7 IT certifications that will boost your career

The IT job market is crowded right now, with many opportunities available but also many applicants vying for those positions. One tool hiring managers use to make sure they’re bringing in the right applicants: IT certifications. 

The techs skills companies need are constantly and quickly changing, and IT certifications are a good way for people to prove that they’re skilled in certain areas.

Though there’s some debate about exactly how beneficial they are, most IT pros say IT certifications have given their career a boost, according to a recent Network World survey. Among respondents who had earned certifications:

  1. 60% said it led to a new job
  2. 50% said a certification earned them a raise — with 40% getting at least a 10% boost, and
  3. 29% said they earned a promotion due to a certification.

Of course, to get those benefits, IT pros must make sure they’re earning the right certifications. These are what experts say are the top IT certifications that organizations want now:

1. CompTIA Healthcare IT Technician

One of the biggest factors driving IT job growth is the push for healthcare organizations to adopt electronic health records and other technology, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics. That makes healthcare one of the best industries for IT pros to work in, and CompTIA’s Healthcare IT Technician is the top IT certification covering the field.

2. Project Management Professional (PMP)

IT pros who hold a PMP certification earn an average salary of $101,000, says CIO.com. According to the site, IT certifications can help IT pros prove they have the skills needed to succeed in technology today. Completing a PMP certification shows that someone is able to manage projects from start to finish, which is critical now as IT employees must work on multiple projects at the same time and have little room for error.

3. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

Security threats are one of the biggest IT problems facing organizations today, and many companies are hiring security professionals to help beef up their defenses. Often, that means looking for people who hold the CISSP certification, which shows they possess vendor-neutral skills related to all aspects of IT security.

4. Oracle Certified Professional Java SE Programmer (OCPJP)

Many of the top IT certifications have prerequisites before IT pros can take the exams. But OCPJP is an accreditation an IT pro can receive after one test and without any prior IT certifications. It can provide a salary boost and improve marketability, as well as allow the holder to get more advanced Java certifications.

5. Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE)

Many businesses rely on Cisco equipment for their networks, and CCIE is the highest level of certification for those products that network engineers can earn. It verifies that the holder has all the knowledge needed to plan, manage and troubleshoot a network. According to Network World, 44% of IT pros earning at least $110,000 a year hold a CCIE certification, the highest of any certificate.

6. Enterprise Administrator on Windows Server 2008

Even as more businesses start using Apple computers and devices, corporate computing is still dominated by Microsoft. In fact, most business Macs are still connected to a Windows server. That’s why Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP): Enterprise Administrator on Windows Server 2008 is one of the top IT certifications tech pros can earn, according to TechRepublic. Organizations of all sizes and in all industries need IT pros with those skills.

7. Linux Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA)

Many companies are adopting Linux to save money and increase reliability and security, so professionals holding Linux-related IT certifications are becoming in high demand. RHSCA is a good place to start, and has no prerequisites to take the exam. RHCSA holders can also move to the next level and attain a Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) certification.

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