In a competitive job market, it’s a good idea to do what you can to stand out from the rest. Earning a new tech certification is a great way to improve employment opportunities, gain new skills, and increase your salary. 82% of organizations say they prefer to hire candidates with certifications, and if that’s not enough reason for you, getting certified may also make you better and more efficient at your current job.
But how do you know which certification to choose? There are so many options out there, and each one claims to be the best certification and your one-way ticket to a lucrative job. Here’s a tip: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Education is not a zero-sum game, but an ongoing process that we all continue with throughout the entirety of our careers.
Here are a few things to think about while deciding which tech certification is right for you:
- What are your current skills? What skills and/or certification would complement your current abilities?
- Do you have any gaps in your knowledge?
- Has your employer or client recently asked you to help on a project that you had to turn down because of a lack of experience?
- If you’ve been looking at job postings, are there any skills listed that you don’t have but would like to learn?
- What sounds most interesting to you?
- What are your long-term career goals? Is there a certification program that would bring you closer to where you’d like to be?
With all that in mind, let’s talk about some of the most desirable tech certifications for 2021!
Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect (GCPCA)
Many businesses, large and small, rely on Google’s cloud architecture to run their products, services, and systems. According to Google, this certification will show potential employers that you have “a thorough understanding of cloud architecture and Google Cloud Platform” and that you possess the skills to help businesses utilize Google cloud.
This certification is suitable for tech professionals with at least a few years of experience in the industry, as well as some familiarity with Google Cloud Platform. Google provides some free prep materials for this certification, such as online training and practice questions.
Project Management Professional (PMP)
At first glance, this certification may seem out of place among the rest on this list, since it isn’t specifically tied to tech skills or the tech industry. But the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification remains in extremely high demand, and the combination of PMP certification with tech industry experience is a competitive one.
This certification is best for working professionals who have 3-6 years of experience in project management, or overseeing the planning, implementation, and completion of work projects.
Exact requirements will depend on whether or not you have a four year degree. Regardless, the Project Management Professional certification is a good idea for many people with leadership experience. The PMP certification authorizes that you have the experience, leadership skills, and business acumen to hold a high-level project management role. For tech professionals with some project management experience who are interested in becoming a more well-rounded job applicant, the PMP is a great option.
Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP)
Cisco offers many well-respected certifications for IT professionals, as well as training programs for those certifications. One of the most in-demand certifications this year is the Cisco Certified Network Professional, or CCNP. With a CCNP certification, you can specialize in one of many areas, such as security, routing and switching, and cloud systems. The ability to specialize is one of the features that makes this certification desirable.
You may have to take a prerequisite exam or course in order to sit for the CCNP exam, depending on your specialization. This certification is best for tech professionals with three to five years of experience in their field; folks with less experience should look into the CCNA certification, or Cisco Certified Network Associate, which suggests fewer years of experience and can be used as a stepping stone to CCNP certification.
Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC)
The CRISC certification, or Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control, is a credential offered by ISACA (Information Systems Audit and Control Association). Those with a CRISC certification are experienced IT professionals with risk management skills, training, and experience. According to ISACA’s website, it is the 4th best paying certification worldwide. In our day and age, cybersecurity and technology risk management are of the utmost importance. A CRISC certification “prepares IT professionals for real-world threats with relevant skills to assess, govern, and mitigate risk”.
Certified Data Professional (CDP)
A Certified Data Professional (CDP) is a tech professional who specializes in data management, whether that’s data analysis or corporate data governance. The certification has multiple levels of certification depending on work experience, making this a relatively beginner-friendly certification. This is a certification that you can continue to upskill with throughout your career as a data professional!
You can also specialize your certification in the area you find most interesting, from data warehousing to business analytics.
AWS Certified Solutions Architect
Like many of the certifications on this list, this one comes with the option to get certified at an associate or professional level. Which one you choose will depend on your familiarity and experience with AWS, the professional certification being the more advanced of the two. The AWS Solutions Architect certification will show potential employers that you have the ability to design, navigate, and implement AWS applications at scale.
Amazon recommends the professional-level version of this certification for tech professionals with two or more years of experience in a solutions architect role.
Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
The Certified Ethical Hacker certification is exactly what it sounds like. If your interests and skills lie primarily with coding and cybersecurity, this may be the certification for you. With the escalation of cyberattacks and cybercrime, these skills are in high demand and often bring a significant pay bump as well. Of all the certifications on this list, this one is both more involved (four hours of exams and six hours of practical tests) and more expensive. But it’s also well worth the money and time if you have the experience you need to take the test. The CEH certification is best for auditors and IT security professionals with at least two years of relevant experience.
Now that you’ve got a better idea of which certifications are in high demand, do you think you’ll be getting certified anytime soon? If you’re looking to make a career transition or just starting out in tech, our recruiters would be happy to speak with you. We place tech professionals of all experience levels with Fortune 500 companies!
Best of luck on your continuing education journey!