Best IT Certifications for Beginners, Intermediate and Experts
IT certifications can give you a plethora of career options, especially if you are planning to switch companies. Certifications give you many advantages over other candidates with similar skills and abilities. IT certifications are a way to prove to your potential employer about your mastery in a particular area. It also showcases your interest to be updated with the latest technological trends and skillset.
IT certification holders are paid the best salaries in the industry and gain tremendous exposure through challenging projects throughout their careers. For example, a PMP certification holder earns around $143,493 on an 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.
10 Best IT Certifications
Here are the listed best information technology certifications.
Google provides many cloud certifications like associate cloud engineer, cloud data engineer, cloud network engineer, etc. You can take up any of the certifications. However, as per our analysis, professional cloud architect certification is one of the highest-paying certifications in the IT industry. A professional cloud architect will be able to design, develop, and maintain robust, secure, scalable, 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
|Exam Duration||2 hours|
|Registration Fees||$200 + tax|
|Languages||English and Japanese|
|Format||MCQs, multiple answers|
|Method||online; in-centre (testing centre)|
|Prerequisites||3+ years of IT experience and 1+ year of experience in GCP solutions|
- Designing and planning cloud solution architecture – business use cases and product strategy, cost optimization, data movement, application design support, external systems integration, key performance indicators, ROI, metrics, compliance, observability, designing a network, storage and computation resources, migration plan, technology, and cloud improvements, etc.
- Managing and provisioning solution infrastructure – configuring network topologies, computing systems, and individual storage systems.
- Designing for security and compliance – identity and access management, resource hierarchy, penetration testing, data security, security controls, managing customer-managed encryption, separation of duties, compliance – legislation, commercial, audits, industry certifications
- Analyzing and optimizing technical and business processes – SDLC, CI/CD, testing, validation, change management, stakeholder management, decision making, customer success management, cost optimization, chaos engineering.
- Implementation management – API best practices, testing frameworks, application development, system, and data migration tooling, google cloud shell, GCP SDK
- Ensuring solutions and operations reliability – deployment, release management, quality control measures, profiling, logging, monitoring solutions, etc.
You can signup here.
This is an associate-level program to validate your technical skills and helps in faster career growth. There are other AWS certifications to suit your position. 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.
|Exam format||MCQ, multiple answers|
|Exam Type||Associate (entry)|
|Exam Mode||Online; testing center|
|Languages||English, Japanese, Korean, Chinese (simplified)|
- 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
The exam is centered around four main domains, as mentioned below:
- Design resilient architectures (30%) – design multi-tier architecture solution, highly available and fault-tolerant architecture, decoupling mechanisms, choose appropriate resilient storage.
- Design highly-performant architectures (28%) - Identify elastic and scalable compute solutions for a workload, choose scalable storage, networking, and database solutions for a workload.
- Design Secure Applications and Architectures (24%) - secure application tiers and access to AWS resources, select appropriate data security options.
- Design Cost-Optimized Architectures (18%) - Identify cost-effective storage solutions, compute and database services, cost-optimized network architectures.
You can signup here.
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.
|Exam Format||MCQ (200 questions)|
|Price||$405 (members); $555 (non-members)|
The exam tests you on five essential domains:
- Initiating (13%)
- Planning (24%)
- Executing (31%)
- Monitoring and Controlling (25%)
- Closing (7%)
Check out the PMP exam outline pdf for more on content details.
You can signup here.
CRISC is short for Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control. CRISC is accepted worldwide and can get you recognized instantly, giving a boost to your career. You can earn as much as $117k as a CRISC certification holder. 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.
|Exam Price||$575 (Members), $760 (non-members)|
|Type||MCQ; 150 questions|
|Passing Marks||450 out of 800 (56.25%)|
|Prerequisite||none; for the exam, thorough preparation through books, practice materials are recommended|
- IT risk identification (27%) – Develop IT scenarios, identify vulnerabilities and threats to the processes, employees, and technology of a company for enabling IT to risk analysis, enable risk-based decision making by analyzing risk scenarios, etc.
- Risk response mitigation (23%) – evaluate the efficiency of risk response options and manage them effectively to align with business objectives, update changes in the risk and response management in the risk register, validation of risk response with risk action plans, establishing clear lines of authority, etc.
