The Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate is an eight-course certification program offered by Google through Coursera’s learning platform. It teaches you all you need to know in order to land an entry-level role in data analytics. Each course dives deep into concepts like working with stakeholders, data integrity, preparing data, cleaning data, visualizing data, and using advanced programs like SQL and R.
So, is the certificate worth it? Well, it depends on a few factors.
Are You Familiar with Data Analytics?
If you are not familiar at all with data analytics, then this certificate was made for you. The first couple of courses in the program are rudimentary and easy to grasp. However, things ramp up quite quickly after that once you start learning about things like Structured Query Language (SQL). Luckily, the certification program uses an instructor-based teaching method with real Google employees and data professionals taking you through each course. Rather than staring at a screen recording or PowerPoint presentation, instructors use visual aids to help guide you through concepts for a more personalized experience. This teaching method helps ease you into unfamiliar territory and makes things a little less scary when topics get difficult.
If you have an adept or intermediate understanding of data analysis concepts, this certificate program may still offer you some insight if you are not already established in the industry. Do not completely write it off, though; at the very least, it could be a great refresher, and you may even learn a new thing or two along the way.
If you have advanced knowledge of data analytics, you are pretty safe to skip this certification program. Unless you simply want to be “certified by Google,” these courses won’t teach you anything you don’t already know. Again, if you want a refresher on some rudimentary topics, then this could be the perfect opportunity for you. However, don’t expect to come out learning anything new.
What Are Your Goals for the Google Data Analytics Certification?
The Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate is not going to be your end all be all to becoming a data analyst. It will help you immensely, especially as a beginner, but at the end of the day, it’s just a certification. Whether you want to try and land an entry-level data analyst role or you simply want to brush up on some knowledge, this certification program is a resource—not a solution.
If you want to become Google certified and brush up on some knowledge, then you will probably fly through the courses and have fun doing it. If you are taking this certification program to try and land a job, you have to go in knowing that you need to do more than just acquire this certification. It is important to continue learning even after you’ve become certified and put your newfound knowledge to work.
Create a portfolio that displays your knowledge in Excel, SQL, R, Python, Tableau, and more. Showing that you can turn that knowledge you learned from the certificate into practical skills means a lot more than the certificate itself. Watch YouTube tutorials, study online, talk to professionals in the field, and most importantly, get into some of those programs and test out your skills!
Other Data Analyst Certification Programs
After launching in March of 2021, the Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate was met with a lot of anticipation and praise. The certification program claims to take six months to complete—however, that is likely the timeline for complete newcomers. You can complete the courses at your own pace, so someone who is already knowledgeable on the subject matter should be able to complete the entire program in under two months. It all really depends on your prior knowledge, motivation, and schedule. Coursera charges $39 for each month your subscription is active. That means if you finish the program in two months, you only pay $78, but if you finish in six months, you pay $234. Unless you are strictly following the program’s schedule, it should not take you the full six months to complete. If you are a beginner and it does take you the full six months to complete, don’t sweat it. All the knowledge you’ll gain is well worth the full price tag.
Now, there are other data analyst certification programs, most notably the IBM Data Analyst Professional Certificate. It is offered by IBM, also through Coursera’s learning platform—so it features the same pricing model. Which is better? Well, check out both and decide for yourself. The biggest differences between the two are IBM does not use instructors like Google does. The IBM certification program also teaches Python instead of R. Other than that, they’re more or less the same.
There are also boot camps, but they’re expensive and you should weigh whether or not they are really worth it. Then, there are individual courses through platforms like Coursera and Udemy. Some of these individual courses are gems, but they are more focused on specific topics. There are not very many courses that really teach you the ins and outs of becoming a data analyst, as Google does. For that reason, it would be wise to complete a comprehensive program like Google’s first and then move on to more focused courses to dive even deeper.
Data Analyst Certification Considerations
Not many certification programs give you an accurate overall view of how to become a data analyst, the tools you’ll use, and what it is like to work in the field. The Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate does exactly that in a comprehensive and easy-to-follow program that is well worth its value. For people wanting to jump right into data analytics and start learning the basics—there’s no better program out there right now. Just remember not to rely too much on this certification. Keep learning and put those skills to the test!