Data Analyst Certifications – The Top 7: Everything You Need To Know

You may be considering getting a data analyst certification for many reasons: perhaps you’re starting a new career, you wish to increase your skill-set, or you would like to add a certification on top of your degree.

Regardless, attaining a qualifying data analyst certification will open many doors for you, because it will demonstrate your skills, understanding, and education to potential employers and help you stand out as a credible and trained professional.

In a rapidly growing field across multiple industries, attaining a relevant data analyst certification can do wonders for your career and holds many benefits.

Currently, there is a big supply and demand imbalance, where there are many data analyst job opportunities that remain unfilled because of a big skill gap; namely, just not enough people are qualified or talented data analysts.

Although some certifications have a high upfront investment cost, in the long run this pays itself off, earning you substantial profits. Endless studies have shown that not only do employers actively seek out data analysts with qualifying certifications, but the extra credential can also advance you in your current position, ultimately leading to higher salaries.

In addition, many of these certifications require that individuals remain up-to-date and remain knowledgeable about the latest advancements, giving you the extra confidence and skills to stand out professionally.

Still, how do you know which certification you should get? When you search Data Analyst Certification, countless options at varying different price points and levels come up, and it can leave you feeling even more confused about which certifications are worth pursuing, especially if your aim is to work as a data analyst for a corporation.

There are certain certifications that are definitely more valuable than others, and the one you choose should be based on your eligibility, your goals, and your budget.

Keep in mind that you can hold more than one certification at once, because the goal is to expand your knowledge, understanding, and experience!

Here, you’ll find a compiled a list of the top paid data analyst certifications that stand out to employers, as well as everything you need to know about them to get started.

Microsoft Data Analyst Associate Certification

This certification validates that you have a fundamental understanding of data repositories and data processing, both in the cloud and in on-premises settings. It also shows that you have the valuable knowledge to use Power BI, allowing you to aid businesses to maximize the value of their data assets.

Microsoft certifications validate your skill-sets, boost your confidence, and even help you get that salary increase.

Attaining this certification is a relatively simple process, as it just requires that you pass an exam. Ideally, individuals pursuing this certification should have a basic working understanding of core data concepts, as well as working knowledge of relational data in the cloud and visualization concepts.

To prepare for the exam, Microsoft offers free, self-paced learned paths to teach you the basics and test your skills prior to the exam. This option consists of 16 modules to help you gain the skills to help you become certified. Microsoft also offers a paid, instructor-led training learning path from a Microsoft Learning Partner, so prices may vary.

Once you have completed your training courses, you may take a trial run of the exam with the Microsoft Official Practice Test for DA-100: Analyzing Data with Microsoft Power BI. This covers all the objectives that you will find in the actual exam so that you can be prepared for any question.

Once you’ve completed all these steps, all that’s left to do is to take the exam! Exam DA-100: Analyzing Data with Microsoft Power BI costs 165 USD to take, but the price may vary based on the country in which the exam is proctored. You’ll earn your certification and be able to add it to any resume or job profile to showcase your skills.

Please note that starting in June 2021, Microsoft certifications will be valid for one year from the date they were earned. Prior to June 2021, certifications remain valid for two years from the date they were earned.

This is important information to know because it is essential that you keep your certification up to date by passing a free renewal assessment. You can do this anytime within the six months before your certification expires and avoid having to pay to retake your exam.

Associate Certified Analytics Professional (aCAP)

This certification enhances your resume, increases professional credibility, as is an important step to earning the even better-known CAP certification. It is ideal for recent graduates or entry-level practitioners who do not have the experience necessary to earn CAP.

If you are considering this credential, please note that applicants need to have a master’s degree with less than three years of experience in professional analytics. You will also be required to sign an ethics code and pass the examination to attain the certification.

This is generally an affordable certification, as the base price for aCAP certification is 300 USD. Prices will vary for individuals who are members of INFORMS, or for teams.

This exam is based on analytic practice, so there are no specific course prerequisites for it. To prepare for it, you can review the Analytics Job Task Analysis (JTA).

You may also find 24 sample questions to practice in The Candidate Handbook, as well as with the free, downloadable CAP study guide.

The exam consists of 100 multiple choice questions, and the passing score is typically 70%. Once you pass, the credential should be renewed every three years

This certification exam is continuously offered at computer-based testing centers across the world, and sometimes at other locations in conjunction with INFORMS events. To find events and centers to schedule and take the exam, you may visit

Certified Analytics Professional (CAP)

This certification is recognized worldwide as the professional certification for analytics practitioners. An increasing number of employers recognize the CAP certification as extremely valuable and identify those who hold this certification with high standards.

Those who pass the exam are able to distinguish themselves to employers and create better career opportunities for themselves.

How does a CAP certification stand out?