- IT risk assessment (28%) – Review results of risk and control analysis to identify gaps, communicate results of risk assessment to concerned persons, ensure that risk ownership is assigned to the right (accountable) person, etc.
- Risk response mitigation (23%) – assist control owners in developing control procedures and documentation to enable efficient and effective control execution, consult with risk owners and advise them on the risk action plans to ensure all the factors like cost, response, target date, etc. are included, update the risk register, etc.
- Risk and control monitoring and reporting (22%) – monitor and analyze KPIs to identify changes related to control environment and identify the effectiveness of controls, report changes or trends in overall risk profile, control environment to stakeholders for decision making, etc.
You can signup here.
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, or if you have hands-on experience, you can directly sit for the exam.
|Format||MCQ, multiple answers, True/false|
|Recommended Learning||Professional Scrum Master/Professional Scrum foundations|
- Fundamentals of Scrum – basic concepts of Agile and Scrum, Agile manifesto, Scrum foundation values, seven objectives of Scrum and agile
- Scrum Concepts and terminologies – terms like backlog, Kanban, burndown, daily stand up, chart.
- Scrum core competencies – skills to manage and motivate the team, coaching agile practices, removing distractions, forecasting, servant leader, etc.
- Scrum roles and scrum ceremonies – the product owner, scrum master, scrum team – roles and responsibilities of each, product backlog, sprint backlog, product increment, daily stand-up, sprint planning meeting, sprint review meeting, retrospective meeting
- Roles and responsibilities of scrum master – various roles of scrum master, Servant-Leader, Facilitator, Manager, Coach, Mentor, Motivator, Advisor, etc.
You can signup here.
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 certification holder 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, ITIL Expert. The foundation level is the first level of certification, the details of which are given below.
|Number of Questions||40|
|Passing Marks||26/40 (65%)|
- fundamental concepts of service management – service, utility, output, risk, service offering, provision, consumption, etc
- ITIL guiding principles that help an organization adapt service management – focus on value, progress iteratively, collaborates and promote visibility, etc.
- four dimensions of service management - value streams and processes, partners and suppliers, Information and Technology, Organizations and people
- components and purpose of the ITIL service value system – ITIL service value system
- activities of the service value chain, and their interconnection
- Purpose and critical terms of 15 ITIL practices – information security management, supplier management, release management, problem management, incident management, service desk, deployment management, continual improvement, etc.
- the 7 ITIL practices – Continual improvement, Change enablement, Incident management, Problem management, Service request management, Service Desk, Service level management.
You can signup here.
CISSP is the top certification in the information security field. It is offered by the international non-profit organization ISC. It 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
|Format||100-150 MCQ and advanced innovative questions|
|Exam Mode||Online (Pearson center); check Pearson VUE website for location and other details|
|Training||CISSP training program or study with certification material|
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, Korean.
The exam will validate your skills in the following eight domains:
- Security and Risk Management (15%) - Understand and apply concepts of confidentiality, integrity, and availability, Evaluate and apply security governance principles, Develop, document, and implement security policy, standards, procedures, and guidelines, Identify, analyze, and prioritize Business Continuity (BC) requirements, Understand legal and regulatory issues that pertain to information security in a global context, Understand and apply risk management concepts, Understand and apply threat modeling concepts and methodologies, Establish and maintain a security awareness, education, and training program, Contribute and enforce personnel security policies and procedures, Understand, adhere to, and promote professional ethics, Determine compliance requirements.
- Asset Security (10%) - Maintain information and asset ownership, Ensure appropriate asset retention, Determine data security controls, Establish information and asset handling requirements, Identify and classify information and assets, Protect privacy.
- Security Architecture and Engineering (13%) - Understand security capabilities of information systems (e.g., memory protection, Trusted Platform Module (TPM), encryption/decryption), Implement and manage engineering processes using secure design principles, Understand the fundamental concepts of security models, Assess and mitigate the vulnerabilities of security architectures, designs, and solution elements, Assess and mitigate vulnerabilities in mobile systems, Assess and mitigate vulnerabilities in embedded devices, Select controls based upon systems security requirements, Apply cryptography, Apply security principles to site and facility design, Implement site and facility security controls, Assess and mitigate vulnerabilities in web-based systems,
- Communication and Network Security (14%) - Implement secure design principles in network architectures, Secure network components, Implement secure communication channels according to design.
