Today, nearly every industry relies on big data to make important decisions. Data analytics refers to the process of examining raw data to discover data trends and patterns. These trends and patterns can then be used to optimize businesses.
Data analysis is a complex process that uses various software, techniques, and key components to achieve its goals. If you want to become a data analyst, then this article will outline everything you need to know to start your education.
Types Of Data Analytics
Although data analysis is a broad field, it’s divided into four areas of focus. Each area of focus fulfills a different role in the analysis process.
- Descriptive analytics: This area of analytics is focused on collecting data and summarizing it to make it easy to understand and interpret. It answers questions about what happened in the past.
- Diagnostic analytics: As the name suggests, diagnostic analytics examines the data and helps answer ‘why’ something happened.
- Predictive analytics: Predictive analytics forecasts what might happen in the future. First, historical data is used to identify trends and patterns. Then, the data is used to determine whether these patterns or trends are likely to occur again.
- Prescriptive analytics: Prescriptive analytics focuses on trying to find what should be done using the given data.
As a data analyst, you’ll encounter each of these approaches to interpreting information.
What Do Data Analysts Do?
The main job of a data analysts involves:
- Collecting data
- Maintaining and analyzing the data
- Drawing conclusions from the data
- Troubleshooting the issues that arise from storing information digitally
Certifications In Data Analysis
Certifications in data analysis can play an important role in helping your resume stand out. Certifications can help you get hired for better job opportunities, or help you get a raise in your current position. The reason for this is because certifications validate your skills.
However, most of the certifications are industry-based. For that reason, before becoming a certified data analyst you’ll have to choose which area of data analysis you prefer. Whichever specialty you choose, you’ll need to be a skilled problem solver with good communication skills.
Various universities and platforms provide data analyst certifications. Thinkful’s full-time Data Analytics course is a great place to begin if you’re looking to enroll in a program that’s designed to land you a job when you graduate. Some popular certifications to take afterward are:
Certified Associate Data Analyst
This certification is meant for professionals like business intelligence specialists, data analysts, database administrators, developers, and system architects. This certification is specifically curated for highly skilled SQL developers who are looking to further add value to their resume. This certificate will help you stand out from the competition.
To be eligible for this certification, you should be able to:
- Use QL (Query Language) statements in Impala and Hive to evaluate data on the cluster
- Use the ETL (Extract, Transfer, Load) processes to formulate data for queries
- Alter or create structures in the metastore using DDL (Data Definition Language) statements
It is also important that you familiarize yourself with SQL and the basics of the Linux command line.
This is a professional-level exam that lasts 120 minutes and is available in English. It costs $295. The passing percentage is 70.
If you are an SQL developer, earning this certification will prove that you have the skills to load, transform, and model Hadoop data.
Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert MCSE: Data Management And Analytics
This is an advanced-level data analytics certification. It is best suited for professionals who have extensive experience in SQL administration, in leveraging BI data, and in building large-scale data solutions for enterprises. This certification will allow you to work on cloud environments as well as on-premise environments. Depending on the focus of your career and your interest, this exam has a variety of exams that you can choose from.
This is an expert-level exam with a passing score of 70 percent. The prerequisites for this certification include several years of experience as a data analyst and knowledge of SQL. The exam has 45 to 55 single questions as well as multiple-choice questions. The cost of the exam is $165.
Associate Certified Analytics Professional (aCAP)
This certification is best suited for entry-level data analysts who have knowledge of their field but lack experience. It will also certify that you are ready to opt for the Certified Analytics Professional certification.
The Certified Analytics Professional certification is vendor-neutral and software neutral. The aCAP is globally accessible through computer-based training. Once you receive your aCAP certification, it must be converted to the Certified Analytics Professional or CAP certification within 6 years. As a professional data analyst, you’ll also have to renew your aCAP certification every three years.
The aCAP certification is beneficial for your career as it helps you stand out from the competition. It enhances and validates the credibility of your skills, and makes your resume more impressive. The certification process of aCAP is based on the areas of business problem framing, analytics problem framing, data, methodology selection, model building, deployment, and lifecycle management.
There are no prerequisites for this certification. The exam costs $300 and has 100 multiple-choice questions.
Certified Analytics Professional (CAP)
This is one of the top certifications in data analytics. To get your CAP certification, you need to fulfill the eligibility criteria in terms of education and experience. You also need to commit to the CAP Code of Ethics and successfully pass the CAP exam. Lastly, you are required to renew your CAP certification every three years.
The CAP examination is a medium-level data analytics exam and is held in English. It is 180 minutes long and has a total of 100 questions. The questions are either based off of four given options, or are multiple-choice questions. The examination fee is $350 for those candidates who have cleared their aCAP certification, $495 for the INFORMS members, and $695 for others.
The syllabus of the CAP exam includes topics like:
- 7 areas of Job Task Analysis (JTA)/7 unique areas of the analytics process
- Business intelligence vs. data science
- Components of data science, data visualization, and decomposing analytical problems
- Five E for CAP exam, among others.
SAS Certified Data Scientist Using SAS 9
Earning this certification will help you analyze big data and gain valuable information from it using various SAS tools. You’ll also be able to make business recommendations using multifaceted machine learning models.
There are 5 exams in total:
- 2 exams from the SAS Certified Big Data Professional credential-
- SAS Big Data Preparation, Statistics and Visual Exploration
- SAS Big Data Programming and Loading
- 3 exams from the SAS Certified Advanced Analytics Professional credential-
- Predictive Modeling Using SAS Enterprise Miner 7, 13, or 14
- SAS Advanced Predictive Modeling
- SAS Text Analytics, Time Series, Experimentation and Optimization
You’ll have to pass all five data analysis exams to earn a SAS Certified Data Scientist credential. The exam is in English. The ‘Predictive Modeling Using SAS Enterprise Miner exam’ costs $250 and every other exam costs $180.
EMC Proven Professional Data Scientist Associate (EMCDSA)
This course will help you develop your skills in applying various analytics tools. It will also teach you techniques related to analyzing big data and building statistical models. Additionally, this certification will help you deploy the data analytics lifecycle, and teach you how to reframe the challenges of businesses. It will also help you understand how to select suitable data visualizations to communicate insights with the stakeholders, among other things.
To earn this specific data analytics certification, you need to have experience with SQL and a programming language like Java, Perl, or Python. The exam is in English and costs $600 for video-ILT streaming mode and $5000 for instructor-led mode.
The Direct Path to A Career: A Data Analysis Bootcamp
Certifications will help you polish and develop your skills. They will also help you convey your worth to your prospective employer through your resume. But a certification isn't the most direct route to getting hired as a Data Analyst.
If you want to build a strong foundation in data analysis and transition into this exciting career path, then you're better off investing your time into a Data Analysis bootcamp. This type of online course will teach you the exact skills you need to excel in a data analyst role. You'll finish with much more than a certification: every graduate completes the program with a professional portfolio, and a team of career coaches at your side to help you apply for the right roles and land a job you love.
To learn more about how you can excel in the field of data analytics, you can refer to Thinkful’s data analytics articles.