With more than 1,700 professional IT certifications running the gamut of IT technologies, knowing which certifications are the most important for your specialty can seem an insurmountable task. To help you meet the challenge, we’ve sifted through data from Robert Half Technology to narrow your search and bring you a manageable list of the most relevant IT certifications for the remainder of 2012.
Dice.com, citing Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, reports that Q2 2012 jobless rate for IT techs is at 3.6 percent, much lower than our national average. In a competitive market, you’ve got to do everything you can to distinguish yourself from your peers. Certification is an important part of that process. A recent poll asked users why they chose certification. The number one answer–at 51 percent–was that certification was a way to position themselves for a promotion or potential job.
Knowing Which IT Certification Is Right
Before you jump into a specific certification, there are some important questions that you need to ask yourself about your career goals and objectives:
- What demographic of IT do you fall into? (Security, Web Development, Programmer and so on)
- What are your career objectives?
- What IT career are you most interested in?
- What type of resources are needed (i.e. money and time)?
- Will this certification have a significant impact on my career?
Taking the time to think about and document your response to these questions can help solidify your future goals and narrow your list of potential certifications further.
Tip: Once you’ve identified a role you’d like to advance to, look through Monster, Dice, CareerBuilder and other sites for those positions and see what IT certifications employers are looking for. You may find that on-the-job experience is what employers are searching for in one area of your expertise, so it would be logical to invest your time and money into certification in a different area to further your career goals.
Bonus Tip: You’ll find a must-have utility for your IT certification toolbox at GoCertify. The Certification Advisor allows you to plug in your area of expertise, skill level, career goals and more to generate a list of recommended certifications.
If your area of expertise is related to a listed certification’s focus and you don’t have that certification, you will definitely want to delve into it further. Now without further ado, here are our Top 12 IT Certifications.
1. Project Management Professional (PMP)
Completing the Project Management Professional certification shows employers that you have the necessary skills and resources to get the project done from start to finish, on time and on budget. It’s never been more relevant than in today’s IT industry where we all have multiple responsibilities. Average salary: $101,000.
2. Certified Information Systems Security Professionals (CISSP)
CISSP is a vendor neutral security certification. People who hold this certification have the skills and knowledge to complete high-level tasks involving architecture, design, management and/or controls that assure the security of business environments.
If you keep up with the news, you’ve seen all the latest security breaches at Sony, LinkedIn and many others; security is at the top of everyone’s list today. To punctuate that the Robert Half Technology Salary Guide reported that 24 percent of the 1,600 polled CIO’s stated security as their top concern. The amount of data companies now store can be mind boggling. Breaches cost money, man power and many times credibility. As threats continue to escalate, so will the demand for professionals who can find security holes and ward off the attacking hordes. Average salary: $97,000.
3. Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE)
RHCE is a Linux Red Hat Entperprise Linux certification and demonstrates that the holder has the skills and knowledge to perform the duties of senior system administrator, responsible for Red Hat systems. Deployments and migrations are second nature to an RHCE.
Linux continues to be adopted by more and more companies in an effort to decrease operating costs. Demand is outpacing supply making this one of the hottest Linux certifications. Note: In order to be eligible for this certification you must receive your RHCSA certification. Average salary: $90,000.
4. VMware Certified Professional (VCP)
VCP VMware’s first level of certification that focuses squarely on the vSphere virtualization platform. Recipients should have the skills to install, deploy, scale and manage vSphere environments, as well as general virtualization skills.
Virtualization is more popular than ever in today’s IT world and with cloud computing-based virtualization becoming more and more common this is sure to be a skillset that will be in demand for the next few years. Average salary: $95,000.