There has been a longstanding debate on the importance of IT certifications.   While the lucky few may succeed without them, the current job market indicates that IT certifications are a highly desired addition to a degree.

Finding the Right Certificates

There are multiple factors to consider when determining which certification to pursue.  What is your field of expertise within IT?  Would you like to transition to a managerial role?  What long-term goals do you have?  Is there a growing need for this skill?  All of these questions and more need to be taken into account when deciding which certification would enhance and expand your career opportunities.

Certifications in High Demand

Foote Partners surveyed the current job market and analyzed the salaries of IT professionals to determine which certificates are the most valuable.  The 2013 IT Skills Demand and Pay Trends Report stated that the following certifications were among the top:

1.     CWNP Certified Wireless Security Professional: The average salary for professionals with this certification rose 35% in 2013.

2.     CWNP/Certified Wireless Network Expert: The demand for this certification rose 42% in 2013.

3.     Oracle Certified Expert MySQL 5.1 Cluster Database Administrator: The value of this certification increased more than 37% last year.

High Paying Certifications

Based on the 2014 Skills and Salary Survey, there are three certifications that significantly increase earning potential.  They are:

1.     Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC): The CRISC certification is for those who manage, identify, and assess risks through information systems.

2.     Certified Information Security Manager (CISM): This certification through ISACA is also focused on risk and is beneficial for those wanting to transitional to managerial positions.

3.     Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA): This certification is ISACA’s oldest certification for professionals who audit, manage, and monitor information systems.

Training Industry’s article Are IT Certifications Really Important? reports that IT professionals who possess certifications position themselves for career growth.  Furthermore, certificates contribute to job security, which is a significant factor in a career field that is becoming increasingly competitive.