- Identity and Access Management (IAM) (13%) - Control physical and logical access to assets, manage identification and authentication of people, devices, and services, Implement and manage authorization mechanisms, Manage the identity and access provisioning lifecycle, Integrate identity as a third-party service.
- Security Assessment and Testing (12%) - Design and validate assessment, test, and audit strategies, collect security process data (e.g., technical and administrative), Conduct security control testing, Conduct or facilitate security audits, analyze test output and generate a report
- Security Operations (13%) - Understand and support investigations, understand requirements for investigation types, Conduct logging, and monitoring activities, Securely provisioning resources, Apply resource protection techniques, Implement Disaster Recovery (DR) processes, Test Disaster Recovery Plans (DRP), Conduct incident management, Operate and maintain detective and preventive measures, Implement and support patch and vulnerability management, Understand and apply foundational security operations concepts, Understand and participate in change management processes, Implement recovery strategies, Participate in Business Continuity (BC) planning and exercises, Implement and manage physical security, Address personnel safety and security concerns.
- Software Development Security (10%) - Understand and integrate security in SDLC, Identify and apply security controls in development environments, assess security impact of acquired software, Define and apply secure coding guidelines and standards, Assess the effectiveness of software security
For more details, check the isc2 outline page.
You can signup here.
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, executive management.
|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.
Here, we outline the exam syllabus for the foundation course, which is the first step for CDP certification.
- Foundations Exam - IS Core
- Foundations of IS (40%)
- Enterprise Architecture (23%)
- Data & Information Management (23%)
- IS Project Management (3%)
- Systems Analysis & Design (5%)
- IT Infrastructure (5%)
- Foundations (Business Technology Management)
- Business Systems (13%)
- Measuring performance (13%)
- Business Systems and Technologies (27%)
- Management considerations (10%)
- Projects (27%)
- Decision support (10%)
- Foundations (Data Management)
- Document management foundations (12%)
- Data & information management frameworks of knowledge and practice (10%)
- Reference and Master Data Management foundations (13%)
- Data Governance foundations (15%)
- Assuring data quality (20%)
- Role and usage of metadata (8%)
- Data warehousing and analytics models for business intelligence applications (22%)
- Foundations (Data Warehousing)
- Data Warehousing Analysis – foundations (30%)
- Tools and Technologies that support Data Warehousing (23%)
- Terminology and Types of Databases and Data Warehouses (23%)
- Data integration (13%)
- Data Warehousing – foundations (10%)
- Data Modeling (Data Development) – Foundations
- Data Development activities (30%)
- Data Analysis & Design (52%)
- Managing data models and assuring design quality (18%)
You can signup here.
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.
The core exam needs to take up the following:
350-401 ENCOR: Implementing Cisco Enterprise Network Core Technologies
Exam duration: 120 minutes
Exam syllabus: Implementing core enterprise network technologies, including dual-stack (IPv4 and IPv6) architecture, virtualization, infrastructure, network assurance, security, and automation covering the following weightage:
- Architecture (15%)
- Virtualization (10%)
- Infrastructure (30%)
- Network assurance (10%)
- Security (20%)
- Automation (15%)
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
Training course: Implementing Cisco Enterprise Advanced Routing and Services.
