If you’re ready to launch a career in data science, a data science certificate can help you build the technical knowledge and applied skills you need to get hired. A data science certificate will also validate your skills in the eyes of recruiters and hiring managers, offering demonstrable proof of the value you’ll add to a data science team. 

When choosing a data science certificate program, you’ll need to consider factors like cost, curriculum, course duration, and more. As you weigh your options, think about your goals and learning needs. If your aim is to land a job after graduation, you’ll want to prioritize programs that offer robust career support services. If you learn best with one-to-one guidance, look for a certificate program that will connect you with a data science mentor who can answer technical questions and help you build skills faster. 

Is a Data Science Certificate Worth It?

data science certificate: Is a Data Science Certificate Worth It?

A data science certificate alone won’t land you a job—but it will help you build the hands-on experience and professional portfolio you need to be considered for a data science role. The best data science certification programs will teach technical skills through project-based learning, giving you the opportunity to develop an impressive portfolio focused on realistic data science scenarios.

An effective professional certification will focus on the application of data science in business contexts. To get hired in the field, you’ll need to demonstrate solid technical expertise—but that’s not all. You’ll also need to showcase your ability to identify a business problem, frame it as a data science question, and create real-world business impacts through data storytelling. Worthwhile data science certificates will teach you the hard and soft skills you need to become job-ready.  

The Best Data Science Certifications

To help you evaluate your options, we’ve curated a list of the top data science certificate courses. Read on to compare price tags, student reviews, and find out what we like best about each program. 

Data Science Career Track (Springboard)

data science certificate: Data Science Career Track (Springboard)

With offerings like deferred tuition and a job guarantee, this career-focused data science certificate prioritizes helping you get hired. Students enrolled in Springboard’s Data Science Career Track are matched one-to-one with industry expert mentors who assist with coursework, career guidance, and accountability. 

What We Like

Students learn by building 14 real-world projects and developing a data science portfolio to show to prospective employers. This program also offers personalized career coaching and job search assistance, which includes mock interviews, networking support, and help to craft the perfect resume and LinkedIn presence. 

Key Details

The Data Science Career Track curriculum covers the Python data science stack, data wrangling, data storytelling, inferential statistics, machine learning, software engineering for data science, machine learning, and data science at scale. The program is designed to help students gain experience solving real-world problems. 

When it comes to helping students get hired, Springboard’s Data Science Career Track boasts a high success rate. Since its launch in 2016, only 3% of 2,300+ students have received job guarantee refunds. Graduates who provided salary pre and post-course salary information through July 2020 reported average salary increases of $25,000+. Springboard’s Data Science Career Track received SwitchUp’s Best Bootcamp Award, as well as a SwitchUp student rating of 4.69 out of 5 stars. 

The Data Science Career Track is a 6-month program, and most students devote 15-20 hours a week to complete the course. The program’s full tuition is $11,340—but full payment upfront earns you a 13% discount. If you don’t land a job within 6 months of completion, you’ll get a full refund.

Professional Data Engineer (Google)

data science certificate: Professional Data Engineer (Google)

Designed for candidates with 3+ years of industry experience, this exam-based certificate will validate your ability to design, build, and deploy both data processing systems and machine learning models. Candidates should also have at least one year of experience managing solutions with Google Cloud. 

What We Like

This certification is an ideal choice for emerging data scientists who want to demonstrate confidence with data science techniques in the Google Cloud environment. Although candidates will need to prepare for the exam independently, Google does offer short training events, an exam guide, and other test prep resources free of charge. 

Key Details

The exam measures your ability to facilitate data-driven decision-making by collecting, transforming, and publishing data. The certificate also evaluates data science skills related to designing and operationalizing systems with an emphasis on security and compliance, scalability, fidelity, and portability. Your machine learning skills will be put to the test as well. 

This certification would be most valuable in hiring contexts that require experience with Google Cloud. While end-users can certainly benefit from taking the exam and preparing for the test through Google’s Professional Data Engineer prep course via Coursera, some reviewers have pointed out that the certificate also serves a dual function as a marketing tool for the Google Cloud Platform. 

