Friday, June 21, 2024

10 Top Storage Certifications for Data Professionals In 2024

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Data storage certifications can teach you the skills you need for a career in data storage or new skills to make yourself more desirable on the job market. With the field set to produce more than 18,200 jobs by 2028, a data storage certification can demonstrate proficiency and establish a recognizable baseline for your knowledge.

Here are the 10 top data storage certifications you should consider to advance your career in 2024:

Data Storage Certificate Program Comparison

The following table shows how the certifications detailed here compare at a glance.

Certification Cost Exam Duration Skills Acquired Job Titles
VMware Certified Professional $250 135 mins vSphere infrastructure management
  • Virtualization admins
  • System engineers
NetApp Certified Data Administrator (NCDA) $150 90 mins NetApp data storage solutions
  • Database admins
  • System engineers
IBM Certified Solution Advisor – Spectrum Storage V7 $200 90 mins IBM storage solutions
  • Solutions advisors
  • Data architects
Pure Storage Certified Data Storage Associate $129 Pure Storage technologies
  • Storage admins
  • Solutions specialists
Microsoft Azure Data Engineering Associate (DP-203) $165 100 mins Azure data services
  • Azure Data Engineers
  • BI Developers
AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional $300 180 mins AWS applications design
  • Cloud solutions architects
HPE ASE – Storage Solutions $145 – $260 2 hours HPE storage solutions design
  • Storage solutions architects
  • Engineers
Cisco CCIE Data Center $2,000 8 hours (lab) Data center technologies
  • Data center architects
  • Senior network engineers
Microsoft Certified: Azure Architect Expert $165 Azure solutions design
  • Azure architects
  • Cloud architects
Hitachi Certified Specialist – VSP Installation $225 90 mins Hitachi VSP G1500/F1500 systems
  • Storage consultants
  • Senior engineers

Top Entry-Level Data Storage Certificates

If you’re just starting out in data storage, these certifications can teach you the fundamentals of data storage and demonstrate your qualifications to potential employers.

VMware icon.

VMware Certified Professional, Data Center Virtualization

Best for Data Center Consultants

This certification is ideal for individuals with six to 12 months of experience working with vSphere who want to improve and validate their knowledge of VMware vSphere solutions. The VMware certificate is suitable for system engineers and data storage consultants who work primarily with VMware technology.

Cost

  • $250

Requirements

  • Recommended: Gain experience with vSphere 7.x or vSphere 8.x
  • Required: Pass the qualifying exam

Exam Preparation

  • Familiarize yourself and gain experience with the vSphere 7.x or vSphere 8.x.

Duration

  • Self-paced training
  • 135-minute exam

Skills Acquired

  • Implement, manage, and troubleshoot vSphere infrastructure, using practices to provide a secure foundation for business agility that can accelerate the transformation to cloud computing.

Glassdoor Salary Range

  • Entry-level system engineers, $51,000 to $80,000
  • Virtualization administrators, $57,000 to $96,000

Entry-Level Job Titles

  • Virtualization administrators
  • System engineers
  • Consultants

NetApp icon.

NetApp Certified Data Administrator, ONTAP

Best for Managing Big Data Storage

The NetApp Certified Data Administrator (NCDA) is best suited for early career professionals looking to validate their practical experience in implementing and managing NetApp data storage solutions, especially performing in-depth support, administrative functions, and performance management for NetApp data storage controllers running the ONTAP operating system in NFS and Windows multiprotocol environments.

Cost

  • $150 exam fee
  • Training costs vary

Exam Requirements

  • None

Exam Preparation

  • Recommended: Six to 12 months hands-on experience with data storage solutions, particularly NetApp
  • Relevant NetApp University training

Duration

  • e-Learning and self-paced study materials vary in length
  • 90-minute exam

Skills Acquired

  • Storage platforms
  • Core ONTAP
  • Logical storage and networking
  • SAN solutions and connectivity
  • Network attached storage (NAS) solutions
  • Data protection; security, and performance

Glassdoor Salary Range

  • Entry-level database administrator, $48,000 to $82,000

Entry-Level Job Titles

  • Database administrator
  • System engineer
  • System administrator

IBM icon.

