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5 Certs You’ll Need for Success in IT

Often, newcomers to IT can have a difficult time landing their first job due to a lack of relevant work experience. However, certifications can pick up the slack on a resume by demonstrating acquired knowledge, as well as your commitment to learning new skills and technologies. Individual certifications can run the gamut from broad-ranging to intensely focused — skill sets commonly described as either a mile wide and an inch deep, or a mile deep and an inch wide.

Until you have settled into a specific niche, you’ll want to expose yourself to a broad skill set.  Earning any of the following in-demand certifications can serve as a powerful bullet-point on your resume while providing you with the skills needed to tackle common IT issues.  


1. CompTIA A+

The CompTIA A+ cert is widely considered the de facto standard first IT certification you should earn, and should definitely be at the top of your list. Training for A+ will provide a comprehensive, vendor-neutral foundation to support all of your future IT pursuits.

This cert also supplies the necessary credential for landing many entry-level positions, providing solid footing on the IT career ladder. There is some debate whether newbies should start with CompTIA’s A+ or Network+ cert. You’ll have to make the decision for yourself, but either way, you can’t go wrong.

Here are our A+ training courses:


2. CompTIA Network+

The network touches every aspect of IT. Even if you have no desire to specialize in networking, the knowledge required to pass CompTIA’s Network+ exam is required in most IT disciplines.

So, it makes sense to pursue your Network+ training as early as possible. The exam is regularly updated, with the current version incorporating cutting-edge cloud and virtualization topics.

Here’s our Network+ training course:


3. Microsoft MCSA: Windows Server 2016

This certification serves as an important first step into the world of Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE). The Microsoft MCSA: Windows Server 2016 is another one of those “big bang for the buck” certifications, where the skills gained are just as important as the credential itself. For a newcomer to the IT field, there are few actions you could take that will get you up to speed faster than pursuing your MCSA.

It is recommended that this cert is pursued after achieving Network+ because it builds on many of the topics introduced in the Network+ curriculum. While this cert is not vendor-neutral, it does provide a background in IT concepts that apply to all environments.

This is a substantially more in-depth cert than A+ or Network+, requiring a high level of commitment to achieve. Three exams are required, and training for the exams typically requires actual practice with a virtual lab or home lab. Fortunately, CBT Nuggets offers several courses to assist in acquiring this cert, complete with virtual labs!

Here’s our training for Microsoft MCSA: Server 2016:


4. CompTIA Security+

Corporations have recently been taking a beating when it comes to InfoSec (we’re looking at you, Equifax). As reports of ever-larger (and more expensive) breaches continually flood the news, businesses are recognizing the need for more personnel who are specifically trained in IT security. New IT hopefuls can hit the ground running with a security cert.

Earning CompTIA Security+ certification demonstrates a broad level knowledge of IT security and compliance. Recertification is required every three years and can be accomplished by training for senior-level certs.

Our Security+ video training:


5. AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate

As a newcomer to the IT field, you actually have one important advantage over the old guard. Recent years have seen major technological advancements in IT. Experienced IT pros are playing catch-up to adopt cloud and virtualization strategies, whereas you have the ability to begin your career on the cutting edge of IT, including cloud-based services such as Amazon Web Services.

Backups, file storage, development environments, and burst capacity are rapidly moving to the cloud. The practical applications will continue to grow in coming years. You can demonstrate your commitment to the future by getting an early start into the cloud computing paradigm with an AWS-CSA Associate certification.

Some of our entry-level AWS training:


Among the ever-expanding list of IT certifications, these five stand out as being several of highest in demand among employers. They also provide the foundation of skills and knowledge necessary for a rewarding IT career. Even as a newcomer, with a few of these certs under your belt you can stand out to employers by demonstrating your knowledge, skills, and commitment in a tangible way.



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  1. Dalean Barnett says:

    Where is the CCNA? Is it not valid anymore?

  2. Matthew Cartlidge says:

    I had the same question as Dalean. Is it not more beneficial to have CCNA over Network+?

  3. cbtnuggets says:

    Hi Matthew and Dalean-
    Thanks for asking. This post refers to certifications which cover “broad skill sets” rather than certifications relating directly to a vendor or particular “niche” skill set such as the CCNA. From every indication we have the CCNA is as valid as it’s ever been.

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