Project Management

Certifications most likely to land you a new job

PMP and CCNA lead the way for certifications that are in most demand.

Project Management Professional (PMP) is the most frequently desired certification according to the latest Dice report, with nearly 2,200 requests in job postings on any given day, up nine percent year/year.

Following close on the PMP's heels are CCNA certifications. Job postings for Cisco Certified Network Associates were at 1,200 on any given day, up 21% yr/yr. Entry-level network technicians have found CompTIA's Network+ certification helpful in job hunting.

Certified Information Systems Security Professionals (CISSP) certification is asked for frequently in IT jobs based in Washington, D.C. This is because that certification, along with Security+, is required of contractors by the Department of Defense.

ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) experience and expertise remains a top area. Dice says it is becoming even more vital, with service deliverability being so essential. Those with ITIL credentials can command a six-figure salary.

Here's the top-ten list from Dice:

  1. PMP (Project Management Professional)
  2. CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate)
  3. Security+
  4. A+
  5. MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer)
  6. Network+
  7. MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional)
  8. CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional)
  9. ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library)
  10. MCITP (Microsoft Certified IT Professional)

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

81 comments
lanzoluz
lanzoluz

I'm doing a home self study right now in network + certification and eyeing ccna, A+ and also either MCITP or MCSE.....Can anybody tell me to see if this make any sense.

Darrell.Kirby
Darrell.Kirby

This article seems to be pretty dead-on concerning what skills are being looke for these days. Cisco still remains a hot item and Security is also tops. I know that there are those that complain about what is needed and it is true, if you have a piece of paper than it does not mean you know what you are doing. However, the fact still remains that these will get you in the door. Anything you can get to give you an edge than I would certainly suggest that.

projectonthego
projectonthego

Glad to see that PMP is on the top of the list. Too many projects are given to people who have no idea how to plan and execute a project, and then businesses do not understand why their projects are failing.The best project management software in the world does not replace a competent project manager.

tomp5331
tomp5331

That has to be taken with a grain. I am MCSE so MCP certified. I had applied to positions and got limited calls with those. I had one lady who called and everything was going great until she asked "so you have 3 to 5 years experience?" And when I said no, but I am certified the next thing I heard was her hanging up the phone and that was that. Being ceritified is useless UNLESS you have the past experience.

DGardner2008
DGardner2008

I have had the fortunate advancement in the field of IT Support about 8 months ago. I went from being frycook that had a computer technician hobby spot for friends, to being an IT Support Employee for a company. THey'd interviewed many people that had Degrees in the fields they were specializing in, I however had nothing. But..I've physically worked in many different areas, with friends, teachers, coworkers, on and off clock so to speak. And I put that in my resume, that I had real actual EXPERIENCE with these things. 3 days later I get the call saying "hey come on in the job is yours." It's not about the degress and certifications ALL the time, and I'm not saying you don't need them ever, I'm saying real world experience helps big time when getting you're stuff in a row. Now, I'm also while I'm working at this place of employment, I'm going after some of my certifications, just so I can show them "yeah, I'm doin this for real" Good luck to all of our future techies out there...and remember.... DOS will always be your friend ;)

Netteligent
Netteligent

We have had 3 different employees with MS and PMP degrees. None of them was last for more than a year. Each has its own strengths and direction: none of them worked. You need a full supports from management and team. PMP certification and its curriculum are so broad. Taking classes and tests are good on paper. Diplomatic and expertise with experience and common sense.

Mas88
Mas88

such pessimism on here!!!

anamika9
anamika9

I have completed my A+ & oracle 9i SQL certification from NIIT in INDIA and currently pursuing GNIIT course (software eng'g). I am planning to go for N+ and Linux certifications... Can anyone here help me to find out what else should i accomplish in my educational field so that i can land a job in abroad areas...

carbonman
carbonman

One of the problems I see with so much of the IT security certifications is the lack of any real understanding of the basics of physical security. It's no good having a really secure network if someone can walk in (or break in with minimal or no tools) and steal the information they want in a variety of ways. The big advantage to IT designations is you folks have a well established process and structure that the physical security practitioners are still moving toward. I have huge respect for my information systems friends but advise them to call on folks like me to develop physical and site security to appropriate levels and not be quite so system/software centric. Appropriate security designations to look for with physical security experts are CPP (Certified Protection Professional) and PSP (Physical Security Professional). Sorry for going on about this; it's been an irritant with me for over a decade.

ojealexis532
ojealexis532

Surprised that VCP didn't make that list. With all the buzz of virtualization I am shocked it wasn't listed in top 10. I for one will be pursuing that this year.

rahul_fy
rahul_fy

Certifications really matter when we are looking for a change. It shows your ability and command on technology to perform a better service.

hoplite_q3
hoplite_q3

Why don't I see RHCE or any other Linux certification on the list. I believe Linux based Servers are far better than Windows Servers.

