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If you are looking for a career change to an in-demand, tech-focused role, getting a certificate in data analytics may be just the way to pivot your current work prospects.
Not only could a certificate in data analytics help pivot your career, it could also land you a big pay raise, with average analyst pay hovering in the mid-$80,000 range, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
What Are Certifications?
Certifications are credentials you can receive, generally by taking courses or passing exams.
You may be able to earn a certification through:
- Online courses
- Extension schools
- Executive education courses
- Corporate programs
- Product programs
What Is Data Analytics?
Data analytics is the collection and analysis of particular sets of data. For example, a company may want to know which days of the week bring in the highest sales. They may hire a data analyst to review the last year's sales and find trends that reveal Saturdays are their best sale days.
Of course, data analysts don't comb through paper sales receipts to get this information. They're highly trained in using mathematical formulas and databases to find the information they need from large sets of data. And once they find that info, they can deliver it as a report to the organization to help make important decisions that can help steer the direction of the company.
With many industries depending on quality data analysis, it's no surprise that the job market for operations research analysts is growing at a "much faster than average" rate according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Government data from 2020 pins the average salary around $86,200 a year or $41.44 an hour.
Employers typically want analysts to have at least a bachelor's degree, but it doesn't specifically have to be in data analytics. That's where data analytics certifications may come in handy when pivoting into the field with other previous educational experience.
Some types of jobs you can get with a data analytics certificate include:
- Data technician
- Data analyst
- Marketing analyst
5 Data Analytics Certificates to Boost Your Income
Data analytics certifications are available for those at many levels of their careers and their cost can vary. Some are designed to help you get started in the industry as a newbie or career changer. Others are certifications that can build on your existing skills and help you apply data analysis more fully in your role.
1. Google Data Analytics Certificate
Ideal for those new to data analytics, the Google Data Analytics Certificate offered on the Coursera platform prepares students for entry-level data analysis work. In less than six months, students cover topics such as processing data from dirty to clean, data visualization and analysis with R programming.
Course work is interactive and consists of activities, quizzes and discussion prompts. To boost their resume, students can take on a case study that can be shown to future employers during the interview process.
Cost: Monthly subscription to Coursera at $39
Time to complete: Under six months with under 10 hours of study per week
2. Cornell Data Analytics Certificate Program
Designed for mid-career professionals looking to deepen their knowledge in data analytics, the Cornell Data Analytics Certificate program covers three courses over nine weeks. These courses include:
- Understanding and Visualizing Data
- Implementing Scientific Decision Making
- Using Predictive Data Analysis
Besides earning a data analytics certificate from the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, students also earn 45 professional development hours and 26 professional development units toward Project Management Institute recertification.
Cost: $3,600 or three monthly payments of $1,250
Time to complete: Nine weeks at three to five hours per week
3. IBM Professional Certificate in Data Analysis and Visualization Fundamentals
Offered on the edX platform, the IBM Professional Certificate in Data Analysis and Visualization Fundamentals offers skills-building coursework with data visualization built in alongside analysis work. Data visualization is the practice of creating charts, maps and other graphics in order to present data analysis in a digestible visual format.
Students take three self-paced courses to cover the basics of data analytics and creating visualizations:
- Data Analytics Basics for Everyone
- Analyzing Data with Excel
- Data Visualization and Building Dashboards with Cognos and Microsoft Excel
With instructional guidance from IBM professionals, this low-intensity intro to data analytics can be a great skills-building option for those looking to learn more about data visualization.
Time to complete: Four months with two to three hours of study per week
4. Berkeley Online Data Analytics Boot Camp
The UC Berkeley Online Data Analytics Boot Camp provides a structured way to tackle data analytics and get ready for a job. Though the program has a progressive curriculum that blends live online classes and practical education, students can do much of the work in their own time. For 24 weeks, students meet for online classes and complete self-paced work that covers the broad strokes of data analytics.
Students learn skills and programming languages in demand in the data analytics market, including:
- Pivot tables
- Machine learning
- Python 3
Time to complete: 24 weeks
5. Thinkful Data Analytics Bootcamp
The Thinkful Data Analytics Bootcamp is designed to take data analysts from beginners to career-ready in four to six months. They can cover the basics of data analytics, working in Excel and Tableau and diving into some languages such as Python and SQL.
There are two options for studying: full-time with a cohort and scheduled meeting times, or part-time with self-paced lessons.
One of Thinkful's biggest selling points is that students can receive a $1,500 a month loan while studying to pay for their living expenses. This can make it possible to apply attention to full-time coursework.
Cost: There are several options to pay for Thinkful's Data Analytics Bootcamp, including:
- Upfront: $12,250
- Month-to-month: $3,400
- Deferred: $0 now, and approximate monthly payments of $407-$437 (or $689-$759 if you take the living expenses loan) once you get hired and make at least $40,000
Time to complete: Four to six months
Choosing the Right Data Analytics Certification for You
Choosing the right data analytics certification is all about balancing your current resources and your future goals. These are some things to consider when picking a program:
- How much can you invest? Budget is a big consideration when it comes to choosing a program. Make sure to consider a realistic return on investment when setting your budget and choosing a program.
- How quickly do you want to complete the certification? Some courses can be completed in a few days, while other certifications may take months or even years. Depending on your current employment goals and free time, which course you choose may be limited.
- Why are you taking this course? If you're looking for a certification that can introduce you to a new field, you may be able to choose some simpler options. Whereas if you're looking to become an expert, advanced options should be considered.
With the right certification, you can improve your odds of finding a well-paying job and taking your career to the next level.