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Thinking of earning a certification like CAP®? Want to try a professional certificate before you commit to a degree? We’ve compiled a list of 27 popular credentials in data analytics and business analytics & business analysis to get you started! Talk to current professionals and examine their LinkedIn profiles to decide which ones will be the most relevant to your career.
What’s the Difference?
Industry certifications in data analytics (e.g. CAP®) and business analytics (e.g. CBDA) are credentials that can only be earned when you pass a rigorous online exam and/or meet certain standards (e.g. minimum years of work in the field). They are issued by organizations (e.g. IIBA) and companies (e.g. SAS®). Having an industry certification on your résumé can be a big plus when it comes to salary negotiations for a new job!
Professional & University Certificates
Certificates are a series of courses. If you complete all of the required courses, you receive a certificate. You can choose to earn a professional data analytics certificate or business analytics certificate through a company (e.g. IBM). Or you can pursue an undergraduate or graduate certificate in data analytics or business analytics through a college or university. Almost all of these certificates will be offered in an online format.
Online Data Analytics Certifications
- Associate Big Data Analyst (ABDA™): ABDA is a big data certification offered by the Data Science Council of America (DASCA). This 100–minute online certification exam is aimed at early careerists in analytics & information systems roles or undergraduates completing a degree in a relevant field (e.g. Information Systems, Business, Management, Statistics, etc.).
- Associate Certified Analytics Professional (aCAP): aCAP is designed for entry-level analytics professionals who have a strong education in analytics, but little to no work experience. Applicants may have any level of education. The exam covers 7 domains of the analytics process, including problem framing, data, methodology, model building, deployment, and lifecycle management.
- CompTIA Data+: CompTIA’s offering is a vendor-neutral certification designed for early career analytics professionals with 18-24 months of work experience in an analyst role. The exam validates skills in data mining, data analysis, data visualizations, applied statistical methods, and data governance & quality.
- SAS® Base Programming Specialist: SAS’s early career credential is a performance-based exam aimed at professionals with 3-6 months of hands-on programming experience. The exam covers 4 major areas of SAS, including accessing & creating data structures, managing data, handling errors, and generating reports & output.
- Certified Analytics Professional (CAP®): CAP® is one of the most widely recognized, vendor-neutral certifications in the business. Exam candidates must have a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field + 5 years of professional experience; or a master’s degree in a relevant field + 3 years of professional experience; or 7 years of experience with a degree in any area. Everyone must have confirmation of soft skills from their employer. Like aCAP, the CAP exam covers 7 domains of the analytics process.
- Cloudera Data Platform (CDP) Data Analyst: Cloudera’s CDP Data Analyst exam tests the use of popular Cloudera products (e.g. Cloudera Data Visualization, Cloudera Machine Learning, etc.) as well as SQL, Apache Nifi, Apache Hive, and other open source technologies. CDP qualifications replace the well-known Cloudera Certified Associate (CCA) and Cloudera Certified Professional (CCP) credentials. These exams have been retired and will no longer be available.
- Microsoft Power BI Data Analyst Associate: Microsoft’s specialist certification in Power BI is open to candidates who have a strong grasp of data processes on their premises and within the cloud. Exam takers will be required to prepare data, model data, visualize & analyze data, and deploy & maintain assets.
- SAS® Advanced Programming Professional Using SAS® 9.4: This intermediate certification is the next step up from SAS’s Base Programming Specialist credential (see above). Applicants should have hands-on programming experience in SAS 9.4 and be able to use advanced DATA step programming statements to solve complex problems, write & interpret SAS SQL code, and create & use SAS macros. Learn more about the performance-based exam.
- Senior Big Data Analyst (SBDA™): SBDA™ is the next step up from DASCA’s ABDA™ certification (see above). There are 4 paths to entry—see the Candidacy tracks for details. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, a minimum of 1-2 years of experience in a data analytics or information systems role, and/or a master’s degree. Certification can be earned through a 100-minute online exam.
- Amazon Web Services (AWS) Certified Data Analytics – Specialty: This specialty certification validates skills in using AWS data lakes & advanced AWS analytics services. It’s aimed at industry professionals with 5+ years of work experience in common data analytics technologies and at least 2 years of experience in dealing with AWS services.
- SAS® Certified Advanced Analytics Professional Using SAS®9: This certification is made up of 3 exams, including 1) Predictive Modeling using SAS® Enterprise Miner; 2) SAS® Advanced Predictive Modeling; and 3) SAS® Text Analytics, Time Series, Experimentation & Optimization. You must pass all 3 exams. Candidates must be analytics professionals with experience in Machine Learning (ML) and predictive modeling techniques, including their application to big data sets.
Online Business Analytics & Analysis Certifications
- IIBA Certification in Business Data Analytics (CBDA): Unlike the ECBA (see below), CBDA certification focuses specifically on skills in business & data analytics. The multiple choice exam covers areas such as sourcing data, analyzing data, interpreting & reporting results, business decision-making, and organizational-level strategy. Examine the sample questions to gauge if you’re ready to take the exam.
