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You’re here because you might be hearing all about the IBM Certificate, but one question remains: is the IBM Data Analyst Professional Certificate worth it?

I’ve done my research and here’s the short answer:

The IBM Data Analyst Professional Certificate is worth it. Made for data analytics beginners, the certification is worth buying for its high-quality learning resources and interactive exercises on popular data analytics software, all for an affordable cost of only USD$39/month.

What is the IBM Data Analyst Professional Certificate?

The IBM Data Analyst Professional Certificate is a 4-6 month-long certification program made by IBM on skills needed to become a data analyst. This data analyst certification program is meant for beginners to pick up relevant skills like Python, SQL, and Machine Learning to help them land an entry-level data analyst job.

Why do I say that this IBM certificate is worth it?

Here are my 7 reasons why it’s worth it:

7 Reasons Why the IBM Data Analyst Certification is Worth It

  1. Uses Unique Assessment Methods
  2. Increases Your Exposure to Essential Analytics Skills
  3. Highly Targeted to Job-ready Skills
  4. Provides Optimal Learning Stress
  5. Provides Flexible Self-paced Exercises
  6. Provides Good Career Credentials
  7. Encourages Working on Data Projects

Now, allow me to explain more about each of the reasons!

1. Uses Unique Assessment Methods

First up, the professional certificate provides a good variety of unique assessment methods!

In most of the courses required in the entire certificate track, a unique blend of assessment methods is used to engage learners.

Here are some of the assessment methods used:

  • Peer-reviewed assignments
  • Quizzes
  • Course challenges

Among this list, what should really stands out to you should be the peer-reviewed assignments!

Here’s why I think they’re great for enforcing your learning:

Peer-reviewed assignments will ensure that you pick up all the necessary skills before you can move on to the next step in the course!

By having peers give you a grade, you can get comments and feedback on areas you should work on or areas you’ve done well.

This also ensures that you won’t rush your way through the course for the sake of completion and without any concern for learning all the needed knowledge.

Learning data analytics requires discipline, so these peer-reviewed assignments can really set you up to make sure you achieve those goals of finally mastering Python or SQL!

Unlike the Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate, which lacks this peer-review assessment type, the IBM Certificate is great for beginners who need a little more push to keep a disciplined learning environment!

Curious to know what the Google Certificate can offer you instead?

You might want to check out my review of the Google Certificate.

2. Increases Your Exposure to Essential Analytics Skills

Another major reason why this certificate by IBM is worth it for beginners is the exposure it gives you.

Based on my experience as a data analyst, having a wide skillset of data analysis skills is really important!

Therefore, gaining exposure to valuable skills as a beginner is a perfect first step.

By going through the IBM Certificate, you’ll gain exposure to everyday tools used by a typical junior data analyst for analyzing data.

Here are some of the skills used in this Certificate:

By going through this certificate, you’ll understand more about how the data analysis process works and how each tool is used in each unique scenario!

However, this certificate doesn’t really teach you any of the common tools to create data visualizations, such as Tableau and Power BI.

This exposure to essential skills makes it the perfect reason for a complete beginner to jump right into the certificate with no coding background needed!

Want to know if coding is actually needed for data science and analytics? I share more in my article on if data science requires coding here.

3. Highly Targeted to Job-ready Skills

As a beginner, you’d tend to get overwhelmed with which skills to learn first.

This certificate points you in the right direction for the right skills to start with!

Here’s why:

Out of the 9 courses in the the certificate, a total of 5 were on Python and its various applications!

Just take a look at the table below for a list of the courses:

Courses In the IBM Certificate
1Introduction to Data Analytics
2Excel Basics for Data Analysis
3Data Visualization and Dashboards with Excel and Cognos
4Python for Data Science, AI & Development
5Python Project for Data Science
6Databases and SQL for Data Science with Python
7Data Analysis with Python
8Data Visualization with Python
9IBM Data Analyst Capstone Project

Did you notice how much emphasis has been put on Python in this certificate?

This is actually a good thing, especially when Python is one of the leading programming languages required in a data job.

Python is one of the most commonly used data analysis tools among data analysts to analyze data or visualize data. In fact, Python is used more than R.

Some of Python’s libraries, like Pandas, are also popular in the data science world for their data-wrangling functions.

This is where the IBM certificate differs from the Google one, which teaches R programming instead.

Another skill that I’m sure many data analytics beginners like you should have is SQL.

SQL is a querying language that allows you to transform and clean data.

Being the common data language used by many roles within the data field, having basic knowledge in SQL is essential to begin a career in data!

SQL is used in the following jobs:

Therefore, if you’re on the fence about whether a data analytics certificate is worth it, always check to see if SQL is included in the curriculum.

