When considering a data analytics program, it’s important to find one that best fits your interests and broader career goals. Luckily, Google’s Data Analytics Certification and CareerFoundry’s Data Analytics Program are excellent options for those seeking to begin or further their data analytics career. The two programs aren’t created equal, though, and the best one for you will depend on various factors.
In this post, we offer a comprehensive comparison of the two programs to help you decide which one is right for you. When you’ve finished reading, you should have a much clearer idea of what each program offers, as well as what to look out for in data analytics programs in general.
- Curriculum design
- Assessment: quizzes vs. dual mentorship
- Course focus
- Learning schedule
- Learning platform
- Job assistance
- Which one is best for me?
- Final thoughts
While it’s best to review each program in detail, here’s a quick overview if you’re in a hurry:
Otherwise, let’s dive into the details and find out what the different programs offer.
1. Curriculum design
Google Data Analytics Certification
The curriculum for Google’s data analytics certification covers eight key topic areas designed to get you up to speed on everything data-related. These are:
- Foundations: Data, Data, Everywhere
- Ask Questions to Make Data-Driven Decisions
- Prepare Data For Exploration
- Process Data from Dirty to Clean
- Analyze Data to Answer Questions
- Share Data Through the Art of Visualization
- Data Analysis with R Programming
- Data Analytics Capstone Project: Complete a Case Study
The course, delivered by Coursera, is designed by practicing Google data analysts and aims to introduce all the fundamental elements of data analytics that beginners need to know. You can review the curriculum in more detail on their Course Page. While the course content is freely available, you’ll need to pay a Coursera subscription to complete the necessary assessments and obtain your certification.
According to the course overview, learners require no prior experience to undertake the program. However, the content is a little inconsistent here. While the first four modules are solid (each building on the one before it, taking you through the data analytics process), the Google Certification becomes far more demanding from module 5 onwards. Some reviews suggest that the course rushes through vital concepts (such as SQL). This means making use of external resources to supplement the curriculum might be necessary.
The content could also use more practical examples to bring concepts to life. Data analytics is a skill best learned through practical application but the course is limited in this respect, preferring ‘follow along’ tutorials.
Overall, Google’s Data Analytics Certification covers all the data analytics topics that beginners need to know, but might send them away with a relatively narrow concept of what it involves. Data analytics is a hugely diverse field, with many applications—to get a broader perspective, we recommend checking out where a career in data analytics could take you.
CareerFoundry Data Analytics Program
Like Google, CareerFoundry’s Data Analytics Program has also been developed by subject matter experts. Unlike Google, however, CareerFoundry’s entire focus is on helping people forge new careers by delivering high-quality instructional content.
The course creators are seasoned, skilled practitioners with diverse data analytics expertise from different companies and sectors. They have worked closely with instructional designers to ensure course content is as accessible as possible for all beginner learners.
The ultimate objective of CareerFoundry’s program is to help learners land a data analytics job. The curriculum is, therefore, highly skills-focused and rigorously practical. It applies project-based learning techniques to help learners get hands-on with the topic areas, building a portfolio of work as they progress.
And while the content in Google’s Data Analytics Certification is more static, CareerFoundry’s content is regularly updated to ensure it remains relevant to current work practices.
As for the curriculum layout, it’s split into two phases: Intro to Data Analytics and Data Analytics Immersion. Let’s take a look at each:
Intro to Data Analytics
The Intro to Data Analytics Program takes learners through ten key aspects of data analytics. These range from Excel skills to data visualization, and other practical tasks like data cleaning and carrying out a basic analysis. For those who want a detailed but relatively high-level introduction, it’s possible to take the Intro to Data Analytics course as a standalone option.
Data Analytics Immersion
The in-depth section of the course (building on the introductory module) is the Data Analytics Immersion Program. This breaks the content down into six modules (or ‘Achievements’):
- Achievement 1: Preparing & Analyzing Data
- Achievement 2: Data Visualization & Storytelling
- Achievement 3: Databases & SQL for Analysts
- Achievement 4: Python Fundamentals for Data Analysts
- Achievement 5: Data Ethics & Applied Analytics
- Achievement 6: Advanced Analytics & Dashboard Design
We recommend checking out a full breakdown of what each Achievement includes on the Course Details page. If, after taking the Intro course, you want to continue, you can do so with the bonus of additional tutor credits (see section 7 for more details).
In this video, Dr. Humera Noor Minhas leads us through the first part of the Intro to Data Analytics short course, which you can sign up to for free.
2. Assessment: quizzes vs. dual mentorship
Google Data Analytics Certification assessment style
Full completion of the Google Data Analytics Certification involves studying all eight modules and completing automatically marked assignments.
Assessment on the Google certification comes in the form of quizzes only (with limited practical exercises thrown in for good measure). Quizzes are provided weekly, with an additional quiz assignment at the end of each module.
