Data Science Certificates in 2020 (Are They Worth It?)



One of the most typical questions on information science on Quora is “What data science certificate should I get?” For college students who don’t have a proper instructional background in information science, getting some type of certification may look like an vital step on the street to a knowledge science profession. 

Let’s get one factor clear up entrance: you don’t want any form of information science certificates to get a job in information science. You ought to select your studying platform based mostly on the talents it teaches, not the certificates it points, as a result of recruiters simply do not care a lot about any information science certification.

But that does not imply certificates cannot be worthwhile! Let’s dive deeper:

Choosing a Data Science Certificate Program

Finding a program that gives a certificates is the straightforward half. There are many data-science-specific packages that supply certificates of completion. A fast google search will flip up dozens.

What may be tougher is evaluating all of those packages. You ought to take into consideration the return on funding for coming into into any of those packages, and whether or not the certificates is price it on the finish.

Some issues to check when contemplating searching for an information science certification are: 

  • What you may be taught in this system
  • The price of this system
  • Any conditions or {qualifications} you may want
  • The time dedication required
  • Reviews from learners who’ve accomplished this system

 Let’s check out some real-world packages with information science certificates to make a few of these comparisons!

Top Data Science Certifications

Cloudera University Data Analyst Course/Exam

What you may be taught: The course is primarily targeted on conducting information evaluation utilizing Apache merchandise: Hadoop, Hive, and Impala. Some SQL is roofed but it surely doesn’t seem to cowl any programming in Python or R.

Cost: In its on-demand model, the course prices $2,235 for 180 days of entry. The certification examination prices a further $295,  so assuming you go the examination on the primary attempt, the entire program price is $2,630.

Prerequisites: Some prior data of SQL and of the Linux command line is required.

Time dedication: Varies. Estimating roughly, every part may take round 5-9 hours and there are about 15 totally different sections. This is a self-paced course, and customers have entry for 180 days.

Reviews: Third-party opinions for this program are tough to seek out.


What you may be taught: Dataquest provides 4 totally different profession paths that cowl the talents required for information analyst, information scientist, and information engineering careers. Specific expertise coated differ by path, however matters embody Python or R programming, SQL and PostgreSQL, chance and statistics, machine studying, and workflow expertise like Git, the command line (bash/shell), and extra.

Cost: An annual Premium subscription prices $588 $294 (on sale). Monthly subscriptions are additionally obtainable.

Prerequisites: None. There is not any utility course of (anybody can enroll and begin studying) and no prior data of statistics or programming is required.

Time dedication: Varies. Dataquest is a self-serve interactive studying platform. Most learners discover they’re in a position to meet their studying objectives in roughly six months of learning fewer than ten hours every week.


IBM Data Science Professional Certificate

What you may be taught: This Coursera-based program covers Python and SQL, together with some machine studying expertise with Python.

Cost: A Coursera subscription, which is required, prices $39/month. Based on Coursera’s 10-month completion estimate, the approximate whole program price is $390. A related program can also be obtainable on EdX for $369.

Prerequisites: None. There is not any utility course of (anybody can enroll and begin studying) and no prior data of statistics or programming is required.

Time dedication: Varies. Coursera suggests the typical time to finish this certificates is ten months. 

Reviews: Quantitative third-party opinions are tough to seek out, however:

  • 4.6/5 common on Coursera’s personal website (112,020 rankings)

Harvard/EdX Professional Certificate in Data Science 

What you may be taught: This EdX-based program covers R, together with some machine studying expertise, in addition to some statistics and workflow expertise. It doesn’t seem to incorporate SQL.

Cost: Currently on sale for $441.

Prerequisites: None. There is not any utility course of (anybody can enroll and begin studying) and no prior data of statistics or programming is required.

Time dedication: One yr and 5 months. Course progress would not carry over from session to session, so it might require extra time when you’re not in a position to full a course inside its course run.

Reviews: Quantitative third-party opinions are tough to seek out, however:

These are only a few examples, after all! There are many information science certification packages on the market, however you must analysis every of those 5 information factors for any paid course you are contemplating to make sure you’ve discovered one thing that is going to be just right for you. 

Certified Analytics Professional

What you may be taught: Potentially nothing — that is merely a certification examination, though take a look at prep programs can be found.

Cost: The certification take a look at prices $695, and consists of restricted prep supplies. Dedicated prep programs can be found and vary in value from $575 to over $1,000 relying on format.

Prerequisites: An utility is required to take the certification examination, and since no course is included, you may have to have realized the required data by yourself or signed up for a course individually.

Time dedication: The examination itself is comparatively quick; the devoted prep programs take roughly 1-2 months relying on choices, however they aren’t required to take the examination.

Reviews: Quantitative third-party opinions are tough to seek out, however you possibly can learn some unbiased opions concerning the certification:

google cloud data certification

From Data to Insights with Google Cloud

What you may be taught: This course covers primarily SQL information evaluation expertise with a deal with utilizing BigQuery, Google Cloud’s information evaluation instrument.

Cost: A Coursera subscription, which is required, prices $39/month. Coursera estimates that almost all college students will want roughly two months to finish this system, so the certificates is prone to price most college students $78-$117.

Prerequisites: The course web page says: “we recommend participants have some proficiency with ANSI SQL,” but it surely’s not clear precisely what degree of SQL proficiency is required.

Time dedication: Coursera estimates that almost all college students will want roughly two months to finish this system, however college students can work at their very own tempo, though programs do start on prescribed dates.

