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Top10 Essential IT Certifications for 2023
- April 13, 2023
IT certifications offer advantages whether you are commencing your career or already established in it. The following are ten noteworthy beginner-level IT certifications.
Are IT certifications worth it?
Certification can yield several advantages, such as enhanced job proficiency and greater competitiveness in the employment market. Moreover, showcasing an IT certification on your curriculum vitae can provide hiring managers with a swift assessment of your capabilities. Additionally, certifications are associated with higher earnings, as IT experts who secured a raise after attaining a new certification experienced an average salary hike of $13,000.
10 entry-level IT certifications:
The following are typical IT certifications crafted to equip you for beginner-level roles in information technology. The compilation encompasses introductory certifications that provide a broad overview of various skills and certifications that impart more specific and specialized skills to prepare you for your desired IT career path.
- CompTIA A+: CompTIA A+ is widely considered one of the go-to certificates for a well-rounded entry-level introduction to IT. Those who pass the certification exams will be qualified to solve basic issues in networking, operating systems, security, and mobile devices. The CompTIA A+ certification requires two exams. The CompTIA A+ provides a general introduction to the IT world. From there, many IT professionals can go on to specialize in a specific field of IT, like networks, security, or cloud computing, either by building experience or gaining relevant certifications.
- Potential jobs: Service desk analyst, technical support specialist, associate network engineer, desktop support administrator, system support specialist
- Requirements: Two certification exams are required. The exams have no prerequisites, but CompTIA recommends having nine to 12 months of hands-on experience.
- Certification path: After the CompTIA A+, candidates can take other CompTIA certifications like Security+ or Network+ or certifications from providers like the CCNA.
- Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) The CCNA certification is an associate-level certification that covers the fundamentals of IT networking issues. This includes network access, IP connectivity, and IP services. Though it’s not a vendor-neutral certification—meaning it’ll test you exclusively on Cisco products and tools—it’s popular among network professionals because of Cisco’s dominance in the networking market. One exam is required to get the CCNA certification.
- Potential jobs: Network specialist, network administrator, systems administrator, network engineer
- Requirements: One certification exam is required. The exam has no prerequisites, but Cisco recommends having a year of training and experience with computer networks.
- Certification path: After the CCNA, candidates can take more advanced network certifications, like the Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) or the Juniper Networks Certified Associate – Junos (JNCIA-Junos).
- CompTIA Security+:
The CompTIA Security+ certification will equip you with the skills to perform basic security functions. The certification will cover encryption, physical security, and wireless security. It requires one exam. Suppose you’re interested in becoming an IT security specialist. In that case, you can go on to take more advanced security certifications like the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) or the advanced Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). Security is a growing field, employing 4.7 million people globally, according to the 2022 (ISC)² Cybersecurity Workforce Study. On top of this large global workforce, the study also identified a “worldwide gap of 3.4 million cybersecurity workers.”
- Potential jobs: Security administrator, security specialist, security consultant, security engineer, network administrator, and security analyst
- Requirements: Requires one certification exam. There are no prerequisites, but CompTIA recommends having the CompTIA Network+ certification and two years of experience in IT administration.
- Certification path: After the Security+, candidates can take other security certifications like the ISC2 Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP) or ISACA Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA).
- Microsoft Fundamentals: The Microsoft fundamentals certifications test core technology skills, making them good entry-level qualifications for those expected to work with Microsoft products. Knowing your way around Microsoft products is likely an in-demand skill—over half of surveyed IT decision-makers worldwide said their companies would invest in Microsoft technology, Global Knowledge reports. The Fundamentals certifications replaced the Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) certifications, which were retired on June 30, 2021. You can take an exam in several specialized areas under security, Azure (Microsoft’s cloud solution), AI, data, and software like Power Platform, Microsoft 365, and Dynamics. If you’re looking for a certification in an in-demand area, the Microsoft Azure Fundamentals certification will enable you to learn the essentials of Microsoft Cloud concepts.
- Potential jobs: IT specialist, Microsoft systems administrator, Microsoft server support technician, Microsoft Technician specialist.
