The Best Data Analytics Certification Programs

There has never been a better time to add data analytics to your skillset. Data analysts are essential to most organizations in operation today, and experts are increasingly concerned about the talent gap within the field. Still, if you’re thinking about investing in a data analytics certification, you’ll want to know: Is a data analytics certification really worth it? And, if so, what are the best data analytics certification programs to consider?

In this post, we’ll consider the benefits of becoming a certified data analyst. We’ll then share our list of the best courses and programs available right now, based on extensive market research. We’ll then give you some tips on choosing the right course for you, as well as the skills required to become a data analyst.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  1. Is a data analytics certification really worth it?
  2. What are the best certification programs to consider?
  3. How to choose the right data analytics certification for you
  4. What skills do you need to become a data analyst?
  5. Frequently asked questions
  6. Next steps

Keen to try your hand at data analytics before committing to a full program? Work your way through this free introductory short course first. In the space of five tutorials, you’ll try some basic data analysis—a great insight into the kinds of things you’ll learn in more depth on a full course.

So: What are the best data analytics certification programs? Let’s find out. But first…

1. Is a data analytics certification worth it?

In a word, yes. Data analytics isn’t just a buzzword; it has huge implications for business. Data analytics enables companies like Netflix and Spotify to personalize their offerings down to the very last detail. It allows marketers to understand customer behavior like never before. It’s transforming education, healthcare, travel, and politics—to name just a few. Those who can work with and leverage data are seen as extremely valuable, and companies both big and small are turning to data analysts to help them secure a competitive edge.

But do you really need a certification? Can’t you just teach yourself?

It’s true that you can master at least some data analytics tools and techniques yourself—in fact, you probably already have. If you use Excel or Google Analytics, for example, you’ll understand some of the basic concepts. However, there’s a big difference between performing very simple analyses and being able to call yourself a qualified data analyst. With that in mind, there are many advantages of completing formal training in the field and obtaining a certification.

When hiring a data analyst, employers are looking for a thorough understanding of the key concepts, together with the ability to apply your knowledge to real-world problems. While self-taught analysts may well know their way around a dataset, a certification demonstrates that you’ve been through extensive, hands-on training. That’s not to say that self-taught analysts aren’t as qualified as those who have completed a program or course, but a certification from a reputable institution instantly sets you apart as a credible, professionally trained analyst. Employers can see, at a glance, that you’ve mastered the necessary skills—immediately putting you in the running for any data analyst role.

If you’re brand new to the field, a certification program will take you right from A-Z, leaving you with the skills, confidence, and credentials needed to start your career as a data analyst. Even if you don’t necessarily want the data analyst job title, a certification will undoubtedly prove valuable in your current role. As more and more companies recognize the value of data analytics, those who can apply it to their jobs are an excellent asset for any team. The right certification program will allow you to expand your skillset and excel in your current position.

In short, a data analytics certification will equip you with some of the most in-demand skills in today’s business world—and provide you with an instantly recognizable qualification. However: Not all data analytics certification programs are created equal! Before you invest, it’s important to do your research and ensure you find a course that matches your budget, availability, skill level, and aspirations.

2. The best data analytics certification programs for 2021

So, without further ado, here’s our round-up of the best data analytics certification programs. If you want to skip ahead to a particular program, just use the clickable menu:

  1. CareerFoundry Data Analytics Program
  2. Springboard Data Analytics Career Track 
  3. Wharton Business Analytics Online Certificate Program
  4. Cloudera Data Analyst Certification
  5. BrainStation Data Analytics Certificate
  6. Harvard University Business Analytics Course
  7. Thinkful Data Analytics Immersion Course
  8. General Assembly Data Analytics Course
  9. MIT Sloan School of Management Applied Business Analytics Certificate

1. CareerFoundry Data Analytics Program

The CareerFoundry Data Analytics Program at a glance:

  • Mode of study: Online
  • Ideal for: Beginners and career-changers
  • Duration: 8 months (15 hours per week)
  • Price: $6,900 USD

Who is it for?

