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Top 10 Best IT Certifications for Beginners to Pros

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Best IT Certifications

IT certifications can improve your career options, especially if you’re starting out or looking to change companies. Having certifications can give you many advantages over uncertified candidates with similar abilities and skills. They’re also a way to prove your mastery in a certain area to your current or potential employer, allowing you to negotiate a better salary. And of course, certifications help showcase your interest in being updated with the latest technological trends and skillsets.

Certified IT professionals are paid the best salaries in the industry. They gain tremendous exposure from challenging projects throughout their careers. For example, a PMP certification holder earns around $143,493 on average; taking up a relevant job after CISSP certification pays at least $141,452, a Google-certified professional cloud architect is paid around $175,761, and so on.

But what exactly are the best IT certifications? In this article, we’ve included the best, whether they are beginners, intermediate, or advanced professionals.

 

Our Top IT Certifications of 2022

Our assessments have shown that the top IT certifications this year are those for cloud services and cyber security. These fields appear to be the most in-demand, with some of the highest-paying salaries on offer.

 

What Is the Cost of an IT Certification?

When it comes to IT certifications, the main cost involved is generally the price of the assessment or examination. Prices can range from $150 to close to $1,000, usually per attempt.

Preparing for your certification can also cost you money, depending on whether you choose to go the route of paid prep courses and test exams. Fortunately, there are often free options available if you need to cut down on costs.

Depending on the certification’s requirements, you may need to have certain qualifications or credentials to qualify to sit for the assessment. In some cases (such as in the PMP certification), you may even be required to have a bachelor’s degree. These costs can be factored into the total costs of your certification. Most of the time, however, IT certification requires experience and prior knowledge. These costs aren’t necessarily monetary but can involve plenty of your time.

Maintaining your certification can also cost money, in some cases. For example, CISSP certification requires you to pay $125 each year.

 

How Much Do Certified IT Professionals Earn?

Certified IT professionals can earn significantly more than non-certified IT pros. According to Global Knowledge, the top 15 highest-paying certs all have average salaries of over $110,000.

What you may actually earn depends on a few factors, such as your location, position, and how in-demand your field of interest is.

 

How We Chose the Best IT Certifications

Choosing the best IT certifications was no easy task. Initially, we simply looked at the highest-earning contenders. After all, high salaries usually mean a field in high demand and more career opportunities in general. And while we did include a few of the highest earning certifications in this list, we also included some of the most in-demand in each sector. We also did our best to include certifications in other sectors such as project management, and foundational certifications such as the ITIL certificate included below.

 

10 Best IT Certifications in 2022

Here are the listed best information technology certifications.

1. Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect - Best IT Certification All Around

One of the top IT certifications in demand today is Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect. It is also one of the highest-paying IT certifications. According to Talent.com, the median annual salary (out of 163 polled salaries) for certified professionals is $153,650, with annual salaries in California going as high as $178,000 or more. Want another incentive? Check out this article by Venture Beat stating that Google-certified individuals earn as much as 65% higher raises. Here’s another article stating that individuals adding Google certifications to their resumes receive raises of as much as $12,000 - $13,000.

Google provides many cloud certifications like associate cloud engineer, cloud data engineer, cloud network engineer, etc. You can take up any of the certifications as long as you qualify. However, since Cloud Architect is one of the highest-paying certifications in the IT industry, this particular certification may be one to consider. A professional cloud architect will be able to design, develop, and maintain robust, secure, scalable, and dynamic solutions for businesses. The exam assesses you on the following:

  • Ability to plan and design cloud solution architecture
  • Ensure robust and reliable solution and operation
  • Adhere to compliance and security measures
  • Optimize business and technical processes

But why would you choose this exam over Amazon’s AWS Certified Solutions Architect (Associate) — especially when AWS wins the majority market share at 32% over Google Cloud’s 9%? Well, Google Cloud’s market share is steadily rising, increasing the demand for certified professionals who are then paid handsomely for their qualifications.

As one of the top IT certifications, Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect is one you shouldn’t miss out on if you plan to work within the field. It’s affordable, at only $200 + tax. However, it does require three years of IT experience and at least a year or more of GCP solutions experience. If you’d like some training prior to taking the exam, you can go straight to Google.