Exam registration costs $200 plus tax. The proctored, multiple-choice test takes two hours to complete and is offered both online and onsite at testing centers. 

Professional Certificate in Data Science (Harvard)

data science certificate: Professional Certificate in Data Science (Harvard)

Offered by Harvard University via edX, this introductory data science course covers the basics of data mining, data visualization, probability, statistical concepts, machine learning, and fundamental R programming. The course is taught by Rafael Irizarry, Professor of Biostatistics at the T.H. Chan School of Public Health. 

What We Like

This self-paced program is ideal for learners who want to progress at their own speed. The course requires two to three hours of work per week and can be completed in 1.5 years. While some aspiring data scientists want to launch a new career quickly, those who are not pressed for a quick turnaround will find it easy to fit this certificate into a busy schedule. 

Key Details

The program consists of 9 skill-building courses on topics ranging from linear regression to data visualization in R. The certificate costs $792.80 and has no prerequisites. The program has been lauded for its affordability and flexibility, especially for students looking for an introductory crash course in R fundamentals and basic statistics.

Applied Data Science With Python (University of Michigan)

data science certificate: Applied Data Science With Python (University of Michigan)

This introductory data science certificate consists of five courses designed for learners with a basic Python or programming background. Participants learn how to conduct an inferential statistical analysis, apply machine learning to data analysis, build data visualizations, and more. Candidates earn a shareable certificate upon completion.  

What We Like

The curriculum structure of this program progresses logically—learners begin their studies by exploring the Python programming environment and work up to analyzing the connectivity of a social network. Each course module within the program introduces a new data science concept students proceed to investigate in applied contexts over the course of multiple weeks. 

Key Details

Course modules cover data science in Python, applied plotting, charting, and data representation in Python applied machine learning in Python, applied text mining in Python, and social network analysis in Python. Students learn how to use popular Python toolkits like Pandas, Matplotlib, Scikit-Learn, and more to extract insights from data. 

The certificate requires approximately 5 months to complete at a pace of 7 hours per week. Students who enroll through Coursera pay $49 monthly to access course materials. Out of 20,000+ student ratings, this program has received 4.5 out of 5 stars on Coursera. After earning this certificate, 13% of learners have reported a pay increase or promotion and 13% have reported starting a new career. 

Data Science Certification (SAS)

data science certificate: Data Science Certification (SAS)

To become a SAS Certified Data Scientist, candidates must earn a combination of professional-level credentials related to data curation, advanced analytics, and machine learning. Each credential is awarded after learners successfully complete the designated coursework and pass examinations. Participants should have experience with SAS programming basics, data manipulation techniques, and familiarity with SQL processing. 

What We Like

This certificate allows you to customize your learning track according to your interests and goals. While the Data Curation Professional program is required, it can be paired with either the Advanced Analytics Professional program or the AI and Machine Learning Professional program to earn a Data Science Certification. 

Key Details

The Data Curation Professional program consists of four online courses that cover data management and transformation using SAS, Hadoop, and other tools. For the price of $1,295 per year, learners will receive 12 months of access to course materials, 80 hours of cloud software access, and one certification exam voucher. 

The Advanced Analytics Professional program consists of nine online courses that cover predictive modeling, text analytics, time series, experimentation, and optimization. For the price of $1,295 per year, learners will receive 12 months of access to course materials, 100 hours of cloud software access, and three certification exam vouchers. 

The AI and Machine Learning Professional program consists of five online courses that cover machine learning, natural language processing, and computer vision, and forecasting and optimization. For the price of $1,295 per year, learners will receive 12 months of access to course materials, 70 hours of cloud software access, and three certification exam vouchers. 

This certification is valuable because the demand for SAS skills is increasing. According to a recent survey of Coursera learners who completed a SAS certificate training, 84% reported that the certification helped them advance their career. 

