Career / Career Progression

10 Highest Paying IT Certifications

by Team Nuggets
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Published on July 22, 2016

Looking for your career path? IT certifications are the first way to show your current or future employer that you have what it takes to do the job! So, which certifications are likely to land you a high-paying position?

We took a look at some of the certifications that pay the most in 2016. Based on the results of a salary survey by Global Knowledge, we found that networking, security, virtualization, and cloud computing are favorites.

This is probably not surprising, given the trend towards "hyper-networked" systems everything connected to something, somewhere, sometime. There is a clear need for technicians capable of designing, operating, and securing these complex networks.

So let's run through 10 high paying IT certifications that on average pay over $100,000 per year. We'll also highlight the CBT Nuggets training courses that can help you prepare for and pass the certification exams.

  1. Citrix Certified Professional Virtualization (CCP-V): $102,138 per annum

According to a Computerworld survey, virtualization is one of the top five areas of increased enterprise spending in 2016. With Xen as the basis for Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) services, Citrix arguably owns the world's most-used cloud computing software. In the enterprise, XenDesktop, XenApp and XenServer are common technologies. This is reflected in the demand for technicians with the Citrix Certified Professional Virtualization certification.

  1. Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH): $103,297 per annum

This is the first of the security-related certifications we'll discuss. The vendor-neutral Certified Ethical Hacker certification covers the penetration testing techniques that are used to uncover weaknesses and vulnerabilities in computer systems security. CEH certified professionals use the same knowledge and tools as malicious hackers, but in a legal manner.

  1. Cisco Certified Design Professional (CCDP): $105,008 per annum

This certification covers the professional knowledge and techniques needed to design an enterprise-grade, Cisco-based network from the ground up. Cisco Certified Design Professionals are expected to know a broad range of the technical information required not only to design and implement a network, but also to diagnose sub-optimal networks and restore their operation. Pro tip: Most Cisco training will provide the basic foundation you need to pursue many high-paying areas of IT.

  1. Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Data Center: $107,045 per annum

With an average surveyed salary of $107,000, this certification demonstrates the importance of networked data centers in today's world. Cisco-certified data center network administrators are in demand to design, install, and maintain data centers that use Cisco technologies. These specialists are expected to understand both the networking and the data center technologies involved. This is reflected in the certification exams and associated training courses: Cisco CCNA Data Center 640-911 DCICN: Introducing Cisco Data Center Networking and Cisco CCNA Data Center 640-916 DCICT: Introducing Cisco Data Center Technologies.

  1. Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) Routing and Switching: $112,858 per annum

This expert-level certification is one of the toughest to get! First, candidates are required to pass a 2-hour written exam on Cisco routing and switching; then they must pass an 8-hour lab exam that tests their ability to configure actual equipment and troubleshoot the network in a timed test situation. Network engineers holding this Cisco CCIE certification are recognized for expert network engineering skills and are rewarded appropriately. Not surprisingly, training for CCIE certification is extensive and covers six topic areas: Network Principles, Layer 2 Technologies, Layer 3 Technologies, VPN Technologies, Infrastructure Security, and Infrastructure Services. Noticing a vendor trend? Cisco training is highly valued by employers throughout the IT industry.

  1. Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA): $113,320 per annum

It's no secret! Systems are enterprise critical! It's imperative that enterprise systems and data are secure and that organizations are able to withstand and recover from threats and calamities. For public companies, the regulatory reach of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act begins with financial records, but can extend deep into their systems and network operations. With that background, it's easy to see why companies place a premium on the vendor-neutral CISA certification for their IS audit and security personnel.

  1. Project Management Professional (PMP®): $116,094 per annum

Just search any job site and you'll see that project management continues to be an in-demand skill! The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is perhaps the leading industry-recognized certification for project managers. PMP is a global certification and according to the Project Management Institute's Earning Power: Project Management Salary Survey PMI-certified practitioners earn 20 percent more than their noncertified peers.

  1. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP): $121,923 per annum

This is the second security-related certification on our list. The vendor-neutral CISSP certification is for security and IT audit professionals responsible for the overall information security programs to protect their organizations from internal and external threats. First, CISSP candidates must have at least five years of specific work experience in the information security sector. They also must pass an exam that challenges their mastery of eight technical security domains, including security and risk management, communications and network security, and identity and access management.

  1. Certified Information Security Manager (CISM): $122,291 per annum

The Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) certification is more business- and management-focused than the CISSP. It is aimed at management-level IS professionals, who need a top-down view enterprise information security. As with the CISSP certification, CISM candidates must have 5+ years information security sector work experience. CISM covers four management level domains of information security: Information security governance, information risk management and compliance, information security program development and management, and information security incident management.

  1. AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate: $125,871 per annum

Topping our list of high paying certifications is the Amazon Web Services Certified Solutions Architect Associate level. According to Computerworld, cloud computing ranks second only to security, as the place where organizations are increasing their 2016 IT budgets! Riding that wave of investment, Amazon Web Services is generating the need for certified architects, as well as staff to deploy and manage AWS solutions.

Honorable Mentions There are many certifications available to you across a broad spectrum of vendors and functional specialties. Other high paying certifications we found included Cisco Certified Networking Professional (CCNP) Security ($101,414 per annum), ITIL® v3 Foundation ($99,869 per annum), and VMware Certified Professional 6 Data Center Virtualization (VCP6-DCV) ($99,334 per annum).

Explore more of the certification training programs offered by CBT Nuggets.


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