Exam Details

Exam Duration

2 hours

Registration Fees

$200 + tax

Languages

English and Japanese

Format

MCQs, multiple answers

Method

online; in-center (testing center)

Prerequisites

3+ years of IT experience and 1+ year of experience in GCP solutions

What We Like:

  • One of the most in-demand IT certifications in 2022
  • High salaries, with the median over $150,000
  • Affordable exam, online testing option available

What We Don’t Like:

  • Certificate is only valid for two years, you must recertify every two years
  • Despite GCP’s rising market share, it is still dwarfed by AWS

Click Here to Sign Up

 

2. AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate - Second Place; Best for Cloud Professionals

The AWS Certified Solutions Architect — Associate certification is one of the best IT certs you can earn today. We’d happily give it the “best overall” rating if not for the fact that salaries for certified pros are just slightly below those certified in Google Cloud. According to PayScale, certified individuals earn on average $118,000 per year, although the number goes up higher for professionals in the position of Solutions Architect ($131,540) and Senior Solutions Architect ($149,175). These salary numbers may actually come closer to the $140,000 - $150,000 average range, depending on the location.

This is an associate-level program to validate your technical skills, which in turn can help you grow your career. The associate certification exam validates the following:

  • Architect secure applications based on AWS technologies.
  • Use architectural design principles to define a solution.
  • Using best practices for providing implementation guidance to the organization throughout the life cycle of the project.

Those who want some training prior to their certification can get it right from the source: Amazon Web Services. Amazon recommends for professionals to have at least one year or more of experience designing AWS systems. It also provides sample questions, an examination guide, and a practice exam among its other professional training resources.

Exam Details

Exam format

MCQ, multiple answers

Exam Type

Associate (entry)

Exam Mode

Online; testing center

Duration

130 minutes

Cost

150$

Languages

English, Japanese, Korean, Chinese (simplified)

Prerequisites

At least one year of hands-on AWS experience; see recommended know-how below

Recommended know-how:

  • Use compute, networking, storage, and database AWS services, AWS deployment, and management services.
  • Identify technical requirements for an AWS-based application and vice-versa.
  • Knowing the best practices to build secure and reliable applications on the AWS platform
  • Basic architectural principles of building on the AWS Cloud, AWS global infrastructure, AWS-related network technologies, AWS security tools, and features and their relation with traditional services

What We Like:

  • AWS currently holds Cloud market dominance
  • Average salaries are definitely on the high end
  • Certification is affordable
  • Online testing is available

What We Don’t Like:

  • Requires plenty of experience and knowledge to pass

There are other AWS certifications, and you can choose the one that suits your position or goals best.

Click Here to Sign Up

 

3. PMP - Project Management Professional - Best for Project Management

If project management is more your style, you can’t go wrong with the PMI (Project Management Institute) Project Management Professional certification. This certification focuses on three main methodologies of project management, namely Agile, Waterfall (predictive life cycle), and a mixed or hybrid approach.

PMP is a well-recognized certification accepted by many organizations worldwide. It can help you accelerate your career as a project manager. This certification opens doors for you to work in various domains and industries, along with a significant salary advantage over others. PMI states that the average salary for a PMP-certified individual is about $121,000 in the United States, with the 75th percentile salaries going as high as $154,200.

Those interested in training can go straight to the PMI, where plenty of training resources are available. If you’d like to maintain your certification, you’ll be tasked to earn 60 PDUs (professional development units) over a period of three years, a repeating cycle.

Exam Details

Exam Format

MCQ (200 questions)

Duration

4 hours

Price

$405 (members); $555 (non-members)

Prerequisites

  • Secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree or the global equivalent)
  • 7,500 hours leading and directing projects
  • 35 hours of project management education OR
  • CAPM certification

OR

  • Four-year degree
  • 4,500 hours leading and directing projects
  • 35 hours of project management education OR
  • CAPM certification

Validity

3 years

What We Like:

  • Online testing is available
  • Good average salary
  • Plenty of training resources available

What We Don’t Like:

  • Relatively pricey exam cost
  • Requires a bachelor’s degree with extensive experience OR a secondary degree and even more experience

Click Here to Sign Up

 

4. CRISC - One of the Best Certifications for IT Security Professionals

CRISC is short for Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control. CRISC, a certification offered by ISACA, is accepted worldwide and can get you recognized instantly, giving a boost to your career. The certification tests you on the 4 core IT domains – IT risk identification, risk response, and mitigation, IT risk assessment, risk and control monitoring, and reporting. If you are a business analyst, project manager, risk, compliance, or control professional, this certification will undoubtedly benefit you.