Data Science Professional Certificate (IBM)

data science certificate: Data Science Professional Certificate (IBM)

Available through Coursera, the IBM Data Science Professional Certificate is designed to teach beginners how to think and work as a data scientist. The course covers the various tools, programming languages, and libraries commonly used by professional data scientists, and teaches learners how to clean, analyze, and visualize data. This certification also touches on machine learning with Python. 

What We Like

The Data Science Professional Certificate concludes with a data science capstone project that is designed to emulate a realistic use case. The project is fun, too—learners are asked to assume the role of a data scientist working for an imaginary SpaceX competitor and must make predictions that will help their company make more informed bids against SpaceX for a rocket launch. 

Key Details

This professional certificate consists of 10 courses that cover data science tools and methodologies. Focal points include Python for data science and AI, databases and SQL, data analysis techniques, data visualization, and machine learning. 

The course requires approximately 11 weeks to complete at a suggested pace of three hours per week, and costs $39 per month. The certificate has earned a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars on Coursera, and 26% of learners report starting a new career after earning this certification. 

From Data to Insights With Google Cloud Specialization (Google)

From Data to Insights With Google Cloud Specialization (Google)

Offered through Coursera, this accelerated certificate teaches participants how to extract insights from data at scale with BigQuery, Google’s cloud data warehouse. Over the span of four course modules, learners will explore, mine, load, visualize, and derive insights from Google BigQuery datasets. This certificate is ideal for data analysts, business analysts, and business intelligence professionals. 

What We Like

As part of their coursework, participants will exercise new skills via an applied learning project. The certificate also incorporates hands-on labs using Google’s Qwiklabs platform, offering ample opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience with concepts discussed in video lectures. 

Key Details

The certificate consists of 4 courses that cover data preparation and exploration with BigQuery, dataset creation and visualization, advanced functions with BigQuery, and the application of machine learning with the Google Cloud Platform. 

The course takes approximately two months to complete, at a rate of 6 hours per week. Learners receive access to course materials with a $49 monthly fee. The certificate has received a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars on Coursera. 

Azure Data Scientist Associate (Microsoft)

Azure Data Scientist Associate (Microsoft)

This exam-based certification validates your ability to use Azure resources for machine learning, training models, running data experiments, and deploying responsible machine learning solutions. To prepare for the exam and gain the skills necessary to get certified, candidates can complete multiple learning paths that explore machine learning models, Microsoft Azure AI fundamentals, and more. 

What We Like

This certification is ideal for those who want to demonstrate competency with specific tools like the Azure Machine Learning workspace and Azure Databricks. While some data science roles do not require knowledge of Azure, this certification will make your application stand out to hiring managers who are on the hunt for applicants with specialized knowledge. 

Key Details

Registration for the Azure Data Scientist Associate certification exam costs $165. To help candidates prepare for the exam, Microsoft offers four free online learning paths as well as two paid, instructor-led courses. Before taking the exam, candidates should feel confident training predictive models, creating working environments for data science workloads on Azure, and implementing machine learning workloads on Azure. 

Along with AWS, Microsoft Azure is a major player in the cloud computing space. An Azure certification isn’t necessary to land a job in data science, but it can certainly increase your credibility—especially for roles that require a working knowledge of Azure. 

CDP Generalist Certification (Cloudera)

CDP Generalist Certification (Cloudera)

Cloudera has replaced its Cloudera Certified Professional and Cloudera Certified Associate certifications with the new Cloudera Data Platform Generalist Certification. This exam-based certification tests general knowledge of the Cloudera Data Platform and is applicable to data science, data engineering, and data analyst roles (among others). 

What We Like

This new certification will be useful no matter which direction your career takes. Cloudera also offers three training courses to help candidates prepare for the exam. Cloudera training courses contain anywhere from 45 minutes to four hours of video content explaining the essentials and fundamentals of the Cloudera Data Platform.  

Key Details

The exam measures your understanding of Cloudera Data Platform architecture and functionality, as well as your ability to execute data science tasks. The exam takes 90 minutes to complete and costs $300. This certification is useful for those who already possess hands-on, real-world experience and wish to make their resume more competitive by verifying proficiency with an important cloud-based technology. 

