Why Splunk Certification is a Top Skill for Data Scientists

Adam Frisbee

Udemy for Business and University of Utah instructor

January 30, 2020

Data, like so many other words, is a borrowed word in English. It comes from the Latin datum, meaning gift. In my world of data science, I tell my fellow data engineers that to acquire highly focused data skills, such as earning a Splunk certification, is to become a gift-giver. You’re giving to your career and employer the ability to engage with largely unseen business data and leverage it to reach business goals.

The gift of data is the lifeblood of any organization. It’s the set of building blocks from which emergent business capabilities arise. Every decision, from executive strategy to project management to facility maintenance, revolves around accessing the right data in the right format at the right place and time. 

Think about this question: What is your team’s gift to the company? What if it was the ability to derive immeasurable value from business and machine data? What if you could unlock latent business capabilities that the business didn’t even know it had? What if your team propelled the business to the top of its domain in the marketplace, thwarted cybersecurity breaches before they even happened, and made business predictions? These “gifts” can become a reality with Splunk, one of the top 10 hottest growing technical skills on Udemy from 2016-2019 as noted in the annual 2020 Workplace Learning Trends Report: The Skills of the Future.

Splunk certification data science employees

Who should get a Splunk Enterprise Admin credential?

There are many tools on the market for engaging with the vast amounts of data that businesses generate. Specialized tools exist for data streaming; extracting, transforming, and loading (ETL); artificial intelligence; business analytics, and more. Splunk, though, is a single tool that combines many of these capabilities into one experience. Companies using Splunk in its data stacks can:

  • Consume streaming data from forwarders or network input
  • Transform data using regular expressions to find and replace data elements
  • Build, train, and test AI models using an integrated comprehensive machine learning toolkit 
  • Integrate with open-source tools like Tensorflow
  • Use the Splunkbase community of mostly free apps and add-ons to extend data functionality
  • Point Splunk to remote or local files and directories. For example, any data that someone on the accounting team stores in Microsoft Notepad is still consumable by Splunk.

To earn the Splunk Certified Admin credential proves you or your team can build and manage a scalable Splunk infrastructure. Employees with the certification can help their organizations derive value from the vast amounts of data they are already generating — and likely not using. Certified Splunk Admins have a deep understanding of the architecture that makes Splunk the most powerful “Data-to-Everything Platform,” and how to fine-tune it to make it sing.

Learn how to get your entire data science and IT teams Splunk-certified with a free Udemy for Business demo.

What are Splunk’s use cases?         

In our data-driven world, teams of all sizes must understand how to derive valuable business insights from different types of data. Splunk allows teams to easily and efficiently engage raw data. Saying your business wants to intelligently use data is one thing, but understanding the tactical uses for a tool like Splunk might not be as obvious. Let’s dig into the use cases of Splunk:  

  • Cybersecurity predictions – Do you want to predict when an internal information security breach might happen? Security teams can use Splunk to build predictive data models using the Splunk Enterprise Security and User Behavior Analytics apps.
  • Identify business inefficiencies – The Splunk Process Flow product can analyze data from business processes and discover bottlenecks that might be costing a company money. The tool can correlate processes and group events from disparate systems for a single view of your entire business.
  • DevOps – In DevOps, fast, comprehensive feedback loops are essential. Splunk can help DevOps and Site Reliability teams monitor their releases, build statistical reports and dashboards for successful vs. problematic releases, and give visibility into the whole deployment pipeline. By using Splunk, DevOps teams can discover configuration issues before they become a problem.
  • IT operations – The IT department is a company’s beating heart that keeps it alive and competitive. If critical technical systems go down, the business suffers. Splunk enables teams to monitor every aspect of IT operations. From applications to hardware to networks, Splunk can monitor it all.

Top 10 skills you need for the Splunk certified admin credential

The Splunk Certified Admin credential exam focuses on the foundational infrastructure and architecture that makes Splunk a powerful tool. In my course, The Complete Splunk Enterprise Certified Admin Course 2020, I cover everything you need to know to build and architect scalable Splunk environments for your company. This starts from the basics and moves to a deep dive including the following 10 topics: 

  1. Deploying Splunk in distributed, high availability environments
  2. How Splunk licensing works in distributed environments
  3. Managing users and authentication, including Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) and multi-factor authentication (MFA)
  4. Understanding the apps and add-ons in Splunkbase
  5. Creating, modifying, and managing configuration files
  6. Understanding indexes, buckets, and a directory known as the “fish bucket”
  7. Streaming data into Splunk with forwarders, network inputs, and agentless inputs
  8. Configuring Splunk inputs, such as monitoring, uploading, and the HTTP Event Collector (HEC)
  9. Understanding distributed search and indexer clusters
  10. Manipulating raw data, data transformations, and how Splunk processes data
Splunk certification benefits

What’s new in Splunk 8?

In 2018, I outlined the benefits of Splunk and compared it to its competitors. At that time, Splunk was on version 6, and it’s since evolved to version 8. With the newest version comes noteworthy improvements. Some of these include:

  • As of January 2020, the Python Software Foundation will no longer be supporting Python 2, which some of the Splunk internal code is written in. Splunk 8 now offers Python 3.7 support as well as legacy 2 support. 
  • Back-end changes implemented with Splunk 8 now accelerates searches, data models, and employs some security enhancements.
  • New Splunk Analytics workspace makes creating time-series charts easier when using metrics and accelerated datasets.

Splunk is actively developed and has a thriving user and developer community. You can get involved in local user groups, post questions at any level on the Splunk Answers forum, and join other Splunk enthusiasts at the annual worldwide Splunk .conf conference. It is one of the best tools I’ve used for making sense of the staggering amount of data companies see.

Understanding how to derive business value from data is a gift not only to your team but also to your resume. Ready to fill your data science toolkit with one of the most diverse multi-tools available in the industry today? Start the path to bona fide Splunk expert by passing the Splunk Enterprise Certified Admin exam.

About the author:

Adam Frisbee is an educator, researcher, and practitioner in information systems and technology, specializing in cloud computing and DevOps. He is part of the information systems faculty at a major university where he researched, developed the curriculum for, and teaches the graduate level Cloud Computing course (among others). Adam is an experienced professional, having led technology strategy initiatives and technology teams in such diverse domains as convention and tourism, healthcare, manufacturing, higher education, and government. Adam is a lifelong student who strongly believes that education is the most powerful way to change the world. Adam grew up among the snow-capped peaks, industrious spirit, and brightest minds who inhabit the Silicon Slopes in Utah, and he remains inseparably coupled to its people and its spirit.

About Udemy for Business:

Udemy for Business is a learning platform that helps companies stay competitive in today’s rapidly changing workplace by offering fresh, relevant on-demand learning content, curated from the Udemy marketplace. Our mission is to help employees do whatever comes next—whether that’s the next project to do, skill to learn, or role to master. We’d love to partner with you on your employee development needs. Get in touch with us at business@udemy.com

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