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10 Best Data Science Certifications To Get Hired in 2023

Posted in Data Science
Data Science Certification

With almost exponential growth in the trend of big data and artificial intelligence, it is inevitable that in 2023 and beyond, the demand for data-driven jobs will continue to grow for businesses of all sizes and in all sectors.

At the center of this lies the data scientist, who has become indispensable for developing processes and prediction models to make sense of all that data! Still a top 3 job, with an average pay of over $120,000 per year, it’s unsurprising that more and more people are hungry to enter the field.

One of the best ways to stand out in this sector is to obtain the best data science certification. Often challenging to achieve, these validate and verify your data science skills, allowing you to demonstrate to future employers that you have what they’re looking for.

This article will cover the 10 best data science certifications available, ranging from beginners to seasoned professionals that lead their company’s data science division.

Data Science vs. Data Analytics

While they’re often on the same Data team within an organization, there are some distinct differences between data scientists and data analysts.

Data scientists often work with structured and unstructured data to find interesting patterns or insights via sophisticated data techniques, machine learning, and predictive modeling.

Data analysts typically work with structured data to address real-world business problems using tools like SQL, R, or Python programming languages, data visualization software, and statistical analysis.

Certification or Certificate?

Although these terms are frequently used interchangeably, they are not the same.

  • Certificate: Often awarded as proof of completion for a training course, and may occasionally require a grade exam, although this is less common.
  • Certification: An industry-recognized way to verify competence and expertise. Usually only obtained by taking and passing a challenging graded exam, passing peer interviews, and meeting the required prerequisites.

While certificates are much easier to get, they can be a great stepping stone toward getting a more challenging certification in data science. This is an excellent choice if you’re a beginner or transitioning from one field to another.

This article will cover the best data science certifications in 2023, along with two of the best data science certificates for aspiring data scientists looking to break into this field.

If you’re applying for data science jobs right now, check out our Data Science Interview Questions 

Choosing the Best Data Science Certification

If you’re unsure which data science certification to choose, consider the following criteria.

  • Qualifications & Skills: Do you need a degree or professional qualifications? Do you have the necessary technical and scientific skills?
  • Cost: Will the investment be worthwhile at this stage in your data science career? 
  • Renewal Period: For how long is the certification valid? Will you need to renew regularly? Will you need to re-sit the exam to extend your status?
  • Reviews: Do others say that the certification has improved their career or their ability to apply for jobs?

10 Best Data Science Certifications

Provider

Certification

Price

Certified Analytics

Certified Analytics Professional (CAP)

$350-$695

Data Science Council of America (DASCA)

Senior Data Scientist (SDS)

$775

Data Science Council of America (DASCA)

Principal Data Scientist (PDS)

$750 - $1450

SAS

Data Science Certification

Upwards of $1545

The Open Group

Open Certified Data Scientist (Open CDS)

$1100 - $1500

Microsoft Certified

Azure Data Scientist Associate

$165

Microsoft Certified

Azure AI Fundamentals

$99

Columbia University

Certification of Professional Achievement in Data Sciences

$395 + University Tuition Fee

HarvardX with edX

HarvardX Data Science Professional Certificate

$792.80

IBM with Coursera

IBM Data Science Professional Certificate

$59/month or $399 annually for Coursera Plus

1. [Certified Analytics] Certified Analytics Professional (CAP)

Why we chose this

Highly valued by analytics-oriented organizations around the world, the Certified Analytics Professional (CAP) can advance the careers of data scientists with the right blend of advanced analytics knowledge and soft skills.

To pass the exam and obtain this top data scientist certification, you’ll need to showcase your data science skills and expertise in areas like analytics and business problems, data science methodology selection, model building, and deployment.

Prerequisites: 

  • Bachelor’s degree + 5 years experience, or
  • Master’s degree + 3 years experience, or
  • 7 years experience with a degree in non-analytics area, or
  • Employer must verify soft skills

Cost:

  • $350 (aCAP certified candidates)
  • $495 (INFORMS member)
  • $695 (everyone else)

Total Exam Questions: 100

Content: Four-option, multiple-choice questions

Exam Location: In person at designated test center

Duration: Three hours

Expiration: Valid for three years

Learn More

2. [DASCA] Senior Data Scientist (SDS)

Why we chose this

Known for being a globally recognized provider of data science accreditations, The Data Science Council of America’s SDS is one of the top data science certifications for ambitious data scientists with at least four years of experience.

Depending on your experience and education, you can choose from four tracks for DASCA’s Senior Data Scientist (SDS) credential.

Regardless of the track you choose, you’ll need to demonstrate your knowledge of data science applications for business, the functional framework for data science, data science essentials, and more to pass the exam.

Prerequisites

  • Track 1: Bachelor's degree in computer science (or related field) +5 years experience
  • Track 2: Master's degree in computer science (or related field) +4 years experience
  • Track 3: Bachelor's degree from DASCA-recognized institution, +3 years experience
  • Track 4: Master's degree from a DASCA-recognized institution, +3 years experience

Cost: $775 (all tracks)

Total Exam Questions: 85

Content: Multiple-choice, single-answer questions

Duration: 100 minutes

Exam Location: Online

Expiration: Valid for 5 years

Learn More

3. [DASCA] Principal Data Scientist (PDS)

Why we chose this

If you’re a lead data scientist in your organization that’s known for technical skills and leadership qualities, then the Principal Data Scientist (PDS) from DASCA is one of the best certifications in data science for you. Much like the SDS, four different tracks are available for PDS candidates.

