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Data Science Certificates: How To Get One In 2023

All the Data Science certificates that will get you a job
Adobe Stock / Looker Studio
Andrea Tallarita
Andrea Tallarita

It is not uncommon for aspiring techies to look for a Data Science certificate as a way to enter – or advance – in this ever-growing industry. Unfortunately, this is nowhere near as straightforward or as transparent a process as many initially assume, as the field is rife with career traps, and the available guides are few and not always reliable.

This article was created to provide a compass for all those aspiring techies who feel lost in the woods. I will not only guide you to the most reliable and professional providers of certificates in Data Science, but also equip you with all the insider information necessary to make an informed choice.

If you simply run after the first piece of paper you come across, you risk doing more harm than good to your professional profile. This article will make sure you find the Data Science certificate that serves your career and your future – and that gets you out of those woods definitively.


What exactly is a certificate, and which are valid for Data Science?

How to choose a Data Science certificate

The career trap of Data Science certificates – and how to avoid it

So, why get a Data Science certificate?

Certificates basics

What exactly is a certificate, and which are valid for Data Science?

data science certificate Student holding rolled diploma with ribbon on light blue
Adobe Stock / New Africa

A certificate is any document from a recognized authority stating that you possess a certain set of skills or experience in a given field. Technically this definition should include something like a university degree or a diploma; in reality, a ‘professional certificate’ refers to something different.

Unlike degrees and diplomas, professional certificates do not have classes, lessons or professors. Instead, you obtain them by taking the relevant exam by yourself, and you will prepare for that exam mostly independently, perhaps assisted by some pre-recorded lessons or digital materials.

Certificates are also, for the most part, relatively short-term engagements. Most are designed to be prepared for and completed in a few months – not the four or five years that a university program takes.

In the field of Data Science, certificates are many and highly diverse, ranging from simple programs for the absolute beginner to specialized ones for the advanced professionals. It therefore shouldn’t surprise you, once we start exploring the options, to find a few exceptions to the above two rules!

Is there a difference between a certificate and a certification?

Semantically, the word ‘certification’ typically refers to something a bit more advanced and difficult to attain than a ‘certificate’. In practice, though, the two terms are interchangeable synonyms, and nobody will care which of these two words you have in your CV. Don’t waste your time worrying about something so unimportant.

Data Science certificate vs University degree: what are the differences?

A professional certificate should never be conflated with a university qualification like a degree, a Masters or a PhD – even if, as mentioned above, these things can of course also be called ‘certificates’.

The main differences between the two are duration, structure and value, with university qualifications being taught programs that take several years to attain, while most certificates are independently-prepared programs to be completed in months (or even weeks).

Regarding value, let me be clear – only the more advanced and prestigious certificates on this list will be comparable on your CV to a Bachelors degree or a Masters in Data Science, and those require several years of experience in the field to be obtained. If you think an intermediate certificate can work as an alternative or a ‘shortcut’, then you’ll be disappointed. There are no shortcuts.

A common source of confusion are so-called ‘community college certificates’. This is an expression referring to short professional specialization courses awarded by academic institutions exclusively in America (similar programs exist outside of the USA, of course, but they go by different names).

Again, let me be clear: while the skills you can learn from a community college (or equivalent) course in Data Science have value, a community college certificate does not, or at least not by itself. These programs are generally designed to prepare people for work in sectors like plumbing, construction, nursing, or automotive repairs. For people looking to work in tech – beginners and veterans alike – there are much better options out there.

Data Science certificate vs Data Science bootcamp: what are the differences?

Yet another category that should not be confused with professional certificates is that of modern coding bootcamps in Data Science, even though these offer completion certificates of their own.

The main difference is that coding bootcamps are about learning new skills, while certificates are about validating skills one already has. A bootcamp will provide a taught program with an instructor and often a cohort of staff (career services, community managers) to attend to you. It will also be a high-intensity affair, in which you’ll be pushed to your limit in terms of how much and how quickly you can learn. Certificates have little support and can be taken at your own pace.

A completed bootcamp is a much superior career option for those looking to break into (or redeploy within) the world of Data Science, while a certificate is preferable for advanced professionals who wish to demonstrate proficiency with specific tools. Understand which group you belong to before committing to either option.

