Launching a career in IT can seem challenging if you’re not sure where to start, particularly when there are so many certification and degree options to choose from. How do you know which field you’ll excel in the most? Which credentials can you obtain the fastest to get your career rolling as quickly as possible?
Such questions are on every aspiring IT professional’s mind, and understandably so. After all, you don’t want to commit to a lengthy education process and find yourself stuck in a job position that you don’t even enjoy. If you’ve already been working in the IT industry for a while and you’re looking for ways to land better-paying jobs, this list of certifications will help you get there. Improving your credentials will also give you an edge – whether you are looking for software engineering jobs or desires to get promoted as a project manager.
To guide you in the right direction on your path to reaching the pinnacle of your IT career, we’ve hand-picked seven of the best certifications for elevating your potential ASAP:
1. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
Believe it or not, you can complete the training to earn your CISSP certification in just five days. However, before you can take the course you must first meet the prerequisites for certification. Mainly, you need to have a minimum of five years of paid work experience in one of the eight domains of CISSP:
- Asset Security
- Security Risk Management
- Security Engineering
- Identity and Access Management
- Security Operations
- Security Assessment & Testing
- Software Development Security
- Communications & Network Security
Thus, this is an ideal certification for a reasonably experienced IT professional who wants to climb the ladder into a management position. If CISSP training sounds like a certification that you might be eligible for and interested in, you can choose from one of these courses to get started.
Findcourses.com offers a number of IT courses, including CISSP training. You can study from home or attend a classroom-based course. Pick the course that best fits your career aspirations and lifestyle.
2. Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) – Routing & Switching
If you’re looking for an entry-level certificate that can be earned with minimum professional experience, CCNA Routing & Switching is one of the best options. To earn this certification, you’ll need to take a course called “Supporting Cisco Routing and Switching Network Devices.” During your training, you’ll learn how to identify and use the interfaces and accessories of various Cisco router & switch models.
You’ll also learn how to use the operating modes of Cisco IOS software and the Cisco command line interface (CLI). This is an online training course that contains only six hours of materials that you’ll need to study. You’ll have access to the course for a year, but you can go ahead and take the exam to earn your certification as soon as you feel you’re ready.
3. CompTIA A+
Earning your CompTIA A+ certification can be a solid first step in an educational game plan to begin or boost your IT career. With this credential, you’ll be able to prove that you have the skills and knowledge needed to facilitate the maintenance of computers and related technology such as printers, mobile devices, and operating systems.
There are currently about 8,000 job openings that are seeking candidates CompTIA A+ certified applicants, so it’s definitely a worthwhile badge to add to your resume. The primary job positions that may require this credential include help desk technician, in-home technical support, and desktop technical support technician. To earn the certification, you’ll need to pass two separate exams. The first one will consist of multiple-choice questions while the second will be based on performance.
4. Cisco Certified Technician (CCT)
Thousands of companies currently use Cisco technologies to power their businesses. Thus, this certification will increase your eligibility as a candidate for a wide variety of job positions in the field of IT. By earning a CCT, you’ll be showing potential employers that you’re cable of diagnosing, restoring, repairing, and replacing crucial components within their Cisco networking systems.
Although there are multiple ways to earn a CCT, most Cisco certifications can be obtained by passing an exam that takes no more than a few hours to complete. However, if you’re not already a proficient Cisco technician, be prepared to dedicate at least 6-8 weeks to studying and practicing before taking the exam.
5. Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA)
The MTA is an entry-level certification that can be used as a nice and easy resume booster. With this credential, you’ll show that you possess fundamental technological knowledge in the application of specific software or hardware produced by Microsoft.
There many kinds of MTAs that can be earned, so Microsoft created the Browse MTA Certifications tool to help students find the most appropriate certification for their desired career path. You can filter courses by seven categories and 17 specific technologies, including but not limited to the following popular specialties:
- Office 365
- Web Apps
- Cloud Computing
- Office Users
- SQL Server
Of course, with the aforementioned fields being so widely used in business, having certification in any of the above software can significantly boost your desirability as a job candidate.
6. Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA)
Earning your MCSA certification can help take your career to the next level by enhancing your resume with a credential that proves your advanced proficiency in high-level Microsoft technologies. To become MCSA certified, you’ll need to pass an exam that takes roughly two hours to complete. This test will only contain about 40-60 questions, but since each certification is geared towards a very specific field of study, the questions will require advanced knowledge of the software or skill set that you’re being certified for. Some of the credentials that can be earned under the MCSA umbrella include:
- MCSA: Business Intelligence (BI) Reporting
- MCSA: Data Engineering in Azure
- MCSA: Microsoft Dynamics 365
- MCSA: Machine Learning
Obviously, having an advanced certification in any of the above specialties will make you a desirable candidate for management-level job positions in the IT sector.
7. Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
Finally, if you’re looking for a certificate that will apply to the broadest range of job opportunities, the CAPM is probably your best bet. With a credential that proves your professional ability to manage projects efficiently and effectively, you’ll instantly become a worthier applicant for thousands of job listings.
In fact, becoming CAPM certified will not only help you in your tech career, but it can also give you an advantage if you decide to step into managerial positions in other job sectors or even venture into your own entrepreneurial endeavors.
IT Doesn’t Have to be Rocket Science
The complexity of IT is often blown out of proportion, as many jobs just involve recalling basic fundamentals and techniques in the management or implementation of software and hardware solutions. Once you’re trained well within a system or specialty, you can earn a hefty salary for just being the go-to guy for specific IT problems.
Other people in the company will look at you as if you’re some sort of computer genius, but in reality, you just took the time to take a relatively short certification course. If you’re already working in IT and need a quick boost, start out with a fast certification like CISSP and see how the experience goes. If you find that you learned a lot and added value to your resume, then you can consider other slightly lengthier certifications. Before you know it, you’ll have multiple shining credentials on your resume.