Best IT Certifications

Instructor: Eric Campos

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Several software vendors and professional organizations award IT certifications, but which ones offer the best return on the time and money you'll invest to earn one of these credentials? Keep reading to learn about some popular options as well as resources you can use to prepare for your certification exam.

Best IT Certifications

Many software vendors and IT organizations report that professionals with training and expertise in areas such as information systems security, auditing and network architecture are highly valued by employers, making individuals with certifications in these areas more competitive in the job market and likely to receive higher pay than applicants without any professional credentials. Below are a handful of the certifications available for these in-demand areas.

Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) Routing and Switching

The CCIE Routing and Switching certification is a good qualification to have if you're an IT professional who wants to work in network architecture. It can help demonstrate your mastery of network design and implementation as well as your ability to troubleshoot issues within a network infrastructure. Another benefit of the CCIE Routing and Switching certification is that it doesn't include prerequisites; you don't need to meet education requirements or have other certifications in order to obtain it.

To earn this certification, you'll need to pass a written CCIE Routing and Switching exam that covers networking concepts and technology. You'll also need to complete a lab exam that further tests your abilities.

CompTIA Security+ Certification

If you're interested in working in network security, the CompTIA Security+ certification could be an ideal credential to obtain. For one thing, CompTIA Security+ is a widely recognized vendor-neutral certification. This means certification holders have a strong foundation in the tech concepts applicable to multiple vendors. It also signifies that the certification holder has an ability to use a wide range of software.

More specifically, earning this certification demonstrates your knowledge of such topics as network vulnerabilities and threats, operational security and compliance, and cryptography. CompTIA Security+ certification also shows that you can take preventative measures against network threats and respond to security breaches.

Prerequisites include two years of experience in IT administration with an emphasis on security and passing scores on the Security+ Certification Exam (SY0-401). It's also recommended that you obtain the CompTIA Network+ certification before seeking the CompTIA Security+ certification.

ISACA Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

The Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) certification is for any IT professional seeking a career auditing, assessing, and controlling business IT systems. This certification's prerequisites include five years of experience in IS auditing, security, or another related field. However, education can be used to count towards up to three of the required years of experience. You must also pass the CISA exam.

EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

Malicious hackers threaten the security of many companies and individuals every day, costing millions of dollars in network damage and identity theft. A Certified Ethical Hacker applies the same skills and technology as an illegal hacker, but uses this knowledge to bolster network defenses. A CEH tests for weakness in a secure network. Once identified, a CEH takes preventative measures to counter any unwelcome hacking in the same area.

To become a CEH, you must pass the Certified Ethical Hacker Exam 312-50. This exam covers topics such as hacking wireless networks, session hijacking, malware threats, and more. Prerequisites include two years of related information security experience, though the exam is also available to candidates who attend official training sessions.

AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate

The AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate certification is the initial certification for the Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform, so it'll not only introduce you to AWS, but also allow you to explore other AWS certifications.

This certification is geared towards IT professionals who have at least a year of design experience with AWS. You'll need to take the AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate exam, which tests your familiarity with AWS cost control measures, system deployment, service selection, and more.

Study.com Resources

Study.com's Information Systems course can refresh your knowledge of topics including network systems technology, systems development, and data management. You can also hone your skills with this Information & Computer Security Training course or these Network Access & Architecture Flashcards. These resources include written transcripts, video lessons, and practice quizzes to help you prepare for certification exams and beyond. These courses are also mobile, allowing you to study whenever and wherever is convenient.

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