Data Science certificates

How to choose a Data Science certificate

data science certificate Businessman holding and showing the best quality assurance
Adobe Stock / Dilok

In this part of the article I will list all of the most prominent certificates in Data Science, along with details and a short description of each.

As I touched on above, there are very many such certificates, some very different from each other in nature. For this reason, I have subdivided this list into the following categories.

Firstly, we will look at certificates that are appropriate for beginners, and this section will in turn be split between certs by educational providers, and those provided by major tech companies.

Secondly, we will consider certificates for professionals, which in turn will be split between certs that demonstrate general mastery of Data Science, and those that validate specialised skills, or proficiency with specific tools.

At the end of each of these parts I will include a Career Focus section to evaluate the usefulness of these different types of certifications, and what you can expect to get out of them. Do NOT choose a certificate without reading the guide to its career value. Not only do you risk wasting your time, you may actually make your CV less attractive to employers!

The only certificates I decided not to account for in this guide are those offered by academic institutions, such as Columbia University’s Certification of Professional Achievement in Data Sciences. While there is a growing number of these ‘mini-degrees’ offered in tech, they remain very closely anchored to the academic world and I don’t believe they truly belong with those discussed in this article. 

Finally, note that the prices and fees provided in this article are, in almost all cases, variable depending on the international region, and may not correspond for all applicants to the figure I have reported.

Data Science certificates for beginners

This is a compact list of all the major Data Science certificates for beginners, along with their providers and their prices. Click on each provider to be taken to the full description of their certificates.

i. Self-learning course completion certificates

The following are providers of self-learning programs in Data Science which offer a certificate on completion. These are apt for the complete beginner who wishes to introduce themselves to the world of Data Science and find out if it is something they will like. They are absolutely not in the same league as more advanced professional certificates (see the Career Focus section below), but they do demonstrate completion of the pertinent classes.

data science certificate codecademy logo

Available Certifications:

Codecademy notoriously has one of the most expansive series of possible courses and certifications on Data Science, covering just about all the possible topics and specializations in the field. Copying them all here would take up half our article, but you can check the full list on their website.

Price: €17.49 per month for the CodeCademy subscription, with a variety of discount options for students and teams.

How long to get it: Variable depending on the course, usually between 16 and 40 weeks.

What you should know: One of the most famous and widely-used resources for self-learners, CodeCademy is an excellent starting point for beginners looking to learn the basics, and can be used to extend one’s learning into intermediate concepts as well. More advanced topics will probably require a more holistic approach.

Available Certifications:

Data Visualization
Data Analysis with Python
Machine Learning with Python

Price: Free

How long to get it: Approximately 300 hours per certification.

What you should know: While not the most exhaustive resource for Data Science on this list, FreeCodeCamp distinguishes itself for being totally free, which makes it arguably the best possible starting point for those who wish to introduce themselves to Data Science and find out what it is like.

Available Certifications:

The Data Science Course 2023: Complete Data Science Bootcamp 

Price: €94.99 for the course, or €29.99 per month subscription

How long to get it: 32 hours minimum

What you should know: Like CodeCademy, Udemy has an extremely wide range of courses which offer certificates of completion, over and beyond the Data Science Course 2023 certification referred to above. Be aware, however, that their various courses are mostly designed to be independent from each other, meaning many of them will overlap conceptually and cover similar topics. Also, note that the 32 hour duration indicated for the course only refers to the total duration of their video lessons – the actual amount of time you will have to spend studying and exercising is going to be much longer!

ii. Proprietary basic skills certificates

These certificates are something like a compromise between the self-learning courses in the previous sections, and the independently prepared advanced certificates which we will consider later. They will offer some learning material and/or support, but usually this is fairly limited. The material is quite beginner-friendly, and is often meant as a stepping stone towards more advanced certificates. They are provided by major tech companies, often working in cooperation with online educational providers.

data science certificate IBM logo

Available Certifications:

  • Introduction to Data Science
  • Python Basics for Data Science
  • SQL for Data Science
  • Analyzing Data with Excel

Price: €89.

How long to get it: Highly variable depending on the certification, ranging from 2 days of full-time study to 6 weeks on a part-time studying schedule (2-10 hours per week).

