Show What You Know: Best IT Certifications to Keep Your Skills in Demand

by Blair Turley on May 31, 2023 in Concero, IT



The tech industry—troubled by mass layoffs, inflation, and new regulations—has become the face of economic uncertainty in recent months. The headlines naturally spark feelings of uneasiness around IT job security. And if you’re here, you’re probably seeking new ways to enhance your value and stay competitive in the fluctuating job market.

To give you some peace of mind, we can confirm the IT industry is not slimming down. In fact, global IT spending is expected to reach an all-time high of $4.5 trillion this year, and the availability of tech jobs is increasing by the thousands monthly. Plenty of companies still need IT expertise—and yet, many tech workers continue to face difficulties when pursuing new roles.

So, where’s the disconnect? A recent study found 59% of companies struggle to hire qualified IT workers. As business needs change, IT professionals must develop and hone high-demand skills to excel in the job market. Here are the best IT certifications for landing ideal job offers, safeguarding your position, and maximizing compensation in 2023.

Best IT Certifications in 2023

Tangible proof of your expertise has a measurable impact: 35% of job candidates receive pay increases of 20% or more after completing IT certifications. Many of the highest-paying credentials closely relate to the top skills IT recruiters are hiring for in 2023—including web development, DevOps, database software, cloud computing, and cybersecurity. We’ll introduce you to five of the best certification paths that can help you prove these skills and stand out.

1. AWS Certified Solutions Architect

As the world’s leading cloud services provider, Amazon Web Services (AWS) undoubtedly offers some of the most valuable certifications for IT professionals today. Perhaps the most renowned are the ones on the Certified Solutions Architect certification path, which can prove your expertise in cloud architecture and greatly boost your salary expectations.

The Associate certificate is a great starting point for anyone who has worked with AWS in the past, while the Professional certification requires at least two years of hands-on experience. Don’t have an IT background? Learn the fundamentals with the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner course to get your foot in the IT industry before you get started.

Associate Exam Cost: $150

Professional Exam Cost: $300

2. Google Cloud Architect

The Google Cloud Architect certification program is another great track for IT workers interested in cloud development. In fact, 81% of Google-certified professionals believe their resume becomes more attractive to employers—and 70% of those who applied for a new role received an offer.

You can immediately take the Professional Cloud Architect exam if you have three years of industry experience (with at least a year on the cloud). However, beginners can take the following track to naturally level up in their careers:

Foundational Exam Cost: $99

Associate Exam Cost: $125

Professional Exam Cost: $200

3. Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals

One of the best IT certifications for beginners is the Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals course. While there is a focus on Azure, this program can generally prove your expertise in cloud computing concepts while preparing you for a wide range of IT roles.

Once you pass the fundamentals exam, you’ll soon be ready to start role-based intermediate and advanced certifications through Microsoft that can further accelerate your career. You can choose from specializations like AI engineering, data analytics, security administration, and much more.

Fundamentals Exam Cost: $99

4. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

The cybersecurity talent gap is expected to grow in 2023, which means developing the skills needed for a security practitioner career can help you position yourself as a leader in the field. One of the most sought-after credentials is the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification, which proves your expertise in security architecture, risk management, and more domains.

The CISSP certification requires five years of working experience in cybersecurity. If you want an entry-level option that can get you on the right path to become a CISSP, you can use the free Certified in Cybersecurity (CC) certification course as a starting point.

Not looking for a career in cybersecurity? Becoming a certified CC can still help you prove your understanding of security principles, which is key as organizations prioritize security—especially if you want to grow on the executive track.

CC Exam Cost: Starts at $0

CISSP Exam Cost: $749

5. Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)

One of the top IT certifications requested by our clients is the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) credential. This associate-level exam supports your knowledge of IT fundamentals, which can be utilized across careers in the technology industry. By becoming a CCNA, you prove your basic understanding of networking, IP services, automation, and beyond.

After completing this exam, you can always continue onto more specialized professional and expert certifications. Getting the CCNA credential is a particularly good path for anyone interested in enterprise network and systems engineer positions, as it preps you for relevant certifications like CCNP Enterprise.

CCNA Exam Cost: $300

Best Non-IT Certifications for IT Workers

Well-rounded IT professionals contribute more than technical expertise. Soft skills like communication, leadership, and organization can be highly valuable to your business and work—and that’s why there are plenty of general business certifications worth getting, even when your career is in IT.

Two of the best professional certifications for IT workers are the Project Management Professional (PMP) and Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) certifications. Both allow you to prove your ability to lead your team through projects and drive results, with the latter enabling you to specialize in Agile Scrum environments. The PMP course requires prior training and at least three years of project leadership experience, but allows you to earn an average of 32% more in the U.S.

PMP Exam Cost: $575 ($405 for Project Management Institute members)

CSM Exam Cost: Varies by provider (starts around $400-$500)

Build Your IT Certifications Roadmap

Completing IT certifications online is a simple way to prove your job qualifications, validate your skills, and position yourself as a top candidate for your ideal career. Some of the best IT certifications in 2023 are those that offer evidence of high-demand skills—such as web development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing—that can boost your market value.

Once you earn the right credentials, you can increase your salary expectations, whether you’re staying in your current organization or switching to a brand-new role.

Find an IT position that fits your new skills and offers the compensation you deserve. Get connected with Concero today.

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