20 technology certifications that are paying off

20 technology certifications that are paying off

Summary: Certifications ranging from software lifecycle management to cloud and database architecture to project management are hot skill areas for the year ahead.

TOPICS: IT Employment

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released estimates that more than one in four of the working-age population has obtained a professional certification, license or educational certificate apart from a post-secondary degree awarded by a college or university. For managers and professionals in the fast-changing digital and tech economy, certifications may be the only way to keep skills current and relevant. Areas in hot demand right now -- such as data science and analysis, cloud development, and open-source scripting languages -- were not even around five years ago.

Certifications and accreditations are delivering positive results for both IT professionals and their employers. Foote Partners released its latest estimates of pay and premium rates for a range of IT skills, and finds that IT professionals with certifications are continuing to see an edge in their compensation. The trend continues upward in the aftermath of the economic trough of 2008-2010.

Extra pay specifically awarded to talented IT professionals for 354 noncertified IT skills and 296 IT certifications---also known as ‘skills premiums’--- increased in the fourth quarter of 2013, the consultancy finds.  "It is only the third time since 2010 that both certified and noncertified skills categories have recorded pay gains in the same calendar quarter, the result of the reversal of a long running slump in market values for certifications dating back to 2006," the consultancy observes.

The skills premium index has been tracking more than 2,500 North American employers and 150,000 IT professionals since 1999.

The top gainers in the last quarter include the following certification categories:

  • Systems Administration/Engineering certifications: +2.5% (in market value)
  • Information Security certifications: +2.0%
  • Database certifications: +1.2%
  • Networking & Communications certifications: +1.2%
  • Architecture/Project Management/Process certifications: +1.0%
  • Applications Development/Programming Lang. certifications: +0.9%

Here are the top 20 certifications that Foote predicts will continue to increase in value during the first half of 2014:

  1. Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional (CSSLP)
  2. CWNP/Certified Wireless Network Expert
  3. GIAC Certified Forensics Analyst (GCFA)
  4. GIAC Certified Penetration Tester (GPEN)
  5. GIAC Web Application Penetration Tester (GWAPT)
  6. HP ASE Cloud Architect V2
  7. HP/Master ASE--Data Center and Cloud ArchitectV1
  8. Information Systems Security Engineering Professional (ISSEP/CISSP)
  9. InfoSys Security Architecture Professional (ISSAP/CISSP)
  10. Microsoft Certified Solutions Master(all)
  11. Open Group Certified Architect (Open CA)
  12. Open Group Master Architect
  13. Oracle Certified Professional, MySQL 5 Developer
  14. Oracle Certified Expert MySQL 5.1 Cluster Database Administrator
  15. Oracle Certified Professional MySQL 5 Database Administrator
  16. PMI Risk Management Professional
  17. PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)
  18. Red Hat Certified Architect (RHCA)
  19. Teradata 12 Certified Enterprise Architect
  20. VMware Certified Design Expert - Cloud (VCDX-Cloud)

(Thumbnail photo: HubSpot.)


Topic: IT Employment

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  • Futureproofing..

    If I were advising a budding young wannabe tech professional on a future proof career path, I'd probably go with:

    1) Network infrastructure/topology (Cisco kinda stuff, routing, switching, VPNs etc.)
    2) Network security

    The above two fields are not dependent on Microsoft's fortunes and are not easily outsourced and are likely to continue to be in high demand (I'd peg security as the big growth segment).

    Linux is bound to continue showing string growth, so Linux administration is probably not a bad field to enter. Anyone who doesn't think that Linux will continue to see growth just isn't paying attention.

    I really don't know what to say about Microsoft. Even though it's what I do for a living, Microsoft's future has never seemed more uncertain. I'd like to believe that 20 years from now there will still be strong enterprise demand for Microsoft skills, but it's just hard to say at this juncture. I think in five years I'll know the answer to that question much better than now.
  • Strange Times

    I've been doing IT for 30 years, and when looking for a new job, I wanted to refresh some skills. With steady moves into the cloud by firms, I saw no need to update my Exchange or SharePoint training, because, in the SMBs that I've worked for, using these services in the cloud is less expensive than building them locally, and the redundancy is better. I may have built my last Exchange server at my old employer!

    I did take an updated course on Windows Server 2012, because I think it's built-in capabilities will give VMware and Citrix a run for their money, reduce complexity and finger-pointing, and be more cost effective for SMBs. Many people I know, including myself, started ditching RIM BES servers, to rely on the built-in Exchange ActiveSync technology combined with iPhones. Again, less complexity, easier management and less points of failure.

    I also took PMI Project Management training. Everything we do as IT managers is basically project management, so learning the official methodology of PMs can be useful, in IT or any other field where projects are involved. It's not a certification that will wither and die as technology transitions from one market leader to another.
  • 9) InfoSys shall be Information Systems

    InfoSys is an Indian IT services company. At bullet 9 of certifications, it shall be "Information Systems", not "InfoSys". That gives wrong presumption of a certification by InfoSys company.
  • use certifications to augment your experience

    Do not try to get certifications before your hired. I have Cisco and Red Hat certifications and it does not matter, nobody will talk to me. You need experience.
  • Wireless is everywhere and there are very few who understand it

    I have a CWNE and see very few professionals who have a clue beyond "I set one up for Aunt Martha..." Cisco and Microsoft are a dime a dozen, but show up and know how the wireless works or being able to troubleshoot why it's not working, is a very rare and valuable skill set.

    CWNP certs are vendor neutral. A CWNP trained individual can show up and understand any wireless environment, regardless of the brand, Truly a universal cert good in any arena. When was the last time you went somewhere they didn't have WiFi?

    The decision is really straight forward. Just consider the following about the certs listed: Before you get the call to visit your next possible career opportunity, which is true: You can possitively know what vendor/busines model is going to be there or you'll know they'll have wireless? Good Luck!