Reviews: Quantitative third-party opinions are tough to seek out, however:

  • The course has a 4.7/5 ranking on Coursera itself
  • The outcomes report says 16% of scholars bought a pay improve or promotion after finishing this course.

Microsoft MCSE: Data Management and Analytics

What you may be taught: This course can also be primarily targeted on working with SQL, and integrating SQL expertise with using Microsoft instruments like Microsoft SQL server and Microsoft Azure Cosmos.

Cost: Ostensibly the course itself is free if studied on-line, however as of this writing, Microsoft hasn’t made the programs obtainable. A wide range of instructor-led in-person programs can be found, at numerous value factors. The certification requires college students to go three separate certification exams. Each of those exams prices $165, so the entire price to earn the certification is not less than $495.

Prerequisites: No conditions are listed.

Time dedication: The exams themselves do not take a lot time, however how a lot time is required to check for them will rely on present expertise you may need.

Reviews: Third-party opinions of this certification are tough to seek out, and no opinions appear to be obtainable from the course supplier.

These are only a few examples, after all! There are many certification packages on the market, however you must analysis every of those 5 information factors for any paid course you are contemplating to make sure you’ve discovered one thing that is going to be just right for you. 

Be Careful of Prerequisites and Qualifications!

While some packages like Dataquest, Coursera, and Udemy don’t require any specific background or business data, many different DASCA’s Senior Data Scientist Certification and Cloudera’s CCA Data Analyst Certification have concrete conditions.

For occasion, DASCA’s Senior Data Scientist Certification tracks require not less than a Bachelor’s diploma (some tracks require a Master’s diploma) and a minimal 3-5 years {of professional} data-related expertise! 

Some packages, notably offline bootcamps, additionally require particular {qualifications} or have utility processes, so you possibly can’t simply leap into studying. Consider the time prices and utility charges of those kinds of packages when evaluating them with different certification choices.

Data Science Certificates and Your Job Search

Certificates definitely gained’t damage you in the job search so long as they’re offered appropriately—see our Career Guide chapter on resumes for extra particulars. But they’re unlikely to assist a lot, both.

In the analysis for our Career Guide, we spoke with greater than a dozen hiring managers and recruiters in information science about what they needed to see in information scientist and information analyst job candidates. Not a single one in every of them talked about certificates in any respect.

For a possible employer, the issue with information science certificates is that there’s no common normal and no accepted certification authority. Different web sites, colleges, and on-line studying platforms all concern their very own certificates, and evaluation requirements are typically low.

That implies that at a look, an employer seeing “Data Science Certificate” on a resume isn’t going to know what sort of coaching the positioning or faculty issuing that certificates provides. They additionally aren’t going to have the ability to inform whether or not the positioning or faculty in query has a inflexible grading coverage (nearly none do), or whether or not it has an efficient approach of confirming on-line college students’ identities (nearly none do).

What About University Certificates?

Even for most of the costly certification packages provided on-line by brand-name colleges, together with Ivy League colleges, certificates are usually not very significant to potential employers. Many of those on-line packages are usually not truly administered by the colleges themselves; they’re run by for-profit third celebration corporations known as Online Program Managers.

Moreover, the methods college students are assessed in an internet certificates program can differ dramatically from the best way real-world college students are addressed in regular college lessons. Employers are conscious {that a} Harvard-affiliated certificates from EdX, for instance, and a Harvard University diploma are very various things.

Most information science hiring managers don’t have the time to analysis the educational rigor of each information science certification they see on a resume. The common resume may solely get 30 seconds of a recruiter’s consideration, so relatively than specializing in certificates that will not inform them a lot a few candidate’s potential, they’ll deal with the areas of a resume that may give them the data they want: expertise and tasks.

Entry-level candidates may be assessed extra successfully by the information science tasks they embody on their resume and GitHub. Higher-level candidates will likely be assessed totally on earlier business expertise. It simply doesn’t make sense for hiring managers to spend time making an attempt to chase down whether or not a selected information science certificates means something when the knowledge they really want—whether or not the scholar truly has the talents they should do the job—is accessible elsewhere on the resume.

Additionally, college certificates are usually fairly costly. For instance:

So What’s the Point of Certificates?

Data scientist certifications aren’t ineffective, after all! At Dataquest, we concern certificates for course completion, as a result of we see it as a great way for some college students to spotlight that they’re actively engaged in studying new expertise. Recruiters do wish to see that candidates are continuously making an attempt to enhance themselves, so itemizing certificates will help your job utility in that approach.

Make no mistake, although: the impact is prone to be minor, if there’s any impact in any respect. What’s most vital to recruiters is whether or not you possibly can truly do the job, and that’s data they’re going to seek out primarily by taking a look at your portfolio of tasks. They’re going to take a look at your tasks and expertise first, and both eradicate or go your utility to the following spherical based mostly totally on what they see there. Continued studying efforts are one thing you possibly can and may deliver up in an interview, however they’re most unlikely to get you an interview. 

Long story quick: information science certificates are unlikely to assist a lot in your job purposes, notably on the early go/fail stage of resume evaluation, so that you shouldn’t deal with questions like “which data science certificate is best?” if you’re making an attempt to determine the place to be taught information science.

Find the platform that finest helps you be taught the essential information science expertise, as a result of that’s what’s truly going that can assist you land jobs in the sphere.


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