Six Hot Big Data Certifications for 2022
As we roll up to 2022, or the year of the water tiger, I think about all of the things from the previous year that went away — a little more of my youth, a bit of my hair, and my former ability to squat 500 pounds. One thing that didn't go away and that is only going to keep getting bigger, is the global supply of data.
We always say "Big Data" when we reference data nowadays. That's well and good, but how deeply, truly, do you understand the ins and outs of data in all of its bigness? And how best to signal that knowledge to employers? Certification, of course. Let's dive into six piping hot big data certifications to watch for in 2022 (and beyond).
I'm going to start a little bit off the beaten certification path. Right at the top of my list is the traditional university. I'm not talking about a four-year degree — but university-curated Big Data certificates are becoming increasingly impactful. Big Data has become so prevalent that a lot of top-tier universities are offering six-to-nine-month certificate programs.
For instance, the University of Texas at Austin offers a Data Analytics Certificate that can be earned simply by completing a six-month (full-time enrollment) or nine-month (part-time) course. The course is online, which, back when COVID wasn't a thing, was rare for schools of this size. Besides the two items just mentioned, there are quite a few things that make this impactful.
In addition to developing an entire data skill set to solve real-world problems, you will receive a certificate from the University of Texas. A certificate from large university — ranked number six in the United States, at the time of this writing — will make employers swoon at your CV. UT is just one example here: Universities large and small, right on up through MIT, are offering such certificates.
Next up is the Associate Big Data Analyst (ABDA). Brought to you by DASCA (Data Science Council of America), this program is ideal for graduate students who want to build a data science career and have decided to focus on a subject such as applied mathematics-economics, business, computer science, management, marketing, statistics, and more.
This type of big data certification is not for the faint of heart. What makes it unique is its difficulty level. Before applying for the certification, candidates should have a strong prior and formal exposure to, and knowledge of, basic statistics concepts, as well as possess hands-on experience with the tools and techniques of problem-solving issues like central tendency calculation; dispersions and averages; permutations and combinations; probability; creating charts, graphs, histograms, and scatter plots. (Whew!)
Employers across multiple business sectors know the ABDA certification and hold it in high regard. Even though these credentials are relatively new, a lot of institutions trust the curriculum. It's a powerful and valuable vendor-neutral third-party certification, perfect for any candidate looking to set herself or himself apart from the pack.
Third is the tried-and-true Certified Analytics Professional credential. Sponsoring organization INFORMS, an international professional society, is a tried and true name for big-data certification. The INFORMS data science credentials are recognized by a great many corporations and organizations worldwide.
This one is not an easy pitch to hit. Prerequisites include a bachelor's or master's degree, somewhere between three and seven years of professional experience (depending on what capacity you've worked in), and verification from past employers of a certain degree of soft skills.
Once you've cleared those hurdles, there is an impressive array of training materials available to help you prepare for and pass the CAP certification exam, which is offered at a discount to anyone who is an INFORMS member. As the organization itself claims, CAP is the "leading global professional certification for early- to mid-career professionals" specializing in data analytics.
Fourth is the Certified Data Scientist credential offered by SAS. This certification course is designed for professionals who want to manipulate and gain insights from big data using various SAS and open-source tools. You will learn how to make business recommendations with complex machine learning models, and deploy models at scale using the flexible, robust SAS environment
What makes this certification unique and valuable is that it verified your deep understanding of machine learning models and is curated by a world-renowned data science company. SAS has been a leading name in the data science space for decades. Prospective employers will be waiting outside the testing center to get first crack at your CV.
What if you want to let employers know that you can really do it all? If you're like me, then you want to be known as a jack-of-all trades. One do-it-all Big Data credential is the brand new Cloudera Data Platform (CDP) Generalist credential. A potent Big Data brand name, Cloudera zotzed its old certification program entirely this year, boiling its former laundry list of credentials down to two.
The other one is Cloudera Data Platform (CDP) Administrator - Private Cloud Base. There are three other credentials in development as of this writing, but the long-established Cloudera Certified Professional (CCP) and Cloudera Certified Associate (CCA) credentials have now been retired.
CDP Generalist has unique attributes, one being its cost — just $300 — and the other being the specificity of the exam. The new exam (60 questions, 90 minutes) tests general knowledge of the Cloudera platform and applies to multiple roles, including administrator, developer, data analyst, data engineer, data scientist, and system architect. This is great for anyone who needs Cloudera-specific knowledge, but don't be afraid to get it to hone your all-purpose Big Data skills as well.
Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn't include "big blue," IBM. They offer a Data Science Professional Certificate (listed as a "badge" at IBM's training and certification site). Although this is a beginner-level certificate, it covers a lot of ground: You can demonstrate ground-level skills in a variety of data science topics, including open-source tools and libraries, methodologies, Python databases, SQL, data visualization, data analysis, and machine learning.
The impact here lies in the fact that IBM is always updating this certificate using the latest Python or other cutting-edge items in their curriculum. Earning the certificate requires completing nine courses (you're looking at roughly three months involving 12 hours of study per week), during which the candidate will complete several hands-on assignments and build a portfolio of data science projects.
At the end of your study, candidates earn a professional certificate from Coursera and a digital badge from IBM recognizing proficiency in data science. This program is unique in its graduated learning, and you pay as you go, so that is really a nice break compared to some of the bigger names. Employers are not going to shy away from this and will want a cutting-edge employee certified by the oldest name on the block.
It doesn't take long to understand that, no matter what certification you get and no matter your bankroll, there is something out there for your learning style and goals. All you need to do is go for it! As always, I wish you the best of luck — and happy certifying.