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Ethical hackers, governance ninjas: The top IT certifications to give your career a mighty boost

by Christina Juarez

January 9, 2019

If you work in IT, you’re on the vanguard of societal change. Disruptive technology is transforming the way we work, the way we interact, the way we live.

And if you work in IT, you already know this. But how can you move yourself to the thin edge of the wedge, so to speak? To ensure you stay on the cutting edge of a rapidly advancing industry?

A 2018 report conducted by Global Knowledge tells us that 83 percent of IT professionals in Canada and the U.S. hold an IT certification. The same report found certification to be a strong recommendation among IT management—many of whom say certification accelerates the pace of work (44%), improves efficiency (33%) and helps roll out deployment more seamlessly (23%).

But as an IT professional, how can you make certification work for you? IDG Communications recently published a list of the 15 most valuable certifications for IT professionals—achievements that can mean higher salary and more frequent promotions.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT): Essentially, this shows you’re well versed in applying IT governance concepts and principles in a professional environment. This ISACA certification is tailored for those with considerable management, advisory or assurance roles where governance is concerned.
  • Project Management Professional (PMP): It’s not just the flavor of the month . . . or the year . . . for good reason. As an advanced project management professional with the PMP designation, you’ll be able to work in “virtually any industry, with any methodology and in any location,” according to the Project Management Institute.
  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP): Approved by the U.S. Department of Defense. Adopted as a standard by the NSA. As an information security ninja, you’ll assist IT security professionals establish best practices in a sector that’s always moving.
  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect (Associate): This is designed for IT professionals steeped in Amazon Web Services (AWS), one of the most widely used cloud platforms. This certification shows you can design and deploy scalable AWS systems.
  • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH): Sporting this invaluable information security designation means you have the chops to discover vulnerabilities within existing systems—and prevent hacking as a result. You’ll be called upon more often to fix security gaps, ward off potential threats, and save clients plenty in both cash and reputation.

There are plenty of other certifications—in the areas of risk, virtualization, and infrastructure, associated with the likes of Citrix, Cisco and Six Sigma—that should yield an average salary of more than US$100,000, according to Global Knowledge.

And in addition to prestige and paycheques, they’ll ultimately yield a more intriguing and rewarding IT career.