The following list of top IT certifications is based on Foote Partners' survey of nearly 2,000 U.S. and Canadian employers.
1) GIAC Certified Incident Handler
2) EMC Proven Professional Technology Architect Expert
3) Citrix Certified Integration Architect
4) HP/Master Accredited Systems Engineer
5) Cisco Certified Security Professional
6) Check Point Certified Master Architect
7) GIAC Certified Forensics Analyst
8) GIAC Certified Intrusion Analyst
9) EMC Proven Professional Implementation Engineer Expert
10) GIAC Certified Incident Manager
11) EC-Council/Certified Hacking Forensics Investigator
12) IBM Certified Specialist Storage Networking Solutions, Version 2
13) HP/Accredited Integration Specialist
14) Brocade Certified Fabric Designer
15) Cisco IP Telephony Design Specialist
David Foote notes that in particular security certifications pay is rising. Also enjoying salary bumps are architecture and selected infrastructure skills. Hes hearing of interest in what he calls Guerilla SOA. That is, more like grass roots, bottom up, rather than top down. In a tough economy, traditional top down Service Oriented Architecture is a hard sell. Indeed, no one can sell it, Foote says.
Terry Erdle, the senior VP of skills certification at CompTIA, also says that security certifications are sought after among employers. Project management is another hot area.
CompTIAs top selling certification is called CompTIA A+. Its a set of technician, PC repair, and help desk skills. Its Tier 1 support for the enterprise or a small company. We do probably 100,000 certifications a year in A+, or more thats probably U.S, he says. Its a very good entry level certification.
So whats big in IT certification these days?
One of the emerging trends is being able to verify and validate your credentials across all vendors, Erdle says. So what youre going to see more and more is vendors working together to standardize a lot of these road maps.
theres a lot of consistency and standardization that youre starting to see. Because I think [the problem with] everyone doing their own certification for their own product line is A) it doesnt really help people except in working on that one set of products, and B) the standards bodies of the world are starting to look more and more askance at a company that does its own training and its own certification.
Foote echoes this thought by noting that vendor-specific IT certifications are notoriously easy. Companies want to pump out as many of them as possible for marketing and sales purposes. Simply having a pulse is enough to pass certain vendor-specific IT certification tests, or at least that's the perception.
Previous page: a list of "hot" IT skills, regardless of certification