The Best-Paying Certifications for IT Professionals

If you're looking to boost your paycheck, earning IT certifications is a great way to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise to employers. Regardless of your technology niche, there is a certification you can earn to help you reach your career goals.

Global Knowledge, a leading IT training company, recently published its annual list of top-paying certifications for IT professionals. According to this year's survey results, 85 percent of respondents hold at least one certification, with many holding up to six or seven certifications. If you've got some experience under your belt and are looking for the credentials to leverage in your negotiation for a higher salary, consider pursuing one or more of these certifications.

Best Cert IT

Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect

A relatively new credential, Google launched this certification in 2017. Earning it shows employers you have expertise in cloud architecture and deep knowledge of the Google Cloud Platform (GCP). To qualify, you'll need three or more years of industry experience, along with at least one year of designing and managing solutions using GCP.

AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate

Professionals who earn the AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate credential demonstrate their robust knowledge of Amazon's cloud technology. This certification is designed for professionals who already have one or more years of hands-on experience with AWS and have already performed in a solutions architect role. To apply, you must hold an Amazon Web Services (AWS) Certified Cloud Practitioner certificate.

CISM - Certified Information Security Manager

Created in 2002, ISACA's CISM certification is designed for professionals who have several years of industry experience. Upon earning the CISM, professionals demonstrate their expertise in information security governance, risk management, incident management, and program development. To qualify for the exam, you must submit verified evidence you've worked at least five years in information security, with three years or more experience in information security management in specific areas.

CRISC - Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control

Also offered by ISACA, the CRISC certification is a way for professionals to establish their expertise in information security (and related) skills on their resumes. To earn this certification, professionals must pass testing in four domains: information security governance, information risk management, information security program development and management, and information security incident. To qualify for the exams, you must have at least three years of work experience in at least two of the four domain areas.

Project Management Professional (PMP®)

PMP certification is one of the most prestigious certifications you can earn. To qualify, you'll need a four-year degree and a minimum of three years of project management experience, along with 4,500 hours leading and directing projects. Alternatively, you can hold a high school diploma (or equivalent) and have at least five years of PM experience, along with 7,500 hours leading and directing projects. In addition to one of these two ways to qualify, you'll need 35 hours of project management education or CAPM® Certification.

Not yet mid-level in your career? Check out these credentials

Professionals holding at least one of the above certifications can typically command a six-figure salary. However, even if you don't qualify for some of these higher-level certifications, you can jump-start your IT career by pursuing certifications designed for professionals just getting started in their careers.

  •  Comp TIA A+
  •  CompTIA cloud+
  •  Cisco certified network associate (CCNA)
  •  Apple-certified support professional (ACSP)

Additionally, you can pursue one or more of the many Microsoft Technology Professional certifications offered for the professional who is just getting started.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects computer and IT occupations to grow 12 percent from 2018 to 2028, which is much faster than the average occupation. The highest demand is expected to be for jobs that require skills associated with the cloud and information security.

Professionals seeking these job opportunities will find pursuing certifications can be worth the investment and effort. It enables them to command higher paychecks and open doors to better career options. Certifications also demonstrate to employers you're willing to commit to continuing education by keeping your skills current and relevant in a fast-paced industry.

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