IT certifications can offer many opportunities to programmers in their entire career life, especially when they are looking for a new opportunity. Recruiters and hiring managers will usually check first whether there are certifications on the technical talents’ resumes.
Why? Because they want candidates to be equipped with the latest knowledge, and they can quickly know about candidates’ mastery of specific technologies or practices through IT certifications–from basic knowledge of help desk to the command of complicated cloud environments.
Therefore, whether you are a fresh graduate or a sophisticated technical expert, preparing for these certifications and get certified are good ways to expand your skills, attract potential employers, and distinguish yourselves from other job seekers.
According to the 2020 Robert Half Technology Salary Guide, these are some of the most valuable IT certifications today:
- Certified Data Professional (CDP)
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
- Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE)
- Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)
- Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP)
- Certified Information System Auditor (CISA)
- CompTIA A +
- Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA)
- Project Management Professional (PMP)
- Oracle Certified Professional (OCP)
- Salesforce Certified Development Life Cycle and Deployment Designer
- Certified Scrum Master (CSM)
- AWS Certified Solutions Architect
- Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
- Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC)
Each provides expertise in different aspects of IT. This is a guide that shows which of these certificates and relevant certificates are best for you based on your experience and areas of interest.
Just started to get involved in the IT field? Here are some of the best entry certifications to help you get the first IT job:
CompTIA issues certifications of various technologies and platforms. CompTIA has the higher value than other certifications as for IT professionals:
CompTIA A +: The basic certification enables you to start using IT. Hardware, technical support and troubleshooting are all involved. It also covers best practices in security, networks, operating procedures, mobile devices and various operating systems.
Technology giant Microsoft offers a series of entry certifications covering a range of topics, including:
- Basis of Windows Operating System
- Fundamentals of Software Development
- Database Fundamentals
- Windows Server Administration Fundamentals
- Fundamentals of Computer Networking
- Security Fundamentals
Each of these topics is a separate MTA. If this is what you need to start your career, you can get multiple MTAs from a range of topics. There are no mandatory learning or minimum professional requirements. As long as you are ready, you can take the exam.
After getting MTA or other entry-level certifications, you can consider obtaining Microsoft’s intermediate certifications.
Microsoft Certified Solution Expert (MCSE): MCSE certification is involved in multiple professional fields, indicating that you have the skills based on the work completed to manage servers, data systems, storage, private clouds, networks, etc.
Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD): Obtaining MCSD certification demonstrates that you have the ability to design and create applications across multiple Windows products.
MCSE and MCSD are the two most recognizable certifications in terms of technology. Both of these certifications will add a bit of vitality to your IT resume.
Because Cisco is a leading provider of IT infrastructure products, the certificate issued by the company proves that you are proficient in the latest developments and best practices in networking. The most important is that:
Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA): Compared with Cisco’s entry certification, CCNA certification can focus on one of the following areas: cloud, collaboration, network operations, data center, industry/Internet of things, routing and switching, security, services provider and wireless network.
Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP): After reaching the associate level, CCNP is a more advanced IT certification in one of the above-mentioned professional fields.
Hacking and cyber attacks are heated topics today, and many employees in security and risk management are needed. Here are some of the most valuable IT certifications in this booming field.
ISACA is a professional organization dedicated to IT security and governance, managing five global certification programs, including:
Certified Information System Auditor: According to ISACA, CISA is its basic certification. As its name suggests, this exam targets at Information System (IS) professionals who monitor, control, and evaluate a company’s IT or business systems. The certificate requires five years of professional experience.
Certified Information Security Manager: CISM is the leading certification for information security managers, specifically designed for people who design, build, and manage information security programs. To get certified, you must have at least 5 years of IS experience and 3 years of security manager experience.
Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control: CRISC (pronounced C-Risk) authorizes professionals and Project Manager responsible for information security and its overall impact on the enterprise. It covers risk identification, risk assessment, risk response and mitigation, and risk control monitoring and reporting.
Certified in Governance of Enterprise IT: CGEIT demonstrates your understanding of principles and practices of corporate IT governance. It is one of the most popular certifications in the IT area and it enables employees to gain the highest salary.
Cybersecurity Nexus (CSX): In an era when cyber security threats are constantly evolving, CSX certification shows that you have mastered the latest security standards and risks.