The CareerFoundry Data Analytics Program is ideal for beginners looking to learn how to become a data analyst from scratch. This is one of the most comprehensive certification programs on the market, offering a hands-on curriculum, a dual mentorship model, a job guarantee, career coaching, and an active student community. What’s more, the program is delivered entirely online, making it an accessible option if you’re working or juggling other commitments. You can try a free introductory five-day short course here.

How does it work?

This program will see you taking a very hands-on approach to learning all the techniques and tools of the trade. Upon enrollment, you’ll be assigned a one-to-one mentor and a tutor—two industry experts who will provide regular guidance and feedback. The course content is accessed through the online learning platform, and you’ll work your way through practical exercises as well as portfolio projects. You’ll graduate with a professional data analytics portfolio and a certification. You can learn more about how the program works here.

How long does it take to complete?

The program takes eight months to complete, at a pace of 15 hours per week. It is flexibly paced; you can work largely to your own schedule, but you will need to meet certain deadlines in order to stay on track for a timely finish.

How much does it cost?

The CareerFoundry Data Analytics Program costs $6,900 USD (or $6,555 USD if you’re able to pay in full up-front).

Useful links

2. Springboard Data Analytics Career Track

The Springboard Data Analytics Career Track at a glance:

  • Mode of study: Online
  • Ideal for: Career-changers with some experience
  • Duration: 6 months (15-20 hours per week)
  • Price: $6,600 USD

Who is it for?

The Springboard data analytics certification is designed for people who can demonstrate an aptitude towards critical thinking and problem solving, and who have two years of work experience. This is a fully online, mentored course that offers both flexibility and a job guarantee—ideal if you’ve already got some industry know-how but want to switch to a career in the field. If you don’t meet the requirements for the Data Analytics Career Track, Springboard also offers an Intro to Business Analytics course; however, this one doesn’t come with a job guarantee.

How does it work?

When you enroll, you’ll be matched with a mentor based on your availability and the kinds of skills you want to develop. You’ll learn completely online, applying your newly acquired theory to case studies and project-based assignments. To complete the course, you’ll work on a final project which is reviewed by your mentor. You’ll graduate with a certificate of completion which you can display on your LinkedIn profile.

How long does it take to complete?

This is a six month program, with most students dedicating 15-20 hours per week.

How much does it cost?

The program costs $6,600 USD (and you’ll get a 17% discount if you’re able to pay the full tuition up-front).

Useful links

3. Wharton Business Analytics Online Certificate Program

The Wharton Business Analytics Program at a glance:

  • Mode of study: Online
  • Ideal for: Managers and leaders looking to upskill
  • Duration: 3 months (6-8 hours per week)
  • Price: $2,600 USD

Who is it for?

This online program is ideal for managers and leaders who wish to learn how data analytics can help improve their decision-making processes. If you’re looking to excel in your current role and lead your team to success (rather than make a career-change into data analytics), this is a flexible, low-intensity way to learn the fundamentals of data analytics for business.

How does it work?

The course comprises nine modules, which will take you through the different types of data analysis as well as the key methods and tools. The course content is delivered via a combination of video and live online lectures. At the same time, you’ll work on individual assignments and receive feedback. Upon completion, you’ll come away with a digital Wharton certificate.

How long does it take to complete?

The course takes three months to complete, and you’ll need to dedicate between six and eight hours per week.

How much does it cost?

The course costs $2,600 USD, making it one of the more affordable options on our list.

4. Cloudera Data Analyst Training Course and Certification

The Cloudera Data Analyst Training Course at a glance:

  • Mode of study: Classroom-based, virtual classroom, on demand, or private instruction available
  • Ideal for: Professionals with some knowledge of SQL
  • Duration: Four days
  • Price: $2,235 – $3,195 USD (plus $295 USD for the CCA Data Analyst Exam)

Who is it for?

If you’re already working in a technical or analytical capacity, this course will help you take your data skills to the next level. The course is designed for data analysts, business intelligence specialists, developers, system architects, and database administrators who want to learn how to work with big data and get their skills certified. You’ll need some knowledge of SQL, as well as basic Linux command-line familiarity.