IBM Certified Solution Advisor – Spectrum Storage V7

Best for Storage Solutions Consultants

The ideal candidate is someone with three to six months of storage design, looking to qualify for managing IBM storage solutions, including Spectrum Control, Spectrum Virtualize, Spectrum Protect, Spectrum Archive, Spectrum Scale, Cloud Object Storage, Spectrum Protect Plus, Spectrum Discover, Cloud Paks, Copy Data Management, and Storage Insights.

Cost

  • $200 exam fee
  • Training cost varies.

Exam Requirements

  • Exam C1000-117: IBM Spectrum Storage Solution Advisor V7
  • Experience with IT organization structures
  • Knowledge of IT storage standards, offerings, and capabilities
  • Knowledge of cloud, network, and storage fundamentals
  • Experience with IBM Spectrum Storage and IBM Systems Storage solutions

Exam Preparation

IBM offers online courses and training material:

Duration

  • 90-minute exam
  • Self-paced training

Skills Acquired

  • IBM specific product knowledge
  • High-level storage solutions integrated with existing systems
  • How to communicate high-level design scenarios to the customer

Glassdoor Salary Range

  • Entry-level technical solutions consultant, $63,000 to $103,000

Entry-Level Job Titles

  • Solutions advisor/consultant
  • Data architect
  • Data analyst.

Pure Storage icon.

Pure Storage Certifications – Certified Data Storage Associate

Best for Data Storage Beginners

The Pure Storage Certified Data Storage Associate certification is suitable for individuals seeking validation of their foundational knowledge and skills in enterprise data storage and management using Pure Storage technologies. Pure Storage offers associate and professional certifications for its FlashArray architecture and its FlashBlade architecture.

Cost

  • $129 exam
  • Costs of class and training vary

Exam Requirements

  • At least six months’ industry experience, particularly with Pure Storage solutions

Exam Preparation

  • Exam Guides and sample questions available.
  • Training is not mandatory—exam is designed to test on-the-job experience

Duration

  • Self-paced training

Skills Acquired

  • Block storage, cloud, cloud deployment, containers
  • Data protection, disaster recovery, ECMP, encryption
  • Ethernet, Fibre Channel, FSPF, iSCSI
  • Pure Storage, ransomware mitigation, ransomware prevention
  • Replication technology, servers, storage, and virtualization

Glassdoor Salary Range

  • Storage solutions specialist with two years’ experience, $43,000 to $74,000

Entry-Level Job Titles

  • Data storage administrator
  • Storage solutions specialist
  • Data storage analyst

Top Advanced Data Storage Certificates

If you’re already working as a data storage professional, these certifications will help you expand your skills and advance your career. They can also demonstrate your value to employers.

Microsoft Azure icon.

Microsoft Azure Data Engineering Associate (DP-203) Professional Certificate

Best for Data Engineering

This intermediate certification is a good fit for data engineers with prior experience in data storage management, implementation, and monitoring who often use Azure data services. Azure data engineers help stakeholders understand data and build and maintain secure and compliant data processing pipelines and ensure that the operationalization of data pipelines and data stores are high-performing, efficient, organized, and reliable.

Cost

  • $165 exam cost
  • Coursera classes start at $59 per month

Exam Requirements

  • No specific requirements
  • Recommended—one to three years’ experience in data integration, transformation, and consolidation

Exam Preparation

  • Microsoft offers an online mock test, an exam sandbox, and video courses
  • Knowledge of data processing languages such as SQL, Python, or Scala
  • Understanding of parallel processing and data architecture patterns

Duration

  • 100-minute exam
  • Self-paced training material

Skills Acquired

  • Design and implement data storage, data processing, and data security
  • Monitor and optimize data storage and data processing

Glassdoor Salary Range

  • Azure data engineer with one to three years of experience, $116,000 to $177,000

Mid-Level Job Titles

  • Azure Data Engineer
  • Data Engineering Consultant
  • Business Intelligence Developer

Amazon Web Services icon.

AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional

Best for Data Architecture Professionals

The AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional certification is best suited for experienced solutions architects who design and deploy dynamically scalable, highly available, fault-tolerant, and reliable applications on AWS. Certified professionals showcase advanced knowledge and skills and provide solutions to complex problems, optimizing security, cost, and performance, and automating manual processes.