What you should know: A variety of foundational courses offered by IBM. While they are beginner-friendly, read the requirements for each certification carefully – some of them expect you to go in with a baseline knowledge of statistical concepts or tools like SQL.

data science certificate Coursera logo

Available Certifications: 

  • Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate 
  • IBM Data Science Professional Certificate

Price: Coursera requires a monthly subscription fee of €36 to €53, depending on the type of subscription.

How long to get it: 240 hours for the Google certificate, 60 hours for the IBM certificate.

What you should know: Don’t be intimidated by the word “professional” in the titles – these are fairly beginner-friendly courses, meant as springboards for some of Google and IBM’s more advanced certificates (also offered by Coursera, and explored below).

data science certificate Microsoft logo

Available Certifications:

  • Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Fundamentals
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Fundamentals

Price: $99 (€91) in the United States, but the price varies considerably by region.

How long to get it: Self-paced, but there is an optional instructor-led course lasting one day.

What you should know: The first ‘specialist’ certificates in this list, these validate foundational knowledge of Microsoft’s cloud computing platform Azure rather than Data Science in general. They represent the groundwork for some of Microsoft’s more advanced certificates (see the section on certificates for professionals).

data science certificate Amazon Web Services AWS Logo

Available certifications:

  • AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner

Price: €90

How long to get it: Self-paced, but note that the AWS website suggests that preparation for the exam can be completed within 1 month via the AWS Certification Journey, a series of webinars that take place once a week.

What you should know: Very much the same concept as the Microsoft certificate above, but for those who intend to work with AWS cloud computing rather than Azure. 

Career Focus: Are Data Science certificates for beginners worth it?

If you are thinking of using any of the self-learning certificates listed above to find a job in Data Science, then let me dispel that notion for you right away – a certificate of completion by FreeCodeCamp or CodeCademy is an utterly worthless thing to have on your CV. Some employers may even see them as red flags, interpreting them as an indication that the applicant has nothing else to show for themselves.

The proprietary certificates, while a little better at demonstrating specific skills, are also not sufficient by themselves to find a job in Data Science. You will want the advanced certificates (see below), and the basic ones essentially just serve for you to test whether you have the foundational knowledge to start preparing for those. 

This is not to say that getting these certificates is a waste of time. But if you think you need them on your CV, then you are fundamentally misunderstanding their purpose. They exist primarily as tools for beginners and self-learners. What you get out of them is not the certificate itself, but the knowledge that you acquired when preparing yourself to get it.

A much more appropriate way to use these certificates is to apply the knowledge you learned to get them and build something for your portfolio. A good portfolio will always constitute your best certification, and that’s what will get you a job.

Data Science certificates for professionals

This is a compact list of all the major Data Science certificates for professionals, along with their providers and their prices. Click on each provider to be taken to the full description of their certificates.

iii. Generalist Data Science certificates

All of the certificates listed from here on out are obtained by signing up for an exam and then preparing for it at your own pace, which is why I no longer specify how long it takes to get one. This first part looks at certificates that validate broad, general skills in Data Science as a whole.

data science certificate CAP logo

Available Certifications:

  • Certified Analytics Professional (CAP)

Price: $695 USD (€631), discounted to $495 USD (€449) for INFORMS members.

What you should know: The CAP certificate testifies to advanced skills in the field of Data Analytics. While this may seem like a step down from the more expansive ‘Data Science’, Analytics is an extremely broad field in its own right and arguably the most directly employable skill-set in the world of data. The CAP is one of the more general options on this list, not being limited to the proprietary technology of any given company, and it is certainly not to be taken lightly. Aside from its considerable financial cost, it will require you to submit an array of personal credentials before you are allowed to take the exam. Make sure you are prepared – this is an option only for professionals or academics with several years of experience in the field!

data science certificate Coursera logo

Available Certifications: 

  • Google Advanced Data Analytics Professional Certificate
  • Google Business Intelligence Professional Certificate

Price: Coursera’s monthly subscription fee costs between €36 and €53, depending on the type of subscription. This will cover all of the above certificates.

