Certified Analytics Professional

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Big data is creating a big demand for data scientists and analytics professionals, but it’s also creating a big problem for organizations looking for analytical help. The problem: Given the growing demand for analytics professionals and a shortage of highly qualified candidates, how do you find the right person with the requisite skills and capabilities to do the job?

INFORMS has a solution: Certified Analytics Professional (CAP). A year in the making and set for launch this spring, the CAP program is designed to be the industry’s gold seal of approval for analytics professionals. The program will benefit not only organizations looking for analytical expertise, it will also benefit individuals who earn the certification by setting them apart from the crowd, driving personal satisfaction, and improving overall job performance by stressing continuing professional development.

The CAP program consists of several elements, including a 100-question, multiple-choice exam that will be administered for the first time on April 7 in conjunction with the INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics & O.R. in San Antonio, Texas. Three other exam sites are also scheduled for 2013: June 23 in Chicago (preceding the INFORMS Healthcare Conference), July 13 in McLean, Va. (Booz Allen Hamilton offices) and Oct. 5 in Minneapolis (preceding the INFORMS Annual Meeting).

Exam questions will cover such domains as problem framing, data management, methodology selection, model building, deployment and lifecycle management. Sample questions and other details regarding the program can be found on the CAP website (

According to Jack Levis, director of Process Management for UPS, vice president of Practice Activities for INFORMS and a driving force behind CAP, more than 200 analytics professionals from the U.S., Europe and Asia/Pacific offered input into the structure of the test’s sections. Adds Bill Klimack, a decision analysis consultant for Chevron, INFORMS board member and Levis’ co-chair on the certification task force: “My personal perspective is that certification is becoming more important in many fields. This seems to be a result of accelerating change. Certification programs help cope with the environmental change by providing a clear model for standards and advancement.”

In order to be eligible to take the exam, candidates must have a bachelor’s degree or higher, between three and seven years of analytics work-related experience (depending on degree) and verification of communication and other “soft skills,” such as effective partnering with business clients, framing problems with stakeholders, working in project teams and communicating results to decision-makers.