The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), the largest society in the world for professionals in the field of operations research (O.R.), management science, and analytics has established the Certified Analytics Professional (CAP®) designation, a first-of-its kind analytics professional certification. The mission of CAP® is to validate solid analytics practices, provide an instant level of credibility with clients, help organisations to identify and develop qualified analytics talent, and to help analytics professionals boost their career potential and elevate themselves within the marketplace. To know more, click here.
Scott Nestler from Informs talks to us about his views on institutionalising CAP® within India.
[dropcap size=”2″]AIM[/dropcap]Analytics India Magazine: Can you brief us about the course curriculum and pedagogy of Certified Analytics Professional (CAP)?
[dropcap size=”2″]SN[/dropcap]Scott Nestler: The Certified Analytics Professional (CAP) program isn’t so much a course with a curriculum. Rather, it is a practice-based certification that’s based on a rigorous job task analysis conducted by INFORMS and validated by the broader professional community. The job task analysis covers seven major practice areas that follow the analytics end-to-end process (business problem framing, analytics problem framing, data, methodology selection, model building, deployment, life cycle management). Within these areas, knowledge and applicable skills are tested. Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) advances the use of analytics by setting agreed upon standards for the profession and supports the profession by providing a means for organizations to identify and develop qualified analytics professionals.
AIM: How is CAP different from other analytics certifications available right now?
SN: Recently, CIO Magazine produced a feature titled, “11 Data Science Certifications That Should Pay Off.” They point out that “data scientists and analysts with expertise in the techniques required to analyze big data … are hard to come by.” First on the list was … CAP; they termed it a “rigorous general analytics certification.” About half of the others listed were actually certificate programs requiring from 4 to 10 classes, while the others were software specific (i.e. Cloudera, EMC, R) certifications. In comparison, the CAP is software and vendor agnostic.
AIM: How do you see analytics market for you within India? Do you see enough excitement from various fronts for CAP?
SN: We believe the market for CAP in India is strong. Various publications have pegged the number of analytics professionals in India at 10,000 and growing. INFORMS has a strong presence in India to build upon. We have several hundred members and customers in India. Our journals (13 of them) are well established in universities in India, too. We are seeing some initial excitement about CAP in India and that is encouraging.
AIM: Can you let our readers know about the typical background of candidates that you expect would benefit from CAP?
SN: The CAP is aimed at analytics professionals who are in the early-to-mid part of their career. It is ideal for those who are looking for a way to get an edge — whether they are job hunting, angling for a promotion or just want tangible, third-party proof of their skills. CAP certification measures knowledge and skills against industry-wide benchmarks to prove to employers that they have the right skillset.
AIM: How do you plan to market CAP in India? What are your plans on making CAP as a more well-known name within analytics community in India?
SN: We plan to mobilize a contingent of INFORMS and CAP champions in India to carry the word forward. Several dedicated INFORMS members in India feel strongly about the benefits of CAP and will help us make appointments with organizations in industry and consulting firms to provide personalized information. Rahul Saxena, Anand Srinivasan, and Rhandir Mishra have been particularly helpful so far. Eventually, they will help us form an INFORMS chapter in India. One of the chapter’s initial goals will be to help get CAP established in India. We are also looking for good opportunities to advertise CAP in print and electronic publications.
AIM: What are the most significant challenges you face in instrumenting CAP in India?
SN: It used to be the ability to take the exam in India. Up until recently, Indian nationals would have had to fly to the U.S. to take the exam or wait until INFORMS came to India. Since we launched computer-based testing in May of this year, however, we now have about 50 Kryterion testing centers in India where candidates can schedule the exam at their convenience. We also have a downloadable study guide that helps candidates prepare anywhere in the world.
I guess the biggest challenge we have right now everywhere, not just in India, is making analytics professionals aware of CAP and why it would be beneficial to their career. There are a lot of software and university-based certificates and certifications available that can be confused with CAP. There is nothing like CAP since it is the only professional analytics certification available. It is analogous to the PMP for project managers or the CFA for financial planners.
SN: It is hard to say right now, but our champions in India believe we can get 500 professionals certified over one year. To do this, CAP will need to be priced at a level that analytics professionals feel is reasonable. To that end we have decided to offer CAP at an introductory discounted rate for the first 500 professionals in India who sign up and take the exam. Those rates are U.S. $300 for INFORMS members and U.S. $450 for non-members. The regular prices for CAP are U.S. $495 for INFORMS members and U.S. $695 for non-members.
To receive the discounted rates, Indian candidates will simply need to add promotion code CAPINDIA when paying for their exam. For those wishing to join INFORMS to receive the member rate on CAP, we are currently offering a 4-month INFORMS membership for just U.S. $78. This covers September through December 2014 only.
AIM: What are your views on current analytics education scenario within India? Where do you plan to place CAP within this ecosystem?
SN: This is an area where we need to rely on the previously mentioned champions, to make sure that we position it correctly.
AIM: What according to are the most important rising trends in analytics today?
SN: I think the focus needs to be on not getting attracted (distracted?) by every shiny, new toy (tool) and keep the emphasis on how to apply analytical methods to solving business problems and supporting strategic and operational decisions.
AIM: Anything else you wish to add?
SN: Thank you for inquiring about CAP and giving me the opportunity to address your readers. As any further questions arise, interested individuals can look at the program website (www.informs.or/certification) or contact Louise Wehrle, the INFORMS Certification Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward out to serving (and certifying) analytics professionals in India.
[spoiler title=”Biography of Scott Nestler” style=”fancy” icon=”plus-circle”]
Dr. Scott T. Nestler is an Operations Research / Systems Analyst for the US Army. He has taught at the U.S. Military Academy (West Point) and the Naval Postgraduate School. He currently leads a team of analysts at the Center for Army Analysis. Also, he is the Chair of the Analytics Certification Board that oversees the CAP® program.[/spoiler]