The Top 10 IT Certifications for 2012
In the IT world, there are two distinct breeds of certifications. There are those that everyday professionals can achieve, and there are those that only Microsoft- or Cisco-obsessed gurus can hope to obtain. Many certification lists tend to focus on the high-paying, superstar certifications, but such lists don’t always provide much guidance for the majority of IT professionals, who are unlikely to pursue the highest levels of vendor-specific certification.
If you can’t devote your life to climbing to the certification peaks, don’t despair—let this list be your guide to certification success. Listed below are 10 certifications that everyday IT professionals should consider for 2012. These certifications are realistic and obtainable for IT professionals at all career stages, and they do not involve the extreme costs of time or money that many elite certifications require.
1. CISM: Certified Information Security Manager
Average salary: $110,000
IT infrastructure and security continues to get more complex. The need for Certified Information Security Managers directly correlates with the advancing complexities of IT infrastructure. Companies recognize the need for highly skilled managers who know their way around today’s technology, security issues, and how they relate to business objectives. The demand for this certification has exploded as a result. As a manager-level certification, the CISM is a solid and lucrative choice for professionals looking to transition to a higher level in their careers.
2. CISSP: Certified Information Systems Security Professional
Average salary: $98,000
The CISSP exam is the cornerstone of IT security certification. It remains in high demand, and this trend is not likely to slow anytime soon. Demand for security positions is expected to continue to rise until at least 2018, and companies are currently struggling to find enough skilled security experts to fill open positions. Additionally, many government and civilian security positions require this certification. This requirement opens up additional opportunities in very lucrative sectors for certified individuals.
3. PMP: Project Management Professional
Average salary: $95,000
Project management certifications are set to lead the pack again this year, with extremely high demand for experienced, certified project management pros. IT projects are major undertakings, and the need for skilled project managers continues to rise. The PMP certification remains the most sought-after PM cert, and this is unlikely to change in the years to come. Because PMP certification has rigorous requirements, it has gained a prestigious standing in the IT certification world. This prestige, combined with the high demand, creates an environment ripe with lucrative opportunities for PMPs.
4. Oracle DBA
Average salary: $90,000
Almost every business has at least one database that’s vital to its operations. A growing number of these databases are based on the Oracle platform, so there are bountiful opportunities for Oracle-certified professionals. Demand for DBA positions is expected to increase until at least 2018, so Oracle certification is a career investment that makes sense.
5. CCNP +S: Cisco Certified Network Professional + Security
Average salary: $86,000
Cisco recently retired the CCSP certification and replaced it with CCNP +S. However, this change has not affected the demand for skilled Cisco security professionals. Security jobs are hot right now and will likely remain hot for some time, and the demand for professionals with CCNP +S status is expected to continue to rise accordingly. Cisco certification has long been a solid career investment, and despite the emergence of some relatively new players in recent years, demand for Cisco security experts will remain strong.
6. RHCSA: Red Hat Certified System Administrator
Average salary: $84,000
The use of Linux continues to expand within the IT field, so more jobs are available for Red Hat administrators. Red Hat usage is still not as widespread as Microsoft product usage, so it tends to be harder for companies to fill Linux administration roles. The number of Red Hat–certified professionals is not keeping pace with this growing demand, so this is a good space to explore if you’re considering new avenues to pursue in your IT career.
7. VCP: VMware Certified Professional
Average salary: $84,000
The popularity of VMware solutions has expanded rapidly, and the demand for VMware-certified professionals has expanded along with it. As virtual solutions become more and more mainstream, the demand for skilled professionals who can manage these systems will continue to increase. VCP is a solid certification choice in today’s market; it creates many opportunities for advancement in the IT industry.
8. CCNA: Cisco Certified Network Associate
Average Salary: $75,000
The CCNA is not quite as prestigious as CCNP +S, but it’s still a highly sought-after certification. For entry-level professionals, the CCNA can open many new doors. It offers the most bang for your training buck when compared to other certifications at this level. CCNA certification will likely remain one of the hottest and most solid career investments through 2012 and beyond.
9. CCSA: Checkpoint Certified Security Administrator
Average salary: $70,000
With security needs and concerns in the limelight, it’s no surprise that some of the new security certifications that have emerged in recent years have experienced rising demand. Checkpoint devices don’t have the same market penetration that Cisco’s devices have, but a growing number of companies are migrating from traditional ASA and PIX devices to Checkpoint firewalls. As a result, the Checkpoint Certified Expert certification has skyrocketed in popularity; there are not enough certified professionals currently available to fill the open positions in the field.
10. SalesForce.com Administrator
Average salary: $68,000
SalesForce.com is the fastest-growing company in the CRM business. As its products have become more popular, the demand for skilled SalesForce.com administrators has gone through the roof. The SalesForce.com Administrator certification covers areas that include managing users, data, and security; maintaining and customizing cloud applications; and building reports, dashboards, and workflows. As more businesses move to cloud-based CRMs like SalesForce, the demand for certified administrators will continue to rise.
Some of these certifications might not have the prestige of a CCIE or MCM title, but these certifications are more easily obtainable and they create ample opportunities for career growth and success. You don’t need to be an IT guru to succeed in 2012; you just need to choose your certifications wisely.
For many people, certification training and exams can be intimidating. There’s alot of material covered in a relatively short period of time, and each concept is as important to learn as the next....