2012 List of Top 5 Paying IT Career Certifications

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I am always curious and keep in the loop on IT career certifications and pay attention to shifts and trends as to what skillsets and certifications become in demand and become worth more to employers and organizations.  So recently when I came across several websites listing their top 10 paying career certifications all of the sites (probably citing the same sources) listed the same one on the top but varied once you got past the top 2 on the list.

You don’t have to do any research papers to get any of these certifications either, just some major studying either by purchasing the study material, taking online training or even local classes and one of these certifications could give you a boost in your current career or maybe a career in an area you have been wanting to jump into.

Here were the top 10 highest paying career certifications according to Global Knowledge and Technopedia.

Project Management Professional – PMP


This continues to be a heavy in demand certification for project management professionals. The PMP certification does require job experience and combines this with exam requirements that focus on five key process groups: Initiating, Planning, Executing, Controlling, and Closing.  The average salary of a PMP certified professional was listed as $111,209 according to a survey done by Global Knowledge.  Like other career certifications the PMP requires constant upkeep to make sure you stay current and maintain certification annually.

Certified Information Security Professional – CISSP


If you work in IT and do any work with servers, computers, web based applications, middleware or anything in between then it probably would be a good idea to be a Certified Information Security Professional.  This certification is the standard for security professionals and is required for many government, military and IT related security positions.  Like others the CISSP requires upkeep hours and training to maintain certification but the average salary of a CISSP certified professional is $110,342

Cisco Certified Design Associate – CCDA


Cisco was basically the standard for anything internet based for a long time but doesn’t have the weight it used to, still it is among the top most desired skillsets for companies as CISCO products including routers and firewalls still make up most large companies network infrastructure.  A cisco certification is ideal for those in telecommunications industries or seeking to move into that space.  The average salary for a CCDA professional is $101,915

Information Technology Infrastructure Library Certification – ITIL v3


For IT Service Management professionals you will want to consider the ITIL v3 which is the expert level.  Working your way up the ITIL certification path is a process that takes multiple levels starting with the ITIL foundation.  But you will become an expert in the entire Service Lifecycle.  An ITIL v3 level certification has an average salary of $97,691

Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer – MCSE

VMWare Certified Professional – VCP


I included both of the above because they were almost a dead tie for average salary range only varying by about $100 and both are excellent choices.  In fact they can compliment each other and there would be advantage to having both as if you run Windows on VMWare then you definitely should have knowledge and experience with both products.  Note, MSCE just recently released for Windows Server 2012 and this is the one I would recommend you work toward.  This one is brand new and just released this year so there aren’t any statistics but the former Windows 2003 Server MCSE is outdated at this point and the OS is being phased out of IT Organizations.  Both of these career certifications command an average salary range in the $91,000 range.

For VCP you will want to focus on VCP5-DV or VCP-Cloud or VCP-CID certifications, VCP3 is outdated and VCP4 will eventually be phased out to VCP5 certification.

In Summary

Many of these certifications and products you can get a head start in by purchasing books and training material, dive into the products read and gain experience, sometimes you can either work in the industry and gain experience before gaining the certification others prefer to work for the certification then begin in the industry.  It is subjective which commands higher salaries the experience or the certification but one thing that is believed to be true is the certifications do help increase the salary if you have comparable experience but don’t have the certification.

How do you feel about IT Career certifications, are there any that you are currently working toward or want to?

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