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How to Get Certified as a Data Professional

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With the field of Data Management constantly evolving and becoming increasingly competitive, getting certified as a data professional helps you stand out from the crowd. The certification process requires applicants to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of various areas of Data Management, such as database design, data modeling, data governance, programming, analytics, and data visualization. 

Many businesses struggle with issues such as poor data literacy, lack of a cohesive data strategy, and the inability to extract valuable insights from vast amounts of data. Having data professionals with proven relevant skills can help these organizations achieve their business goals and become data-driven.

Recent research suggests that the enterprise Data Management industry will be worth $130.6 billion by 2028, with a growing demand for more skilled professionals in the field. A certification in your area of expertise can help you show employers that you’re a highly qualified data professional with extensive experience working and managing large datasets.

Below, we explore a few of the top reasons for completing an accredited data certification program, as well as the process of choosing which certification to pursue.

Benefits of Getting Certified as a Data Professional

There are several benefits to obtaining a certification in your field. Here’s what you can expect:

Increase your earning potential 

Certified professionals tend to receive higher salaries than non-certified individuals because it indicates that you have a better skill set and experience handling complex Data Management tasks. It’s also important to note that becoming a certified professional will open you up to more opportunities and roles that may pay even more than what you currently earn.

Increase professional credibility 

Getting certified also gives potential employers confidence that your technical skills are up to date and reliable. It shows them you’re dedicated to staying ahead of the curve by keeping up with industry trends and continuing your education. The certificate proves that you have mastered certain concepts and processes related to Data Management and analysis, making it easier for employers and clients to trust your abilities. Essentially, being certified shows that you take your job seriously, which many employers look for when considering hiring someone relatively new in the field. 

Data certifications can open doors 

Certifications can open doors for new opportunities that would not have been available without them. For example, many companies require employees to be certified before being given access to specific systems or projects. Getting certified gives you a leg up over non-certified colleagues when it comes time for promotions or raises, as certifications show that you have taken the initiative to stay abreast with industry trends and standards.

Stay up to date with industry trends 

To maintain most certifications, you must know current industry trends and best practices related to data science – such as changes in technology, regulations, or analysis methods – and demonstrate mastery of these topics when required. This helps ensure that any work performed by certified professionals is up to date with emerging standards in the field, allowing them to provide better service than those without certification.

How to Choose a Data Certification Program

Here’s how you can find the best data certification program for your needs:

Step 1: Determine your certification needs 

Several certifications are available depending on your career goals, qualifications, and experience level. Some may need additional training or classes before applying – you should research the requirements for each certification and ensure that you meet them before moving forward, as getting certified requires a significant investment of time and money.

Step Two: Research certifications available 

Once you have determined your certification needs, it’s time to research which certifications are best suited for you. Several organizations offer certifications for data professionals. 

It’s essential to research each and determine which suits your career goals and skill set best. Consider these aspects before choosing a course: 

  • Proper accreditation: When selecting a certification course, ensure it is appropriately accredited. That means that the program should have been reviewed by an accrediting body and found to meet specific standards of quality. Employers should also recognize accreditation in your field; if not, it may not provide any benefit when applying for jobs. It also means that the course is offered by reputed professionals in the field, making it a worthy investment.
  • Curriculum content: It’s also important to research what topics are covered in the certification course curriculum. Some courses focus on general Data Management concepts, while others may specialize and go more in-depth on specific topics such as database design or data security. You can determine gaps in your knowledge by checking in with your employer or reviewing sample course materials, if available. 
  • Delivery method: Many courses offer both online and in-person options. Moreover, some courses might require you to participate in in-person workshops or periodical work opportunities, if needed. If you prefer live training sessions or in-person classes, check if that option is available too.

Step Three: Prepare for your certification exams 

Once you choose the program, it’s time to prepare for your exams. Most organizations will offer preparation materials such as practice tests or study guides to help prepare candidates for their exams. Take advantage of these resources and take as much time as needed to ensure you understand all the material covered on the exam. You must consider how long you have access to these materials, so cross-check this information beforehand.

Data Certification Programs to Improve Your Data Skills

Here are a few popular accredited programs available online:

Certified Data Management Professional (CDMP)

Data professionals can obtain the Certified Data Management Professional (CDMP) certification at one of four levels: associate, practitioner, master, or fellow. You will need to take three 90-minute exams covering core Data Management topics. You can prepare for these exams using DAMA’s provided training materials or by studying the Data Management Body of Knowledge (DMBoK).

Organization: The Data Management Association International (DAMA)

Level of experience required: 6 months to 25 years, depending on the certification level

Data Governance and Stewardship Professional (DGSP)

This certification is available at five levels: executive management, principal, mastery, associate practitioner, and foundation assistant data governance professional. Depending on the certification level, you may have to take workshops, provide significant contributions to the industry, and take a 90-minute assessment.

Organization: Institute for Certification of Computing Professionals (ICCP)

Level of experience required: 1,400 hours of direct Data Governance and Data Stewardship experience. For foundation-level courses, you’ll need 900 hours of similar experience.

Certified Analytics Professional (CAP)

This vendor-neutral certification covers seven analytics domains, from business problem framing to model building to deployment and lifecycle management. Aspiring analytics professionals with less experience should explore the entry-level-friendly Associate Certified Analytics Professional (aCAP) certification. 

Organization: INFORMS

Level of experience required: Three to seven years of professional analytics experience, depending on education level.

Conclusion

Getting certified as a data professional is an excellent way to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise in data science, analytics, and other areas of Data Management. It helps you advance your career and have an edge during a salary negotiation, increasing your earning potential. Earning a certification demonstrates your knowledge of current industry standards and best practices when dealing with complex datasets – but it also conveys your commitment to staying ahead of emerging trends within this rapidly evolving field. 

To become certified, ensure you find an accredited program that meets your needs, and complete any required coursework before applying for certification from the program’s governing body. Finally, don’t forget to keep up with continuing education courses or industry conferences periodically after becoming certified – this will help ensure that your skills remain current and competitive within the industry.

Image used under license from Shutterstock.com

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