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Review of Coursera’s IBM Data Warehouse Engineer Professional Certificate

Interested in mastering the intricacies of data warehousing? We’ve given IBM's Data Warehouse Engineer Professional Certificate on Coursera a try – read our review to see if this program might help elevate your data engineering expertise!

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Coursera Professional Certificate – IBM Data Warehouse Engineer: Our Verdict (2024)

Course Rating

4.5 / 5

The IBM Data Warehouse Engineer Professional Certificate on Coursera is a comprehensive eight-course program focusing on data engineering concepts. Starting with an introduction to data engineering, it covers relational databases, SQL querying, Linux commands, and ETL processes, concluding with a capstone project on data warehousing and BI analytics.


  • Professional-level training
  • Beginner level
  • IBM employer-recognized certificate
  • Financial aid available


  • Some previous IT knowledge required
  • Not included in Coursera Plus
  • No university credits
  • Limited advanced topics

Time-limited offer
$100 USD off your first year of Coursera Plus Annual (expires 1 April 2024)

Table of Contents

Although not a concept that many people have heard about, data warehouses are critical in managing and understanding the vast amounts of data generated in our digital age. Data warehouse engineering involves the consolidation, storage, and analysis of large data sets, enabling organizations to make informed strategic decisions. However, this field also presents its challenges, including managing complex data systems and ensuring data security and privacy.

The IBM Data Warehouse Engineer Professional Certificate, offered through Coursera, is designed to address the growing demand for skilled data warehouse engineers. This program offers an educational path for individuals, ranging from beginners to seasoned professionals, seeking to acquire or enhance their data engineering skills. By focusing on data warehousing, the course provides a comprehensive understanding of how to efficiently store, retrieve, and analyze large data sets, making it a valuable resource in a world where data is a key asset for businesses and organizations.

In this review, we’ll take a look at what the course covers and how well it prepares you for working in this field.

The IBM Data Warehouse Engineer Professional Certificate offered on the Coursera platform
The IBM Data Warehouse Engineer Professional Certificate on Coursera

Course overview

The IBM Data Warehouse Engineer Professional Certificate program on Coursera offers an in-depth exploration of data engineering through a series of eight comprehensive courses. The program begins with an introductory course that sets the stage for understanding the vital role of data engineering in the current technological scenario. This foundation is crucial for grasping the advanced concepts that follow.

As the course progresses, participants explore the intricacies of relational databases and SQL querying, gaining both theoretical and practical knowledge. This includes an introduction to Linux commands and shell scripting, which are essential skills in the data engineering toolkit. A significant portion of the curriculum is dedicated to exploring ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) processes using tools like Shell, Airflow, and Kafka, highlighting the importance of effective data pipeline management.

A key component of the program is the module on data warehousing and Business Intelligence (BI) analytics. This course sheds light on the architecture of data warehouses and the role they play in BI, a field that is becoming increasingly crucial in deriving insights from large data sets. The culmination of the program is a capstone project, where learners have the opportunity to apply their knowledge in a practical, real-world context.

The IBM Data Warehouse Engineer Professional Certificate program, designed to be completed in 2-3 months on Coursera, offers a practical and industry-aligned curriculum. Upon completion, learners earn a Coursera certificate and an IBM digital badge, marking their proficiency in data engineering. This program is ideal for students, developers, and consultants seeking to enter or advance in data warehouse engineering.

Some of the instructors for the IBM Data Warehouse Engineer Professional Certificate
Some of the course instructors

Is the IBM Data Warehouse Engineer Professional Certificate worth the cost?

This certificate is priced at a monthly subscription of $49, the total cost ranges from $98 to $147, depending on the completion speed over the 2-3 month course duration. This investment grants access to practical, hands-on projects with tools like IBM Watson and Python, key for real-world data engineering skills.

Note that IBM Professional Certificates are not part of the Coursera Plus subscription. Individual courses within the certificate can also be purchased for lifetime access, though this option might increase the overall expense.

While there’s a free audit option, allowing prospective learners to access the course content without any financial commitment, it excludes hands-on exercises and the certificate. The value of this investment depends on your professional goals and the importance you place on practical experience and certification. Consider if the skills and knowledge gained align with your career trajectory in data engineering.

Detailed review

The program includes courses covering various aspects of data engineering in eight courses:

  1. Introduction to Data Engineering
  2. Introduction to Relational Databases (RDBMS)
  3. SQL: A Practical Introduction for Querying Databases
  4. Hands-on Introduction to Linux Commands and Shell Scripting
  5. Relational Database Administration (DBA)
  6. ETL and Data Pipelines with Shell, Airflow, and Kafka
  7. Getting Started with Data Warehousing and BI Analytics
  8. Data Warehousing Capstone Project

Each course focuses on different fundamentals of data engineering and practical applications, suitable for beginners and experienced learners alike.

