Microsoft Data Analyst Associate Certification Guide

Data analysts work with data to help their organizations make better business decisions. Using techniques from a variety of disciplines, including computer programming, mathematics, and statistics, data analysts draw conclusions from data to describe, predict, and improve business performance. They form the core of any analytical team and tend to be generalists versed in mathematical and statistical analysis methods.

The role of Data Analyst is in high demand as organizations rapidly develop their analytical capabilities. In August, research firm IDC forecast global spending on big data and business analytics solutions to reach $ 215.7 billion this year, up 10.1 percent from 2020. The firm believes that spending will continue to strengthen over the next five years, with a compound annual growth rate. (CAGR) of 12.8% from 2021-2025.

According to Glassdoor, data analysts with Power BI skills earn salaries of $ 62,000 to $ 125,000 per year ($ 88,303 on average).

What is a Microsoft Certified: Data Analyst Associate?

Microsoft Certified Data Analysts are subject matter experts able to design and build scalable data models, cleanse and transform data, and deliver business value through data visualizations. The certification is intended for data professionals and business intelligence (BI) professionals who use Power BI to develop reports and dashboards that visualize data, whether in the cloud or on-premises. Certification requires successful completion of the Data Analytics with Microsoft Power BI certification exam administered through Pearson VUE. The exam measures the candidate’s ability to prepare data, visualize data, analyze data, and deploy and maintain deliverables.

How to prepare for the Data Analytics with Microsoft Power BI exam

Candidates have two options to prepare for the exam: free online courses or paid instructor-led training.

For free courses, Microsoft recommends a series of six learning paths that cover the necessary skills:

Get started with Microsoft data analysis: This learning path provides an overview of data analytics and the role of a data analyst, as well as the skills, tasks, and processes they use to tell a story with data. It consists of two modules and lasts 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Prepare data for analysis: This learning path focuses on using Power Query to extract data from various data sources (Microsoft Excel, relational databases, NoSQL data stores) and how to choose a storage mode and type connectivity. It teaches how to profile, cleanse, and load data into Power BI for data modeling. It consists of two modules lasting 3 hours and 26 minutes.

Model data in Power BI: This learning path teaches how to design data models and use data analysis expressions (DAX), the native formula and the query language of Microsoft Power BI, to create measures. It consists of three modules lasting 5 hours and 31 minutes.

Visualize the data in Power BI: This learning path teaches analysts how to select the right visuals to solve a given problem. It covers report design and formatting, how to use report navigation to tell data-driven stories, and how dashboards can help users target report visuals to meet specific needs. It consists of four modules that take 5 hours and 5 minutes to complete.

Data analysis in Power BI: This learning path teaches how to use Power BI to perform data analysis functions. It covers identifying outliers in data, performing time series analyzes, using advanced analytical features, and using AI visuals. It consists of two modules that take one hour and 52 minutes to complete.

Manage workspaces and datasets in Power BI: This learning path covers creating workspaces in the Power BI service. It teaches how to deploy Power BI artifacts and share them with users, how to connect Power BI reports to on-premises data sources, configure automatic refresh for Power BI datasets, and apply row-level security for restrict users to data that applies to them. It consists of three modules that take an hour and 10 minutes to complete.

Microsoft also offers a paid four-day instructor-led training for certification through its learning partners. The course covers methods and best practices for modeling, visualizing, and analyzing data with Power BI. It teaches how to access and process data from a range of data sources, including relational databases and non-relational data stores. It also explains how to implement security standards and policies, and how to manage and deploy reports and dashboards for sharing and distributing content. The price varies depending on the country and the learning partner.

There are also many practice tests and training resources available for the exam, including:

Take the Analyze Data with Microsoft Power BI exam

The Data Analytics with Microsoft Power BI exam is offered through Pearson VUE and costs $ 165 in the US (price varies depending on the country in which the exam is being taken). For a limited time, Microsoft is offering certification at a reduced price to eligible people who have been terminated or placed on leave due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To be eligible for the discount, individuals must schedule their exam by December 30, 2021 and have until December 31, 2021 to complete the exam.

The exam measures the candidate’s ability to perform technical tasks, including:

  • Prepare the data (20% -25%)
  • Model data (25% -30%)
  • View data (20% -25%)
  • Analyze the data (10% -15%)
  • Deploy and maintain deliverables (10% -15%)

Microsoft offers a full breakdown of the skills measured in each task.

Sean N. Ayres