How does it work?

The course is based on instructor-led discussions and interactive, hands-on exercises. There are a range of study options available, allowing you to choose when and how you learn. Both the in-person classroom and virtual classroom options take place on set days (with start dates available every two months), while the on-demand option enables you to work through the course content at your own pace for up to 180 days. Upon completion of the course, you are eligible to register for the CCA Data Analyst exam in order to receive your certification.

How long does it take to complete?

The course takes four full days to complete, but you can work at a more flexible pace with the on-demand option.

How much does it cost?

If you opt for the virtual classroom, it’ll cost you $3,195 USD. The on-demand option is slightly cheaper at $2,235 USD. The CCA Data Analyst exam costs an additional $295 USD.

Useful links

5. BrainStation Data Analytics Certificate

The BrainStation Data Analytics Course at a glance:

  • Mode of study: Online or in person (USA, Canada, and UK)
  • Ideal for: Beginners looking for an introductory course
  • Duration: 10 weeks part-time
  • Price: $3,950 USD

Who is it for?

Spanning just ten weeks on a part-time basis, the BrainStation course is one of the less time-intensive options on our list—ideal if you’re not quite ready to commit to a lengthy program. This course will teach you all the fundamentals of data analytics, equipping you to apply what you’ve learned to your existing role or to embark on further training. It’s important to note that the BrainStation course is less focused on career change than some of the other options on the market, so you won’t benefit from extensive mentorship or career coaching.

How does it work?

The course is available both in person—with venues in London, Boston, New York, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Toronto, and Vancouver—and online via Synapse, their data-driven learning platform. Whether onsite or via engaging live lectures, you’ll focus on three core topic areas: building and managing databases, identifying trends in data, and visualizing and presenting insights. To earn your data analytics certificate, you’ll complete a project on a dataset of your choosing.

How long does it take to complete?

The course takes ten weeks to complete on a part-time basis. The exact scheduling and duration depends on whether you attend in person or complete the course online.

How much does it cost?

The course costs $3,950 USD, with a range of flexible payment plans and scholarship opportunities available.

Useful links

6. Harvard University Business Analytics Course

The Harvard University Business Analytics Course at a glance:

  • Mode of study: Online
  • Ideal for: Beginners and professionals looking to upskill
  • Duration: 8 weeks (5-6 hours per week)
  • Price: $1,600 USD

Who is it for?

This introductory course is ideal for anyone looking to learn the fundamentals of data analytics—whether you’re a college student or graduate preparing for the world of business, a mid-career professional looking to develop a more data-driven mindset, or if you’re considering a more comprehensive course in data analytics and simply want to strengthen your analytical skills beforehand. Offered entirely online, at a flexible pace, and at a relatively reasonable price, this is a good option if you want to dip your toes in without investing too much time and money.

How does it work?

The course content is delivered online via the Harvard Business School platform. The course is divided into five modules, starting with describing and summarizing data and progressing to more complex concepts such as hypothesis testing and regression analysis. You’ll work with various case studies and complete practical exercises for each module. To get your certificate of completion, you’ll need to complete all five modules and achieve an average quiz score of at least 50%.

How long does it take to complete?

The course takes eight weeks to complete, comprising around 40 hours in total.

How much does it cost?

The course costs $1,600 USD.

Useful links

7. Thinkful Data Analytics Immersion Course

The Thinkful Data Analytics Immersion Course at a glance:

  • Mode of study: Online
  • Ideal for: Beginners and career-changers with a bigger budget
  • Duration: 4 months (full-time)
  • Price: $13,600 USD

Who is it for?

The Thinkful program is an immersive, full-time course that promises to take you from complete beginner to job-ready data analyst in just four months. If you’re keen to start a career in data analytics, and have the time and money available to invest, this is undoubtedly one of the most in-depth programs on the market. However, if you are focused on starting a career in the field, bear in mind that the Thinkful course does not offer a job guarantee.

How does it work?