- Requirements: One exam is required for each certification. There are no prerequisites.
- Certification path: After a Microsoft Fundamental certification, candidates may receive other certifications in various specializations like Azure Database Administrator Associate or Microsoft Certified: Security Operations Analyst Associate.
- Amazon Web Services (AWS): Cloud Practitioner Cloud computing, along with security, is one of the most in-demand fields in IT, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) is currently the most-used cloud platform in the world. Learning the AWS platform may give you an edge in this growing industry. The AWS Cloud Practitioner certification is the most entry-level of the AWS certifications. The AWS Cloud Practitioner certification is designed to help you gain foundational AWS knowledge and can be great for those just starting in IT. However, many cloud-related jobs require an associate-level AWS certification above the practitioner certification. If you already have a year of experience with AWS, the associate-level AWS Solutions Architect, SysOps Administrator, or Developer certifications better prepare you for entry-level cloud computing jobs. You can also consider other cloud certifications, like Microsoft Azure Fundamentals or the Google Associate Cloud Engineer certification.
- Potential jobs: Cloud engineering intern, cloud developer, cloud engineer, cloud architect.
- Requirements: There are no prerequisites to the exam, but Amazon recommends having at least a basic understanding of AWS services and uses and around six months of exposure to AWS.
- Certification path: After the AWS Cloud Practitioner, you can get a more advanced certification like the AWS Certified Developer or AWS Certified Solutions Architect.
- CompTIA IT Fundamentals (ITF+) The ITF+ is a beginning-level certification designed for those who want to see if IT is the right career path for them. If you’re a student or a career switcher still trying to see if IT is for you, this certification can help you decide. If you’re looking for a certification that will help you gain skills for a job in IT, other certifications like the CompTIA A+ might fit your needs better.
- Requirements: No prior experience is recommended.
- Certification path: After the ITF+, candidates can take the CompTIA A+ or other entry-level certifications.
- CompTIA Network+ The CompTIA Network+ is a foundational certification in networking principles. Unlike the CCNA, the Network+ is a vendor-neutral certification—meaning it doesn’t test you on any specific device or technology. The Network+ is considered more basic than the CCNA, making it a good option for those who are just starting in networking or who find the CCNA too comprehensive for their current needs.
Potential jobs: Network administrator, network engineer, system administrator
Requirements: There are no formal requirements, but the CompTIA A+ and 9 to 12 months of network experience are recommended.
Certification path: Many candidates take the CCNA or other networking certifications after the Network+.
- GIAC Information Security Fundamentals (GISF): The GISF is a foundational certification for security and related concepts like networking, cryptography, and cybersecurity technologies. GIAC recommends the certification for anybody new to cybersecurity who wants a fundamental introduction to the field and those who can benefit from cybersecurity knowledge, such as system administrators and non-IT security managers.
Potential jobs: Cybersecurity analyst, information security specialist, non-IT security manager
Requirements: There are no formal requirements for the GISF
Certification path: Those who take the GISF may go on to take the GIAC Security Essentials Certification (GSEC)
- Google Cloud Digital Leader: The Cloud Digital Leader is Google’s foundational cloud certification. The certification exam will test you broadly on basic Google Cloud principles. Though many entry-level Google Cloud jobs request the next level certification,—the Google Associate Cloud Engineer—studying the material in the Cloud Digital Leader certification exam can give you a solid foundation in Google Cloud.
- Potential jobs: Job-role independent
- Requirements: No formal requirements
- Certification path: After the Cloud Digital Leader, candidates can take certifications that will equip them with entry-level job skills, such as the Google Associate Cloud Engineer.
- Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) The CAPM is a certification designed to prepare you for entry-level project management positions. Though not an IT certification, many IT positions and teams value project management skills. The CAPM can be worth pursuing if you have a technical background and hope to move into a more project management-oriented role.
- Potential jobs: IT project manager, IT project coordinator
- Requirements: No formal requirements
- Certification path: Candidates who want to continue on the project management path may go on to take the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification.
- Professional Certificates from tech industry leaders Learning from industry leaders in technology is the way to expand your IT skill set and enhance your resume.
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