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5 IT Certifications for Your Career

March 1, 2021

Earning relevant certifications can develop your skills and validate your qualifications for hiring managers and prospective employers. As a professional in the information technology field, IT certifications can help you stay up-to-date on new technologies and programs to better differentiate yourself from other employees or candidates and refine your skills.

In this article, we explore some of the most common IT certifications you can consider to help advance your career.

Common IT certifications

Continuing education and pursuing certification can help you secure employment, advance to leadership positions and even increase your earning potential. It may also grant you a competitive advantage over other candidates and make you more efficient and effective in your job.

Here are five sets of IT certifications to consider while developing your career:

  1. Cisco certifications
  2. Microsoft certifications
  3. PMI certifications
  4. Oracle certifications
  5. Adobe certifications

1. Cisco certifications

Cisco is a networking and business systems communications company, and knowledge of its features, functions and systems is one of the most consistently sought skills in IT. A Cisco certification verifies your holistic understanding of IT networking and how different network topologies interact to form a solid and efficient network.

These are the central types of certifications offered:

  • Cisco Certified Entry Level Technician (CCENT): This exam validates your skills as an entry-level technician by determining your ability to install, operate and troubleshoot a small enterprise. This 90-minute exam costs $165.

  • Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA): Holding this certification proves your ability to install, configure, manage and support small- to medium-sized networks. Once passed, the $250 exam will grant you a certification lasting up to three years.

  • Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP): This certification credentials you to plan, implement, verify and troubleshoot local- and wide-area enterprise networks and work collaboratively with specialists on advanced security with video systems. The two-hour exam is $600 and must be passed in order to receive certification.

  • Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE): With seven tracks, this certification is regarded as the highest quality from Cisco. It verifies expertise in security, collaboration and routing. Exams cost $1,750. Eight hours of lab work and passing a written test are required for qualification.

2. Microsoft certifications

Most businesses consider Microsoft part of their foundation. Regardless of your industry and path, Microsoft technologies can advance your understanding of their applications and software and your career. Microsoft is constantly updating their programs, but currently offers three different levels of certification. Prices for exams vary as Microsoft offers vouchers and packages. Prices range from $50 to $230. 

These are the three levels of certifications offered:

  • Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA): These certifications are designed for students and show a basic knowledge of fundamentals in key technical disciplines. This certification is not needed to meet the next levels of certification.

  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA): Designed for working professionals and candidates, you may consider this certification to show skills to build on-site and cloud-based solutions in one of Microsoft’s core technology.

  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) and Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE): As the highest level of Microsoft certifications, these two exams will validate your technical skills and ability to build on-site and cloud-based solutions using multiple Microsoft platforms.  

3. PMI certification

Project Manager Institute (PMI) certifications validate that project managers can help meet initiatives globally. PMI certifications are flexible and adaptable because they are not based on just one methodology. They increase your job security and show you have a strong commitment to the profession of project management.

Here is the certification offered:

  • Project Management Professional (PMP) certification: This certification is widely regarded as one of the most prestigious certifications for project managers. It indicates your managerial skills and ability to complete projects in a timely fashion within the set scope and time limits. This 200-question IT certification exam taken on a computer is four hours and costs from $405 to $555. You must answer at least 137 questions of the multiple-choice test, and you get your results immediately upon completing the exam.

4. Oracle certifications

For database domain, database administration and application development, consider an Oracle certification. This certification establishes your position as an authority in the IT profession showing that you can help increase system performance, you are dedicated to your profession and are a highly productive employee.

The two levels of certification are:

  • Oracle Certified Associate: This level is for those just starting with Oracle technologies. It can help you secure a position as an entry-level database administrator. The exam fee is $50.

  • Oracle Certified Professional: This certification validates your skills and experience in managing, developing and even implementing large-scale, enterprise-wide databases and applications. The exam fee is $50. 

5. Adobe certifications

An Adobe certification measures your skills and expertise with Adobe products. It will help to differentiate you from competitors, bring in more business and shows your ability to meet complex challenges daily. You may become more marketable as a professional because it shows to customers your commitment to them through your dedication to gaining expert knowledge through computer certifications like Adobe. Cost for these certifications range from $65-$80 per exam. 

These are the types of certifications offered:

  • Adobe Certified Associate (ACA): This entry-level digital design certification verifies your ability to plan, design, build and implement and maintain strong communications using digital media as an outlet. You can become certified in any of the four domains available: Visual Communication with Adobe Photoshop, Web Communication with Adobe Dreamweaver, Media Communication with Adobe Flash, or Video Communication with Adobe Premiere Pro.

  • Adobe Certified Expert (ACE): This highest level of Adobe certification shows your professional-level of skills and expertise with Adobe’s graphic design products. There are three levels of credentials for an ACE certification: Product Certification, Specialist Certification, and Master Certification.

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