There are always a multitude of certifications available to the IT alphabet soup. I have examined many 2013 lists involving the top paying, the best, and the most popular IT certifications. I decided to categorize my list by vendor and demographic.

Security
CISSP: Certified Information Systems Security Professional
CISM: Certified Information Security Manager
CEH: Certified Ethical Hacker

Cisco
CCDA: Cisco Certified Design Associate
CCNP: Cisco Certified Network Professional

VMware
VCP: VMware Certified Professional
VCP-DV: VMware Certified Professional Datacenter Virtualization

Project/Service Management
PMP: Project Management Professional
CompTIA Project+
ITIL Foundation

Citrix
CCA: Citrix Certified Administrator

Microsoft
MCSA: Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate
MCSE: Private Cloud
MCSD: Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer
MCDBA: Microsoft Certified Database Administrator
MCAD: Microsoft Certified Application Developer
MCITP: Database Administrator
MCT: Microsoft Certified Trainer
MCTS: SQL Server
MCITP: Enterprise Administrator Windows Server
MCTS: Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist

HP
AIS: HP Accredited Integration Specialist
APS: Accredited Platform Specialist – HP Blade System Solutions
AIS: HP Storage Works

You should always be working on your next certification to help advance your career and the options available to you. Don’t get too comfortable in your job.

18 Comments
  1. I’m a young CIS student looking to go into Network Admin, so I’ll make sure to save this list. I’ve heard of some of these, but not all of them, guess I better start studying.

    • Getting your CCNA will definitely be a great foot-in-the-door for networking. It’s a good idea to take a look around though and find out what types of environments are popular in your area. A CCNA will be useful, but not 100% applicable if all the businesses in your area use Juniper or Sonicwalls or something like that.

      Know your environment!

  2. For network admin, getting a basic Cisco certification (such as CCNA) can be a great start.

  3. This is an awesome list! I’m going to have to save this. I’ve been thinking of getting certified in something, but don’t really know what certs are out there. Thanks!

  4. This is a great list. How do you go about earning some of these certifications?

    • They all have different requirements. Google search them individually to see. Many of the above are higher end certifications.

  5. Thank you for this great list. I have thought about going back to college to do something along the lines with computers. I will refer back to this post, when I am making my mind up, on what I want to do.

  6. Yikes, I remember getting most of the certs on this list. Some of them are more painful than others, but all of them are worth it depending on what you are trying to do. Employers are always looking for more people with Cisco certs so that’s a really great place to start.

    • You won’t want to be getting a lot of the certificates above without focusing in a particular field. For example, holding several Cisco certs won’t do you too much good if you’re working as a virtualization engineer for a colo. It won’t hurt, but your time would be better spend learning applicable skills rather than overly generalizing, especially when these certs potentially represent hundreds of hours of study.

  7. Cisco is indeed a must have for many of the systems in the IT field for the industry I worked at a while back. Finding reliable IT guys can be difficult. Finding certified ones in my area of the US is next to impossible. Most of the time it is that the jobs are not big enough for the IT guy to have one reliable working sphere. But they are certainly better paying.

  8. I’m definitely going to bookmark this. I guess I’ve not really been paying much attention to all these certifications. Not my fault, though. I lost interest when I met with some people who paraded themselves around as certified ‘one of those below’. Yeah, they made money, people respected them but to me they were nothing to write home about.

    They were just theoreticians. But, I guess most people don’t care about what you know but your certifications. So, I’d better get to getting certified in some of those.

  9. As someone who wants to pursue a career in IT this is amazing. Having the knowledge alone isn’t enough any more people want to see proof of what you can do.

  10. I would like to see what this list looks like ten years from now after all of the H1B visa IT geeks have flooded the USA’s marketplace. I know that IT is allegedly still a hot field at the moment but I don’t think it is sustainable when you consider the real “outsourcing” that H1B visas are turning the industry into. I have several friends in the IT industry that recently graduated from college who only have 1 or 2 offers and it is not the type of salary that they had expected. To future and current IT college students: caveat emptor.

  11. I’m a networking student now and I’ve learned ill be earning 3 of these certifications, this is great. Thanks for the post

  12. Just imagine having at least half the certifications on this list! How many doors would that open? I’m a bit curious about how much time would someone need to get all of these certifications?

    • The problem with getting so many certifications is the cost, time spent and the possibility of technology changing so rapidly that your skills become outdated. Even if you know everything about IT, there’s only one of you. You can only work a certain number of hours in a day. The saying that I always refer to is this: A jack of all trades is a master of none.

  13. I have ITIL Foundation, but I would like to have more. My goal is to have PMP in 5 years! I think though that some of the certifications require certain number of years of experience.

  14. This list was really fun to go through. Plenty of options for everyone. If you do a quick Google search on the term, you could even find ways to start scheduling for the tests and test preparation materials. I could relate to them.

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