Other valuable security IT certifications include:
Certified Ethical Hacker: EC-Council provides a variety of certification procedures, one of the most popular is CEH. The holder specializes in penetration testing, which is why this IT certificate is usually a prerequisite for such positions as network forensic analysts, network security engineers, and application developers.
Certified Information Systems Security Professional: This is another highly demanding network security certification. CISSP holders are designed for experienced IT professionals to understand the loopholes in the network system and formulate policies to protect the system and minimize risks.
Global Information Assurance Certification: GIAC involves all information security. It can be divided into the following categories: cyber defense; penetration testing; incident response and forensics; cyber security management, auditing and legal level; developers and industrial control systems. The highest level is GIAC Security Expert (GSE).
As cloud computing becomes the new normal in the IT field, more cloud-related credentials will pop up. Many of these are specific to individual vendors, including Microsoft, VMware, and Amazon. In this rapidly developing domain, there are also certifications for more general practices. Top certifications include:
CompTIA cloud +: CompTIA cloud + covers all the main elements of cloud computing, including configuration, deployment, security, management and troubleshooting.
VMware Certified Professional 6-Data Center Virtualization (VCP6-DCV): Virtualization is the foundation of cloud computing, and VMware provides VCP6-DCV certification in the aspect of managing data center virtualization through VMware’s vSphere 6.0 and vRealize in the cloud environment.
AWS Certified Solutions Architect-Professional: Amazon [click here] is the largest cloud computing service provider. This certification affirms that you have the ability to design and deploy cloud environments by using Amazon Web Services.
Salesforce Certified Development Life Cycle and Deployment Designer: Employers urgently need this kind of high-end experts in cloud-based CRM. This certification is the first step to become a Salesforce Certified System Architect.
Project management is necessary for IT operations. Even if you focus on technology, this is a very worthy skill. And because it involves planning, scheduling, budgeting, and execution, certification can be a key stepping stone for reaching the management positions.
Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM): CAPM is provided by the highly recognizable Project management Institute (PMI) and is an ideal entry management certification.
Project Management Professional: The PMP certification is also provided by PMI, which is the most prestigious in the industry. Many sub-professional certifications are also available.
Scrum Master Certification: Entry CSM certification is provided by the Scrum Alliance. This is a great way to display your knowledge of Scrum and agile management practices.
Many IT professionals start their careers by doing technical support and playing help desk roles. In order to give students a foothold, schools are offering more courses to prepare students for service desk certification. You can get certified on the help desk, or you can focus on specific vendors’ platforms and products.
HDI certification: HDI was formerly known as the Service Desk Institute. Its certification ranges from entry HDI desktop support technicians to HDI support center supervisors. HDI technical support professional certification is particularly popular among hiring managers. HDI also provides credentials for support center analysts, team leaders and customer service representatives.
ITIL: The British organization AXELOS is responsible for promoting best practices of IT Service Management (ITSM). ITIL (formerly an acronym for Information Technology Infrastructure Library) is the registered name for a widely accepted framework for managing the delivery of IT services. There are five ITIL certifications from the basic to the master.
Apple Certified Support Professional (ACSP): You can show your expertise in macOS support basic knowledge through Apple’s ACSP certification.
Database technology is still the foundation of IT operations, and the growth of big data and analytical programs is producing new career opportunities.
Certification is usually built around a single provider’s platform, including:
Certified Data Professional (CDP): The Institute for Certification of Computing Professionals (ICCP) provides one of the most comprehensive certifications for data professionals. There are five levels in CDP from the basic to executive management. You can focus on the functions of specific roles, such as in business analysis, data governance, enterprise data architecture, data analysis, and data warehouse.
Oracle Certified Professional: Oracle, the world’s leading database supplier, provides a series of database professional certifications from database management and database application development to analysis, data warehousing and big data.
SAP Certified Technology Partner-SAP HANA 2.0: This certification proves that you have the ability to install, manage, monitor, migrate SAP database technology and troubleshoot problems.
Microsoft SQL Server certification: Like Oracle, Microsoft also provides a series of certifications, including database management, business intelligence, and data management and analysis.
CCIE Data Center: This Cisco certification demonstrates the expert skills of planning, preparing, operating, monitoring and troubleshooting complex data center networks.