With 2011 just around the corner, it’s not too early to start thinking about getting certified. There are a plethora of Information Technology (IT) certifications available and picking the right one can often be a daunting task. Getting certified is a fast way to showing your boss that you have the knowledge and experience to land that next big promotion. Certifications broadcast to the world that you are competitive and have a basic knowledge base which identifies you as an expert. Many certifications are only valid for a short period of time, so make sure you stay current and recertify if need be. It wasn’t too long ago that the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), a leader in providing IT certifications, certified you for life. That has recently changed. If you received a “certified for life” certification through CompTIA, think about getting recertified. Remember, nobody cares that you were certified 15 years ago. With that being said, the top 5 certifications for 2011 are:
1. CompTIA A+ – This is a vendor-neutral certification which attests to your ability in troubleshooting, installing, and repairing basic systems. The A+ certification is broken down into two tests, the Essentials and the Practical Application. Both are required in order to receive the A+ certification. For those looking at getting an IT job with the Department of Defense (DoD), this certification is required by DoD regulation 8570.01-M.
2. CompTIA Security+ – This is another vendor-neutral certification which attests to your ability in applying IT security best practices within your organization. Like A+, this is another certification that is required by DoD regulation if you work or plan on working in the DoD. As technology continues to evolve, so do the security threats.
3. MCITP: Windows 7 Enterprise Desktop Support Administrator – The Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) is a heavily sought certification. Apple seems to be popular today but they haven’t replaced Windows yet. Prove you have the necessary skills and technical proficiency in Windows 7.
4. CISSP – This along with other security certifications will always be in high demand. CISSP certification requires that you have security knowledge in 10 major areas known as domains. This certification is globally recognized.
5. Cisco CCNP – The Certified Network Professional (CCNP) certification was previously known as CCVP and will attest to your ability to properly handle Cisco voice equipment; more specifically the ability to establish Voice-over-IP (VoIP) communications.
The aforementioned certifications are a must have if you want to stay competitive in the IT field. Remember, being competitive is what gets your promoted and identifies you as an expert.
This information was based on my own training and experience.