The field of big data, analytics and business intelligence is all the rage these days, and the number of certifications is ticking up accordingly. What's more, IT professionals with big data and related certifications are growing in demand.
Today's organizations are looking for more and better ways to wrangle the voluminous amounts of data available to them and pull out only the information they need. Big data system administrators store, manage and transfer very large sets of data, making it accessible for analysis. Data analytics is the practice of examining the raw data to draw conclusions and identify patterns. Business intelligence involves the collection and organization of information to report on business activities, often pulling data from those very large data sets.
Along with the surge in big data interest has come a growing number of certifications, which seek to recognize the skills needed to work with enormous data sets. The target audience is IT professionals with a background in analytics, data mining, business intelligence or data management, along with a knack for and interest in mathematics and statistics. Individuals with big data or related certifications are in reasonably high demand and usually command salaries of $95,000 or more. Senior data scientists can expect a salary in the $130,000 to $175,000 range.
Microsoft is part of the big data mix with its MCSE: Business Intelligence and MCSE: Data Management and Analytics certifications. The certifications are closely related, recognizing professionals with SQL administration skills who can design, build and deploy enterprise data solutions. But where the BI certification focuses on SQL Server 2012/2014, the new Data Management and Analytics cert leans heavily toward SQL Server 2016 and puts more emphasis on cloud environments.
Be aware that the MCSE program is undergoing change, and anyone wanting to earn the BI credential must do so before it retires on March 31, 2017. Achieving certification by that date means your credential will remain active until Microsoft retires the associated technologies. The MCSE: Data Management and Analytics, which includes a BI component, is one of the new certifications that Microsoft announced in September 2016.
The MCSE: Business Intelligence cert requires candidates to pass five exams, all relating to Microsoft SQL Server 2012/2014. Topics include querying, administering, implementing a data warehouse, implementing data models and reports, and designing business intelligence solutions with Microsoft SQL Server. Passing the first three exams earns the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) SQL Server 2012/2014 certification, the last two exams the MCSE: Business Intelligence.
Cloudera is a leader in software and services based on Apache Hadoop, catering to a wide range of markets, such as government, university research, financial services, telecommunications and energy.
Cloudera offers several big data-related certifications:
Cloudera Certified Professional Data Scientist (CCP Data Scientist)
Cloudera Certified Professional Data Engineer (CCP Data Engineer)
Cloudera Certified Administrator for Apache Hadoop (CCAH)
Cloudera Certified Associate (CCA) Spark and Hadoop Developer
This article focuses on the Data Scientist credential.
The CCP Data Scientist is geared toward data scientists who can design and develop scalable and robust solutions for production environments. Candidates need to pass three exams: Descriptive and Inferential Statistics on Big Data, Advanced Analytical Techniques on Big Data, and Machine Learning at Scale. Each exam is a challenge scenario, and you are given eight hours to complete it. All three exams must be taken within 365 days of each other.
CCP certifications are valid for three years.
MongoDB NoSQL Certifications
MongoDB is both an open source, NoSQL document-oriented database and the name of the company providing that technology. Because of its document-oriented NoSQL model, MongoDB is well-suited for managing large amounts of loosely structured data, as is so often the case in big data projects.
MongoDB was deemed a leader in Forrester Wave: Big Data NoSQL, Q3 2016, and Gartner selected MongoDB as a challenger in its 2016 Magic Quadrant for Operational Database Management Systems. The database is ranked fifth in overall database engine popularity as of November 2016. All of these accolades help it to earn its top-five spot in this article.
The MongoDB NoSQL certification program recognizes developers and operations professionals who can create and run applications on MongoDB. The program currently offers two associate-level credentials: MongoDB Certified DBA and MongoDB Certified Developer. The company plans to eventually roll out higher-level certifications. The current exams are based on MongoDB V3.2.
MongoDB offers instructor-led classroom training as well as free online video training through the MongoDB University. The online courses feature video lectures, quizzes, weekly assignments, and a final exam or project. Instructors and teaching assistants address questions in the learning forum.
For database professionals interested in venturing into big data projects and NoSQL databases, the MongoDB certification is certainly worth pursuing.
Oracle has one of the largest certification programs in the world, and it has granted more than 1 million Oracle and Sun certifications worldwide.
Oracle's Business Intelligence (BI) certifications fall under the company's Java and Middleware certification track. The BI certs are offered across several applications and platforms, such as Business Intelligence Applications 7 for CRM, Business Intelligence Applications 7 for ERP, Business Intelligence Foundation 10 and 11g, Endeca, and Essbase. To narrow down the field, this article focuses on the Oracle Business Intelligence Foundation Suite 11g Certified Implementation Specialist credential.
Candidates for this certification are intermediate-level professionals (architects, analysts, developers and administrators) who work with Oracle Business Intelligence Suite solutions, performing tasks such as installing and building BI dashboards, querying, configuring, and managing.
Although anyone can attempt the exam, the certification is designed for members of the Oracle Partner Network who sell and deploy the technology.
The Oracle Business Intelligence Foundation 10 Certified Implementation Specialist is also offered; it is based on a slightly older version of Business Intelligence Foundation, but it is still relevant in today's market.
SAS is a multibillion-dollar global corporation that specializes in business analytics software and services. The company's well-honed certification program offers nine credentials across programming, information and data management, advanced analytics, and business intelligence.
Three SAS certifications worthy of note are the SAS Certified Data Scientist, SAS Certified Predictive Modeler Using SAS Enterprise Miner 13, SAS Certified Statistical Business Analyst Using SAS 9: Regression and Modeling, Business Intelligence Content Developer for SAS 9, and SAS Certified Big Data Professional Using SAS 9. We concentrated on the SAS Certified Data Scientist Using SAS 9.
Candidates for the Data Scientist certification should have deep knowledge of and skills in manipulating big data using SAS and open source tools, using complex machine learning models, making business recommendations, and deploying models. Candidates must pass five exams to earn the SAS Certified Data Scientist credential.
SAS doesn't require candidates to take certification courses as a prerequisite for exams, but the company offers an official curriculum for those who have the budget and need the extra preparation.
SAS "versioned" credentials, such as the SAS Certified Data Scientist Using SAS 9, do not expire. However, SAS may retire exams as new or enhanced software is released.