they are seeking in a candidate. This may help you secure better pay than someone without a certification.

If your goal is to become a more competitive job candidate, then a data analytics certification is worth it.  

CompTIA Data+ covers the skills you need in data analytics. Start gaining skills like data visualization, data mining and more with CompTIA CertMaster Learn + Labs for Data+. Sign up for a free trial today!

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