1739 Certifications, 152 Vendors, and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

December 28, 2012 at 9:22 am | Posted in Certification Paths | Leave a comment

One of my coworkers recently pointed me toward a web page simply titled The List Of Certifications. According to the author, there are 1,739 current IT certifications offered across a spectrum of 152 vendors, from Adobe to Zend.  I’ve never sat down and counted them all, but it sounds about right.

Faced with all these choices, how can a certification-seeker pick the best path to focus on? Obviously your industry will dictate whether you’re considering a project management-type path like Project+, ITIL, or Certified ICAgile Professional, versus a hardware-specific or OS-specific certification. The term “best” is also relative: are you looking for the certification that’s the easiest or least expensive to obtain, the one that requires the most (or least) training, the one that has the best future earnings potential, or the one that you can pick up while still working your day job?

As 2012 wraps up, different industry leaders are offering their take on the “best” five, ten, or twenty certifications to pursue for job growth. Time and again, the most recommended certs are vendor-neutral (CompTIA), have widespread application across multiple job sectors (CCNA and MCSE), or are process-based rather than OS-based (PMP, ITIL). Here’s several lists to start you thinking:

TechRepublic’s The top five in-demand IT certifications for 2013 list, drawn from “expert opinions, research, and Google trends”:

1, MCSA (Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate)
2. MCSE: Private Cloud
3. PMP (Project Management Professional)
4. VCP (VMware Certified Professional)
5. CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional)

Global Knowledge’s 15 Top Paying IT Certifications for 2012, ranked by salary and derived from their annual IT Skills and Salary report:

1. PMP – Project Management Professional – ($111,209)
2. CISSP – Certified Information Systems Security Professional – $110,342
3. CCDA – Cisco Certified Design Associate – $101,915
4. ITIL v3 Foundation – ($97,691)
5. MCSE – Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer – $91,650
6. VCP – VMware Certified Professional – $91,648
7. CCNP – Cisco Certified Network Professional – $90,457
8. CompTIA Server+ – $84,997
9. MCITP – Microsoft Certified IT Professional – $84,330
10. CCNA – Cisco Certified Network Associate – $82,923
11. MCSA – Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator – $82,923
12. CompTIA Security+ – $80,066
13. MCP – Microsoft Certified Professional – $79,363
14. CCENT – Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician – $74,764
15. CompTIA Network+ – $71,207

Here were the certs ranked “most likely to land you a new job” from IT job board Dice.com’s 2012 Salary Survey, as reported (with slightly different salary figures) by ITCareerfinder.com:

1. Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) Expert – salary estimate $107,092
2. PMI Project Management Professional (PMP) – salary estimate $103,570
3. (ISC)2 Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) – salary estimate $100,735
4. Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) – salary estimate $79,536
5. Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) – salary estimate $77,529 (*Note: study was released before Microsoft revive the MCSE program)
6. CompTIA Security+ – salary estimate $75,508
7. CompTIA Network+ – salary estimate $68,963
8. CompTIA A+ – salary estimate $67,608* (not considered accurate, as A+ cert holders typically hold multiple certs that would affect salary results)

CIO Magazine’s 12 IT Certifications That Deliver Career Advancement (2012):

1. Project Management Professional (PMP)
2. Certified Information Systems Security Professionals (CISSP)
3. Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE)
4. VMware Certified Professional (VCP)
5. CompTIA A+
6. Oracle DBA
7. Information Technology Infrastructure Library
8. Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE)
9. Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)
10. Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP)
11. Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS)
12. Microsoft’s Certified Systems Engineers (MCSE) (*Note: the author incorrectly identified the Windows 2000 Server MCSE as a “top” certification. We recommend you aim for the revamped 2012 MCSE instead.)

Whichever certification path you choose, we wish you happy certifying in 2013!

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