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Tips on Certifications (Because They are More Important than Ever)

Not so very long ago, job training in IT skills meant independent study and being able to demonstrate your abilities in the field. Those days are no more. Certifications are more important than ever in order to show your abiding interest in the field. Certifications show future employers your depth and breadth of knowledge in a tangible way before they hire you. Certifications are a way for you to acquire new skills in your field, making you more valuable to employers (and, it follows, making your skills worth more money). Read on for tips on the top certifications.

 Vendor certifications. Not unexpectedly, Microsoft has several certification programs considered top-of-the-line:

  • Microsoft Office Specialist. Employees with the MOS certification are proficient in Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, Outlook, Powerpoint, etc.). This certification is most often pursued by office workers, administrators, and managers, although experts say it's useful for IT staff working in the Cloud or technical support area. Average salaries for MOS certified employees range from $45,000 to $65,000.
  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE). This sounds like one topic but there are a myriad of sub-topics within its wide range. Employees who work in enterprise data systems, private cloud networks, cloud platforms, network infrastructure, data analytics, or who develop business applications are just a few examples of those for whom the MCSE will prove helpful. How helpful the designation proves monetarily we see by the average salary for IT managers, system engineers, and network administrators with a MCSE which range from $50,000 to $145,000.
  • MCSE - Microsoft Cloud Platform and Infrastructure Certification. This is one of those sub-specialties mentioned under the previous certification. The big data explosion and the move to hosted internet solutions gave rise to services and infrastructure supported by the Cloud. This certification shows your expertise in everything cloud, such as storage, virtual machines, identity security and management and networking. The average salaries for MCSE certified IT managers, system administrators, system engineers range from $47,000 to $145,000.
  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD). This is the certification you want to pursue if you intend to build business applications specifically in the Windows environment for those companies that customize applications according to their own needs. The average salaries for MCSD certified software engineers, developers, and engineers range between $50,000 and $150,000.

Microsoft isn't the only vendor that provides valuable IT certifications. Here are two more specifically for the Cloud:

  • VCP6 - DCV. This certification from VMWare relates to skills necessary to solve problems with vSphere V6 infrastructures. A prerequirement for this certification means applicants pass the basic VCP certification. VMWare says that the VCP6 certification program is popular worldwide, especially for system administrators and systems engineers. The average salary for this type of certification ranges from $48,000 to $126,000.
  • AWS - Certified Solutions Architect. This certification applies to IT professionals who want to design and distribute applications on AWS. A prerequisite for this certification is successful completion of the Certified Solutions Architect - Associate program plus two years working with AWS. The median salary for IT administrators, engineers, and developers with this certification (and who are familiar with AWS Cloud) is $125,000.

ISACA Certifications. ISACA is an independent, global, non-profit organization that deals with information system practices. ISACA has four certifications worthy of your consideration:

  • Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA). Garnering this certification for your resume shows you're expert in all information systems auditing, including how well a company satisfies compliance procedures and assessing network/software vulnerabilities. Senior information technology auditors and information security managers salaries range from $48,000 to $171,000.
  • Certified Information Security Manager (CISM). Specifically designed for IT professionals who design, build, and manage security systems for enterprise organizations. The prerequirement for this certification is five years working in information security and three years in security management. The average salary for CISM professionals ranges widely (and depends on the job title) from $59,000 to $225,000.
  • Certified Risk and Information Security Control (CRISC). Satisfying the program for this certificate means that the IT professional has proven his ability to monitor and assess security vulnerabilities, responds to and reports to C-Suite about events, and help mitigate any cyber attacks. Certified information officers, CIOs, and security managers have an average salary (commensurate with skills) ranging from $93,000 to $181,000.
  • Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (GEIT). This certification applies to upper level, senior staff from IT director, security manager, to vice presidents and CIOs who are responsible for managing compliance efforts for enterprise companies. The average salary for certified professionals at this level ranges from $127,000 to $140,000.

To learn about more available certifications, read the article entitled "The 13 Most Valuable IT Certifications Today" which was an inspiration for this post. You can also schedule a free training and development consultation now!

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