- IIBA Entry Certification in Business Analysis (ECBA): IIBA’s introductory certification in business analysis is open to candidates with at least 21 hours of Professional Development (PD) hours within the last 4 years. The exam covers core knowledge & competencies in business analysis according to the BABOK® Guide, including perspectives (e.g. Business Intelligence, Agile, etc.), knowledge areas (e.g. strategy analysis), and techniques (e.g. backlog management, decision modeling, etc.).
- IQBBA Certified Foundation Level Business Analyst (CFLBA): CFLBA is aimed at business & system analysts, requirements engineers, product owners, and product managers. It covers fundamentals in business analysis & enterprise analysis, as well as requirements analysis, competencies, process improvement, and more. Applicants should have basic experience in solution concept, design or development. ASTQB, which offers the IQBBA, is also the U.S. Member/testing board for ISTQB, an internationally recognized software testing certification.
- IREB Certified Professional for Requirements Engineering (CPRE) – Foundation Level (FL): CPRE is an early career certification designed for professionals who work in requirements engineering, business analysis, and software & systems development. There are no prerequisites for applying. You can start with the Foundation Level (FL) exam and then move your way up to Advanced and Expert levels.
- IIBA Certification of Competency in Business Analysis (CCBA): CCBA is suitable for business analysis practitioners with 2-3 years of experience, a minimum of 3,750 hours of Business Analysis work experience in the last 7 years, and a minimum of 21 hours of Professional Development within the last 4 years. It’s a step up from ECBA certification (see above) and it involves a multiple choice exam formulated from the BABOK® Guide.
- IREB Certified Professional for Requirements Engineering (CPRE) – Advanced Level (AL): As mentioned, the Advanced Level of CPRE certification comes after you’ve completed the Foundation Level (FL). 4 independent modules are available at this level: Requirements Elicitation, Requirements Modeling, Requirements Management, and RE@Agile. You can take a practitioner exam or a specialist exam in any of the modules to earn a certificate.
- IIBA Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP): CBAP certification is often seen as a direct competitor to the PMI-PBA (see below). It’s designed for professionals with significant business analysis experience, including a minimum of 7,500 hours of BA work experience in the last 10 years and a minimum of 35 hours of Professional Development (PD) in the last 4 years. View the sample exam questions to learn if you’re at the right stage in your career for this credential.
- IREB Certified Professional for Requirements Engineering (CPRE) – Expert Level (EL): In order to qualify for the EL credential, you must hold at least 3 CPRE Advanced Level (AL) certificates. Up to 2 certificates may be substituted with equivalent credentials (e.g. CBAP, BCS Diploma in Business Analysis), university coursework, or a substantial publication. Candidates must also have at least 3 years of full-time equivalent work experience as a requirements engineer in various roles & projects and demonstrable activity as a trainer or coach in the requirements engineering field. The exam consists of a written application, written assignment, and oral exam.
- PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA): PMI-PBA certification is designed for business analysis practitioners or project & program managers who work with project teams and manage requirements or product development. Candidates must have a secondary degree (high school diploma or associate’s degree) + 60 months of business analysis experience + 35 contact hours of education in business analysis OR a bachelor’s degree + 36 months of business analysis experience + 35 contact hours of education in business analysis.
Online Data Analytics Certificates
- DataCamp Courses: DataCamp offers a series of online introductory courses that cover all of the fundamental tools in data analytics & data science, including R, Python, SQL, Excel, Tableau, Power BI, and more.
- IBM Data Analyst Professional Certificate: IBM’s introductory certificate is aimed at applicants with basic computer literacy and high school math. It takes 3-9 months to finish 9 courses, including a final capstone project. Coursework covers SQL, Excel, Python, Jupyter Notebooks, and Cognos Analytics (IBM’s Business Intelligence suite). ACE® recommended—earn up to 12 college credits.
- IBM Data Analytics with Excel and R Professional Certificate: IBM also offers a beginner’s certificate that takes 3-9 months to complete and requires no prior experience or degree. You’ll tackle 8 online courses in analytics, data visualization, Excel, SQL & R and finish with a capstone project. ACE® recommended—earn up to 15 college credits.
- Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate: Google’s introductory certificate takes 3-6 months to complete. No prior experience is necessary, except for high school level math. It covers tools like R, SQL, Tableau, Excel, RStudio & Kaggle and includes a final capstone. ACE® recommended—earn up to 12 college credits.
- SAS® Programmer Professional Certificate: Anyone interested in SAS programming should consider this introductory certificate—no prior programming or SAS experience is required. It takes 5 months/20 weeks to complete and can help prepare you for the SAS® Base Programming Specialist certification exam.
- Cloudera Data Analyst Training: This 4-day training course will teach you to apply data analytics & Business Intelligence (BI) skills to big data. Some knowledge of SQL is assumed and basic Linux command-line familiarity is required. Coursework covers Apache Hadoop fundamentals, Apache HIV & Impala, data management, complex data, and more.
Online Business Analytics & Analysis Certificates
- SimpliLearn Business Analyst Master’s Program: This online master’s program is offered in collaboration with IBM and endorsed by IIBA. Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree in any discipline and a basic knowledge of math & statistics. Coursework covers Excel, Tableau, Python, Harvard Business School case studies, and a capstone project. It also includes electives in Agile Scrum Master, SQL & R, as well as training for the CBAP® certification exam (see above).