Top Certifications for Data Scientists

Woman notes down top data science certifications from her laptop screen


Darya Petrashka, Data Scientist, shares her top certification picks for data scientists.

In the ever-evolving landscape of Data Science, certifications have emerged as a crucial benchmark for skill validation and career advancement. As organizations worldwide embrace data-driven decision-making, the demand for proficient data scientists continues to surge.

To stand out in this competitive field, data professionals are increasingly turning to certifications as a way to showcase their expertise and commitment. In this article, we’ll dive into the top certifications for data scientists, exploring their benefits, significance, and how they can boost your career.


Amazon Web Services offers this certification for data professionals focusing on machine learning. It validates your ability to design, implement, deploy, and maintain machine learning solutions using AWS. It is recommended to have 2 years of hands-on experience developing, architecting, and running ML or deep learning workloads in the AWS Cloud. However, it is not mandatory, if you have less experience, you can still take it. The exam costs $300, but AWS often has promotions with discounts. 

The preparation could take 3-6 months depending on your path. You will need to be able to express the intuition behind basic ML algorithms, perform basic hyperparameter optimization, and follow model training, deployment, and operational best practices.


For those gravitating toward Google Cloud, these certifications are a testament to your ability to design, build, and manage data processing systems. It’s a robust indicator of your skills in handling big data and deploying machine learning models on the Google Cloud Platform.

The Professional Data Engineer exam assesses your ability to design data processing systems, operationalize machine learning models, ensure solution quality, and build and operationalize data processing systems. 

The Professional Machine Learning Engineer exam assesses your ability to frame ML problems, develop ML models, architect ML solutions, and automate and orchestrate ML pipelines. It also validates your ability to design data preparation and processing systems and monitor, optimize, and maintain ML solutions.

Any of those exams cost $200 and are 2 hours in length.


IBM’s offering provides a comprehensive journey through the data science ecosystem.

The IBM Machine Learning Data Scientist exam checks if a person can work with disparate data sets to design, plan, and present a proper business solution using IBM AI processes and tools (Watson Studio). Business problem evaluation including ethical implications is also evaluated. The candidate should be able to perform exploratory data analysis that includes data preparation. They should be also able to determine and implement proper models as well as refine and deploy and monitor the model.

The exam time is 90 minutes and it costs $200.


Tailored for those working in the Microsoft Azure ecosystem, this certification validates your expertise in using Azure Machine Learning and other tools for data analysis, preparation, feature engineering, and model evaluation.

Knowledge areas include designing and creating a suitable working environment for data science workloads; exploring data; training machine learning models; implementing pipelines; running jobs to prepare for production; and managing, deploying, and monitoring scalable machine learning solutions. A candidate for this certification should have knowledge and experience in Data Science by using Azure Machine Learning and MLflow.

The exam lasts for 210 minutes, its price varies depending on your region.


SAS’s certification encompasses a broad range of Data Science skills, including data cleaning, visualization, feature engineering, and model deployment. It’s an excellent choice for those looking for a holistic validation of their Data Science prowess.

 You can earn a Data Science certification with a combination of these credentials: Data Curation Professional and AI & Machine Learning Professional or Advanced Analytics Professional.

 The Data Curation Professional exam is designed for individuals who want to validate their ability to perform data curation tasks using SAS Data Management tools and applications as well as third-party data tools to prepare data for statistical analysis.

Successful candidates should be able to take data from disparate sources, perform data transforming, and deliver that data to be used in reports and analytics repositories. They should be able to query and manage Hadoop data using SAS and native Hadoop tools, transform streaming data, and govern data. The exam time is 110 minutes and it costs $180.

AI & Machine Learning Professional certification is designed for individuals who wish to showcase their AI and Analytics Talent using open source and SAS tools to garner insight from data. Candidates exhibit skills in Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, Computer Vision, and Model Forecasting and Optimization. Candidates will be awarded the AI & Machine Learning Professional certification once they have earned the SAS Certified Specialist: Machine Learning, the SAS Certified Specialist: Forecasting and Optimization, and the SAS Certified Specialist: Natural Language Processing and Computer Vision credentials.

Advanced Analytics Professional certification consists of three credentials: SAS Certified Specialist: Advanced Predictive Modeling, SAS Certified Specialist: SAS Text Analytics, Time Series, Experimentation and Optimization, and SAS Certified Predictive Modeler.

To conclude, in the rapidly advancing field of Data Science, certifications guide professionals through the intricate terrain of skills and knowledge. These top certifications offer not only a validation of expertise but also a structured learning path that cultivates practical skills. As you embark on your Data Science journey, consider these certifications as powerful assets to propel your career to new heights. With each certification earned, you’re not just adding lines to your resume; you’re demonstrating your commitment to excellence in a field that thrives on innovation and insight.


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