With instructor-led learning in a virtual classroom environment, you’ll master all the key concepts of data analytics, starting with an introduction to data analytics in modern business and finishing with a deep dive into Python and statistics. Most importantly, you’ll work on real-world projects which will help you build your portfolio—a crucial tool when it comes to finding a job in the field. Unlike many online programs, the Thinkful course follows a structured schedule, so you’ll need to stay on track each week.

How long does it take to complete?

The Thinkful course takes four months to complete on a full-time basis (around 50-60 hours per week).

How much does it cost?

The course costs a rather hefty $13,600 USD. However, there are a range of different payment options available, including loans, income share agreements, and stipends.

Useful links

8. General Assembly Data Analytics Course

The General Assembly Data Analytics Course at a glance:

  • Mode of study: Online or on campus (USA, Europe, Asia, and Australia)
  • Ideal for: Beginners looking to upskill
  • Duration: 10 weeks part-time (4 hours per week) or 1 week intensive
  • Price: $3,950 USD

Who is it for?

If you’re not necessarily looking to work as a data analyst but do want to master some of the key skills and tools, the General Assembly course offers a solid introduction at just four hours per week. This is an entry-level program suitable for career-starters and career-changers who want to build a practical skillset, for marketers and product managers who want to advance in their careers, as well as for data analysts who want to formalize their skillset.

How does it work?

For part-time students, classes take place twice per week in the evenings or all day on Saturdays, depending on your availability. Alternatively, you can opt for an intensive one-week course. Either way, the program will see you getting hands-on with data and using your newfound skills to solve real-world problems. You’ll complete a capstone project based on all the techniques you’ve learned throughout the course, as well as two additional smaller projects that reinforce what you’ve covered in each unit. You’ll finish with a portfolio-ready project and a certificate of completion.

How long does it take to complete?

The course takes ten weeks to complete at a pace of four hours per week. Alternatively, you can opt for the one-week intensive approach. It’s important to note that most of your project work will be done independently outside of classroom hours.

How much does it cost?

The course costs $3,950 USD.

Useful links

9. MIT Sloan School of Management Applied Business Analytics Certificate

The MIT Sloan Applied Business Analytics course at a glance:

  • Mode of study: Online
  • Ideal for: Non-technical business professionals
  • Duration: 6 weeks (4-6 hours per week)
  • Price: $2,800 USD

Who is it for?

The MIT Sloan course has been designed to appeal to non-technical professionals who want to learn how to apply data analytics to business. Offered entirely online and requiring just four to six hours of study per week, this is a highly flexible option if you’re working full-time and managing a busy schedule. This is also one of the more accessible courses on the market in terms of pricing.

How does it work?

The curriculum is based on a series of case studies which demonstrate how real companies use data analytics to their advantage. You’ll also learn through interactive discussions, hands-on exercises, and optional code snippets for R and Python if you’re keen to take a more technical approach. Upon completion, you’ll receive a verified digital certificate from MIT Sloan School of Management. The program also counts towards an MIT Sloan Executive Certificate.

How long does it take to complete?

The course takes six weeks to complete, requiring between four and six hours of study per week.

How much does it cost?

The course costs $2,800 USD, with flexible payment options available.

Data analytics students looking at a visualization on a laptop

3. How to choose the right data analytics certification for you

With so many data analytics certifications on the market, choosing the right one for you can be a daunting task. In this section, we’ll cover a few factors for you to consider.

How much can you spend on a course?

We’ll start with what’s likely the greatest deciding factor for many people: cost. Just from our previous list, you can see that tuition costs for recognized data analytics certifications range from the four-to-five figure range. However, many institutions will offer flexible payment options, such as paying in installments, authorized loans, government-funded options, and even scholarships in some cases. 

How and where do you want to study?

Some data analytics certifications offer online-only study, some offer in-person, and some may offer a combination of the two. For those who are looking to change careers into data analytics while still actively working in another field, part-time study is likely to be the most suitable option for you. Those with more time available for studying naturally have the most flexibility when it comes to this deciding factor. With regards to in-person study, check to make sure what options for data analytics certifications are available in your area.

What type of data analytics certification do you need for your career?

