The world of information technology is constantly changing to keep up with progress. As a result, IT professionals must strive to learn more and improve their marketability. One way to accomplish that is by obtaining certifications. Here are some things to consider before you choose your next IT certification goal.
- Do I want to be in management or engineering? Take an introspective look at your personality and where you have the most natural ability. Do you prefer taking on a task alone and letting the work itself determine your day? Or are you a leader who enjoys interacting with people and performing the actual IT work? Determine which area best describes you.
- What level am I now? Certain certifications are a better fit based on your previous experience. One certification can build on the next, but it is not always wise to aim too much higher than your current skill set. It may put you in over your head and could also be a red flag to hiring managers looking over your resume. Determine if you are entry-level, advanced, or senior and then choose a certification from there.
- What is your area of expertise? There are thousands of IT certification options, but not all of them are relevant to your background, experience, and areas of interest. If you already have a niche specialty, stick with it. Those areas tend to have the greatest return on certification investments.
Once you’ve narrowed down your potential certifications, you should also take a look at what you can expect to earn after receiving it. If you are going to take the time to improve your marketability, you may as well earn back as much of that time and money as possible.
According to the Global Knowledge Survey, the 10 highest-paying IT certifications for 2014 are:
- Risk and Information Systems Control – Earnings: $118,253
- Information Security Manager – Earnings: $114,844
- Information Systems Auditor – Earnings: $112,040
- Six Sigma Green Belt – Earnings: $109,165
- Project Management – Earnings: $108,525
- Scrum Master – Earnings: $107,396
- Citrix Certified Enterprise Engineer – Earnings: $104,240
- Citrix Certified Administrator for Citrix NetScaler – Earnings: $103,904
- Ethical Hacker – Earnings: $103,822
- ITIL v3 Foundation – Earnings: $97,682
In order to stay relevant, IT professionals must always be looking one step ahead when it comes to improving their careers. Certification is one way to maintain a competitive edge, but picking the right certification is the key to success.