Implementation and troubleshooting of advanced routing technologies and services, including Layer 3, VPN services, infrastructure security, infrastructure services, and infrastructure automation. Weightage as follows:
- Layer 3 technologies (35%)
- VPN technologies (20%)
- Infrastructure security (20%)
- Infrastructure services (25%)
300-415 ENSDWI: Implementing Cisco SD-WAN Solutions
Training course: Implementing Cisco SD-WAN Solutions
Exam syllabus: Knowledge of Cisco’s SD-WAN solution including SD-WAN architecture, controller deployment, edge router deployment, policies, security, Quality of service, multicast and management and operations, with the weightage as:
- Architecture (20%)
- Controller deployment (15%)
- Router deployment (20%)
- Policies (20%)
- Security & Quality of service (15%)
- Management and operations (10%)
300-420 ENSLD: Designing Cisco Enterprise Networks
Training course: Designing Cisco Enterprise Networks
Exam syllabus: Enterprise design, including advanced addressing and routing solutions, advanced enterprise campus networks, WAN, security services, network services, and SDA, weightage as follows:
- Advanced Addressing and Routing solutions (25%)
- Advanced enterprise campus networks (25%)
- WAN for enterprise networks (20%)
- Network services (20%)
- Automation (10%)
300-425 ENWLSD: Designing Cisco Enterprise Wireless Networks
Training course: Designing Cisco Enterprise Wireless Networks
Exam syllabus: Wireless network design, including site surveys, wired and wireless infrastructure, mobility, and WLAN high availability. The weightage is as follows:
- Wireless site survey (25%)
- Wired and wireless infrastructure (30%)
- Mobility (25%)
- WLAN high availability (20%)
300-430 ENWLSI: Implementing Cisco Enterprise Wireless Networks
Training course: Implementing Cisco Enterprise Wireless Networks
Exam syllabus: Wireless network implementation including FlexConnect, QoS, Multicast, advanced location services, security for client connectivity, monitoring, and device hardening. Weightage:
- FlexConnect (15%)
- QoS on a wireless network (10%)
- Multicast (10%)
- Location services (10%)
- Advanced location services (10%)
- Security for wireless client connectivity (20%)
- Monitoring (15%)
- Device hardening (10%)
300-435 ENAUTO: Automating Cisco Enterprise Solutions
Training course: Implementing Cisco Enterprise Automation Solutions
Exam syllabus: Implementing Enterprise automated solutions, including programming concepts, Python programming, APIs, controllers, and automation tools. Weightage:
- Network programmability foundation (10%)
- Automate APIs and protocols (10%)
- Network device programmability (20%)
- Cisco DNA Center (20%)
- Cisco SD-WAN (20%)
- Cisco Meraki (20%)
You can signup here.
It is a data center virtualization exam that tests candidates on their abilities to install, configure, and administer VMWare vSphere six environments. You can take up this certification if you have a minimum of 6 months of experience in working with a vSphere implementation.
|Format||Single and multiple-choice answers, proctored|
|Number of Questions||65|
- Configure and Administer vSphere 6.x Security - Configure and Administer Role-based Access Control, Secure ESXi, vCenter Server, and vSphere Virtual Machines, Enable SSO and Active Directory Integration.
- Configure and Administer Advanced vSphere 6.x Networking - Configure Advanced Policies/Features and Verify Network Virtualization.
- Implementation, Configure Network I/O Control (NIOC)
- Configure and Administer Advanced vSphere 6.x Storage - Manage vSphere Storage Virtualization, Configure Software-defined Storage, Configure vSphere Storage Multipathing, and Failover, Perform Advanced VMFS and NFS Configurations and Upgrades, Setup and Configure Storage I/O Control.
- Upgrade a vSphere Deployment to 6.x - Perform ESXi Host and Virtual Machine Upgrades, Perform vCenter Server Upgrades.
- Administer and Manage vSphere 6.x Resources – Configure Advanced/Multilevel Resource Pools.
- Backup and Recover a vSphere Deployment - Configure and Administer a vSphere Backups/Restore/Replication Solution.
- Troubleshoot a vSphere Deployment - Troubleshoot vCenter Server, ESXi Hosts, and Virtual Machines, Troubleshoot vSphere Storage and Network Issues, Troubleshoot vSphere Upgrades
- Deploy and Consolidate vSphere Data Center - Deploy ESXi Hosts Using Autodeploy, Customize Host Profile Settings.
- Configure and Administer vSphere Availability Solutions - Configure Advanced vSphere HA Features, Configure Advanced vSphere DRS Features
- Administer and Manage vSphere Virtual Machines - Configure Advanced vSphere Virtual Machine Settings, Create and Manage a Multi-site Content Library
You can signup here.
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 in 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. Shout out if you would like us to include any other certifications on this list!
Which certifications do you prefer and why? Share with us!
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