There are dozens, if not hundreds, of IT certifications available to the IT professional. Like all certifications, some matter a bit more than others and some are little more than a few letters tacked onto the end of your name.
If you are considering going into the wonderful world of IT, it would behoove you to know which certifications are the ones that are in the most demand or the most respected so you get better bang for your buck.
There are few businesses that don’t have to deal with Microsoft products at all, making the various Microsoft certifications some of the most important to have. Microsoft offers a veritable alphabet soup of certifications, each with their own uses. Throughout the years, many of these certification exams have been retired, but some companies with older systems still seek out those with the more obsolete certifications.
Not every company uses solely Microsoft products; some companies don’t use them at all or use mixed operating systems. To these companies, being certified by Apple can be an important distinction and they will be seeking IT professionals with ACSP and/or ACTC certifications at least, and some companies may seek out those with the more advanced ACSA certifications.
Cisco certifications are among the most popular certifications and come in three flavors, from most basic to most advanced; CCNP, CCNA and CCiE. As you go from most basic to most advanced, the passing requirements and exam costs get higher and higher, but these are excellent certifications to have.
The vendor-neutral Computing Technology Industry Association offers certifications that give a mix of experience which can be exactly what a company is looking for in an IT professional. At one time, the CompTIA certifications lasted for a lifetime, but recently that policy has been changed and they must be renewed every three years.
Project Management Professional
IT project managers can make good money, and the Project Management Professional certification is very well respected and valued. The certification requires some college education and experience as a project manager before you can take the test, however.
International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium
It’s a mouthful to say, but companies that have to deal with security find this certification invaluable. In order to take the exam, it does require several years’ experience in security architecture and design. Also, it’s much easier to use the acronym, CISSP, than to say its name each time.
Information Systems Audit and Control Association
ISACA certification is another security systems certification, and another certification that requires several years experience in the IT security field before it can be taken. All of the requirements for this test are offset by the benefits of having this certification, however.
Although certifications are important, they are not the only thing a potential employer is going to look at, and often real-world experience and a solid work history can help make up for a lack of certain certifications.
As the workplace becomes less focused on a particular single vendor, multiple certifications or knowledge of a variety of systems is becoming more valuable in today’s workplace. Of course, it never hurts to have multiple certifications to boost your value.