5 IT Certifications That Will Launch Your Tech Career

IT certifications that will launch your tech career

We all know that feeling of dread on Sunday nights — another work week to get through. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Your career should be exciting, challenging and engaging. If you’re feeling the squeeze of a dead-end job, why not change your course? The technology field offers plenty of opportunity regardless of where your true passion lies. But how can you change careers — and fast?

Not every career needs years to launch. In the tech industry, an education will help — but it isn’t 100 percent necessary. Take for instance the IT field. A handful of entry-level positions in the burgeoning field simply require a certification.

To assist you in your quest to launch your career as soon as possible, we used real-time market intelligence to identify the top IT certifications in the industry. Here’s what we discovered.

Get certified to get started

Many IT positions deal with specific technical procedures or software, so becoming certified in a specialized area proves to employers that you have the precise skills needed to succeed.

Earning a certification is a great way to finesse your tech skills — and help break into the field. Landing an entry-level job is the first step to gaining the experience and further education necessary to advance your tech career.

5 IT certifications in demand

If you’re curious about which IT certifications will provide the most job opportunities and help launch your tech career, look no further! We used real-time job analysis software to identify more than 400,000 entry-level IT job postings from the past twelve months in order to identify the top five IT certifications employers are seeking from candidates.*

1. Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)

What is it? The CCNA is a lower-level certification that assures employers you are able to install, operate and configure enterprise level switches and routers. CCNA certified individuals can also detect and solve common network problems and have the option of specializing in security, voice or wireless networking.

Certification process: You can become CCNA certified by passing a single 90-minute written exam consisting of about 50-60 questions. The test costs around $295.

Available entry-level jobs in past year: 6,757

Most common job titles:

  • Network engineer
  • Network administrator
  • Systems administrator

2. CompTIA A+ Technician

What is it? CompTIA A+ is an entry-level certification and is a basic starting point for an IT career. Certified A+ technicians handle the maintenance of PCs, printers, operating systems, mobile devices and laptops.

Certification process: You must pass two exams in order to receive the CompTIA A+ certification — one multiple choice and one performance-based. The exam costs approximately $200.

Available entry-level jobs in past year: 6,640

Most common job titles:

  • In-home support specialist
  • Desktop support technician
  • Help desk technician

3. Network+

What is it? Network+ is a globally recognized certification that verifies your ability to design, manage and troubleshoot wired and wireless networks.

Certification process: You must pass a single 90-question exam on the configuration of wired and wireless network devices and other emerging technologies. The exam costs $285.

Available entry-level jobs in past year: 5,404

Most common job titles:

  • Helpdesk technician
  • Information technology specialist
  • Information technology technician

4. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

What is it? CISSP is a globally recognized credential verifying information security competency in order to protect organizations from attack. The credential proves extensive technical and managerial abilities to engineer and manage information security programs.

Certification process: The CISSP exam covers eight subjects: security and risk management, asset security, security engineering, communications and network security, identity and access management, security assessment and testing, security operations and software development security. The exam contains 250 questions, takes around six hours to complete and costs $600.

Available entry-level jobs in past year: 4,910

Most common job titles:

  • Information technology auditor
  • Security analyst
  • Information security analyst

5. Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE)

What is it? The MCSE is a mid-level certification that validates an individual’s ability to build innovative solutions across multiple technologies. MCSE certification is offered in the following specializations: server infrastructure, desktop infrastructure, private cloud, enterprise devices and apps, data platform, business intelligence, messaging, communication and SharePoint.

Certification process: The steps to become certified will vary depending on your preferred concentration, but the exam is a five-step process that incorporates various question formats such as multiple choice, drag-and-drop and simulation problems. The exams typically cost $150 regardless of the specialization.

Available entry-level jobs in past year: 4,686

Most common job titles:

  • Systems administrator
  • Field systems technician
  • Systems engineer

Why wait?

Earning one of these top IT certifications may be all that’s standing in the way of your future, so what are you waiting for? If you’re ready to leave behind your dead-end job in order to launch your career, there’s no better time than now to join the IT industry.

Not only can you get started sooner than you thought, you might also have the potential to make more money than you expected. Take a look at these 10 impressive entry-level IT salaries — odds are, you’ll like what you see!

*BurningGlass.com (Analysis of 445,293 entry-level IT jobs, Apr. 1, 2015 - Mar. 30, 2016)



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Kristina is a Content Marketing Specialist at Collegis Education who researches and writes content on behalf of Rasmussen College. She hopes her content helps enlighten and engage students through all stages of their education journeys.

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