If you’re considering a career in IT, these data-related certifications can help focus your efforts and get your career going.
With our knowledge, understanding, and integration of IT technologies ever growing, the IT careers sector has boomed. The career path has grown from a few all-encompassing roles, such as ‘administrator’ or ‘technician’ to a wealth of targeted and niche roles, designed to ensure that the variety of tech a company needs to grow is best utilized.
However, such a wealth of career options can be overwhelming. For those just starting out on their employment journey, specializing can be a fast track to both job fulfillment and high salaries.
With this in mind, in this article we’ll be taking a closer look at the role of the data engineer and the data architect, and learning some of the top Microsoft certifications to set you on the path to your dream career.
What’s the Difference Between a Data Engineer and a Data Architect?
Data engineers and data architects work similar jobs, with a few key differences.
A data architect is in charge of developing data architecture, which allows information to be successfully maintained, organized, captured, centralized, and integrated.
A data engineer also does this but will also test and maintain existing systems, keeping them accessible and operating correctly.
A Data Architect’s Responsibilities
On a day-to-day basis a data architect may be required to:
- Collaborate with IT teams to develop data strategies
- Build data inventories
- Research data acquisition opportunities
- Evaluate data management technologies (both current and future)
- Create an end-to-end vision for data flow
- Develop data models
- Design, construct and deploy database architectures
- Fuse new systems with existing structures
A Data Engineer’s Responsibilities
On a day-to-day basis a data engineer may be required to:
- Develop, construct, test, and maintain data architectures
- Ensure architecture compatibility
- Source opportunities for data acquisition
- Develop processes for data modelling, mining, and production
- Marry existing systems together
- Devise solutions to improve data reliability, efficiency, and quality
- Leverage large amounts of data
- Handle sophisticated analytics programs
- Use predictive and prescriptive analysis to automate work
A Fork in the Road
As you can see, on the whole a data architect and data engineer’s roles largely follow the same path, with the two splitting a fork in the road when it comes to some day-to-day career specifics. That means that on the whole, a data engineer represents a more technically advanced career end goal which an already established data architect could transition to.
Because of the similarities and in some cases intertwining of job roles, many certification courses will suit those aspiring for both career options.
Other certifications will show more of a bias towards either architecture or engineering.
The Top Courses
While there are a variety of different courses and training options out there, including those from certifiers such as IBM or Cloudera, some of the best certification courses out there come from Microsoft.
For many, those courses represent the gold standard in IT education. Let’s take a look at some of the top choices for data engineering and architecture.
MCA Microsoft Azure AI Engineer Associate
This course is part of Microsoft’s new role-based certifications, which are designed to offer certifications that align more closely to real-world job profiles and responsibilities. This certification is an associate level, meaning a fundamental level or similar certification may be expected as a prerequisite to participation.
This certification is excellent for Data Engineers, particularly as it centers around the use of cognitive services, machine learning, and knowledge mining to design AI solutions.
To pass this certification, participants need to successfully complete one exam: AI-100: Designing and Implementing an Azure AI Solution.
Topics covered in the AI-100 exam include identifying storage solutions, data governance design, and the orchestration of an AI workflow.
MCE Microsoft Azure Solutions Architect
Another role-based certification, the solutions architect certification will likely require a relevant associate level certification or equivalent. It will also require several years of industry experience, as it represents the very pinnacle of architecture skills.
This role includes translating business requirements into secure, scalable, and reliable solutions.
Topics covered in this certification include addressing the durability of data and caching, implementing secure data for end-to-end encryption, and securing application data using SQL Database and Azure Storage features.
To achieve this certification the following exams will need to be passed:
- AZ-300: Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies
- AZ-301: Microsoft Azure Architect Design
MCA Microsoft Azure Data Scientist w/ MCA Microsoft Azure Data Engineer COMBO
This course is a great combination of two associate level certifications. It is great for both data architects and engineers alike, as it handles almost all the responsibilities of both job roles.
This option is great for keen professionals looking to fast track both their learning and their career progression, as it operates as a 2-for-1 deal.
Because it includes two certifications, this course packs in a lot of information, including; implementing and developing data science solutions, deploying data models, and solving business data problems. It also covers managing, monitoring, and securing large amounts of data.
To successfully achieve both certifications, the following three exams will need to be completed:
- DP-100: Designing and Implementing a Data Science Solution on Azure
- DP-200: Implementing an Azure Data Solution
- DP-201: Designing an Azure Data Solution
If you’re looking at a career in data, consider one of these three certifications to help propel your career to the next level. With the right training, you can find yourself on the path to the job you’ve always wanted.