When considering a career in data analytics, it helps to do some research into potential future employers. Why? Because some companies may only allow certain certifications from particular institutions, which would narrow down your options for study greatly. Check out careers pages or do some research on data analytics discussion boards—there are many industry experts using those boards, providing an invaluable resource for those looking to get into the field.

While there are many other factors to consider—some more relevant or personal to you than others—we think the three we’ve mentioned are great starting points for your research. 

Once you’ve narrowed down your search to a few choices, it would be wise to spend some time speaking to an advisor from each institution to see how else the certification can benefit you—you may find out more about the course through them than you could have through solo research.

4. What skills do you need to become a data analyst?

A high-quality data analytics certification will ideally set you up to succeed in most entry-level jobs in the field. So what does that mean, exactly? It means you’ll learn about how to deal with every aspect of the data analysis process: from data cleaning to creating visualizations, and everything in between. 

Some required skills of a data analyst will be things that you may have learned in other fields of work—such as communication skills or problem-solving skills. If you haven’t got much experience in these, a good data analytics certification will help you.

Other required skills are more specific to the field, including proficiency in Excel and querying languages, such as SQL or SAS. You will also need to be familiar with data visualization tools, such as Tableau

For a more in-depth look at the skills required for a career in data analytics, check out this guide: What Are The Key Skills Every Data Analyst Needs?

5. Frequently asked questions

To round up, we’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions about data analytics certification programs. 

Is a data analytics certification worth it?

If you’re looking for a career in data analytics: yes! Gaining a certification in data analytics will equip you with all of the necessary skills and know-how required to land a job as a data analyst. Throughout your chosen course, you’ll complete practical projects that apply your learned skills, giving you material for your data analytics portfolio. You may also gain invaluable industry contacts and advice that would be nigh on impossible if you were coming into the industry without a certification. 

How do I become a certified data analyst?

You could take one of the data analytics courses we’ve listed in this article, or continue your research and look for another industry-recognized data analytics certification. Enquire, enroll, learn, study, complete projects, become certified! Depending on the course you land on, there may be some other steps in between, but that’s the general process you can expect to follow. 

Which certification is best for data analytics?

Unfortunately, we can’t answer that for you, as it depends entirely on your own personal circumstances and your future career goals. We’ve given some ideas on how to narrow down what is surely a long list of potential data analytics educational providers, but ultimately, you’ll need to decide which one is best for you based on your personal needs, circumstances, and goals.

Will a data analytics certification help me get a job in tech?

Many advertised job openings for data analysts will feature a data analytics certification requirement. Some companies will go a step further and list specific certifications that they will accept, with all others not being counted. We recommend doing some research into the field of data analytics you’d be interested in entering—such as healthcare data analytics, or marketing analytics—and even saving some listed job descriptions, and make note of which certifications will suit your future needs best.

How much does a data analytics certification cost?

It depends on the type of course you choose to take. Going by our list, you’ll find yourself spending at least a few thousand dollars on a certification, but there are usually ways of delaying payment or receiving assistance on the cost of tuition. However, this will depend on the institution providing the course, as well as other qualifying factors.

If you’re not in a position to take a paid program, you’ll find a list of free data analytics courses for beginners here.

Next steps

In this post, we’ve covered nine of the best data analytics certification programs available on the market. Hopefully you found something that fits both your budget and your learning requirements! Now it’s time to delve a little deeper with your research and run some thorough background checks on your shortlisted programs. Before you commit to anything, read through independent reviews and graduate testimonials, consider the course content in detail, figure out which skills you’ll need to learn for any ideal prospective employers, and speak to an advisor from your chosen institution to ask any questions you might have.

Keen to learn more about starting a career as a data analyst? Check out the following:

What You Should Do Now

  1. Get a hands-on introduction to data analytics with a free, 5-day data analytics short course.

  2. Take part in one of our live online data analytics events with industry experts.

  3. Talk to a program advisor to discuss career change and find out if data analytics is right for you.

  4. Discover how to become a qualified data analyst in just 4-7 months—complete with a job guarantee.