They are not overly challenging, with all questions taken from the course content, and many merely involving filling in the blanks. So long as learners have studied the course content, it shouldn’t be that hard to pass, which might appeal to some.
However, for learners who want to test skills (as well as knowledge), the lack of practical assessment may pose a problem. This is especially true for those who wish to be work-ready at the end of the course. Although the content does include practical exercises, these don’t contribute to the assessment element.
CareerFoundry Data Analytics Program assessment style
The assessment format in the CareerFoundry Data Analytics Program is quite different, applying what’s called the ‘Dual Mentorship’ model. The model involves pairing each student with not one but two, data analytics experts:
- A data analytics mentor: The mentor guides learners on their data analytics journey, reviewing/assessing videos of learner presentation pieces. They’re also available to share their industry experiences and support learners with their portfolios.
- A data analytics tutor: The tutor helps learners with the technical aspects of data analytics as they study. They’ll teach learners how to use specific tools, understand concepts, and provide actionable feedback on their work.
CareerFoundry’s assessment takes a human-centric approach to learner outcomes rather than applying a one-size-fits-all assessment methodology. You can learn about the Dual Mentorship model in much more detail here.
3. Course focus
Google Data Analytics Certification course focus
As a freely accessible course, Google’s Data Analytics Certification offers a comprehensive but fairly broad overview. Nevertheless, as mentioned, it may also offer learners a slightly skewed idea of what data analytics involves. Being designed by Google’s analysts, you can expect the content to focus on how data analytics is used specifically by Google’s teams.
This is clear from the fact that the course promotes the R programming language. While R is undoubtedly popular with many data analysts, it’s primarily used for complex statistical computing and therefore regarded as a difficult language for beginners to learn, especially if they lack prior coding experience.
So why teach R? Well, the fact is, R is the dominant language used by Google’s analysts, whose job it is to manage a large number of statistically-complex tasks. R is ideally suited to these kinds of calculations. So, if you choose this course, keep in mind that R has a steep learning curve and that the content, more generally, will probably focus on big tech data analysis techniques.
CareerFoundry Data Analytics Program course focus
Whereas the Google course focuses on how Google carries out data analytics, the CareerFoundry program is perhaps better suited to those seeking a broader industry focus. With 96% of graduates going on to find a tech job within 6 months of graduating, you can rest easy knowing the course offers the broad skills necessary to appeal to a wide range of employers.
Another key difference is that the CareerFoundry Data Analytics Program puts the needs of beginners up front and center. This is clear from the fact that the course focuses on the Python programming language.
With a broader range of general applications (and generally accepted as much easier to learn), Python is a better option for total beginners who might struggle with R’s more sophisticated syntax.
Finally, while the modules cover predefined content, having a dedicated tutor and mentor allows learners to personalize the focus of their course depending on where they want to go with their careers. This human touch is somewhat lacking in the Google certification.
4. Learning schedule
Both Google and CareerFoundry’s data analytics programs use video tutorials, offering self-paced learning. This allows learners to study full-time or part-time—whatever best fits their existing work schedule and personal commitments.
Although flexible, the Google Data Analytics Certification should take about six months for learners who are studying approximately 10 hours per week. Naturally, it’s also possible to complete it sooner, if the spirit moves you!
Meanwhile, the CareerFoundry Data Analytics Program is doable in 8 months for those studying 15-20 hours a week. There’s also the option of studying full-time (30-40 hours a week) to complete the course in as little as five months, or one month for learners taking only the Intro to Data Analytics module.
5. Learning platform
CareerFoundry Data Analytics Certification learning platform
As mentioned, Google’s certification is available on the Coursera Platform. Coursera is an online course provider founded in 2012 by two professors from Stanford University. It offers courses from more than 140 universities and other organizations, including, of course, Google!
While Coursera is functional, it is not always the most user-friendly platform. This is because it has to work for thousands of courses and even greater numbers of users, all with different technical specifications.
Due to its size, the site can also be tricky to navigate, slow to load, and because there’s a lot of text, it’s not always easy to find the specific course information you need. These aren’t deal-breaking issues, of course, but one might expect a company the size of Google to invest in developing its own delivery platform.
CareerFoundry Data Analytics Program learning platform
In contrast to Google, CareerFoundry delivers its Data Analytics Program via a custom-built learning platform. Since CareerFoundry also specializes in UX design, the platform’s usability is particularly important for maintaining the organization’s reputation.
As such, learners can trust that CareerFoundry’s platform is carefully designed based on research, testing, and user feedback. All this ensures that the platform offers the best possible intuitive learning experiences.
6. Job assistance
You may be interested in learning data analytics merely to supplement your existing skills. This is increasingly common as data analytics starts playing a more prominent role in disciplines like marketing, finance, or business management (to name a few).