One of the best things about CRISC certification is the high salary. This article shares that the median annual salary in 2021 for certificate holders is $132,266. The numbers can go as high as $160,000+, especially if you live in some California cities. The salary can also depend on your role, with Senior IT auditors earning an average of $90,702 and CISOs (chief information security officer) earning $180,853.

Interested parties can visit ISACA for their training materials. There are online review courses, ebooks for study guides, and even instructor-led training to help you prepare.

Exam Details

Duration

240 mins

Exam Price

$575 (Members), $760 (non-members)

Type

MCQ; 150 questions

Passing Marks

450 out of 800 (56.25%)

Language

English

Prerequisite

None; for the exam, thorough preparation through books, practice materials are recommended

What We Like:

  • Plenty of prep materials and guides are available
  • Cyber security is one of the most in-demand IT fields in 2022
  • Great average salary

What We Don’t Like:

  • Certification is expensive
  • You must renew your certificate yearly (for a fee)
  • To get your certificate, you must pay $50
  • Continuing education is required

To maintain your CRISC certification, you must earn a minimum of 20 CPE hours yearly, 120 CPE hours during a three-year cycle period, and a payment of $45 annually. The $45 fee is for members of ISACA — non-members must pay $85 each year.

Click Here to Sign Up

 

5. Certified Scrum Master - For Scrum Management Professionals

Scrum is a crucial methodology followed by most projects. Certification in the scrum framework can get you the right role in critical projects and help in enhancing the value of your resume. To clear the exam, you can take up the scrum master training required. Or, if you have hands-on experience, you can directly sit for the exam.

Scrum Masters can earn $99,492 per year on average in the United States, according to GlassDoor. Although salaries in this field aren’t the highest in IT, they are still pretty good — especially if you consider the fact that the figures can get even better depending on your position and additional qualifications.

Exam Details

Duration

60 minutes

Passing Score

85%

Price

$150

Format

MCQ, multiple answers, True/false

Language

English

Prerequisites

none

Recommended Learning

According to Scrum.org, the Applying Professional Scrum (2-Day course) or Professional Scrum Master course is recommended

What We Like:

  • Exam is cheap and relatively short
  • Plenty of learning materials available, with preparatory courses also on offer
  • Practice test available

What We Don’t Like:

  • The assessment can be quite challenging and requires preparation

Click Here to Sign Up

 

6. Information Technology Infrastructure Library - One of the Best IT Certifications for Beginners

ITIL is one of the most popular IT service management frameworks across the world. The goal of ITIL is to encourage business transformation and improve efficiency to achieve predictable service levels. Certification in ITIL signifies that the individual has mastered the best practices of IT service management. The concepts of ITIL are vendor-neutral, thus making it easy for anyone to learn the same. There are different levels of certifications – ITIL foundation, ITIL intermediate, ITIL practitioner, and ITIL Expert. The foundation level is the first level of certification, the details of which are given below.

As the first rung on the ladder, the ITIL Foundation Certification is one of the best IT certifications for beginners. It is one of the most widely-earned certs in the industry, at least according to Global Knowledge. All ITIL certs are offered by Axelos.

According to PayScale, certified individuals earn a median annual income of $101,000. This salary can vary depending on the individual’s position, with higher or C-level employees earning as much as $186,249 each year.

