Top Big Data Certifications for 2020

We’re living in a time of tremendous opportunity for those who work in the tech industry. With so many evolving technologies, skilled professionals can deepen their knowledge to become specialists in any number of fields, or transition into a new domain. This is particularly true of Big Data, where the types of jobs are increasing as the rate of data generated each day increases at a shocking pace. 

According to IDC, we will generate approximately 440 times more information in 2020 as we use our 30 billion Internet-connected mobile devices. All that data must be stored in scalable and cost-effective data platforms, while still being accessed, analyzed, and put to use. And it’s the Big Data professionals who make all of that happen, meaning today’s organizations have a dire need for Big Data professionals, including data scientists, data analysts, data engineers, and developers, and systems administrators and managers. For those with the right skill set and certifications, the market offers plenty of job opportunities and lucrative salaries. According to Glassdoor, there are almost 49,000 Big Data jobs that need to be filled.

For anyone interested in either moving into or up in the Big Data industry, a certification is an excellent place to start. Certifications help potential employers to know which job applicants are proven to have the necessary skill sets and knowledge to take on specialized roles and tasks.  

Why Earn a Big Data Certification

A Big Data certification can offer your career a big boost, whether you’re just getting started or you’re a seasoned professional. If you’re new to the field, a Big Data certification will get you trained so you can make the transition and land that first job. Those types of certifications can range from the very specific, such as a Big Data Hadoop Certification training, to wide-ranging, like a Big Data Architect Masters Program that earns you several different certifications as part of the learning path.

If you’re already working in Big Data, a certification can help you to move up in your career or move into a specialized role. For example, if you need to know more about a particular aspect of Big Data such as MongoDB or Apache Cassandra, a certification both helps you learn the necessary skills, plus gives your current or future employer proof of your qualifications.

If you’re already working a Big Data role, certifications are invaluable during performance appraisals for demonstrating to your manager that you’re proactive about your career and that you can add value to the company, possibly leading to a promotion or a raise. According to Certification Magazine, 52 percent of survey respondents got a raise within a year of completing a Big Data certification.

In addition to those reasons, jobs in Big Data pay extremely well. A data architect can earn up to $184,000 per year, and a Big Data engineer up to $196,000. And according to DataJobs, a data scientist can earn up to $170,000 per year. 

Top In-demand Big Data Certifications in the Digital Age

Once you realize a certification is a worthwhile investment in your career, your next step is choosing the type of certification and the provider. When it comes to Big Data certification, your choices are almost as numerous as the many areas of study in Big Data. We have curated a list of Big Data certifications offered by some of the biggest names in the business: Cloudera, Hortonworks, MapR, IBM, and SAS. 

Cloudera Top Big Data Certification

Cloudera was the first company to build a business around the professional deployment and support of Hadoop, followed soon after by MapR and then Hortonworks. Cloudera offers certification exams via its website, but not necessarily the training for each exam. For example, the CCA Spark and Hadoop Developer Certification Exam is available, but a specific course isn’t. Instead, the company recommends its Cloudera Developer Training for Spark and Hadoop course as preparation for the exam. A few of the top certifications are described below.

1. CCP Data Engineer Certification

This certification demonstrates that an experienced open-source developer can perform the core competencies required to ingest, transform, store, and analyze data in Cloudera's CDH environment. Cloudera recommends taking the Cloudera Developer Training for Apache Spark and Hadoop as preparation for the exam. Training is available online as on-demand training and in-person at courses taught all over the world.

2. CCA Data Analyst Certification

This certification is for SQL developers, data analysts, BI specialists, developers, system architects, and database administrators who need to know how to perform the core competencies required to pull and generate reports in Cloudera’s CDH environment. You can prepare for the certification exam by taking the Data Analyst Training, a data analyst course for learning how to access, manipulate, transform and analyze massive data sets in the Hadoop cluster using SQL and familiar scripting languages. 

3. CCA Administrator Certification

Those who complete this certification have demonstrated the core systems and cluster administrator skills needed for deploying Cloudera in the enterprise. You can prepare for the certification exam by taking the Cloudera Administrator Training for Apache Hadoop, a course that teaches you the technical skills you need to manage and scale a Hadoop cluster in a development or production environment. 

Hortonworks Top Big Data Certification

Hortonworks is a Big Data software company that develops and supports Apache Hadoop for the distributed processing of large data sets across computer clusters. Like Cloudera, Hortonworks offers a variety of Big Data certifications via the company’s website, but not necessarily the training needed to prepare for the exams. 

1. The Hortonworks Certified Associates (HCA) Certification

For those who are new to Big Data, the HCA certification offers an entry point by teaching the fundamental skills needed to get started. Upon earning this certification, you will understand the technologies and can recognize business use cases for the many frameworks in the Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP). Hortonworks does not offer training specifically for this exam but instead lists a range of courses on its website. These courses range from live training to self-paced to blended. 

MapR Top Big Data Certification

MapR is another Big Data vendor offering certifications. MapR certifications cover a range of specialist roles, including cluster administrator, developer, HBase developer, Spark developer, and data analyst.

1. MapR Hadoop Developer Certification 

This certification exam measures the specific technical knowledge, skills, and abilities required to design and develop MapReduce programs in Java. The exam covers writing MapReduce programs, using MapReduce API, and managing, monitoring, and testing MapReduce programs and workflows. To prepare for the exam, MapR recommends that you take specific MapR Academy courses plus review tutorials and reference materials available online. 

2. MapR Spark Developer Certification

This certification is designed for engineers, programmers, and developers who prepare and process large amounts of data using Spark. The exam tests your ability to use Spark in a production environment. As with the above certification, MapR does not offer courses specific to the exam but instead recommends that you take certain MapR Academy courses. 

