Information Technology is emerging, allowing you to embark on a rich and satisfying career path. Obtaining a certification is the key to building your credibility in the field you're passionate about. From cybersecurity to web development or system administration, there's a certification that aligns with your career aspirations.
Is earning a certification really worth it?
In the rapidly evolving IT industry, it's important to keep up-to-date with the latest technologies, skills, and trends. Certifications are crucial in helping IT professionals upskill their careers and stay ahead of the curve. IT certifications demonstrate an individual's expertise and proficiency in various domains such as networking, cloud computing, cybersecurity, machine learning, and many more. Employers often look for certified professionals who bring added value to the organization with their expertise and experience.
Top IT certifications to enhance your skills
1. Cybersecurity Certifications
The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted how we work, with remote work becoming the new normal. While this provides flexibility and convenience, it poses a significant threat to our digital security. Cybercriminals are exploiting the increased use of remote access and collaboration tools on personal devices. This is where certified cybersecurity professionals play a crucial role, serving as the front line of defense against cyber attacks. From preventing potential threats to conducting penetration testing, these professionals are the unsung heroes in the fight against cybercrime.
Cybersecurity certifications you can opt for are:
Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
The CEH certification (Certified Ethical Hacker) is a highly recognized certification by EC-Council. The CEH certification indicates an individual's proficiency in identifying weaknesses and vulnerabilities in computer systems and utilizing the tools commonly employed by malicious hackers. It is considered one of the most well-known certifications in the field.
CompTIA Security+ is a foundational-level certification for those seeking a career in cybersecurity, offered by the non-profit trade association CompTIA. It's a popular first step for IT professionals specializing in information security. Earning the Security+ certification demonstrates to potential employers your core competencies in cybersecurity, positioning you as a strong candidate in a competitive job market.
Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
The CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) certification exam is a comprehensive test that covers ten critical domains of security. The exam lasts for six hours and consists of 250 questions designed to evaluate the knowledge and skills of security professionals in various areas, such as access control systems and methodologies, physical security, management practices, and more. By passing the CISSP exam, individuals demonstrate their expertise in these critical security domains and are recognized as highly skilled professionals.
Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
Gaining a CISM (Certified Information Security Manager) certification showcases your expertise in information security and your deep understanding of how security aligns with business objectives. As a certified CISM professional, you will be equipped to create, execute, and oversee a company's security infrastructure. Additionally, you will be responsible for detecting potential security risks and minimizing harm in the event of a security breach.
Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC)
A GIAC (Global Information Assurance Certification) ensures that cybersecurity specialists meet and exhibit a certain level of technical competence. With hands-on training in the most recent cybersecurity techniques across diverse roles, you can immediately put your newly acquired certification knowledge into practice. The GIAC certification provides practical cybersecurity knowledge, ensuring you have the skills needed to succeed in the ever-evolving cybersecurity landscape.
2. Cloud Architect Certifications
In recent years, cloud computing has seen a surge in popularity, attracting significant attention and investment from the IT industry. With a projected five-year growth rate of 22% by 2024, according to IDC, and a projected worth of $277B for public cloud services, it's clear that cloud technology has established a firm foothold in the market. This high demand for cloud services has created a corresponding need for skilled cloud architects in high demand and low supply.
The best cloud architect certifications you can opt for are:
AWS Certified Solutions Architect
An AWS Certified Solutions Architect certification highlights an individual's proficiency and expertise in AWS technology and a broad range of AWS services. This certification focuses on creating cost-effective, high-performance solutions, emphasizing a comprehensive understanding of the AWS Well-Architected Framework. By earning this certification, individuals can enhance their professional profile and earn more while also boosting their credibility and self-assurance in their interactions with stakeholders and customers. This certification demonstrates that you have the knowledge and skills to design, deploy, and manage AWS solutions effectively.
Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect
A Google Certified Professional - Cloud Architect empowers organizations to utilize the full potential of Google Cloud technologies. With a deep understanding of cloud architecture and Google technology, this professional can create secure, scalable, highly available, and dynamic solutions that support business objectives. The professionals can design, build, and manage robust cloud solutions, ensuring that organizations can effectively leverage the power of Google Cloud.