Each track requires you to complete three graded assessments to demonstrate advanced skills in statistics, data analytics, business intelligence, and more. However, those that follow tracks 2 or 4 will also need to pass a graded exam in addition to these assessments.

On the plus side, once you’ve completed the hard work to achieve this certification, it does not expire! You just need to maintain your professional achievement record every five years.

Prerequisites: 

  • Track 1: invite-only for data science professionals with an impressive career track record and +10 years experience. Most also have a Ph.D. or Master’s degree in data science (or related fields)
  • Track 2: employer sponsorship, Bachelor's degree in computer science, data science, or related fields, and +10 years experience
  • Track 3: SDS certified, Master’s degree in computer science, data science, or related fields, and +10 years experience
  • Track 4: open to anyone with a Master's degree in computer science, data science or related fields, +10 years experience, or +8 years experience with Ph.D.

Cost:

  • Track 1: $850 (invite-only)
  • Track 2: $1250 (employer-sponsored)
  • Track 3: $750 (upgrade from SDS)
  • Track 4: $1450 (everyone else)

Total Exam Questions: 100

Content: Multiple-choice, single-answer questions

Duration: 100 minutes

Exam Location: Online

Expiration: Update professional achievements every 5 years

Learn More

4. [SAS] Data Science Certification

Why we chose this

This certification is somewhat unique, as it blends online course material, coursework, and graded exams in three data science areas, culminating in the Data Science Certification.

This is an excellent route for aspiring data scientists without a degree or minimal professional experience.

By studying data curation and linking this with either advanced analytical methods or AI & machine learning, you can prove your competency in two disciplines and a range of data science tools on your way to achieving this certification.

Prerequisites: 

  • Familiar with SAS programming basics
  • Familiar with data manipulation methods
  • Familiar with SQL

Cost:

  • $1,295 per year, per sub-course (12-month material access), includes 1-3 exam vouchers (depends on route)
  • $180 - $250 per exam (price & number of exams depends on route)

Total Exam Questions: Typically 50-55 (per exam)

Content: Multiple-choice, short-answer questions, or interactive questions

Duration: Typically 100 minutes (per exam)

Exam Location: Online

Expiration: No expiry for most exams, but check individual exam

Learn More

5. [The Open Group] Open Certified Data Scientist (Open CDS)

Why we chose this

Unlike most certifications, this option does not require written exams but combines a written application and peer interviews to demonstrate your skill and competence. If this approach appeals, then the CDS is probably the best data science certification for you.

Depending on your experience level, you can aim for one of three levels: certified, master certified, or distinguished data scientist.

This certification requires you to complete milestone assessments resulting in milestone badges. The number of badges you need increases with each level.

Prerequisites: Demonstrable experience as a data scientist

Cost

  • Milestone badges: $50 - $300 (number of badges depends on the level) 
  • Certification fee: Level 1: $400, Level 2: $500, and Level 3: $550
  • Total Cost:
    • Level 1: $1100
    • Level 2 & 3: $1500

Location: Online or in-person

Duration: Self-paced

Expiration: Valid for 3 years

Learn More

6. [Microsoft Certified] Azure Data Scientist Associate

Why we chose this

If you’re a data scientist that just happens to be an Azure wizard, then this certification makes a lot of sense for you.

You’ll need to have demonstrable expertise in applying data science and machine learning (ML) techniques with Azure, including data exploration, training machine learning models, and managing scalable ML solutions. Focusing on some of the infrastructure aspects of data science, this blends some of the skills of a data engineer.

If you’re not 100% sure whether you’re ready to sit the exam, then you can take advantage of free online data science course materials provided by Microsoft, or you could even opt for a paid option that is instructor-led. After passing the exam, you’ll also receive a digital badge for your online resume.

Prerequisites: Demonstrable experience using Azure for data science

Cost: $165 (exam only)

Total Exam Questions: 40-60 questions

Content: Multiple-choice or gap-fill

Duration: 120 minutes

Exam Location: Online

Expiration: No expiry

Learn More

7. [Microsoft Certified] Azure AI Fundamentals

Why we chose this

Another offering from Microsoft is a beginner-friendly certification for data scientists interested in AI.

Being a fundamental level certification, you’re not expected to have a wealth of real-world experience using Azure to perform machine learning (ML) or AI tasks.

Depending on your experience, it’s recommended that you use Microsoft’s free supplementary materials to either learn the necessary skills needed to sit the exam or refresh your memory.

Some areas you can expect to be examined include describing AI workloads, ML fundamentals, computer vision, and NLP on Azure. Interestingly, these cloud infrastructure aspects of data science overlap with some of the skills of a data engineer. 

Once you’ve passed, you’ll have a certification and digital badge from an industry-recognized provider. 