3. MapR Data Analyst Certification

The MapR Data Analyst certification is designed for data analysts who use Hive, Pig, and Drill to do ETLs, manipulate data, create tables, design and execute queries and troubleshoot problems in the process of analyzing data. 

IBM Top Big Data Certification

IBM has been a significant player in the IT field for decades, and the company offers dozens of certifications as a result. Two of those are major certifications in the area of Big Data, one for Big Data architect and one for Big Data engineer. 

1. IBM Big Data Architect Certification

A Big Data Architect must have in-depth knowledge of the necessary technologies and understand the relationship between those technologies as well as how they can be integrated to solve Big Data business problems. Although IBM does not offer specific coursework in preparation for the Big Data Architect certification exam, the website lists detailed information about the skills and knowledge you should have before attempting an exam, as well as a list of courses you can choose from.

2. IBM Big Data Engineer Certification

A Big Data engineer works directly with a Big Data Architect and developers to convert the architect's vision and blueprint into reality. The Big Data engineer, therefore, must have a deep level of technical knowledge and experience across a wide array of products and technologies. Although IBM does not offer specific coursework in preparation for the Big Data engineer certification exam, the website lists detailed information about the skills and knowledge you should have prior to attempting the exam, as well as a list of courses you can choose from.

SAS Top Big Data Certification

SAS, a global leader in analytics, offers multiple certifications, all with a focus on SAS products. 

1. Big Data Professional Using SAS 9 Certification

This certification is for those professionals who want to validate their ability to use open source and SAS data management tools to prepare Big Data for statistical analysis. This certification requires two exams: SAS Big Data Preparation, Statistics, and Visual Exploration and SAS Big Data Programming and Loading

2. Advanced Analytics Professional Using SAS 9 Certification

This certification is for professionals who need the ability to analyze Big Data with a variety of statistical analysis and predictive modeling techniques and tools. This certification requires passing three exams: Predictive Modeling Using SAS Enterprise Miner 7, 13, or 14, SAS Advanced Predictive Modeling and SAS Text Analytics, Time Series, Experimentation and Optimization

Professionals who earn both the Big Data and Advanced Analytics certifications are also eligible for SAS Data Scientist certification

Big Data Certification with Simplilearn

Despite the variety among them, all the Big Data certifications described above have one trait in common: They are focused on the exam, not the education and hands-on training that prepares you for the exam. The limited education they do offer is of a general sort, requiring you to piece together your learning. For that reason, pursuing certification through a Big Data vendor might not be the right choice for you and your career. Also, unless you know you need to specialize in a particular vendor such as SAS, you probably need a more general and all-encompassing education. 

If you’d like a more clear-cut path to your Big Data certification and career move, one that’s vendor agnostic, consider Simplilearn’s many choices for Big Data certification. Simplilearn offers a wide range of types of Big Data certification, from the specific to the general and a thorough, practical education that prepares you for your certification exam. A few of the top Big Data certification choices are described below. 

1. Big Data Hadoop Certification 

With this certification, you can master the concepts of the Hadoop framework and prepare for Cloudera’s CCA175 Big data certification. With the online Hadoop training, you can learn how the components of the Hadoop ecosystem, such as Hadoop 2.7, Yarn, MapReduce, HDFS, Pig, Impala, HBase, Flume and Apache Spark fit with the Big Data processing lifecycle. Hands-on learning happens when you implement real-life projects in banking, telecommunication, social media, insurance, and ecommerce on CloudLab. The certification exam is offered when you complete the course, and a practice exam is available. 

2. Big Data Hadoop Administrator Certification

This certification trains professionals with the methodologies necessary to excel in Big Data analytics. With this Hadoop Admin training, you can learn to work with the adaptable, versatile frameworks based on the Apache Hadoop ecosystem, including Hadoop installation and configuration; cluster management with Sqoop, Flume, Pig, Hive, Impala and Cloudera; and Big Data implementations that have exceptional security, speed and scale. The certification exam is offered when you complete the course, and a practice exam is available.

Earning Multiple Big Data Certifications with a Masters Program

With Simplilearn, you can also choose to earn multiple certifications in the Big Data Architect Masters program. With this course of study, you earn seven different Big Data certifications: 

  1. Big Data Hadoop and Spark Developer
  2. Apache Spark and Scala
  3. MongoDB Developer and Administrator
  4. Big Data and Hadoop Administrator
  5. Apache Storm
  6. Apache Kafka
  7. Apache Cassandra

The Big Data and Data Science Masters program also certifies you in multiple areas as you earn a certification for each of these five courses:

  1. Data science certification training—R programming
  2. Big Data Hadoop and Spark Developer
  3. Tableau Desktop 10 Qualified Associate Training
  4. Data Science with Python
  5. Machine Learning

If you want a certification that covers a broad range of skill sets and position you for success as a specialist in either an architect or engineer position, these Masters programs might be the best choice for you. If you have a narrower focus, you can see by the wide range of Big Data certification choices offered by Simplilearn that you’re sure to find one that fits your needs now, and know you can earn additional certifications in the future as needed.

Make Your Big Move into Big Data with a Certification 

Big Data will remain big news in the tech industry for years to come, and the numbers and types of jobs will only increase in the coming years. More data will be generated, meaning a greater need for data professionals. If you’re considering a career in Big Data, or you’re already there but want to move up in your career, a certification is a perfect place to start. And with so many vendor-specific certifications available in addition to the broad range of Big Data certifications offered by Simplilearn, you are sure to find the top Big Data certification for you. 

About the Author

Shivam AroraShivam Arora

Shivam Arora is a Senior Product Manager at Simplilearn. Passionate about driving product growth, Shivam has managed key AI and IOT based products across different business functions. He has 6+ years of product experience with a Masters in Marketing and Business Analytics.

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