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The value of IT certificationsis a constant debate in the tech industry. Some veteran IT professionals claim they’re of limited value, while others see them as key building blocks for a better career.
The IT job site Dicesurveyed 17,000 technology professionals to see which of the many certifications was most beneficial. Clearly, “Not all certifications are created equal in terms of paycheck impact,” wrote Evan Lesser, Director of Dice Learning.
He noted that while nearly half of all technology professionals have at least one certification, a minority attributed pay increases to certification. To some observers, that would suggest that the expense of earning certifications might not pay for itself.
But certs shouldn’t be viewed as stand alone answer to career advancement. “When you combine in demand skill-sets and proven salary impact, specific certifications become valuable to individual technology professionals,” Lesser noted.
This list of top tech certifications, along with descriptions, courtesy Dice :
By earning the Project Management Professional certification, technology professionals prove they have the knowledge and skills necessary to shepherd projects to a successful conclusion, on-time, on-budget, and using the resources allocated. It's a particularly important job today, when companies are beginning to resurrect projects they'd shelved during the downturn, but want them completed as cost-efficiently and quickly as possible. There are currently 1,400 jobs on Dice with PMP certification requested.
Microsoft's Certified Systems Engineers have shown they can design, implement and administer technology infrastructures using Microsoft 2000 Windows Server and other Windows server platforms. Sought by systems engineers, technical support engineers, system analysts, network analysts and technical consultants, the MCSE is for professionals who spend their time maintaining the basic platforms on which so much business is conducted. Nearly 1,000 available career opportunities request this certification.
This vendor-neutral certification from the trade group CompTIA is a standard for tech-support technicians. By earning it, they've shown they can install networks, conduct preventative maintenance, secure them and troubleshoot them.
Cisco Certified Network Associates demonstrate their ability to install, configure, run and troubleshoot medium-sized routed and switched networks. They've also proven themselves with security and wireless basics, and their ability to work with a number of protocols. Slightly more than 650 available job opportunities request the CCNA designation.
Microsoft Certified Professionals include developers, trainer, system architects and other tech professionals who want to spotlight their expertise with a range of Microsoft technologies.
Another certification from CompTIA, the Network+ proves a technician's competency in managing, maintaining, troubleshooting, installing and configuring basic network infrastructures. It's included in certification programs of tech leaders like Microsoft, Novell, Cisco and H-P.
Security is a growing concern for businesses around the world, and this is the certification anyone truly interested in field wants to earn. Globally recognized as a standard for expertise, five years of experience in information security are needed before a professional can earn this certification. Nearly 750 open available career opportunities request this certification.
The Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator certification allows tech professionals to show off their expertise in systems administration and troubleshooting networks that use the Windows Server operating environment. It's earned by systems administrators, network administrators, information systems administrators, network operations analysts, network technicians, and technical support specialists, among others.
The three-tier ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library) certification demonstrates the expertise of professionals in tech management. Public and private organizations use the ITIL as compendium of IT operational best practices. The Foundation Certificate shows a basic knowledge of ITIL terminology, Service Support and Service Delivery. The Practitioner Certificate demonstrates an understanding and ability to apply specific processes within IT Service Management. The Manager's Certificate is obtained by demonstrating expertise in overseeing service management functions.
The CompTIA Security+ certification demonstrates knowledge of system security, network infrastructure, access control and organizational security – all important areas at a time when companies are investing real money to keep their technology platforms safe from cybersecurity threats.