Working remotely and saving a couple of hours every day in commute is probably the only silver lining to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Studying and working from home is at an all-time high, and a record number of organizations in different domains have been adapting remote work cultures. Millions of IT professionals all over the world have started working remotely since the pandemic began. While there are several ways to utilize this extra time you have by not commuting, switching careers or investing some time and effort to boost your value in your current job is a great way to go. You can reap rewarding long-term professional benefits by enrolling in online courses or gaining IT certifications to improve your existing skillset.
Obtaining IT certifications is an effective means of demonstrating you have a demanded skillset or to grow professionally. And it pays off handsomely. A 2019 report from Global Knowledge Training showed certified IT pros in the U.S. and Canada earned an average salary of $111,334 a year, 7 percent higher than IT pros without a certification. In light of the pandemic, that number has undoubtedly grown.
Information technology offers a lucrative career, but it is very dynamic and transitional. New technologies are surfacing every day, and with these new technologies, new career options are burgeoning. With the right certifications, IT pros can switch their career paths or start a new career altogether. While getting work experience is dependent on a number of factors — many that you can’t control — obtaining an IT certification is a relatively straightforward process you can control. Here are the top IT certifications for 2021, all of which are expected to be on the rise while offering a rewarding career.
Data science is one of the most rewarding and high-paid IT jobs. There are several streams, certifications, and career options available related to data. Data analytics has taken the contemporary IT world by storm and has been consistently providing several valuable insights based on the data. Data is considered the modern era’s gold and is fueling several advanced technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, and is aiding in extracting valuable insights for businesses worldwide.
Companies started understanding the importance of harvesting data, resulting in a global surge of jobs for data scientists. The data science industry has grown quickly and now has several job streams for IT professionals with varied experience levels. There are jobs and several certifications focused on tech-savvy, analytically skilled users and architect-level professionals. While starting a career in data science or a related field might be a little tricky, a valuable certification paired with passion can result in a very rewarding career.
Although DevOps has been around a while and proving to be a valuable role in IT, it is still is evolving. The transition of organizations employing DevOps engineers to streamline the development, operations, and deployment process is ongoing at a rapid pace.
For the uninitiated, DevOps is a set of practices that combines software development and IT operations, including the processes of building, pipelining, testing, and deploying software. A DevOps engineer doesn’t necessarily need to have prior software or IT experience, which makes this role ideal for beginners ready to kickstart their IT careers. While there are several certification providers available for DevOps, tech giants Amazon and Microsoft have streamlined and defined DevOps processes to suit organizations of all shapes and sizes. Both these organizations also offer professional certification courses to help candidates better understand the role and understand the underlying technicalities.
Digital marketing is constantly evolving, and companies are exploring new ways to engage customers to generate revenue. This growing profession has space for almost everyone, irrespective of their educational or professional backgrounds. An IT professional willing to explore the creative and lucrative digital marketing field can employ technology to generate business and sales for organizations.
There are several internal branches in digital marketing and one can obtain a certification in any of the specialized fields such as SEO, web analytics, social media, and more. Google, Facebook, and Microsoft are among the top certification providers for digital marketing and most of these certifications are free.
Project management / Agile (Scrum)
Project management has always been an in-demand job in the IT industry. Project management plays a vital role in developing and delivering IT products and services and ensures that the work is done within the allotted time and budget. Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is one of the most renowned and recognized certifications for project management. These certifications demonstrate that the candidate has the right set of skills, experience, and exposure in managing and completing the projects successfully.
On top of the PMP certification, there are other certifications that can help you land a project management job and can give you an edge over several others in the domain. Since most of the companies around the globe started adapting to Agile software development methodologies, being a Certified Scrum Master (CSM) issued by Scrum Alliance can be of great value. While the role of the project manager itself does not exist as per Scrum methodologies, the combination of both these certifications is highly valued.
Cloud computing has been on the rise for the last few years, and the demand for certified cloud practitioners is surging. Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and others serve almost all global companies with their cloud infrastructure, services, and solutions. Apart from this, they also offer a wide variety of cloud computing courses and certifications that hold a great market value to get a professional IT job.
All these tech giants offer certifications ranging from beginner cloud practitioners to expert-level cloud solutions architects. As companies have started leveraging cloud computing more than ever, the demand for certified cloud practitioners is high. There are several roadmaps available for anyone at any stage in their professional lives to enter the cloud computing domain and excel. Some of the cloud computing certifications that can help you bag a high-paying IT job are Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect, AWS Certified Solutions Architect, and Microsoft Certified Azure Fundamentals.
Cyberthreats are increasing, and the magnitude of losses incurred because of cyberattacks is increasing exponentially. Companies of all shapes and sizes, irrespective of their domain, are falling prey to the growing number of cyberthreats. This has created a huge requirement for cybersecurity experts and certified professionals who can help companies protect and safeguard against cyberattacks. While there are several certification authorities to provide certifications and training in cybersecurity, the top and most valued ones are CISSP, CISM, CISA, SRISC, and OSCP.
Apart from these top IT certifications, there are several other areas and certifications that can help you start your professional career in the IT industry or switch to a different specialty. Certifications for any on-demand programming stack, ITIL (IT infrastructure library), networking, and IT development and operations also hold good value.
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