Microsoft Certified: Microsoft Azure Fundamentals
Microsoft Azure Fundamentals is a certification program covering an exam and a comprehensive learning series. The six-part learning series gives a high-level introduction to the fundamental components of the Azure cloud platform, allowing you to gain hands-on experience as you discover what Azure has to offer. This certification program provides a thorough and practical understanding of Azure, equipping you with the skills and knowledge needed to complete the certification exam and become a certified Azure professional.
3. Project Management
The global economy is expected to grow 5.4% in 2021, though 6.5% lower than pre-pandemic projections. Despite these challenges, stakeholders and consumers want reassurance that the people handling their products have the necessary experience and expertise. A certification can serve as an effective demonstration of proficiency in defining, planning, and delivering projects.
The best Project Management certifications you can consider obtaining are:
PRojects IN Controlled Environments (PRINCE 2)
PRojects IN Controlled Environments (PRINCE2) is a methodology for project management that follows a process-oriented approach. It is predominantly utilized in IT and can be employed at any stage of project management for many projects. PRINCE2 provides a structured and organized framework for managing projects, ensuring that projects are executed efficiently and effectively.
Certified Scrum Master (CSM)
The Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) certification offered by the Scrum Alliance is a beginner-level certification that provides professionals with an understanding of the Scrum methodology and principles, such as team effectiveness, responsibility, and incremental improvement. This certification is ideal for individuals involved in product delivery who utilize the Scrum framework or those responsible for enhancing Scrum practices, including Scrum Masters and their teams.
Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL)
IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is a framework for IT Service Management (ITSM) that outlines best practices for providing IT services. ITIL's systematic approach to ITSM can benefit businesses by managing risk, enhancing customer relationships, implementing cost-effective methods, and establishing a stable IT environment that enables growth, scalability, and adaptability. By following the guidelines and practices outlined in ITIL, organizations can improve the delivery of IT services, creating a more efficient and effective IT environment that supports their goals and objectives.
PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)
ACP stands for Agile Certified Practitioner and is a certification provided by the Project Management Institute (PMI), known as PMI-ACP. This certification holds a high level of professional prestige as it is earned through a combination of agile training, practical experience working on Agile projects, and testing of Agile principles and techniques. ACP Certification is widely recognized and is beneficial for individuals looking to meet the demands of organizations that require certified Agile practitioners to manage their projects using diverse skill sets efficiently. Obtaining this certification demonstrates a strong understanding of Agile methodologies and the ability to apply these skills in real-world situations.
4. DevOps Engineer Certifications
With the growing need for fast-paced development and frequent application releases, the demand for skilled DevOps professionals is expected to increase. A DevOps certification can give job seekers and employees a competitive edge by confirming and highlighting their capabilities. The market offers a variety of tool-specific certifications for widely used technologies such as Jenkins, Puppet, Docker, Kubernetes, Chef, and others, allowing individuals to specialize and demonstrate expertise in specific areas. Obtaining a DevOps certification can help professionals stand out in a crowded job market and demonstrate their commitment to advancing their skills in this field.
Top DevOps certifications are:
Azure DevOps Solutions Certification
The Microsoft Azure DevOps Solutions certification, AZ-400 exam, evaluates a candidate's expertise as a DevOps Professional in utilizing Microsoft Azure technologies to develop DevOps practices. This exam is a component of the necessary assessments to attain the higher-level certification, Microsoft Certified: Azure DevOps Engineer Expert. The AZ-400 certification demonstrates a candidate's knowledge and skills in the Microsoft Azure and DevOps field and proves their expertise.
AWS DevOps Architect Certification
The AWS DevOps Architect certification program aims to equip individuals with the core skills required to work with the AWS platform. With this certification, you will gain an understanding of AWS terminology, concepts, and security measures. The program emphasizes AWS architectural best practices and will teach individuals how to effectively implement advanced cloud-based solutions and migrate existing workloads to the cloud.
5. Network Engineer Certifications
Network Engineering is a critical aspect of modern technology that involves several responsibilities to ensure the smooth functioning of computer networks. It involves assessing, configuring, and maintaining computer hardware components and operating systems to ensure optimal performance. Evaluating and mitigating risk is an integral part of Network Engineering to prevent any potential threats to the network. Thus, Network Engineering certifications are in high demand, making it a renewed career option.
