IT Certifications 101 – Why Are Certifications Important? What Certifications Should I Get?
Nobody is born an expert programmer or cybersecurity specialist. It takes years of work to gain the skills and experience necessary to even get started choosing a field of specialized expertise.
The tech industry is one of the most dynamic fields in the modern marketplace, constantly changing, evolving, and developing new norms among its members. Simply keeping up is a full-time job, and it’s still virtually guaranteed that some new development or specialization will pop up in the most unexpected of places.
This is just one of the reasons why information technology certifications are so important. Recruiters don’t always know the ins and outs of every framework, development methodology, and hardware system they have to deal with. As a result, they rely on trusted third parties to show whether candidates are qualified or not.
Having an IT certification shows that a candidate or current employee is credible, dedicated, and competent. It shows that the individual has invested time and money into improving their skillset within a certain field – a big plus for any recruiter.
Certified Technicians Earn More
According to Forbes, certification leads to higher average salaries for IT technicians.
- Virtualization and cloud computing certification lead to an average salary of $112,955 per year.
- Amazon Web Services certifications can lead to salaries of between $125,591 and $121,292 per year – more than 10% higher than other high-paying IT certifications.
- Project Management Professional certifications are the most popular in 2018 and provide an average annual salary of $114,473.
These statistics point to major growth for certified IT professionals. Employers who need the most in-demand skills are willing to pay top dollar for certified talent.
However, it’s not just the IT employee who has a lot to gain from certification. Self-employed developers and consultants can use in-demand certifications to establish trust between themselves and their clients. Many government and enterprise contracts require certification from the start.
Are Entry-Level Certifications Worth It?
Having started with some of the industry’s most in-demand certifications, it’s easy to discredit entry-level IT certification courses as not being worth the time or effort. But that’s not true. Entry-level certifications are just the beginning of a path that will take you towards some of the highest salaries in the world of IT.
CompTIA is a well-known starting point for a broad range of IT professionals. It establishes the fundamentals of working with computers in a professional environment so that when you move on to higher-level certifications, like becoming a Certified Professional Penetration Tester and gaining a foothold in the world of cybersecurity, for instance.
Even on their own, entry-level certifications make a statement to employers and co-workers. It establishes the level of professionalism that is expected of someone who finished coursework from a reputable third party. It gives you an edge against individuals who do not have similar credentials.
What Certifications Should I Get?
There’s no simple answer to the question of which IT certification should you get because what you select will be specific to your current job and future career goals. For instance, your current position could require you to be a Cisco expert; at this particular company, that means you have both the CCNA and CCNP certs. But, if you receive a job offer from another company that loves your Cisco knowledge, but is deeply entrenched in the ITIL practices, you may need to pursue certifications for ITIL from Foundation to Practitioner.
All major technologies offer certifications. Microsoft has a variety of certifications of varying levels. They continue to refine their cert path to meet the needs of IT pros and developers using their products, whether they be an older version or the latest and greatest.
We recently created an overview of Microsoft’s certification program as it stands for 2018. Read it via the following link: Microsoft Certification Program Overview 2018
The following are resource pages that provide everything from certification paths, pricing, and training courses:
- Certification Testing Centers
- Pricing for Popular Exams
- Certification Training Classes (some include an exam)
Spending time and energy becoming a certified IT professional is an investment that pays off. Being able to complete the stringent coursework it takes to earn certifications from tech’s most trusted names is a powerful benefit in the world of IT. Training Advisors are available to assist you throughout the certification process.
Assistance comes in the form of certification path direction, development of a training plan to ensure success with your selected certification(s), and funding requests to superiors and/or decision makers within your organization. Centriq provides training classes for thousands of local, national, and international companies, many of whom have prepaid training vouchers with us that may be available to you.
Contact us by email, by phone at 913.322.7062 and 314.644.6400, or by completing the following form.