The huge volume of IT certifications available through both traditional and online channels can make it difficult to determine which will be the most valuable for your career. With hundreds of IT certifications out there, how are you supposed to know which ones IT managers feel are worthwhile and which are duds not worth the time or effort they take to complete? We’ve compiled a list of the most popular IT certifications that IT managers look for most when making hiring decisions.
IT certifications by the numbers
CompTIA recently conducted a survey of IT managers to better understand how they feel IT certifications, and how they impact hiring decisions. Here’s what they found out:
- 66% of IT managers use IT certifications to distinguish between equally qualified candidates
- 72% of IT managers require an IT certification for certain job roles
- 60% of IT managers use IT certifications to gauge a candidate’s expertise
- 66% of IT managers believe IT certifications are valuable (this number is up from 30% in 2011!)
In development, the wide variety of programming languages and countless tools and resources mean that there are plenty of valuable development certifications for you to choose from. Any kind of C/C++ or Java certification will be an instant checkmark on your resume. Other popular certifications employers look for include Adobe’s developer certification (ACE) and Microsoft’s (MCSD). Below are a few popular developer certifications, though this list is by no means comprehensive.
- C /C++ certifications
- Adobe Certified Expert (ACE)
- Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD)
- Amazon Web Services Certified Developer
- Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional
- Google Apps for Business Certified Deployment Specialist
- Cloudera Certified Developer for Apache Hadoop (CCDH)
- Oracle Certified Java Certifications (OCP, OCM, and OCE)
- Red Hat Certified JBoss Developer (RHCJD)
- Certified Scrum Developer (CSD)
With the meteoric rise in smartphone usage, mobile application developers who can demonstrate their skills with a well-regarded certification are in intense demand. The two most popular mobile operating systems are Android and iOS, which have a combined 95% market share. Mobile developers who can demonstrate their expertise in Java (Android) and Objective-C (iOS) will have an immediate leg up. Some popular mobile developer certifications that employers look for include:
- Android Certified Application Developer
- IBM Certified Mobile Application Developer
- MTA Developer
- Kony Certified Developer
Big data certifications
Big data specialists, also sometimes referred to as ‘data scientists’ will find that there are a variety of data scientist certifications from software companies such as Microsoft, Cloudera, EMC, and Oracle. Some popular big data certifications to consider include:
- Oracle Business Intelligence Certification
- Cloudera Certified Professional: Data Scientist
- Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer: Business Intelligence (MCSE)
- EMC Data Scientist
There’s a great deal of curiosity and mystery among non-tech-savvy individuals about what exactly ‘the cloud’ is. However, if you’re an IT professional who works in cloud computing, you probably know that Microsoft and Amazon are recognized leaders in this field, and their cloud certification programs will look great on your resume.
- Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer: Private Cloud (MCSE)
- CompTIA Cloud+
- Amazon Web Services Certified Solutions Architect (AWS-CSA)
Help desk certifications
As the two leading desktop operating systems, Microsoft’s Windows and Apple’s OS X are where most help desk professionals are expected to be experts. Below are a few of the most popular certification programs that’ll help you get ahead in this profession.
- CompTIA A+
- Microsoft Specialist
- Apple Certified Support Professional (ACSP)
Information security certifications
In our digital world, security specialists are becoming increasingly important to protect the vast amounts of sensitive data we store online. Companies take keeping their data safe very seriously. A breach can be extremely costly and damage customer trust beyond repair. IT security certifications are one way for employers to vet potential employees and ensure they have the necessary skills to protect and secure data.
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
- Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
- Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
- GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC)
- CompTIA Security+
With the internet and intranet connections running through every major business in North America, it’s no surprise that networking is an in-demand skill. Cisco is by far the leading company in this arena, making their networking certifications the most valuable to add to your resume.
- Cisco Certified Networking Professional (CCNP)
- Cisco Certified Networking Associate (CCNA)
- Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE)
- CompTIA Network+
Oracle and SQL have long been recognized as leaders in database management. As such, these certifications are the ones to get to give your resume a boost and improve your employability. That said, database management is overflowing with valuable certifications. Below are just a few of the most popular. Make sure you do your research and choose a certification that makes sense for your desired career path.
- Oracle Certified Professional (OCP)
- ICCP Certified Data Management Pro (ICCP CDMP)
- Microsoft SQL Server Database Certifications
- IBM Info Management Certifications
- MongoDB NoSQL Certifications
System administration certifications
System administrators, or SysAdmin, are at the heart of any IT team. They manage massive enterprise data centres. A skilled system administrator must be able to master a wide variety of skills and technologies including directories, networking, database management, various software applications, email and more. Below are a handful of IT certifications most sought out to verify your skills in this demanding profession.
- Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE)
- Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE)
- VMWare Certified Professional
- CompTIA Server+
- Linux Professional Institute Certification (LPIC)
IT project management certifications
IT project managers are expected to lead entire IT teams and manage key projects for their employer. As such proven skill demonstrated through a recognized certification can be extremely valuable. A Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is far and away the most sought after certification in this profession. It’s a general project management certification that will apply to other project management jobs, as well. However, if you’re looking to specialize in IT specifically, becoming a Certified ScrumMaster may be the way to go.
- Project Management Professional (PMP)
- Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)
- Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
Remember, this is only a partial list! No list of IT certifications will stay fresh for very long, as technology is constantly evolving and new developments are available what seems like daily. Though we offer this guide as a starting point to help you determine which IT certifications are valuable for your profession, you should absolutely supplement this list with your own research.
Looking for an IT job in any of these specialties? Check out Randstad's IT job listings to find a job where your skills are valued.