Data science is experiencing a career-high, with jobs numbering in the thousands across fields of all kinds. You’ve got the data science chops to kill it in a job, but a certificate sets you apart from other potential job seekers. Let’s take a look at the kinds of certifications in data science that can jumpstart your career.
If you don’t have a lot of experience or a fat portfolio under your belt, a certification program helps employers be sure you have the skills you need. These are useful both if your primary degree is in a field other than specifically data science and if you’re looking to expand on your data science degree.
- Consider the Certified Analytics Professional program. It’s self-paced and teaches you not just to extract data but how to interpret it for business queries. It provides value for your business and proves you can function in a business setting.
- You might also consider an application-specific certification, such as Stanford Online’s certificate in Natural Language Processing. NLP has applications not just in improving business relations but any industry touched by human interactions. This certification goes beyond analytics and adds innovation tools to your overall hiring package.
- IBM offers certification in Applied AI with Deep Learning, a tool built to train data scientists in end-to-end workflow implementation at scale. It develops skills in leveraging connectivity to build platforms for the IoT realm and teaches you how to work with data and derive inferences that have direct impacts on companies and their systems.
- A certificate in Data Mining from the University of Illinois through Coursera puts valuable skills such as sentiment and text analysis right at your fingertips. It ends with a capstone project in which you solve a real-world data mining issue using Yelp. These techniques are directly related to a wide variety of industries asking for more efficient queries of unstructured and structured data.
Industry Specific Certificates
Data science has broad applications, so a degree in data science may not be enough to catch your employer’s eye. Industry-specific courses and certifications give you specific training in problems and questions plus use cases in the industry you’re interested in. Here are some examples:
- If you’re applying to a major agricultural group looking to apply analytics to historical trends such as market value or weather patterns, a certificate in Agricultural Data Science puts you right at the front of the line.
- Industry-specific certifications niche down your knowledge base to the sector-specific to your interest. If you know you’re going into Fintech, New York Institute of Finance has you covered with a certification course for finance professionals.
- Other areas could be in business applications, such as MIT Sloan or Harvard Business School’s certification programs for business analytics. Courses in AI and Natural Language Processing specific to business applications are critical, such as this one from MIT.
- For those in the public sector, you can take advantage of The Coleridge Initiatives Executive Training in Data Science for Public Policy Initiatives teaching participants how to predict and solve real-world problems using microdata. The University of Washington offers training for data scientists with interests in the clean energy sector.
Because data science jobs are end-to-end, certifications in cross-functional disciplines are also critical. These certifications have nothing to do with data science on the surface, but structuring your knowledge base with these cross-functional certifications widens your organizational value.
- The Project Management Institute is the gold standard for project management certifications. it helps you build skills needed not just to query or produce answers to data sets but to implement strategies for interpretation all the way through to culmination.
- Agile transformed the face of tech workflow, so a certification in Agile tells organizations you’re a resource that can’t be missed. The Project Management Institute offers Agile specific certifications that require continuing development and recertifications every three years. The Scale Agile Framework is helpful if you’re coming on board to an enterprise and need those skills at scale.
- UX design informs a vast swathe of business operations, so UX certification gives you an edge as more than just a “numbers person.” The training in design thinking with foundations in user research, prototyping, and interaction design puts you right in the forefront of your business’s innovation process. If you’re dedicated to using data science principles to build the user experience of the future, this could be what explodes your career.
Expand Your Knowledge, Expand Your Value
Certifications go beyond your typical degree by offering specialization in areas specific to the industry you’re breaking into or the specific knowledge base needed for organizational effectiveness. It also helps to embrace the cross-functional discipline required in business innovation by completing one of the certifications in other areas. This is not the time to limit yourself to the solitary life of a numbers jockey. Instead, build a skill set that offers your organization real value and strategy at scale.
Editor’s note: Ready to get a career in data science? Attend the ODSC East 2019 Career Expo this May 3-4 in Boston!