Exam Details

Format

MCQ

Number of Questions

40

Passing Marks

26/40 (65%)

Prerequisites

none

Duration

60 minutes

Price

$495

Language

English

What We Like:

  • Relatively high average salaries
  • Online testing is available
  • Training available
  • Certification is valid perpetually

What We Don’t Like:

  • Pretty pricey examination

Click Here to Sign Up

 

7. CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) - Best for Information Security Pros

CISSP is the top certification in the information security field. It is offered by the international non-profit organization ISC and is currently one of the top information security certifications on LinkedIn. The certification enables you to:

  • Define the design, architecture, and management of the security of your organization
  • Develop working knowledge in the eight domains recommended by the CISSP CBK
  • Learn about Access Control Systems, Security, and Methodology of Software
  • Be able to optimize Security Operations

As the information security sector grows, the demand for professionals in the field also increases. It’s no wonder that this certification is one of the most in-demand for those in information technology. Simplilearn states that professionals with this certification earn a median annual salary of $125,470.

Exam Details

Format

250 MCQ and advanced innovative questions

Duration

6 hours

Passing Marks

700/1000

Prerequisites

  • minimum of 5 years of full-time work experience in at least two domains of the CISSP Common Book of Knowledge (CBK)
  • 4-year college education degree or a regional equivalent of a CISSP credential from the (ISC)2 approved list

Exam Mode

Online (Pearson center); check Pearson VUE website for location and other details

Cost

$749

Training

CISSP training program or study with certification material

Language

English

For non-English exams, linear and fixed-form exams are conducted, which has 250 questions and a duration of 6 hours. It is available in French, Brazilian Portuguese, German, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.

What We Like:

  • High average salary
  • Lots of preparation materials available
  • Very much in-demand

What We Don’t Like:

  • Pricey exam
  • Extensive education and experience required
  • No online testing available
  • Requires annual maintenance payment of $125

Click Here to Sign Up

 

8. Certified Data Professional - Best for Data Pros

CDP, offered by the ICCP, tests the professional competency and knowledge of data professionals. Data professionals can specialize in any of the areas like Business Analytics, data analytics, and design, data governance, data integration and interoperability, data management, data and information quality, data stewardship, data warehousing, IT management, etc., and take up the specialized certification. There are many levels of CDP certifications – foundation, associate/practitioner, mastery, principal, and executive management.

Exam Details

Level

Industry experience

Exam Details

Foundation

none (entry-level)

2 exams of 60 minutes each, 50% pass score Cost: $250, $488, $598, $750

Practitioner

2+ years

3 exams of 90 minutes each, 50% pass score Cost: $750, $897

Master

4+ years

3 exams of 90 minutes each, 70% pass score Cost: $750, $897

Principal

5+ years

Three exams of 90 minutes each, 70% pass score, mentoring workshop for two days Cost: $1,497

Executive

5+ years

written assessment, 70% pass score, 4-day workshop Cost: $4,500

Note that the certification cost varies depending upon factors like the number of exams taken, credentials you wish to receive, and the study materials you procure.

What We Like:

  • 5 levels of certification available
  • Excellent way to show your value in the data sector

What We Don’t Like:

  • Each level of certification requires payment
  • Certification is expensive

Click Here to Sign Up

 

9. CCNP Enterprise Certification

CCNP certification validates your skills in enterprise networking solutions. It covers two exams – the core exam and an enterprise concentration exam that you can choose so you can earn certification in your specified technical area. It is a high-value certification that is recognized worldwide, and you can get individual (CISCO) specialized certifications for both the core and technical exams. The certification is valid for three years.

Exam Details

The core exam needs to take up the following:

350-401 ENCOR: Implementing Cisco Enterprise Network Core Technologies

Prerequisites: None

Exam duration: 120 minutes

Cost: $400

For the concentration exam, you can choose one of the following exams, each of which is 90 minutes in duration. None of the below requires any prerequisites except the recommended training course:

300-410 ENARSI: Implementing Cisco Enterprise Advanced Routing and Services

Cost: $300

Training course: Implementing Cisco Enterprise Advanced Routing and Services

300-415 ENSDWI: Implementing Cisco SD-WAN Solutions

Cost: $300

Training course: Implementing Cisco SD-WAN Solutions

300-420 ENSLD: Designing Cisco Enterprise Networks

Cost: $300

Training course: Designing Cisco Enterprise Networks

300-425 ENWLSD: Designing Cisco Enterprise Wireless Networks

Cost: $300

Training course: Designing Cisco Enterprise Wireless Networks

00-430 ENWLSI: Implementing Cisco Enterprise Wireless Networks

Cost: $300

Training course: Implementing Cisco Enterprise Wireless Networks

What We Like:

