08 Apr Best certifications for IT professionals
There are numerous professional certifications available for the IT professional today, each of them likely to boost a resume, encourage higher salaries and assist in job security. Though the importance of these certifications will vary from one IT professional to another, deciding which certifications are most meaningful in the job market will provide even more debate.
With the time and money you must put into a certification of any kind, it is in your best interest to take a look at which ones are best for you. After all, the best certification for you may very well differ from the best certification for your colleague with different education, skill sets and professional goals.
Of the professional certifications available today, there are 10 that stand out in terms of their worth:
- A+: IT professionals with hardware and support skills are more difficult to find, which is why CompTIA’s A+ certified technicians are considered to be “grade A” material by hiring managers. For those professionals working in desktop support, on help desks, and in the field, the importance of an A+ certification should not be overlooked as it demonstrates expertise in desktop installation, problem diagnosis and preventative maintenance, just to name a few. Visit the CompTIA website for more information.
- Cisco Certified Network Associate: Cisco’s CCNA is a strong accreditation for technology professionals with a few years of experience in the field who are looking to grow and improve their networking skills. Though many companies don’t have the budget to hire a Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) as network experts, even midsize companies can benefit from having their IT professionals earn a CCNA accreditation. For more information, visit the Cisco website.
- Security+: It could be argued that this certification is the most important for any IT professional charged with managing client data or other sensitive information. Security in the workplace is a critical topic that is not likely to lessen in importance. CompTIA’s Security+ provides a respected, vendor-neutral foundation for IT professionals looking to demonstrate proficiency in security fundamentals. Visit the CompTIA website for more information.
- Microsoft Certified IT Professional: Likely to become the next big Microsoft certification, MCITP is available for a variety of fields including—database developer, database administrator, enterprise messaging administrator and server administrator. An MCITP certification validates a professional’s proven job-role capabilities.
- Microsoft Certified Professional Developer: Targeting professionals tasked with designing, optimizing and operating Microsoft technologies used to build and maintain software solutions, the redesigned MCPD certification is aimed at better-measuring real-world skills and expertise and will prove important for programmers and developers.
- Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist: Designed to communicate the skills and expertise on a specific platform, the MCTS certification helps IT professionals validate skills in installing, maintaining and troubleshooting specific Microsoft technology. For more information on Microsoft IT certifications, visit the Microsoft Learning website.
- Project Management Professional: This certification, suited for project management practitioners, measures a candidate’s project management expertise by validating skills and knowledge required to plan, execute, budget, and lead a technology project. The PMP credential, maintained by the Project Management Institute, proves to employers that you are capable of ideal budgeting, scheduling and management skills. Visit the PMI website for more information on this and other certifications.
- Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer / Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator: Accredited IT professionals have proven that they are competent in a wide range of expertise, including client and server administration and security issues. This certification also indicates that they have been working in the field for a substantial length of time.
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional: Designed for industry pros with at least five years of experience, CISSP is internationally recognized for validating a candidate’s expertise with operations and network and physical security, as well as their ability to manage risk and other security-related elements. For more information, visit the CISSP website.
- Linux+: Designed for professionals with six to 12 months of hands-on Linux experience, this certification is ideal for those Linux professionals who want to formalize their skill set. Visit the CompTIA website for more information.
Certifications are no longer the free ticket in the job market they once were. Rather, certifications should be viewed as an IT professional’s proof of commitment to not only their career, but their continued education and accomplishments.
Though none of these certifications will ensure you a job, they will separate you from others in your field who have not taken the step to seek certification for their professionals skills. While they cannot replace job experience, earning IT certifications is a good way to better your career.
The opinions expressed herein or statements made in the above column are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wisconsin Technology Network, LLC. WTN accepts no legal liability or responsibility for any claims made or opinions expressed herein.