What you should know: Coursera is an online platform hosting a variety of course and certificate providers, including many universities of international repute. The above certificates by Google are among the most prestigious out there and you should consider them among your first choices, but be aware that they require several years of experience either in academia or in the industry. 

data science certificate SAS Institute logo

Available Certifications:

  • Data Science Certification

Price: €880, with discount options for students and educational staff.

What you should know: The SAS Institute is a prestigious but also fairly complex educational organization which offers much more than just certificates, and I recommend that you investigate their options thoroughly before committing to any of them. This Data Science certification, for example, is the equivalent of combining three separate SAS certifications, namely those in AI & Machine Learning, in Advanced Analytics, and in Data Curation. Depending on what you need from your certificate, you may prefer to choose only one or two of these, or perhaps to combine them with other certifications of your choice. The combinations you build will also affect the final price you pay, so consider your options carefully and don’t just dive for the first attractive title you find!

data science certificate Dasca logo

Available Certifications:

  • Senior Data Scientist
  • Principal Data Scientist
  • Associate Big Data Engineer
  • Senior Big Data Engineer
  • Associate Big Data Analyst
  • Senior Big Data Analyst

Price: From $585 (€531) up to $1450 (€1315) depending on the course and on previous qualifications.

What you should know: DASCA’s three levels of certificates are Associate, Senior and Principal in order of importance. All of them require several years of experience working with data, but the Principal level is especially advanced even by the standards of this list, and should be reserved only for the most experienced professionals.

data science certificate open group logo

Available Certifications:

  • Open Certified Data Scientist

Price: $400 USD (€363) for Level 1, $500 USD (€454) for Level 2, and $550 (€499) for Level 3.

What you should know: Similar to the DASCA certifications above, this one has three levels of distinction – but in this case, they all exist within the same certificate. You can become an Open Certified Data Scientist, or a Master Data Scientist, or a Distinguished Certified Data Scientist. One of the more affordable options on this list, and of particularly good value for those aiming for Level 3.

iv. Specialist Data Science certificates

While cloud computing qualifies as a distinct field in its own right, in practice all serious Data Science professionals will be expected to know the ins and outs of it to some extent, and a certification in this field will be among the most valuable for anyone working with data. In fact, if your portfolio already demonstrates Data Science proficiency, a complementary certificate in cloud computing may even be preferable to a general one of those above. This list also includes certificates in Machine Learning and AI. 

data science certificate Google Cloud logo

Available Certifications: 

  • Professional Data Engineer
  • Professional Cloud Database Engineer

Price: $200 USD (€182), may vary by region and local tax.

What you should know: The first of these two certificates has some more general implications, but by and large these are the certs you should be looking for if you see yourself working with Google Cloud. Note that they are valid for 2 years, then a recertification becomes necessary.


Available Certifications:

  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Scientist Associate
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Fundamentals
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Enterprise Data Analyst Associate
  • Microsoft Certified: Customer Data Platform Specialty
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Engineer Associate

Price: $165 USD (€150), variable by region.

What you should know: Microsoft’s proprietary certifications are the go-to option for anyone who wishes to demonstrate proficiency with their cloud computing platform Azure. Unlike some of the other options on this list, these certificates do not overlap in terms of topics treated, and – depending on your technical profile – a complementary combination of more than one certificate should certainly be considered. They also come with optional 4-day instructor-led courses, but don’t let that fool you – you will need very considerable background preparation before you can pass any of these exams.


data science certificate Cloudera logo

Available Certifications:

  • CDP Generalist
  • CDP Administrator – Private Cloud Base
  • CDP Data Developer
  • CDP Data Analyst
  • CDP Administrator – Public Cloud

Price: $330 (€299)

What you should know: A variety of certificates designed to demonstrate proficiency with the Cloudera Data Platform (CDP). They can be taken either individually, or in a selected combination.

Available certifications:

  • AWS Certified SysOps Administrator (Associate)
  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect (Associate)
  • AWS Certified DevOps Engineer (Associate)
  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect (Professional)
  • AWS Certified Advanced Networking (Professional)
  • AWS Certified Security (Specialty)
  • AWS Certified Machine Learning (Specialty)
  • AWS Certified Database (Specialty)
  • AWS Certified Data Analytics (Specialty)
  • AWS Certified SAP on AWS (Specialty)

Price: $150 USD (€136) for Associate level, $300 USD (€272) for Professional and Specialty levels.