Course 1: Introduction to Data Engineering

The inaugural course, “Introduction to Data Engineering,” serves as a crucial entry point into the intricate world of modern data ecosystems. This module aims to familiarize learners with the fundamental entities shaping contemporary data landscapes, shedding light on the pivotal roles of Data Engineers, Data Scientists, Data Analysts, Business Analysts, and Business Intelligence Analysts within this ecosystem.

A video lesson providing an introduction to Data Engineering concepts
Video lesson introducing Data Engineering

The course adeptly achieves its introductory goals, providing a comprehensive understanding of the components that constitute a modern data ecosystem. Learners embark on a journey to unravel the distinct responsibilities and roles of various professionals in the field, setting the stage for a nuanced exploration of data engineering. The module’s emphasis on delineating the key tasks in a data engineering lifecycle lays a robust foundation for subsequent courses. Additionally, the insight into the responsibilities, skillsets, and daily activities of a data engineer provides learners with a realistic perspective, fostering a holistic comprehension of the field. The blend of theoretical concepts and practical insights in this course ensures a well-rounded initiation into the dynamic realm of data engineering.

Course 2: Introduction to Relational Databases (RDBMS)

If you’re ready to delve deeper into the world of data engineering, the “Introduction to Relational Databases (RDBMS)” course serves as the next step in building a robust understanding of data storage and processing. In this intermediate-level course, you’ll expand your knowledge beyond the basics, exploring the intricacies of relational databases and their applications.

This course builds upon the foundational concepts introduced in the beginner-level course. Learners are introduced to the specificities of relational databases, diving into principles of design, structure, and management. The inclusion of industry-standard databases like IBM DB2, MySQL, and PostgreSQL enriches the learning experience, providing exposure to diverse technologies used in the field.


Practicality is a key focus, with hands-on exercises utilizing RDBMS tools such as phpMyAdmin and pgAdmin. The course guides learners through creating and maintaining relational databases, using both graphical interfaces and command-line tools. The emphasis on SQL statements for table creation and management adds a valuable layer of practical skills.


Real-world datasets and exercises further reinforce learning, allowing learners to work with tangible examples. The final assignment, requiring the application of accumulated knowledge, challenges learners to design databases for specific analytics requirements, normalize tables, and manage data effectively.

A quiz covering Fundamental Relational Databases (RDBMS) concepts
Quiz from Fundamental Relational Databases (RDBMS)

No prior knowledge of databases or programming is assumed, making this course accessible to beginners. The option to audit the course at no charge encourages exploration, while those seeking a more comprehensive learning experience can opt for the Coursera course certificate. Successful completion not only earns a Coursera certificate but also an IBM digital badge, recognizing the acquisition of practical skills in relational databases.

Course 3: SQL: A Practical Introduction for Querying Databases

In the vast landscape of data, databases play a central role, and SQL emerges as a powerful programming language for interacting with and manipulating data within these databases. This course stands as a pivotal stepping stone for individuals aspiring to pursue careers in Data Engineering, Data Warehousing, Data Analytics, Data Science, or Business Intelligence. The course aims to impart foundational and intermediate knowledge of SQL, accompanied by a familiarity with key relational database concepts.

Beginning with fundamental Create, Read, Update, and Delete (CRUD) operations utilizing statements such as CREATE, SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE, learners progressively advance. The curriculum encompasses essential skills like filtering, ordering, sorting, and aggregating data. Learners explore functions, delve into sub-selects and nested queries, and master the art of joining data across multiple tables. The course extends to working with VIEWS, transactions, and the creation of stored procedures.

The emphasis on practical learning enhances the course’s effectiveness. Learners are not only introduced to SQL concepts theoretically but are actively involved in applying them in real-world scenarios. The inclusion of hands-on labs and a final project ensures that learners transition from theoretical understanding to practical proficiency.

The course’s coverage of various relational database management systems (RDBMs) such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, IBM Db2, Oracle, SQL Server, and others broadens its applicability. It caters to individuals with no prior knowledge of databases, SQL, or programming, making it accessible to beginners while offering substantial value to those with basic data literacy.

In summary, the SQL course stands as a practical and foundational resource for individuals seeking to harness the power of SQL in the data-centric domains of today’s technology landscape. The hands-on approach and real-world application ensure that learners not only grasp the language but also cultivate the skills needed for a successful journey in data-related professions.

Course 4: Hands-on Introduction to Linux Commands and Shell Scripting

This course offers a practical exploration into Linux commands and shell scripting, catering to beginners seeking a hands-on understanding of these fundamental concepts. Participants are guided through the essentials, starting from Linux basics and terminal interactions to executing commands, file navigation, and editing. The course is designed for those aiming to gain practical skills applicable to Unix-like operating systems.