Best Networking certifications you can obtain:
Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)
The Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) is an entry-level information technology (IT) certification that Cisco, a renowned networking hardware company, provides. This certification proves your understanding of basic networking principles, commonly sought after in IT positions involving networking responsibilities.
Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP)
The Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) certification confirms that a candidate has the skills to design, deploy, and troubleshoot complex enterprise network systems and collaborate with specialists in advanced security, voice, wireless, and video solutions. This certification is intended for individuals who have recently earned their CCNA certification and are seeking to further their knowledge and expertise in implementing, maintaining, and planning Cisco's wide range of network solutions.
The CompTIA Network+ certification is a widely recognized IT credential that demonstrates your proficiency in networking and your ability to work in IT infrastructure. It certifies that an individual has the necessary knowledge and skills to troubleshoot, configure, and manage wired and wireless networks commonly found in organizations worldwide. This certification also verifies a professional-level understanding of emerging technologies such as cloud computing and virtualization.
RedHat Certified Engineer (RHCE)
The Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) is a professional with expertise in managing the Red Hat Enterprise Linux System. The RHCE is responsible for tasks such as configuring kernel runtime parameters, overseeing various types of system logging, and ensuring network operability. These professionals must be able to install networking services and ensure security on servers that run Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
6. Big Data Engineer Certifications
The growth of Big Data, Data Analytics, and Machine Learning in the industry has resulted in high demand for Big Data Engineers. These professionals work closely with Data Architects and developers to turn their Big Data vision into a reality, using technologies such as HDFS, YARN, MapReduce, Sqoop, and others. Becoming a Big Data Engineer can be a rewarding career path in a constantly evolving and in-demand field.
Big Data Engineer certifications to consider are:
Hortonworks Certified Associate (HCA)
The HCA certification is aimed at entry-level professionals and tests their basic knowledge in preparation for higher levels of the Hortonworks certification program. This certification is suitable for individuals starting their careers in Hadoop and pursuing further certifications in the future. The HCA certification exam assesses the fundamental skills required to understand technologies and apply business use cases within the Hortonworks Data Platform.
Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Engineer Associate
The Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Engineer Associate certification is a highly respected program in the industry. To earn this certification, candidates must demonstrate expertise in integrating, transforming, and consolidating data from various sources, including structured, unstructured, and streaming data systems, into a suitable format for analytics solutions. Azure data engineers assist stakeholders in gaining insights from the data through exploration, and they create and maintain secure and compliant data processing pipelines using various tools and techniques.
7. Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning Engineer Certifications
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) Engineers are in high demand as these technologies are increasingly integrated into various industries. Many professionals obtain certifications to demonstrate their expertise and knowledge in these areas.
Best AI & ML Engineer certifications include:
Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Engineer Associate
The Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Engineer Associate certification is a well-established and widely recognized program in the industry. Earning the Azure AI certification demonstrates that an individual has the skills and knowledge necessary to design, implement, and manage AI solutions using Azure Cognitive Services, Azure Cognitive Search, and the Microsoft Bot Framework. Candidates who earn this certification thoroughly understand the various components of the Azure AI portfolio.
AWS Certified Machine Learning - Specialty
The AWS Certified Machine Learning Specialty certification is designed for developers and data scientists who want to showcase their machine learning competencies on the AWS platform. The certification exam evaluates a candidate's proficiency in designing, developing, deploying, and maintaining machine learning solutions. The exam focuses on four key areas: Data Engineering, Exploratory Data Analysis, Modeling, and Machine Learning Implementation and Operations.
Google Professional Machine Learning Engineer
The role of a Professional Machine Learning Engineer involves creating, constructing, and bringing to production machine learning models to tackle business problems using Google Cloud technologies and a thorough understanding of established ML models and methods. Throughout the ML development process, the ML Engineer incorporates principles of responsible AI and works closely with other team members to guarantee the long-term effectiveness of the models.
Summing It Up
The demand for skilled IT professionals is constantly growing, and earning certifications in your field can give you a competitive advantage in the job market. Whether you're a beginner or looking to advance your career, numerous certification programs are available to suit your needs and help you upskill. From entry-level certifications to advanced programs, these certifications can provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to succeed in the ever-evolving world of technology. So, if you're looking to boost your career in IT, consider earning these certifications today.