National data shows that employers are recruiting more IT professionals to help with upgrading IT systems, integrating mobile technology and moving to faster, more complex computer and data networks. In fact, according to information published in 2015 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for computer and information systems managers is projected to increase by 15% through 2024. Additional growth is expected to come from the healthcare industry, as well as through an increased demand for cybersecurity experts. Employers generally prefer the most qualified candidates, including those with IT certifications. Prospective students are encouraged to conduct independent research, as employment potential may vary depending on location, experience and education.
Information technology (IT) professionals who are preparing for a job search, seeking a promotion or planning a career path should know about today’s in-demand IT certifications. Professional IT certifications can lead to greater responsibilities and job opportunities that might not currently be an option.
Certifications serve as objective benchmarks to evaluate the knowledge and skills of industry professionals. For employers and consumers, standardized testing assures that a certified IT worker has sufficient training to perform in a specific function or technology, and that he or she has attained the standards required by the certifying body.
For IT professionals, certification can help increase credibility and accelerate professional growth. Certification also helps to solidify a personal brand and can serve as a differentiator, allowing the certification holder to stand out among non-certified job candidates. In addition, many employers now require certification.
Let’s review three in-demand IT certifications that are worth exploring.
The Information Technology Infrastructure LibraryTM (ITIL®) is an internationally recognized standard of best practices in IT service management. ITIL guidelines help companies identify areas needing improvement, such as expenses and productivity. The ITIL Foundation exam is the most popular, entry-level certification offered by the ITIL certifying body. This exam focuses on general concepts, terminology and awareness of ITIL framework and service management. Candidates who successfully complete the Foundation Level may continue on to the ITIL Intermediate Level of certification.
An increase in computer crimes means a higher demand for specially trained cybersecurity professionals to help protect organizations’ data, networks and systems against cyber threats. One highly regarded cybersecurity certification is the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), developed by the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC)2®. The CISSP covers ten domains:
Government and military agencies, as well as private sector contractors, are increasingly requiring CISSP certification for all IT workers who have access to government data systems.
Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI), establishes a common language among project managers, as well as a body of knowledge and standards that help ensure more successful projects.
The PMP examination covers the following domains:
For each domain, candidates complete required tasks to demonstrate a complete understanding of project management standards.
PMP certification is important because it can open doors to career opportunities for professionals in the IT field. Many employers value this well-respected industry standard because it shows that designees can be adept at applying processes, tools and techniques to real-life business challenges. Some employers require PMP certification, while others look for it to screen candidates.
As employers constantly upgrade their networks and data management systems, they’re also on the lookout for IT professionals with the latest certifications. Take a closer look at the certifications above and get yourself on a path toward a more promising future. Now is a great time to re-evaluate your career goals and focus on improving your skill set.