What you should know: As above, but dedicated to the popular AWS cloud platform. A wide gamut of certificates organized in the three tiers Associate, Professional and Specialty going from the simplest to the most advanced. There also exists a lower level called Foundational, which is that of the certificate I listed in the section for beginners. Don’t worry about getting all of these – just go for the ones appropriate to your level.


Available Certifications:

  • TensorFlow Developer Certificate

Price: $100 (€91)

What you should know: Not a cloud computing certificate this time, but one for machine learning and AI. This is the first-choice certificate to demonstrate knowledge and skills specifically with the TensorFlow software library. 


Available Certifications: 

  • DeepLearning.AI TensorFlow Developer Professional Certificate

Price: Coursera’s monthly subscription fee costs between €36 and €53, depending on the type of subscription. 

What you should know: Perhaps not quite as advanced as the TensorFlow certificate mentioned above, but a more than worthy alternative particularly for those who already have a Coursera subscription and want to complement some of the generalist certificates offered on that platform.

Career Focus: Are Data Science certificates for professionals worth it?

The specialized certificates I listed above can be powerful tools to boost your career, but they are not for everyone.

Firstly, understand that these programs are designed for people who already have professional proficiency in Data Science at a minimum. They exist for such people to demonstrate aptitude – sometimes with a particular tool or specialization – and also to sharpen or update their skills with them. 

Beginners or relatively inexperienced professionals in the field of Data Science should therefore steer clear of these. They will waste their time and money, learn very little, and only end up greatly frustrated.

Instead, the classic profile of someone who can make the most of such a certificate is that of a university postgraduate with a background related to Data Science who wishes to transfer from academia to the business world, or an established professional with a history of working with AI who wishes to switch to cloud computing.

As long as these advanced certificates are seen as complementary to one’s foundational qualifications and portfolio in Data Science – and not as their replacement – they can be a valuable tool to distinguish your CV from a host of other similar ones. Indeed, they could make the difference between a call for an interview or a rejection, or even between a salary offer of €40K yearly or one of €50K yearly.

Just make sure that your certificate matches the type of jobs you are going to apply for. An advanced certificate will boost your CV only if it is directly pertinent to the field you are applying for. Certifying that you are a beast with Python libraries when your desired position involves working with R is really not going to add much to your application.

Avoid career trap

The career trap of Data Science certificates – and how to avoid it

data science certificate Quality assurance, Guarantee, Standards, ISO certification and standardization concept.
Adobe Stock / Murrstock

Most people looking for a Data Science certificate want “the one” that will impress recruiters the most and get them the job. Here’s something you should know right off the bat: such a thing does not exist.

You are either a beginner-veering-towards-intermediate, and then the only point of getting certificates is what you learn in the process – the ‘badge’ itself isn’t worth anything. Or else you are an intermediate-veering-towards-veteran, and then the certificate only gives you an edge if it complements a rich portfolio of projects.

You fall into the career trap any time that you put the pursuit of certificates above that of your skills or your portfolio (and this goes double for freelancers, for whom a portfolio is a very big deal).

Think of it this way, what’s the farthest that a certificate can get you? To a technical interview, of course. And a technical interview will also feature at least one senior Data Scientist from your prospective team.

That person is going to drill into you hard to find out exactly what you know and what you don’t. And then no certificate in the world is going to make a difference. The only things that will matter are your knowledge and your skills, which is why those should always be your priority when preparing for any job.

So, is a Data Science certificate worth it?

Data Science certificates are primarily valuable as tools to structure your own learning and pick up on concepts you do not yet fully grasp, or as marks of distinction to elevate an already strong CV and portfolio, or else – and this may be their best application – to demonstrate that you possess very specific, specialistic skills in addition to your more general ones. However, they are not an end in themselves, and are very rarely self-sufficient to get you a job.

In other words, figure out your objectives first, and then get a certificate – not the other way round. If you want to learn, go for a free course, and use the certs to signpost your progress (although there are faster and more efficient options out there). If you want to get a job, find out exactly what skills you need for your line of work first (analytics, machine learning, cloud computing?), and then get the corresponding certificate.

A certificate should offer you a variety of benefits. Always make sure those are more than just a line on your resumé.

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