I’ve had to use SQL in my previous role in analytics often for data querying and data analysis tasks, and I know some BI analysts and data scientists who are confident that SQL is a must-learn.

Curious to know the difference between a data analyst and a BI analyst?

Read my article that covers 7 key differences between a data analyst and BI analyst.

By taking the IBM certificate, you’ll be learning all these highly-targeted job-ready technical skills!

4. Provides Optimal Learning Stress

If you’ve done any sort of online learning, you’ll probably know about how tough it is to complete them.

However, this is where the IBM Certificate stands out!

In an environment for learning something new, having positive stress factors (Eustress) make for optimal learning!

Based on this article, Eustress is the optimal level of stress needed for the best level of learning!

Sitting in the middle of distress and with no stress, having that good amount of push factor can help you achieve your learning goals better!

Here are several factors where the certificate would motivate you:

  • Email reminders from Coursera to keep pace with the learning schedule
  • A monthly subscription model
  • Well-structured content with a moderate pace of delivery
  • Peer-reviewed assignments

Let’s have a quick look at each of these factors.

Email reminders for completion from Coursera

The IBM Certificate is hosted on the Coursera platform for content delivery, and that’s great!

Coursera sends email reminders when you’re not on track with your Certificate timeline and that really helps to keep you in check.

By having email prompts once in a while, the platform nudges you to finally complete that certification you really needed to move forward with your data analytics career!

A monthly subscription model

The IBM Certificate is priced using a monthly subscription.

This means that the faster you learn and complete the certificate, the less you pay!

Here’s a screenshot of the certificate pricing model:

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Why is this a motivation?

By having a subscription model, you’re put under slight stress to make your money’s worth when doing the IBM Certificate!

This should be a good amount of motivation to get you moving forward with each course in the certificate program.

Well-structured content with a moderate pace of delivery

The certificate is put together in a well-structured manner that facilitates learning.

The content in this course is heavy, but having them broken down into weekly schedules for each course, makes it such much more manageable!

Here’s a table showing how the first course in the certificate is broken down into weeks:

Introduction to Data Analytics Course Weekly Breakdown

WeekTopicHours of Content
1What is Data Analytics2
2The Data Ecosystem3
3Gathering and Wrangling Data2
4Mining & Visualizing Data and Communicating Results2
5Career Opportunities and Data Analysis in Action2

Pretty organized, right?

Peer-reviewed assignments

As mentioned in my earlier points, the IBM Certificate uses peer-reviewed assignments to check in on your learning.

By having peers look at and mark your projects and work, you’ll be placed in a level of eustress.

This is where there will be a good amount of push factor to at least submit a decent level of work (to your peers) to move on to the next course!

Still on the fence on whether to get the Google or IBM Certificate?

Read my IBM vs Google Cert comparison first!

5. Provides Flexible Self-paced Exercises

Another really great thing about this certificate is that it’s delivered online.

This makes the course really great for its flexibility.

Why do I say that?

That’s because flexibility through self-paced video lectures and online assignments works for many data analytics learners.

These data analytics learners may include:

  • Full-time job workers with fixed schedules looking for a career change
  • College undergraduates with lessons

Do these learners sound like you?

Here’s why these learners can benefit the most from the flexible structure of the IBM Certificate:

  • Freedom to submit assignments any time of day (unlike physical assessments)
  • Ability to consume video content on the go (during daily commutes)

Full-time job workers can take advantage of the flexible nature of learning and watch video lectures during daily commutes if they’re on public transport.

These bits of learning can work around your fixed schedule of work or lessons!

6. Provides Good Career Credentials

Being a certificate offered by IBM, getting an IBM Certification can help to provide extra credentials to your portfolio!

Now don’t get me wrong, having just a certificate from IBM is not enough to help you land that data analyst job immediately!

But here’s what the IBM Certificate can do for you:

  • Show employers your dedication to learning analytics technologies
  • Provide opportunities for interviewers to ask questions about your learnings during the course

When added to a well-crafted resume, this certificate would make your resume more well-rounded! This might be especially so for mid-career changers.

Of course, an IBM Certificate alone is not enough, but here’s where the certificate stands out, its focus on data projects!

Read more on this below!

7. Encourages Working on Data Projects

The IBM Certificate is really worth getting because of this emphasis on getting you started on data projects!

Source: Python Project for Data Science, Coursera

Upon completing the certificate, you’d be left with 2 data analytics projects from these courses:

  • Python Project for Data Science
  • IBM Capstone Project

By forcing you to complete these projects before moving on, the certificate ensures that you’ll have something to take back and explain to future employers about!

In fact, upon closer look at the requirements of the project, they’re pretty similar to the work I’ve done as a data analyst, such as data cleaning and data visualization.