However, it could also be that you’re planning to forge an entirely new career as a data analyst, in which case you’ll ideally want a course offering specialist career support. Let’s explore what the two courses offer in this respect:
Google Data Analytics Certificate
After gaining the Google certificate, learners will access a resume-building tool, mock interview support, and a career network. They can also connect to over 150 US employers in the Google Career Certificates Employer Consortium. This includes companies like Deloitte, Infosys, and of course, Google itself.
The main drawback of Google’s career support is that it requires motivation from learners to make the most of it. Many of the jobs available through its consortium are also US-based, which might not be ideal for those located elsewhere. While course reviews suggest that the certificate can help you get a job as a data analyst, it does not guarantee one.
CareerFoundry Data Analytics Program
CareerFoundry’s program aims to help learners become workplace-ready. However, the company also offers targeted career support. When close to completion, upcoming graduates can access CareerFoundry’s:
- Job Preparation Course: Providing the necessary skills, knowledge, and resources for graduates to navigate the job market.
- Career Support Center: Offering job application reviews, access to job boards, and peer support, e.g. Slack groups.
- Dedicated Career Specialists: Specialists help graduates with job hunting, interview prep, and salary negotiation tips.
Most importantly, CareerFoundry offers a job guarantee, meaning you’ll get your money back if you haven’t landed one within 180 days of graduating.
Google Data Analytics Certificate pricing
Signing up for Google’s offering is straightforward. Learners must simply subscribe to Coursera, which costs $39 per month. Since the course takes about six months to complete, that totals $234 for the entire certification.
Because the course material is also freely available, one option is to sign up only once you’re ready to undertake the assessments. However, while this may save you some money, it does mean you’ll only have limited access to certain features while studying the course content. As such, it may not be an ideal approach.
CareerFoundry Data Analytics Program pricing
CareerFoundry’s offering comes in at $6,900 for the entire program, but the cost of the tuition is dependent on your location and is competitively priced. A range of flexible payment options include paying upfront, or getting a small course discount. Contact CareerFoundry to find out your local pricing and if there are any partial scholarships available.
Alternatively, there is the option of signing up for a month-long Intro to Data Analytics course. This is 15-20 hours of learning a week and costs $690. Plus, you’ll get a tuition credit of $590 if you sign up for the full program afterward.
While not as cheap as a Coursera subscription, the amount of support and tailored learning you receive on the CareerFoundry program (not to mention the job guarantee) offers much more value for money. And if you have tight purse strings, custom payment plans are also possible.
8. Which one is best for me?
Deciding between two courses is not as straightforward as choosing one over the other. Nevertheless, to help you decide, here are some questions to ask:
What’s your experience level?
It may be helpful to consider your level of experience and expertise when choosing a course. While both Google and CareerFoundry’s programs are purportedly aimed at beginners, the Google offering could benefit from some existing foundational knowledge.
Meanwhile, if you’re new to data analytics, you might want to consider the CareerFoundry program. This offers a clear introduction to the topic, covering the basic concepts and techniques before building upon these in the Immersion Program.
What are your career goals?
Want to explore data analytics to supplement your existing role? Or are you simply interested in the topic and aren’t that bothered about a major career redirect? Then the Google Data Analytics Certification is quicker to complete and more affordable. It could be the option for you.
However, if you want to jump the tracks into an entirely new career, the CareerFoundry program is geared specifically towards this goal. It offers a solid foundation of knowledge and theory, practical skills and competencies, and the tailored career support you’ll need to hit the ground running as a data analyst in any number of industries.
How much human interaction do you want?
While both courses offer flexible learning and career support, if you’re a self-motivated learner who is quite happy accessing video tutorials and assessment quizzes in your own time, then Google’s certification could suffice. However, be mindful; if you run into trouble, you may have to supplement your learning with external materials and resources.
Meanwhile, if you prefer collaborative learning experiences, tailored professional development, and hands-on career support, CareerFoundry’s program emphasizes these elements. The professional feedback from your mentor and tutor will also help minimize the challenge of diving into the data analytics industry without experience.
9. Final thoughts
When it comes to finding the right course for your needs, it’s probably not as simple as asking: ‘Which is better, the Google Data Analytics Certification or the CareerFoundry Data Analytics Program?’ Instead, a better question might be: ‘Which data analytics certification is right for me?’ Because, indeed, there are many more available than just these two.
If you’re seeking an affordable option that offers a broad introduction to data analytics, and yet comes with the clout of Google’s name on the certificate, the Google Data Analytic Certification will certainly deliver. But is that enough to land your dream job? Possibly not.
CareerFoundry’s Dual Mentorship model, however, combined with their Job Guarantee, means you can develop your professional skills and confidence alongside your data analytics know-how. That’s something the Google course simply doesn’t offer.
Before embarking on either course, why not compare some additional data analytics certification programs to inform yourself further?
Try a free course
Before forking out your hard-earned cash, why not sign up for CareerFoundry’s free, 5-day Data Analytics short course? If you’re not sure yet, you can also learn more about what a career in data analytics might involve by reading the following posts: