Technology focussed professionals and industries are placing more importance on IT certifications than ever before. Technology certifications help professionals validate their skills within their company and potential employers if they are applying for roles outside of their current firm.
According to Certiport, a leading provider of certification exam development, “IT professionals who gained new skills and/or certifications last year received an average raise of $12,000-$13,000.”
The same sentiment is echoed by Pearson-Vue in their Value of Certifications Report 2021. According to their survey, while certified candidates say they experienced increased confidence and earned a pay increase, companies feel certifications help improve the interviewing and screening process.
Suffices to say, the same applies to the Data world as well. Two of the most prominent tools that Data analysts and/or business analysts use today are Tableau and Power BI, and they offer a series of certifications based on the job role, profile, and experience level with the tools and ecosystems. Let us look at them in detail.
What certifications are available, and who would need to take what certification?
Tableau’s certifications focus on testing a candidate’s ability to apply the skills learned in a hands-on environment, not just theoretical knowledge. Tableau certifications are usually known in the community to bolster abilities and confidence and add credibility to analysts creating reports and dashboards. Tableau offers the following certifications
Entry-level certification for data analysts with 0-3 months of hands-on experience with Tableau Desktop Tool. Validates foundational understanding of the Tableau Desktop Tool.
For analysts with a comprehensive understanding of the Tableau desktop tool with at least 6 months of experience applying knowledge of the desktop tool. It validates the taker’s understanding of the core concepts and ability to connect, explore and analyze data.
For system administrators and consultants of Tableau servers who understand the architecture and functionality with at least 4-6 months of working experience in server management. This one is for you if you are configuring server nodes, administering users, groups, and licenses, troubleshooting server performance issues, and ensuring it is backed up and upgraded.
Tableau’s previous offerings, Tableau Desktop certified associate, Tableau Desktop Certified Professional, and Tableau Server Certified Professional, have now been retired/ Discontinued. The certifications mentioned above are the latest offerings.
Microsoft certified Power BI Data Analyst Associate (replacement for DA-100)
This exam will be retired on March 31, 2022. A replacement exam, Exam PL-300: Microsoft Power BI Data Analyst, is available. (For those who have already earned the Data Analyst Associate certification, you will see the new name in your Certification Dashboard on February 28, 2022. For further details, see this blog post)
This certification is a good fit if your responsibilities include:
- Designing and building scalable data models.
- Cleaning and transforming data.
- Enabling advanced analytics capabilities that provide meaningful business value through easy-to-understand data visualizations.
If you’re a data analyst or business user who uses Power BI to help your organization maximize the value of its data assets, you might consider earning this certification. Having an understanding of data repositories and data processing, both on-premises and in the cloud, is a plus.
Exam DP-500: Designing and Implementing Enterprise-Scale Analytics Solutions Using Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Power BI (beta) (This exam will be available in mid-April)
Those who are looking to get certified in Advanced Power BI skills, as well as the ability to manage data repositories, consume data from On-Prem and Cloud, and for querying and analyzing data using relational databases can go for this new certification from Microsoft (still in beta)
To summarize, Business analysts, data analysts, and those who want to get started in these roles, or make some progress in these roles, can aim for the Tableau Desktop Specialist, Tableau Certified Data Analyst, and the Microsoft Power BI Data Analyst Associate certifications, which focus on working with the data using the desktop tools.
Those who prefer to be on the administration side of Tableau can aim for the Tableau server certified associate certification, and those looking for validation of their subject matter expertise in designing, creating, and deploying enterprise-scale data analytics solutions using Azure and Power BI can take the Microsoft Certified: Azure Enterprise Data Analyst Associate exam
What are the Skills Measured, Topics covered, and weightages?
Listing down the list of skills and topics measured for each exam from their official listing pages from the Tableau and Microsoft websites, respectively. Please note that these are as of the time this article is being published. For the latest list, please refer to the official certification page.
Tableau Desktop Specialist
- Connecting to & Preparing Data (25%)
- Exploring & Analyzing Data (35%)
- Sharing Insights (25%)
- Understanding Tableau Concepts (15%)
Tableau Certified Data analyst
- Connect to and Transform Data (24%)
- Explore and Analyze Data (41%)
- Create Content (26%)
- Publish and Manage Content on Tableau Server and Tableau Online (9%)
Tableau server certified associate
- Connecting to & Preparing Data (20%)
- Installation & Configuration (26%)
- Administration (36%)
- Troubleshooting (12%)
- Migration & Upgrade (6%)
Microsoft certified Power BI Data Analyst Associate
Prepare the Data (15-20%)
- Get data from different data sources
- Clean, transform and load the data
Model the Data (30—35%)
- Design a data model
- Develop a data model
- Create model calculations by using DAX
- Optimize model performance
Visualize and Analyze the Data (25—30%)
- Create reports
- Create dashboards
- Enhance reports for usability and storytelling
- Identify patterns and trends
Deploy and Maintain Assets (20—25%)
- Manage files and datasets
- Manage workspaces
Microsoft Certified: Azure Enterprise Data Analyst Associate
Implement and manage a data analytics environment (25–30%)
- Govern and administer a data analytics environment
- Integrate an analytics platform into an existing IT infrastructure
- Manage the analytics development lifecycle
Query and transform data (20–25%)
- Query data by using Azure Synapse Analytics
- Ingest and transform data by using Power BI
Implement and manage data models (25–30%)
- Design and build tabular models
- Optimize enterprise-scale data models
Explore and visualize data (20–25%)
- Explore data by using Azure Synapse Analytics
- Visualize data by using Power BI
How to prepare?