  • High average salaries
  • Various areas of certification to choose from — choose your specialty

What We Don’t Like:

  • Requires plenty of experience
  • Each area of certification requires additional payment

Click Here to Sign Up

 

10. VMware Certified Professional Data Center Virtualization 2022 (VCP-DCV 2022)

This certification (VCP-DCV 2022) was developed to help validate a candidate’s professional skills when it comes to implementing, troubleshooting, and managing vSphere infrastructures. It also helps professionals develop skills and knowledge in the best practices of providing powerful, secure, and flexible foundations for business agility, something that can potentially accelerate the shift into cloud computing.

According to PayScale, certified individuals earn about $99,000 per year on average. However, according to Global Knowledge, this figure could be as much as $132,000 yearly — or more.

If you’d like to know more about this certification and how to earn it, check out this Global Knowledge page.

Exam Details

Format

70 Multiple Choice/Multi-Response Questions

Duration

130 minutes

Passing Marks

300

Cost

$250

Language

English

What We Like:

  • High average salaries
  • Certifications are perpetual; no maintenance payments required
  • You can upgrade your certification to the latest version (i.e. 2021 -> 2022, 2022 -> 2023, and so on) each year, and keep those certifications forever too

What We Don’t Like:

  • Many prerequisites, though they will depend on your current credentials and experience (more information here)

Click Here to Sign Up

 

Conclusion

These are a few certifications you can do to boost your career in IT; however, there are many more. Certifications can add the necessary boost to your resume as well as help you climb the career ladder faster than others. You can take up any of the certifications depending on which career option you want to pursue, for example, if you want to get into project management roles, you can take up certified scrum master or PMP certification. Similarly, if you want to get into core IT and risk management roles, you can go for ITIL, CRISC, or CISSP certification.

We hope this list of the Best IT certifications 2022 has to offer has been enlightening and has helped you figure out which direction to take. Which certifications do you prefer and why? Share with us!

IT Fundamentals - Everything you need to know about IT

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Which certification is the best for the IT industry?

The best certification will depend on your field of interest and career goals. If you’re simply after the best-paying certifications, you can consider Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect, AWS Certified Solutions Architect, Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC), or Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). If project management is more your deal, try Project Management Professional or Certified Scrum Master.

Which certifications are most in-demand for IT?

According to this list by Global Knowledge, some of the highest-earning IT sectors are data and information/cyber security. And indeed, some of the most in-demand certifications are those within those sectors, such as Google’s Cloud Architect certification or AWS’s Solutions Architect Associate certification. Security pros will benefit from CRISC or CISSP.

Which IT certification should I get first?

One of the most widely-held certificates within the IT field is the ITIL Foundation certification. Certificate holders earn relatively well in terms of average annual incomes. The certification exam isn’t the cheapest, but the good news is once you pass, you keep your certification forever.

What is the easiest IT cert to get?

As one of the most commonly earned certifications (and one of the best for beginners), ITIL Foundation certification is also one of the easiest. There aren’t too many prerequisites, which can make earning yours a bit easier.

Can I get an IT job with certifications?

Absolutely! Not only can you land a job with IT certification, but chances are you can also earn more than non-certified equivalents. The Pearson-Vue report on the 2021 Value of IT Certifications shows that 55% of professionals who received a raise got them within three months of getting their certification. 7% of surveyed candidates got a raise of over 50% while 9% got a 31-50% raise, 13% got a 21-30% raise, 23% got an 11-20% raise, and 22% received a raise of less than 5%.

Which certs will earn you the most?

This list by Global Knowledge shows that the top five highest earning certificates are Google Certified Professional Data Engineer, Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect, AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate, CRISC, and CISSP. Each certification earns professionals median annual salaries above $150,000.

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Akhil Bhadwal

Akhil Bhadwal

A Computer Science graduate interested in mixing up imagination and knowledge into enticing words. Been in the big bad world of content writing since 2014. In his free time, Akhil likes to play cards, do guitar jam, and write weird fiction. View all posts by the Author

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