Cost

  • $300 exam fee
  • Training costs vary

Exam Requirements

  • A minimum two years’ experience with AWS cloud architecture deployment

Exam Preparation

  • No required courses
  • AWS offers several free, paid, and subscription-based training materials that cater to this certification

Duration

  • 180-minute exam
  • Self-paced training

Skills Acquired

  • Design for organizational complexity
  • Design for new solutions
  • Migration planning
  • Cost control
  • Continuous improvement

Glassdoor Salary Range

  • Cloud solutions architect with one to three years of experience, $105,000 to $161,000
  • Enterprise architect, $166,000 average

Mid-level Job Titles

  • Cloud solutions architect
  • Senior cloud consultant
  • Enterprise solutions architect

HP Enterprise icon.

HPE ASE – Storage Solutions

Best for Data Storage Hardware Management

Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Storage Solutions – HPE ASE certificate is best suited for IT professionals looking to validate their expertise in storage technologies, with a focus on designing HPE Enterprise Storage Solutions architectures. It validates your ability to identify, recommend, and explain HPE Enterprise Storage Solutions architectures and technologies.

Cost

  • Exam fees vary between $145 and $260
  • Classes cost from $4,000 to $8,000
  • Study guides cost $30 to $60

Exam Requirements

  • Candidates must earn the HPE ATP – Hybrid Cloud certification to qualify
  • Recommended: One to three years’ hands-on storage technology experience

Exam Preparation

  • HPE offers multiple study guides to prepare candidates for the exam

Duration

  • Five-day intensive training course or online study materials or two-hour exam

Skills Acquired

  • Differentiate and apply enterprise storage architectures and technologies
  • Identify enterprise storage and backup opportunities
  • Plan, design, and size HPE Storage Solutions
  • Design, identify, and recommend HPE Storage Enterprise and backup solutions

Glassdoor Salary Range

  • Storage engineer with one to three years’ experience, $100,000 to $167,000

Mid-level Job Titles

  • Storage solutions architect
  • Storage systems engineer
  • Storage consultant

Top Specialty Data Storage Certificates

For data storage professionals who want to specialize in a particular area or tool, these certifications can qualify you for deep expert-level assignments.

Cisco icon.

Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) Data Center

Best for Advanced Data Center Managers

The Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) Data Center certification is ideal for network professionals with extensive experience in data center technologies, aiming to demonstrate expert-level knowledge and skills. CCIE Data Center certification proves your skills with complex data center solutions through the entire network lifecycle, from designing and deploying to operating and optimizing.

Cost

  • $400 qualifying exam fee
  • $1,600 lab exam fee
  • Four-hour practice sessions cost $50

Exam Requirements

  • Five to seven years’ experience

Exam Preparation

  • CCIE Practice Labs
  • Free learning material and lists

Duration

  • Self-paced training
  • Eight-hour qualifying and lab exam

Skills Acquired

  • Network
  • Computer
  • Storage network
  • Automation
  • Security

Glassdoor Salary Range

  • Senior data center solutions consultant, $104,000 to $181,000

Senior-Level Job Titles

  • Data center network architect
  • Senior network engineer
  • Data center solutions consultant

Microsoft Azure icon.

Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert

Best for Microsoft Storage Solutions

The Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert certification is designed for IT professionals with expertise in designing and implementing solutions that run on Microsoft Azure. Solutions architects translate business requirements into Azure solutions.

Cost

  • Exam costs $165

Exam Requirements

  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate certification
  • Recommended: Advanced experience and knowledge in IT operations such as networking, data virtualization, data platforms, governance, and disaster recovery
  • Knowledge of Azure administration, development, and DevOps

Exam Preparation

  • Choose between free, self-paced courses or paid, instructor-led prep courses

Duration

  • Self-paced training

Skills Acquired

  • Designing data storage solutions
  • Data identity, governance and monitoring
  • Designing infrastructure and data storage solutions

Glassdoor Salary Range

  • Azure architect, $155,000 to $229,000

Senior-Level Job Titles

  • Azure solutions architect
  • Cloud solutions architect
  • Enterprise cloud architect

Hitachi Vantara icon.

Hitachi Certified Specialist – VSP G1500 and VSP F1500 Storage Installation

Best for Expert-Level Storage Technicians

The Hitachi Certified Specialist – VSP G1500 and VSP F1500 Storage Installation certification is ideal for IT professionals involved in the installation and configuration of Hitachi Vantara VSP G1500 and VSP F1500 storage systems. It validates knowledge and skills installing, configuring, and supporting Hitachi products at customer sites and provides knowledge of systems hardware and associated program products and a thorough understanding of installation and configuration procedures, as well as associated administrative activities.

