Top 9 data engineer and data architect certifications

Data engineers and data architects are in high demand. Here are the certifications that will give your career an edge.

Top 14 data engineer and data architect certifications
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Data and big data analytics are the lifeblood of any successful business. Getting the technology right can be challenging but building the right team with the right skills to undertake big data initiatives can be even harder.

Successfully deploying big data initiatives requires more than data scientists and data analysts. It requires data architects who design the "blueprint" for your enterprise data management framework, and it requires data engineers who can build that framework and the data pipelines to bring in, process, and create business value out of data.

Data architects typically have years of experience in data design, data management and data storage, while data engineers are typically skilled at using Hadoop, Spark, and other tools from the open source big data ecosystem, and at programming in Java, Scala, or Python.

If you're looking for a way to get an edge, certification is a great option. Certifications measure your knowledge and skills against industry- and vendor-specific benchmarks to prove to employers that you have the right skillset.

Below is our guide to the most sought-after data engineer and data architect certifications to help you decide which cert is right for you.

If you would like to submit a big data certification to this directory, please email us.

The top 9 data engineer and data architect certifications

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) Certified Data Analytics – Specialty
  • Cloudera Certified Associate (CCA) Spark and Hadoop Developer
  • Cloudera Certified Professional (CCP): Data Engineer
  • Data Science Council of America (DASCA) Associate Big Data Engineer
  • Data Science Council of America (DASCA) Senior Big Data Engineer
  • Google Professional Data Engineer
  • IBM Certified Data Architect – Big Data
  • IBM Certified Data Engineer – Big Data
  • SAS Certified Big Data Professional

Amazon Web Services (AWS) Certified Data Analytics – Specialty

The AWS Certified Data Analytics – Specialty certification validates technical skills and experience in AWS data lakes and analytics services. It is intended to validate a candidate’s ability to define AWS data analytics services and understand how they integrate with each other. It also requires a candidate to know how AWS data analytics services fit in the data life cycle of collection, storage, processing, and visualization. Formerly known as AWS Certified Big Data – Specialty, this certification is active for three years from the date earned.

Organization: Amazon Web Services

Price: $300 registration fee for exam

How to prepare: Candidates should have at least five years of experience with data analytics technologies and at least two years of hands-on experience working with AWS. AWS offers an exam guide and the AWS Data Analytics Learning Path.

Cloudera Certified Associate (CCA) Spark and Hadoop Developer

The CCA Spark and Hadoop Developer credential certifies core skills for ingesting, transforming and processing data using Apache Spark and core Cloudera enterprise tools. It requires passing the remote-proctored CCA Spark and Hadoop Developer Exam (CCA175), which consists of eight to 12 performance-based, hands-on tasks on a Cloudera Enterprise cluster. Each question requires the candidate to solve a particular scenario. Some cases may require a tool such as Impala or Hive, others may require coding. Candidates have 120 minutes to complete the exam.

Organization: Cloudera

Price: $295

How to prepare: There are no prerequisites required, but Cloudera says the exam follows the same objectives as the Cloudera Developer Training for Spark and Hadoop course, making it excellent preparation for the exam.

Cloudera Certified Professional (CCP): Data Engineer

The CCP: Data Engineer credential certifies a candidate’s ability to perform core tasks in Cloudera's CDH environment, including ingesting, transforming, storing and analyzing data. The certification requires passing the remote-proctored CCP: Data Engineer Exam (DE575), a 4-hour hands-on exam consisting of five to eight customer problems each with a unique, large data set on a CDH cluster. For each problem, the candidate must implement a technical solution with a high degree of precision that meets all the requirements.

Organization: Cloudera

Price: $400

How to prepare: Cloudera suggests professionals seeking this certification have hands-on experience in the field and take the Cloudera Developer Training for Spark and Hadoop course.

Data Science Council of America (DASCA) Associate Big Data Engineer

The vendor-neutral DASCA Associate Big Data Engineer certification demonstrates knowledge of popular big data platforms, including Hadoop and Spark, and knowledge of proprietary and open source developer tools (including HBase, Hive, Pig, and HiveQL). It requires passing a 75-question online exam. There are three candidacy tracks that vary based on level of education and work experience.

Organization: Data Science Council of America

Price: $585 for the exam, standard exam preparation resources, shipping, digital badging, and credential kit

How to prepare: Registration for the program includes a full DASCA Certification Preparation Kit.

Data Science Council of America (DASCA) Senior Big Data Engineer

DASCA's Senior Big Data Engineer certification is a step up from the associate credential, intended for experienced professionals. It requires passing an 85-question online exam. There are four candidacy tracks that vary based on level of education and work experience.

Organization: Data Science Council of America

Price: $620 for the exam, standard exam preparation resources, shipping, digital badging, and credential kit

How to prepare: Registration for the program includes a full DASCA Certification Preparation Kit.

Google Professional Data Engineer

The Google Professional Data Engineer credential certifies the ability to design, build, operationalize, secure, and monitor data processing systems. It requires passing a two-hour, multiple-choice and multiple-select certification exam. The exam has no prerequisites, though Google recommends candidates have three or more years of industry experience, including one or more years designing and managing solutions using Google Cloud Platform. The exam is available in English and Japanese and may be taken as an online-proctored exam from a remote location or as an onsite-proctored exam at a testing center.

Organization: Google

Price: $200 registration fee

How to prepare: Google offers an exam guide and on-demand or instructor-led training.

IBM Certified Data Architect – Big Data

Designed for data architects, the IBM Certified Data Architect – Big Data certification requires passing a test that consists of five sections containing a total of 55 multiple-choice questions. It demonstrates a data architect can work closely with customers and solutions architects to translate customers' business requirements into a big data solution.

Organization: IBM Professional Certification Program

Price: $200

How to prepare: IBM recommends a series of seven multi-day courses on SPSS Modeler to InfoSphere BigInsights to prepare for the test.

IBM Certified Data Engineer – Big Data

The IBM Certified Data Engineer – Big Data certification is intended for big data engineers, who work directly with data architects and hands-on developers to convert an architect's big data vision into reality. Data engineers understand how to apply technologies to solve big data problems and have the ability to build large-scale data processing systems for the enterprise. They develop, maintain, test and evaluate big data solutions within organizations, providing architects with input on needed hardware and software. This certification requires passing a test that consists of five sections containing a total of 53 multiple-choice questions.

Organization: IBM Professional Certification Program

Price: $200

How to prepare: IBM recommends a series of nine multi-day courses to prepare for the test.

SAS Certified Big Data Professional

The SAS Certified Big Data Professional certification program is for individuals seeking to validate their ability to use open source and SAS Data Management tools to prepare big data for statistical analysis. The program focuses on SAS programming skills; accessing, transforming and manipulating data; improving data quality for reporting and analytics; fundamentals of statistics and analytics; working with Hadoop, Hive, Pig and SAS; and exploring and visualizing data. The program includes two certification exams, both of which must be passed to earn the credential.

Organization: SAS Academy for Data Science

Price: $180 each for the SAS Big Data Preparation, Statistics, and Visual Exploration Exam and the SAS Big Data Programming and Loading Exam

How to prepare: At least six months of programming experience in SAS or another programming language is required to enroll.

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