Prerequisites: Designed for beginners, but recommended to study the free materials.

Cost: $99 (exam only)

Total Exam Questions: 40-60 questions

Content: Multiple-choice, multiple-answer, or drag and drop

Duration: 60 minutes

Exam Location: Online

Expiration: No expiry

Learn More

8. [Columbia University] Certification of Professional Achievement in Data Sciences

Why we chose this

Provided by a world-class educational institution, this certification from Columbia University integrates online training via four data science courses that cover data science algorithms, probability and statistics, machine learning, and exploratory data analysis.

Being a university certification, the required knowledge level leans more toward theoretical than practical, with each course needing an understanding of calculus, linear algebra, and programming.

Prerequisites: Calculus, linear algebra, and programming skills

Cost: $395 technology fee + course cost (check directly with the university)

Duration: Typically 12 months

Exam Location: Online or on campus

Expiration: No expiry

Learn More

9. [edX] HarvardX Data Science Professional Certificate

Why we chose this

HarvardX is an online course provider from Harvard University, so it stands to reason that the course content will be second to none.

Provided in partnership with edX, this is an introductory course for data science fundamentals, including data mining and data visualization, probability and statistics, machine learning, and the fundamentals of the R programming language. You’ll also experiment with real-world case studies and data sets in data science projects.

This is one of the best data science certificate programs for aspiring data scientists to teach themselves the foundational skills of the discipline in their own time. If you do opt for this route, it may be helpful to look for other supplementary materials, including data science books.

Once completed, you’ll have one of the most respected data science certificates from one of the world’s most credible education providers for your resume.

Prerequisites: Designed for beginners

Cost: $792.80

Duration: Typically 12 months (3 hours per week)

Learn More

10. [Coursera] IBM Data Science Professional Certificate

Why we chose this

Aimed at absolute beginners, this data science certificate program is designed to be accessible to anyone with a passion for data science.

As the final option in our list and one of the best data science certificates, this is a solid choice for newcomers to develop essential skills while obtaining a well-respected certificate (and digital badge) from industry experts IBM, in partnership with Coursera. 

Being made up of 9 different online sub-courses, this data science specialization course will teach you about Python, SQL, data analysis and visualization, statistics, machine learning, and more.

You’ll also put these skills to work with hands-on exercises with the IBM cloud and real data sets, meaning you’ll have some actual content to add to your portfolio. It’s no stretch, therefore, to say that this may be the best certificate in data science for complete beginners.

Prerequisites: Designed for beginners

Cost: $59/month or $399 annually for Coursera Plus

Duration: Typically 11 months (4 hours per week)

Learn More

Conclusion

If you want to be at the center of the big data revolution, then there’s no better role than that of a data scientist.

Depending on your experience level and data science career goals, choosing the best data science certification can be a fantastic way to enhance your resume and demonstrate your impressive skills to potential employers.

So whether you’re a junior data scientist looking to climb the career ladder or a highly respected leader in your organization’s data team, there’s a certification made for you.

If you’re brand new to the field and looking for a way to break through, we’ve added some fundamental certifications and certificate programs that are great stepping stones.

Want to boost your data science skills even further? Check out these Data Science Courses

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which Certification Is Best for Data Science?

This depends on your experience level, education, and eligibility for the various data science certifications.

If you have more than five years of experience, consider the CAP, SDS from DASCA, or the Open CDS. If you have less experience or you’re new to the field, focus on the certificates we’ve included as a stepping stone toward a certification in the future.

2. Are Certifications in Data Science Worth It? 

This depends on your career goals, but by and large, a certification will enhance your resume for both your current role and any future roles you want to apply for.

3. Can You Be a Data Scientist Without Coding?

It would be almost impossible to become a true data scientist without coding since most of a data scientist’s time is spent using various programming languages to explore data, run models, produce visualizations, etc. 

4. Why Are Data Science Professionals in Demand?

In the era of big data and artificial intelligence, there is a massive demand for data scientists to develop processes and machine learning models to make sense of all that data and help organizations extract value from their data.

Simran Kaur Arora

Simran Kaur Arora

Simran works at Hackr as a technical writer. The graduate in MS Computer Science from the well known CS hub, aka Silicon Valley, is also an editor of the website. She enjoys writing about any tech topic, including programming, algorithms, cloud, data science, and AI. Traveling, sketching, and gardening are the hobbies that interest her. View all posts by the Author

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Tanvi
Tanvi

I have competed for my Engineering degree in CS. I want to make a career in Data Science. Can someone suggest to me from which institute I pursue my data science certification among these?

1. SAS Certified Big Data Professional
2. IBM Data Science Professional Certificate
3. United States Data Science Institute (USDSI™)
4. HarvardX’s Data Science Professional Certificate

Thanks!

Sunil
Sunil

Hi Ms. Simran,

First of all let me thank you for writing this good article on Data sciences certifications.

I currently hold 12 years of corporate sales experience and thinking to change my career to Data Science profile. What do you suggest?? Will i have career opportunities taking my previous experience into consideration?? Or will it be entry level??

venkatesh
venkatesh

Great job, i love this topic & especially the way you have explained it is really awsome. Thnaks for sharing this info..