Cost

  • Exam costs $225

Exam Requirements

  • No specific requirements
  • Recommended: Five years’ experience installing enterprise-grade storage systems, including hardware and software
  • Recommended: Knowledge of the tools, techniques, and best practices related to storage maintenance and servicing

Exam Preparation

Duration

  • Self-paced training
  • 90-minute exam

Skills Acquired

  • Enterprise-level storage installation
  • Pre-installation checks
  • Knowledge of problem determination and incident resolution
  • The ability to configure and troubleshoot Hitachi storage solutions

Glassdoor Salary Range

  • Senior Hitachi Vantara Storage Consultant, average $173,000

Senior-level Job Titles

  • Storage solutions consultant
  • Senior storage engineer
  • Hitachi Vantara storage specialist

Is a Storage Certification Worth The Investment?

Not all businesses require traditional degrees from educational institutions for employees, but most require some accreditation to demonstrate knowledge and expertise. A data storage certification provides the qualifications needed for a particular role—and, depending on where you are in your career, can also help boost your hiring and salary potential.

Many organizations recognize certifications as an indicator of commitment and proficiency in the field, making them a significant factor in hiring and promotion decisions. Certifications are considered a recent validation of up-to-date competence and experience rather than general knowledge in the field. Many expire after one to five years, making it important for professionals to continue their professional development to keep pace.

How To Choose The Right Data Storage Certification

When considering data storage certifications, it’s important to weigh a number of factors to ensure they’re a good fit for your particular needs and interests and will provide an appropriate return on investment.

Level

Start by choosing a certificate that verifies your level, whether you’re a beginner, a professional, or an expert. Assess your current level of expertise and experience. Are you just starting out, or are you looking to deepen your knowledge in a specific area?

Platforms

Limit your options to technologies and platforms most relevant to your ideal role—certifications offered by storage providers often focus on how to best work using their proprietary solutions. However, some certificates are more general and the knowledge you acquire can be applied regardless of the brand of hardware and software.

Resources

Think of the resources you currently have and the ones made available by the certification provider. Consider the cost of the exam, as well as any subscription or flat fees that you may need to pay to access preparation material.

Look for certifications that offer a good balance of cost and potential career advancements and salary boosts. Some employers cover part or all the costs of training programs and certifications for their employees, so make sure you check with your current company.

Time

Think about the time commitment required to prepare for and obtain the certification. Ensure that you have the necessary time to dedicate to studying and that the certification has a schedule and format that fits your lifestyle. How long is a certificate valid? It usually varies between one and five years, with some certifications being easier and cheaper to renew than get for the first time.

Companies to Work For Post-Certification

Obtaining a certificate offered by particular technologies companies may increase your chances of being hired by them—this list includes certifications from several, including IBM, Google, and Microsoft. But enterprises in a wide range of industries also have the need for skilled employees to help them manage their growing data estates, as well as healthcare organizations, government agencies, and consulting firms.

Startups and companies focused on big data and cloud services offer exciting opportunities for certified individuals. These companies often look for professionals who can bring new insights and efficiencies to data storage and management.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does it take to complete a storage certification?

It takes from a few weeks to over a year to complete a certification program depending on your current level of experience and the certificate itself.

Can I pursue a storage certification while working full-time?

Yes, most training material is self-paced and available online. You can make studying fit into your schedule.

Will a storage certification help me switch careers?

Entry-level certifications are one of the best ways to gain and validate the skills needed to access a data-focused role in another field.

Bottom Line: 2024’s Essential Data Storage Certifications for IT Professionals

With the rapid pace of technological advancement, certifications are both a necessary requirement for professionals who need to keep their skills up-to-date as well as an opportunity for skills enhancement, career advancement, and professional development. That’s especially true in the data storage and management industry, where resource optimization and security are of the utmost importance.

Certifications also have a lower barrier to entry than traditional degrees, making them ideal for people changing career paths into data science or acquiring new skills while on a budget. The data storage certifications on this list all provide the knowledge you need to succeed in the field, whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned professional looking to improve your position.

If you’re interested in careers in data management or data science but aren’t sure data storage is right for you, read our list of top certifications for data analysts, data scientists, big data professionals, data mining, data visualization, and the Internet of Things.

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