Start with the Exam Preparation/ Skills Measures Guides to understand details on the topics (listed above)
- Tableau desktop Specialist – https://mkt.tableau.com/files/TableauDesktopSpecialist_ExamGuide.pdf
- Tableau Certified Data Analyst – https://mkt.tableau.com/files/TableauCertifiedDataAnalyst_ExamGuide.pdf
- Microsoft Power BI Data Analyst – https://query.prod.cms.rt.microsoft.com/cms/api/am/binary/RWREll
- Microsoft Certified: Azure Enterprise Data Analyst Associate – https://query.prod.cms.rt.microsoft.com/cms/api/am/binary/RWVbXM
Utilize the Free Learning Resources :
Tableau provides free learning paths on its certification webpage to get started with getting acquainted with the tool. You can refer to the Free Training Videos or Use self-paced, guided learning paths on Tableau’s eLearning Platform,
Microsoft also has curated self-paced learning paths on Microsoft Learn for Power BI and Azure Data related content
You can also check the Power BI Learning Catalog (https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-bi/learning-catalog/)
Tableau recommends its Desktop I: Fundamentals and Server Administration courses, which you can sign up for via Tableau Virtual Instructor-lead training or via the Tableau Training-Pass. There is also a Tableau Certified Data Analyst Exam Readiness course, a bundle designed to help you build the skills and confidence you need to get Tableau Certified
Microsoft also provides paid instructor-led courses through their learning partners if you prefer classroom/online guided training. The Course PL-300T00: Microsoft Power BI Data Analyst is designed for the PL300 certification, which involves instructor-led teaching and corresponding labs.
There are currently no courses available officially for DP-500, as this is still in beta.
Microsoft’s official PRactice test partner, MeasureUp, has a practice test that you can buy for the PL300 (DA100) exam. This can prepare you for the real exam and build your exam objectives knowledge.
In partnership with PearsonVue, Microsoft also offers special packages for exams and practice tests, known as Exam Replay. It gives you a second chance to pass your exam If you don’t pass on your first trial.
Where to Register for these exams
All Tableau and power BI certification exams can be given at a Pearson Vue test center or at home as well
What is the cost associated with these Certifications and Validity?
|Certification||Fee in USD (INR)||Reschedule Fee||Validity|
|Tableau Desktop Specialist||$100||$25||No Expiration|
|Tableau Certified Data Analyst||$250 (23500 incl taxes)||$25||2 Years|
|Tableau Server Certified Associate||$250 (23500 incl taxes)||$25||2 Years|
|Microsoft Power BI Data Analyst||$165 (4800)||No fee within 24 hours prior to your scheduled appointment||1 Year|
|Microsoft Certified: Azure Enterprise Data Analyst Associate||$165 (4800)||No fee within 24 hours prior to your scheduled appointment||1 Year|
What is the format of the exams?
Most of these certification exams follow a Multiple choice, multiple responses format of tests.
|Certification||Questions Format||Number of Questions||Exam Duration||Pass Score|
|Tableau Desktop Specialist||Multiple choice questions, Case studies with hands-on||45 questions (40 scored, 5 unscored)||60 mins||750|
|Tableau Certified Data Analyst||Knowledge-based Multiple choice, and performance-based hands-on lab||Scored items: 30 knowledge-based items and 1 hands-on lab with 10-11 tasks
Unscored items: up to 15 items, including knowledge-based and hands-on lab tasks
|Tableau Server Certified Associate||Multiple choice, multiple responses||55 Questions||90 mins||750|
|Microsoft Power BI Data Analyst||Multiple Choice Questions, Case studies||40-60 Questions||3 hours||750|
|Microsoft Certified: Azure Enterprise Data Analyst Associate||Details Awaited||Details Awaited||Details Awaited||Details Awaited|
How can I renew my certifications?
Microsoft provides free certification renewals. You can renew your current certifications by passing a free renewal assessment on Microsoft Learn within six months before the certification expires. For more, check Microsoft’s blog on Certification Renewals
Once you’re eligible to renew, you should receive an email directing you to the certification renewal page on Microsoft Learn, where you’ll find all the resources you need to prepare and renew.
Tableau does not provide any free renewals for its certifications.
Is there a logical order in which I need to take these certifications?
No. However, the suggested order is
Tableau Desktop Specialist ⏭️ Tableau Certified Data Analyst
Microsoft Certified Power BI Data Analyst ⏭️ Microsoft Certified: Azure Enterprise Data Analyst Associate