Focusing on commonly used Linux commands, the course covers general-purpose, directory and file management, access control, text processing, and networking commands. The hands-on labs, accessible through a virtual Linux server via a web browser, provide a practical environment for learners to reinforce theoretical knowledge.

A significant portion of the course is dedicated to introducing shell scripting. From basic to advanced scripts, participants learn about Metacharacters, Quoting, Variables, Command substitution, I/O Redirection, Pipes & Filters, and Command line arguments. The inclusion of crontab for scheduling cron jobs adds a practical dimension to the scripting component.

The culmination involves a final project, challenging learners to showcase their understanding through an Extract, Transform, and Load (ETL) process and the creation of a scheduled backup script. This practical application serves as a comprehensive assessment of the skills acquired throughout the course.

The course provides a well-structured blend of theory and hands-on practice. Labs on the virtual Linux server and video lectures contribute to an engaging learning experience. The practical nature of the final project and exam ensures that participants can effectively apply their knowledge. The course is a valuable asset for anyone looking to acquire practical Linux skills and delve into the basics of shell scripting without the use of sales-oriented language.

Course 5: Relational Database Administration (DBA)

The fifth course in the IBM Data Warehouse Engineer Professional Certificate, “Relational Database Administration (DBA),” delves into the critical realm of database management. This self-paced course provides a comprehensive exploration of database administration tasks, offering insights into the Database Management Lifecycle, the role of a Database Administrator (DBA), and key aspects of database storage.

Learners embark on a journey through database optimization, covering topics such as updating statistics, addressing slow queries, understanding types of indexes, and the creation and usage of indexes. Configuration and upgrading of database server software are discussed, providing a holistic view of the technical aspects of database management. Database security is a focal point, encompassing user authentication, role assignment, and object-level permissions. The course further extends into backup and restore procedures, equipping learners to handle system failures effectively.

The practical aspect is emphasized as learners gain proficiency in optimizing databases for performance, monitoring databases, and collecting diagnostic data. Automation of repetitive tasks, scheduling maintenance activities, and conducting regular diagnostic tests are integral components of the course. The inclusion of video-based lectures and hands-on labs ensures a well-rounded learning experience, allowing learners to apply theoretical concepts in a practical setting.

The “Relational Database Administration (DBA)” course stands out for its comprehensive coverage of database administration tasks. The structured approach to database optimization, security implementation, and backup procedures enhances the practical relevance of the content. The inclusion of hands-on labs facilitates experiential learning, providing learners with the opportunity to apply acquired knowledge in a simulated environment.

A hands-on lab session demonstrating the setup and utilization of a PostgreSQL instance
Hands-on-lab on PostgreSQL instance

The course effectively balances theoretical understanding with practical application, preparing learners to assume the role of a database administrator confidently. The final project, where learners engage in diverse database administration tasks, serves as a capstone, consolidating their skills and knowledge acquired throughout the course. Overall, this course contributes significantly to the well-rounded education provided by the IBM Data Warehouse Engineer Professional Certificate, offering practical insights into the intricacies of relational database administration.

Course 6: ETL and Data Pipelines with Shell, Airflow and Kafka

The sixth course in the IBM Data Warehouse Engineer Professional Certificate, “ETL and Data Pipelines with Shell, Airflow, and Kafka,” delves into the intricacies of Extract, Transform, Load (ETL) processes. In contrast to traditional methods, this course also explores Extract, Load, and Transform (ELT) processes, specifically applied to data lakes where transformation occurs on demand by the calling application.

Throughout the course, learners are exposed to various tools and techniques integral to both ETL and ELT processes. The focus extends to understanding how data is extracted from source systems, traverses the data pipeline, and ultimately finds its place in destination systems. The course aims to highlight the distinctions between ELT and ETL processing, guiding learners to identify suitable use cases for each.

This course stands out for its practical approach to ETL and ELT processes, emphasizing the application of tools and techniques in real-world scenarios. Learners gain insights into extracting, transforming, and loading data, both logically and physically. The significance of ensuring data credibility, context, and accessibility to end-users is a recurring theme, aligning with industry best practices.

The course also places a strong emphasis on loading data into destination systems, addressing aspects such as data quality verification, monitoring for load failures, and implementing recovery mechanisms in case of unforeseen issues. The practical utility of Apache Airflow is explored for building data pipelines, providing learners with hands-on experience in this widely-used tool.

Additionally, learners delve into Apache Kafka, a robust platform for building streaming pipelines. The course covers core components of Kafka, including brokers, topics, partitions, replications, producers, and consumers. This comprehensive exploration equips learners with a holistic understanding of Kafka’s capabilities and its role in data engineering.