Principal Data Scientist (DASCA)

Principal Data Scientist (DASCA)

Awarded by the Data Science Council of America, the Principal Data Scientist (PDS) certification is designed for candidates who possess a master’s degree in data science as well as 10 years of tech industry experience, and at least 3 years of experience in the field of data science. 

What We Like

This certification is a highly credible, third-party, vendor-neutral credential. The Professional Data Scientist certificate also does not expire, meaning you’ll be able to leverage this credential indefinitely. 

Key Details

The exam covers data science applications in business, machine learning, big data analytics, organizational strategy, and more. The DASCA exam preparation kit is designed to cover the DASCA Essential Knowledge Framework, and according to DASCA was also developed to expose aspiring data scientists to popular big data analytics platforms. 

Certification can cost anywhere from $300 – $950 depending on the track you choose to pursue. This one-time fee covers exam prep resources like the DASCA study kit, as well as the Professional Data Scientist digital badge and access to the DASCA online refresher program. 

TensorFlow Development Certificate (TensorFlow)

TensorFlow Development Certificate (TensorFlow)

This exam-based foundational certificate is designed for data scientists who wish to validate their practical machine learning skills and demonstrate proficiency with TensorFlow in deep learning and machine learning contexts. This certificate requires candidates to build TensorFlow models using computer vision, convolutional neural networks, natural language processing, and more. 

What We Like

Earning this certificate opens up access to TensorFlow’s Certificate Network, where developers and data scientists who have passed the exam can connect with others in the global TensorFlow community. This opens up opportunities to link up with fellow data scientists who are willing to collaborate on and assist with machine learning and data science projects. 

Key Details

The exam evaluates your ability to build machine learning models in TensorFlow 2.x, build image recognition, object detection, and text recognition algorithms with deep neural networks, and more. You’ll also be tested on your ability to integrate machine learning into various tools and applications. The exam is self-paced and costs $100. 

Because TensorFlow is a trending framework, this certification can only help to boost your resume. Winning access to a professional network of other TensorFlow-certified data scientists is also a plus—the wider your network, the more likely you are to make a connection that could lead to your dream role. 

What To Look For in a Data Science Certification

What To Look For in a Data Science Certification

Wondering how to pick the right data science certificate? Once you’re ready to evaluate your options, be sure to weigh these key considerations:

Course Reputation

When selecting a data science certification, you’ll need to evaluate the reputation of each potential course and credential on your list. First, you should consider who the certificate is designed for, and decide whether the requirements match your skills level. The DASCA certificate, for example, has a reputation as a useful certificate for an established or senior data scientist with multiple years of industry experience. Harvard’s certificate, however, is known as an introductory program for beginners. 

Course Support

Next, you’ll need to consider the level of support offered by each certificate. Exam-based certificates are oriented towards those who have pre-existing data science skills or are highly confident in self-learning. A bootcamp certificate like Springboard’s Data Science Career Track, however, is designed to provide extensive academic support and career guidance through one-to-one mentorship and career coaching. 

Future Job Needs

You’ll need to give thought to your future job needs that each option could provide. If you’re launching a data science career and looking to land your first data science role, you’ll need the aforementioned career support to maximize your chances of success.

Earning Power

If you’re already working as a data scientist but want to augment your earning power, a certificate that validates your expertise with an in-demand platform or framework might help you win a raise or promotion. If you select your data science certification based on your unique goals and needs, you’ll be sure to reap robust rewards.

Is data science the right career for you?

Springboard offers a comprehensive data science bootcamp. You’ll work with a one-on-one mentor to learn about data science, data wrangling, machine learning, and Python—and finish it all off with a portfolio-worthy capstone project.

Check out Springboard’s Data Science Career Track to see if you qualify.

Not quite ready to dive into a data science bootcamp?

Springboard now offers a Data Science Prep Course, where you can learn the foundational coding and statistics skills needed to start your career in data science.