Is a Data Science Certificate Worth It?

Data is informing and empowering businesses of all types around the world as far as how they operate in a myriad of ways. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the U.S., careers in computer and information technology, which includes big data and data science, are expected to grow at almost three times the national average through 2029. Big data and analytics firms are expected to continue to see double-digit growth, and the industry at the end of 2022 is worth an estimated $274 billion. 

If you’re working to advance your career with a big data certificate, it might mean a promotion or more money, but how do you know for sure whether it’s worth it? We talk about big data and data science certificates and the considerations to keep in mind below. 

What is Big Data?

You might not even be entirely sure what big data is. Big data refers to complex data sets from a variety of data sources. Traditional software couldn’t manage them because of the volume of the data, but now that technology facilitates it, massive volumes of data are being used to address different business problems and inform decision-making. 

From a business perspective, big data allows organizations to get complete answers because they simply have access to more information. More complete answers then mean more confidence in the data, so it paves the way for a completely different way to deal with problems. 

Organizations are using big data for so many things from product development to analytics. 

What’s a Big Data or Data Science Certificate?

If you’re someone who already has a professional background in something like computer science or cybersecurity, or you’ve earned a bachelor’s degree in a field related to STEM, you might consider a certificate program related to big data or some advanced form of data science. 

A big data certificate is an example of a credential that’s post-baccalaureate. Someone who might be well-suited to one of these certificate programs would have an existing knowledge of things like computers, science, and technology, and they’d be interested in taking their career further. 

Many of the best big data certificate programs are online, and they allow for flexibility so that you can upskill your current career, or maybe you can reskill so you can find new opportunities, but without committing to earning your full master’s degree. 

As companies across all industries are increasingly using big data, employers need to connect with talent who can help them. 

A big data or related full stack data science course program could be ideal if you want to grow in a current related position, or maybe you want to get more focused in your career and take on a new role. 

If you go beyond your bachelor’s with a certificate program, you can build skills in high-growth areas. Along with big data analytics, you might be able to work in programming, deep learning, or machine learning. 

Opportunities A Certificate Program Could Create

Again, it’s important to continue emphasizing that nearly all organizations are already or are considering using data analytics, so you could theoretically work in almost any industry. 

Examples of settings where a big data or data science certificate could be relevant include insurance companies, communication agencies, banks or financial institutions, higher education, healthcare facilities, supply chain operations, or tech companies. 

Specific careers in big data include database architect, business intelligence analyst, big data analyst, data mining analyst, database administrator, or data engineer. 

Along with the direct skills that you can learn in a certificate program, there are less obvious benefits as well. 

One is that employers like to see applicants or current employees who are constantly working to stay ahead, learn and improve themselves. If you’re showing that you’re learning and pursuing development opportunities, it’s going to help you stand out. 

Once you do get a certificate in something related to big data, it’s also helpful to then create a portfolio of projects because this is what’s going to show employers that you can take what you learned and then hopefully apply it in real-world situations. Hiring managers tend to look at portfolios first, so during your certificate program, you may get the opportunity to work on interactive projects, or you can do it on your own. 

No one can tell you for sure if a certificate program is right for you in big data, but if you’re already in this field and you’ve completed your bachelor’s level education, it could put you a step ahead and potentially help you find employment opportunities or earn more.