The culminating aspect of the course is the completion of a final project. This project serves as a practical application of the skills acquired throughout the modules, allowing learners to showcase their proficiency in designing and implementing ETL and ELT processes using tools like Shell, Airflow, and Kafka.

Course 7: Getting Started with Data Warehousing and BI Analytics

Embark on your Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence (BI) Analytics journey with this self-paced course. Aimed at providing a solid foundation, this module equips learners with the essential skills to design, deploy, load, manage, and query data warehouses and data marts. The course extends beyond theory, incorporating hands-on experience with various repositories and BI tools, such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, IBM Db2, IBM Cognos Analytics, Tableau, and Microsoft PowerBI.

This course serves as a pivotal juncture in the Data Warehouse Engineer Professional Certificate program. It meticulously delves into the diverse realm of analytics repositories, elucidating their functions and uses. Learners gain an understanding of critical concepts like Star and Snowflake schemas, mastering the art of designing and implementing data warehouses.

The practical application takes center stage through hands-on labs, providing learners with the opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge in real-world scenarios. From ETL and ELT processes to data verification and querying, the course offers a comprehensive exploration of data-warehousing architectures.

A notable highlight is the exposure to various BI tools employed by industry experts, including IBM Cognos Analytics, Tableau, and Microsoft PowerBI. The course goes beyond theoretical knowledge, empowering learners to create data visualizations and build interactive dashboards, fostering a deeper understanding of BI analytics.

The use of repositories like MySQL, PostgreSQL, and IBM Db2 further enhances the practical knowledge gained throughout the course. The culmination of the module involves a project, providing learners with a platform to showcase their acquired skills. In essence, “Getting Started with Data Warehousing and BI Analytics” ensures that learners not only grasp theoretical concepts but also acquire the practical expertise needed to navigate the intricate landscape of data warehousing and BI analytics.

Course 8: Data Warehousing Capstone Project

The Data Warehousing Capstone Project, the concluding course in the IBM Data Warehouse Engineer Professional Certificate, immerses learners in a real-world scenario. Assuming the role of a Junior Data Engineer, participants apply a variety of skills acquired in previous courses to address an authentic data warehouse engineering challenge.

This culminating project offers a hands-on experience where theoretical knowledge converges into practical application. By navigating a real-world use case, learners reinforce their understanding of data warehouse engineering principles. The project’s emphasis on practical solutions ensures participants not only grasp concepts but also gain proficiency in implementing effective data engineering solutions.

The capstone project’s authenticity adds value to the learning experience, bridging the gap between theory and practice. Participants leverage skills acquired throughout the certificate program to design and implement a robust data warehouse engineering solution. This application-oriented approach prepares learners for similar challenges in professional settings, making the capstone a valuable component of the overall program

What do others say?

Feedback on the IBM Data Warehouse Engineer Professional Certificate is limited on Reddit, but Coursera users find it valuable. They appreciate its thorough explanation of data engineering principles and practical exercises in areas like Linux commands and ETL processes. However, some learners, especially newcomers or those with limited time, find it challenging due to its intensity and duration. Overall, it’s seen positively for its comprehensive coverage but requires commitment and additional resources for those with time constraints.

Alternatives and complements to this Certificate

If you’re looking to enhance your data warehouse engineering skills beyond the IBM Data Warehouse Engineer Professional Certificate, there are other options to consider. For those already familiar with the basics, the “IBM Data Engineering Professional Certificate” on Coursera offers a more advanced program that covers intricate aspects of data engineering.

LinkedIn Learning also has useful courses like “Data Warehouse Foundations” and “Data Engineering for Data Warehousing.” If you prefer learning from books, you can explore industry-specific books like “The Data Warehouse Toolkit” by Ralph Kimball and “Designing Data-Intensive Applications” by Martin Kleppmann.

Lastly, if you want to gain practical experience, platforms like Kaggle host data engineering challenges, allowing you to apply what you’ve learned in real-world projects. These alternatives enrich your understanding of data engineering beyond the IBM certificate.


The “IBM Data Warehouse Engineer Professional Certificate” offers a comprehensive education in data engineering. With its structured curriculum and hands-on projects, it serves as a strong foundation for those looking to excel in this field.

It’s important to note that completing this certificate requires a significant time commitment and effort to grasp the covered concepts. The course covers everything from the basics to advanced topics like ETL processes and data warehousing, making it suitable for beginners and professionals looking to enhance their data engineering skills.

The true value of this certificate depends on your career goals. If you’re committed to mastering data engineering and are willing to invest time and effort, this program can be a crucial step in your professional development. It not only helps you understand data engineering intricacies but also prepares you to contribute actively in a field where robust data engineering is increasingly vital across various industries.

Time-limited offer
$100 USD off your first year of Coursera Plus Annual (expires 1 April 2024)