While experience is king when it comes to salary advancement, hitting the books is a great option for both the less-experienced IT professional, and those looking for a swifter climb up the salary ladder.
The right IT certification can help you both demonstrate your current knowledge as well as expand your skillset. Certifications can be especially helpful if you're looking to move your career in a particular and more specific direction.
When contemplating which certification to complete, a boost in salary cannot be your only consideration. Think about the practical application of the knowledge and skills contained in the certification. Consider if they will be helpful in your current job, a potential new role or perhaps even in launching your own start-up.
Having said that, certifications are a good way to demonstrate your value. So here are our Top 6 IT certifications sure to add dollars to your salary and value to you and your employer.
Project Management Professional (PMP®)
A certification which is flexible in its application, a PMP certificate can be used in many industries making it a smart step in many career paths. There are 750,000 certified project managers around the globe and, according to global benchmarking, they have a 20% higher salary, on average, than project managers who are not certified.
The PMP exam covers skills relating to the entire lifecycle of a project: initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing.
This certification does have a few prerequisites including prior-education and experience in leading and directing projects.
Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
There is a huge demand for skilled information security management professionals, so this is the first of a few certifications in this area to make our list.
CISM is designed for information security managers and IS/IT consultants, or those aspiring to take on these roles. There are 32,000 certified CISMs worldwide, and the certification was ranked among the top two paying certifications by Global Knowledge in 2017.
Becoming a CISM means you will be able to understand the relationship between information security and business goals, emphasising a higher level of business acumen in your resume.
AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate
Often seen on an impressive cloud professional's resume, this certification is intended for those with experience in designing distributed applications and systems on the AWS platform.
Currently, in the top three, this certification was the highest-paying certification in 2015. With constant and consistent growth in the area of cloud technology, an AWS certification is a smart move if you’re just starting out, looking to upskill, or shifting your career focus.
As the first step on the path, after completing this certification, you will have the ability to build upon your skillset by either moving towards a speciality or professional AWS certification.
Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC)
Designed for IT, risk, control and compliance professionals as well as business analysts and project managers, this certification demonstrates your knowledge and abilities in risk assessment, mitigation, management, monitoring, reporting and response.
As someone CRISC, you demonstrate your commitment to pursuing continuing education, professionalism and a higher standard of knowledge, putting you in a different league to your peers and boosting salary and job prospects.
With 20,000 certifications globally, CRISC ranks as the top paying certification in 2017 according to Global Knowledge.
Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
Another information security certification, CISSP concentrates on the practical applications of cybersecurity expertise and tools. Over 110,000 people globally are CISSPs.
Looking to become an information security professional? This certification is directed at current and potential security consultants, analysts, managers, auditors, architects and directors, and is unique in its eligibility criteria.
While suitable experience and education will make you eligible to take on this certification, the CISSP criteria also allows professionals to earn an associate credential while working towards the required experience.
Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
According to Global Knowledge, CISA is the sixth highest paying certification of 2017. The CISA certification has been completed by 126,000 people globally and is non-profit ISACA's oldest certification, dating back to 1978.
Our final certificate recommendation is designed for information security professionals, CISA will showcase your audit knowledge, skills and experience. With a growing demand for professionals with skills in audit, control and security, this certification can boost your salary and job prospects or fast-track you towards your career goals.
The certification won SC Magazine's Best Professional Certification Program of 2017.
No matter your goal, whether that be a boost in salary, an expansion of your skillset or a move in a new and exciting direction, there will be certification suitable for your needs. Trends show that spending the extra time and effort reaps the rewards in your pay packet in the long run.
Ready for start-up alley?
If you’re an IT professional looking to step off the corporate ladder and launch a start-up, you’re probably busy upskilling in preparation.
But launching your start-up requires so much more than being technically skilled for delivery. You also need to know how to launch and implement your business idea.