Therefore, the IBM Certificate is worth getting because of how much impact these data mining projects can have on helping you achieve that goal of landing that data job

Curious to know how long a data science project will take?

Read more about that in my article here.


You can choose to get a Coursera Monthly Subscription to gain access to all professional certificates at the cost of only one, at USD $59/month!

Related Questions

How Long Does it Take to Complete the IBM Data Analyst Professional Certificate?

It will take around 4-6 months to complete the IBM Data Analyst Professional Certificate. This will vary depending on having previous data background, learning speeds, and hours committed per day. Although IBM suggests an 11-month completion time, most finish the program earlier.

Here’s a screenshot from Coursera of the recommended timeline based on hours of learning.

Is the IBM Data Analyst Certificate Difficult?

The IBM Data Analyst Certification is not difficult. The certificate is designed with data analytics beginners in mind, where the content difficulty is at an entry-level. The certificate also only includes self-paced courses, where more difficult topics can be revisited and consumed at a slow pace.

How Difficult is the IBM Data Analyst Certificate?

The IBM Certificate is at an entry-level difficulty. The content in the certificate only covers basic concepts in data analytics technologies and is not too difficult for beginners. However, the amount of content is heavy and it will be difficult to complete within a tight deadline.

How Much Does the IBM Data Analyst Certificate Cost?

The IBM Data Analyst Professional Certificate costs USD $39/month. The certificate is priced on a monthly subscription model. Most certificate learners would require 4-6 months of completion time. However, based on discounts by IBM, a 3-month plan costs only USD $78 and a 6-month plan costs only USD $117.

Can You Get a Job with the IBM Data Analyst Certificate?

A job is not guaranteed with the IBM Data Analyst Certificate. The certificate does not officially promise a data analyst job. However, the certificate provides an excellent broad-based introduction to data analytics tools used by data analysts. This aspect of the certificate will be helpful in getting jobs.

Is the IBM Data Analyst Certificate Useful?

The IBM Data Analyst Certificate is useful. The IBM Data Analytics Certificate provides a good overview of in-demand data analytics skills for beginners. However, this certificate is less useful for intermediate and experienced data analysts who are proficient in data analytics.

Does the IBM Data Analyst Certificate Expire?

The IBM Data Analyst Certificate does not expire. The certificate is awarded to all learners upon completion of all 9 courses. This certificate has no expiry date and does not require renewal. The certificate is hosted on Coursera, which lasts indefinitely, where certificate holders can view it.

Are Coursera Professional Certificates Worth It?

Coursera Professional Certificates are worth it. Coursera Professional Certificates are well-structured and provide great exposure to necessary technologies used in junior, entry-level roles. These certificates ensure a strong foundation in various topics is found in certificate learners.

Is the IBM Data Analyst Certificate Better Than The Google Data Analytics Certificate?

The IBM Data Analyst Certificate is not better than the Google Data Analytics Certificate. Both certificates cover different essential data analyst skills and are great certificates. However, the Google certificate is suited for learners interested in R but the IBM certificate is suited for learners interested in Python.

Final Thoughts

Alright, so that’s all the reasons why the IBM Data Analyst Certificate is worth it. Hope it’s a useful resource in helping you decide on whether you should buy it!

Thanks for reading!

My Favorite Learning Resources:

Here are some of the learning resources I’ve personally found to be useful as a data analyst and I hope you find them useful too!

These may contain affiliate links and I earn a commission from them if you use them.

However, I’d honestly recommend them to my juniors, friends, or even my family!

My Recommended Learning Platforms!

Learning PlatformWhat’s Good About the Platform?
1CourseraCertificates are offered by popular learning institutes and companies like Google & IBM
2DataCampComes with an integrated coding platform, great for beginners!
3PluralsightStrong focus on data skills, taught by industry experts
4StratascratchLearn faster by doing real interview coding practices for data science
5UdacityHigh-quality, comprehensive courses

My Recommended Online Courses + Books!

TopicOnline CoursesBooks
1Data AnalyticsGoogle Data Analytics Professional Certificate
2Data ScienceIBM Data Science Professional Certificate
3ExcelExcel Skills for Business Specialization
4PythonPython for Everybody SpecializationPython for Data Analysis
5SQLIntroduction to SQLSQL: The Ultimate Beginners Guide: Learn SQL Today
6TableauData Visualization with TableauPractical Tableau
7Power BIGetting Started with Power BI DesktopBeginning Microsoft Power BI
8R ProgrammingData Science: Foundations using R SpecializationLearning R
9Data VisualizationBig Book of Dashboards

To see all of my most up-to-date recommendations, check out this resource I’ve put together for you here.

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