  • Superior knowledge of data analytics
  • Showcasing business problem framing skills
  • Methodology selection skills
  • Combination of education and experience
  • Model building techniques
  • Continuously maintaining and advancing knowledge

The CAP credential is designed for professionals that are in their early to mid-career. This means that applicants will need to have either a bachelor’s degree with five years’ experience in analytics or a master’s degree with three years’ experience in analytics.

Applicants will also be required to sign an ethics code and acquire a confirmation of their soft skills from their employer. To do this, you will need to identify a current or previous employer and have them confirm your skills through an email confirmation link.

If you are self-employed, you may request confirmation from a recent client, or submit a detailed written summary of your recent work and the soft skills used that allowed the project to be successful.

Preparing for this exam is very similar to preparing for the aCAP certification exam; you may review sample questions from the Candidate Handbook, review the JTA, or enroll in the CAP Prep class offered by INFORMS.

The base price for this certification is 495 USD if you are a member with INFORMS. Otherwise, it will be 695 USD. Like aCAP, it must also be renewed every three years.

Certification of Professional Achievement in Data Sciences

This certification is offered online or in-person through Columbia University’s Data Science Institute. Candidates for this certification are required to complete at least twelve credits, four of which are compulsory courses:

  • Algorithms for Data Science
  • Probability and Statistics
  • Machine Learning for Data Science
  • Exploratory Data Analysis and Visualization.

Since this is not a degree, the application process is much simpler. You will be required to submit three letters of recommendation, copies of your transcripts, a concise personal statement of no more than 250 words, your resume, and pay the application fee.

To be eligible for the certification, you should have an undergraduate degree, as well as prior quantitative and computer programming coursework.

Here, students are encouraged to conduct original research and interact with industry partners. This certification comes from a prestigious and highly regarded university, which sets you apart from the rest.

Still, it is a more costly option, as individuals pursuing this certification will typically pay about 2,000 USD per credit.

It is important to keep in mind though that this option does not require any renewals in the years to come and offers you much more knowledge and training than other certifications based on its scholarly nature.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) Big Data Specialty Certification

With this industry-recognized credential, you will be able to validate your cloud expertise while highlighting the most in-demand skills. This certification is ideal for roles such as Cloud Practitioners, Architects, Developers, and Operation roles.

To be eligible, you should have a background in defining AWS Big Data services, have five years’ experience in data analytics or a related field, as well as experience in processing data.

The exam is three hours long and is multiple choice format. The test may be taken at a testing center or proctored online.

This certification helps you to advance your career by:

  • Demonstrating skills in incident response
  • Abilities in logging and monitoring
  • Expertise in infrastructure security
  • Identity and access management
  • Data protection
  • Grow your confidence and skills

To prepare for the exam, Amazon offers several free, virtual exam readiness webinars and training courses. You may also choose to take the practice exam for only 20 USD prior to the real exam.

The certification has a 300 USD registration fee, and the exam itself costs 100 USD.

Cloudera Certified Data Analyst (CCA)

As one of the biggest names in the Data Analytics field, a Cloudera certification is definitely worth pursuing. This credential proves your ability in preparing, structuring, and analyzing data in a CDH environment.

This was created to help SQL developers stand out to employers for their skills and a relevant certification. In this way, the CCA certification is very desirable and enhances your employ-ability and opportunities to increase your salary.

To prepare for the exam, Cloudera offers free video courses and training courses. You are also encouraged to enhance your knowledge with training courses provided by third parties. Here, you will be able to learn the material or refresh your memory prior to taking the exam.

The exam costs 295 USD and lasts two hours. Within this time-frame, you will be asked to solve eight to twelve problems and earn at least 70% to pass and attain the certification. CCA’s are valid for two years before they must be renewed by retaking the exam.

SAS Certified Data Scientist (SAS 9)

Provided by software vendor SAS, this certification validates that you can work with their popular business software to manipulate and gain insights from big data and make the best business recommendations.

Individuals with this certification demonstrate their abilities to employers, which helps them stand out from the rest.

In order to attain this certification, individuals must pass five exams that are comprised of a mix of multiple choice, interactive, and short answer questions. Each test focuses on a different SAS skill for data curation.

There are many ways to prepare for this exam. SAS offers in-depth training, learning paths, and courses on their website that can help you prepare prior to the exam. Please note that the actual exam fee is 180 USD, and the credential does not expire.


Choose a Certification, or Many! You can hold multiple certifications at a time, choosing the ones that are best tailored to you, your experience level, and your goals as a data analyst.

Truly, attaining a qualifying certification is important in any career, and data analysts are no exception. Consider adding a valuable credential to your name to stand out to potential employers, increase your chances of getting hired, grow your salary, and advance in your current position.

If you are curious to know the typical requirements & salaries for data analysts, you may want to check out my other article on the subject: Data Analyst: Job Description, Salary, Skills & Career Paths.


I'm a senior CS Engineer from Morocco, working as an Independent Consultant and a part-time blogger.

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