Top 10 Certifications With Staying Power

Security, Business Skills Remain Vital

Although the IT industry is rapidly changing, security- and business-oriented certifications have a long track record of value in the industry and appear to have a long life ahead, according to Global Knowledge.

The Cary, N.C.-based business training and certification company expects certificates from Amazon Web Services, Cisco, EMC, Oracle and Red Hat to continue being relevant well into the future. From a technology standpoint, Global Knowledge expects certifications related to big data, cloud, networking and programming languages to retain value in the coming years.

The lines between administrators, developers, security oversight and business needs are blurring more and more, and having skills in multiple areas will increase professionals' skills and employability, the company said. As such, Global Knowledge recommends adding one of the following 10 certifications.

10. EMC Data Scientist Associate

EMC is looking to move beyond storing vast quantities of data and get into the challenges associated with analyzing, visualizing and searching big data.

The EMC Data Scientist Associate (EMCDSA) certification is a way for employees to prove that have the skills and mindset to do data analysis, according to Global Knowledge. This will come in handy, given that two-thirds of the world’s 4.5 million big data jobs are unfilled because of the lack of people with necessary skills and qualifications.

This certification is held by just two of the 11,000 people who responded to a Global Knowledge survey, but its value is reflected in an average annual salary of $109,000.

9. Oracle Java

Oracle has the rights to Java, and its training and certification programs in one of the world’s most popular programming languages are oriented more toward administration than for developers, Global Knowledge said.

The certification covers creating command-line Java applications, creating a hierarchy of object types, manipulating collections, handling exceptions and taking advantage of new features such as lambda expressions and streams.

Java has been around since 1995 and is the foundation of Android device applications. There are 1 billion downloads of the platform every year and more than 3 billion mobile phones are running Java.

Oracle/Database certifications resulted in an average salary of $100,800 for the 99 survey respondents who hold it, according to Global Knowledge.

8. CompTIA Linux+/Red Hat Certified Engineer

The topics addressed through the Linux certification process evolve more slowly and are more applicable across different versions than Microsoft operating system certifications, said Global Knowledge.

CompTIA’s Linux+ certification is vendor-neutral and covers the basics that any junior level Linux administrator should have.

The Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) certification is available for more senior Linux administrators and is performance-based, meaning a candidate is given a live system and graded on the ability to accomplish tasks listed in the exam.

The Linux+ certification resulted in an average salary of $85,860 for the 66 survey respondents who hold it, according to Global Knowledge. The RHCE certification is held by 41 respondents with an average salary of $97,380.

7. Information Technology Infrastructure Library

IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) was created by England’s government in the 1980s, and has, over the past three decades, become the most widely used framework for IT management in the world, according to Global Management.

The broad-based certification covers everything from availability and capacity management to change and incident management to application and IT operations management.

A joint venture between the U.K. government and a business process outsourcing company owns the ITIL standards and licenses and defines the certification tiers, but leaves it up to accredited partners to develop training and certification coursework.

The v3 Foundation is the most popular ITIL certification, held by 1,016 people bringing in an average salary of $95,430, according to Global Knowledge.

6. CompTIA Project+/Project Management Institute Project Management Professional

More than 1 million project management jobs will need to be filled in the U.S. each year, Global Management said, and this area is expected to grow even as other departments are being cut.

CompTIA’s Project+ is a vendor-neutral, entry-level certification validating than an individual can create and manage a project from inception to closure.

PMI’s Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is much more demanding. It tests five areas relating to a project’s life cycle: initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing.

The Project+ certification is held by 242 Global Knowledge survey respondents with an average salary of $80,410. The PMP certificate is held by 387 respondents bringing in an average salary of $109,405.

5. Cisco Certified Network Administrator

Cisco networking has become increasingly important as more and more data moves to the cloud and more devices require connectivity, whether in wired or wireless forms, the training company said.

The Cisco Certified Networking Associate (CCNA) is an entry-level networking certification, designed for either network administrators in small businesses or junior administrators in larger ones. The CCNA is available in versions for routing and switching, security and cloud, industrial and wireless, data center and service provider operations.

The most common CCNA certification is for routing and switching, which is held by 983 Global Knowledge survey respondents and offers an average salary of $81,160.

4. AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate

Amazon Web Services is the largest cloud provider with the broadest set of offerings for the widest set of use cases, according to recruiting and jobs marketplace Glassdoor, capable of addressing basic server, long-term data storage, mobile application development and data analysis needs.

And with cloud computing expected to deliver a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of between 30 percent and 70 percent over the next three to five years, AWS certifications provide an opportunity to plan for the future.

The Certified Solutions Architect Associate is AWS' most popular certificate, and is an entry point to more advanced certifications. The certification is held by 46 people who responded to the Global Knowledge survey, who have an average annual salary of $112,438.

3. Certified Information Systems Security Professional

The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) is the most widely known and coveted security-related certification, with many organizations and governments requiring that staff have it, Global Knowledge said.

The CISSP requires a minimum of five years of direct, full-time professional security experience, which must be validated in at least two of the eight areas covered by the exam.

The exam covers: identity and access management, communications and network security, security and risk management, software development security, security assessment and testing, security engineering, security operations, and asset security.

The CISSP is held by 531 Global Knowledge survey respondents, who bring in an average salary of $110,603.

2. CompTIA Security+/CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner

Security is one of the few areas in IT that will continue to keep pace with cloud computing growth, with most others either diminishing or changing substantially over time, Global Knowledge predicts.

Security+ is the entry-level certifications covering the basics such as system infrastructure and network security issues. More than 45,000 people have been certified in Security+, with organizations such as the U.S. military, Dell and Apple using and recognizing the certification.

The CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP) extends to security issues throughout the enterprise and adds risk management and security integration issues.

Security+-certified respondents make an average of $79,730 -- the certification is held by 903 respondents -- while CASP is held by 39 respondents paid an average of $91,240.

1. CompTIA A+

There will always be a need for people to fix computers and provide help desk services -- meaning there will always be a need for the A+ certification, according to Global Knowledge.

The CompTIA entry-level certification covers hardware, such as desktop, laptop and mobile devices, as well as software, such as Linux, Mac OS X, Windows, iOS and Android. Many vendors such as Dell and HP require that technicians have this certification to work with them.

Originally appearing in 1993, A+ is one of the oldest IT certifications, though it has been updated as the industry has changed.

A+ is held by 1,628 Global Knowledge survey respondents paid an average salary of $70,550.