wwgorman
wwgorman

I'm not in IT but as a Registered Professional Engineer I can say that any added certification you can get will be valuable to your future. It sounds like the PMP Certification is one of the more difficult because the experience factor. The same is true for P.E. (Professional Engineer) Licensing. You need a minimum of a four year Bachelor Degree from an Accredited University Program and 5 years experience before you can take the final test, usually a 2 day affair. However, while in the senior year of the B.S. program you can usually take the Engineer-In-Training (E.I.T.) test which consists of the material you learned in school, e.g., how to calculate the force of a broom leaning against a wall and other useless stuff. If you pass that test then you only take the work experience section which is more about codes than anything else and only 1 day..

nooly77
nooly77

IMdir@ has it right....I have an MBA and BBA...was out of work from 2001 until 2006...went out and acquired the MCSE, CISSP, CompTIA Prjt Mgmt+, Network+, Security+ and A+ certs in 2006 at my expense... to also try and overcome the 'stale' and 'not current' label' that the HR folks kept alluding too....mattered not, here it is 2012 and still no job...the facts of the matter are that the I turned '50' the month after we were all outsourced in 2001 and its the incredible amount of HR age discrimination that is going on that keeps me unemployed.... In a 25+ year IT career I never was out of work until I turned 50...Now I am suddenly stupid and unusable!....I have made the 'final two' out of hundreds of applicants at least 10 times these past years...only to have the 30 something with an exact same skill set get the job!! HR can lie all they want...they dont want older workers on their medical plans, and they might have to pay them a few bucks more (might!) ...they dont want ya in IT if your coming in over 50!

Craig Dedo
Craig Dedo

Yes, PMP is a very valuable certification to have. A lot of hiring managers either require it or else consider it to be a valuable add-on. Problem is, the PMP requires experience, how much depends on your level of education. According to the PMI web site, the requirements are either: 1. Bachelor degree, at least 3 years of project management experience, at least 4500 direct labor hours of PM experience, and at least 35 hours of PM education. 2. High school diploma, at least 5 years of project management experience, at least 7500 direct labor hours of PM experience, and at least 35 hours of PM education. Unfortunately, someone has to hire you into a PM position in order to get the required PM experience. And, it is often next to impossible to get hired into a PM position without some PM experience. So, it is a Catch-22 situation. The experience requirement is such a huge roadblock to PMP certification that there is a LOT of fraud going on, i.e. people faking their experience so that they can qualify to take the PMP exam. I often wonder how many certified PMPs got their first PM job, so that they could earn the required experience. As for education, that is almost completely a do-it-yourself accomplishment and credential. When I earned my Master of Project Management degree, I applied to the Keller Graduate School of Management, paid the required tuition, attended the classes, did the homework, passed the exams, and eventually earned my degree. In contrast, earning the required PM experience requires the cooperation of others. Someone else has to be willing to hire you into a PM position, give you the opportunities to acquire the diverse PM experiences that the PMP requires, and then authenticate the required amounts of PM experiences. Around a year or two ago, I wrote to the PMI Board of Directors about creating a series of micro credentials that would fill in the gap between the entry-level Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) and the fairly high-level PMP. In my proposal, there would be two separate credentials for each of the knowledge areas in the PMBOK, one for education and one for experience. Each of the credentials would be completely independent of any of the others. I got some brief interest from a handful of board members but then heard nothing after that. Since I wrote my proposal, PMI has created several more very high-end credentials, including PMI-ACP (Agile), PMI-RMP (Risk Management), and PMI-SP (Scheduling). PMI seems to have little to no interest in helping interested persons to enter into and advance in the early stages of the profession. Any useful ideas on how to overcome these roadblocks would be very welcome.

eryk81
eryk81

I have a good amount of the certificates listed above (5, working on 6 and a BS) and experience in the IT field. Is there a website were one can enter in their certificates and years of experience and get an estimate on expected salary? In the end, it comes down to what the market is yielding at the time of hire and you ability to negotiate your final wage but it would be great information to have when review time comes around and/or when fielding recruiting calls.

mfrazer
mfrazer

I recently completed a two-semester program through my local community college and paid normal tuition to complete 4 classes that thoroughly prep one for an entry level job working with Cisco equipment. In all I paid about $300. It took longer than a private technical school but cost a lot less, and the material sinks in when you take time to learn it. Google Cisco Networking Academy and see if your local community college participates. The link in this article doesn't take me directly to the Dice report, but my guess is the list is based on global statistics. Local statistics will probably be a MUCH different picture.

patrad
patrad

Just curious what people's experience has been with ITIL certifications. Obviously there are different levels. I've taken the ITIL v3 foundations, but is that relevant or are employers looking for more advanced ITIL certification?

-CHUCK-
-CHUCK-

I was unemployed for 14 months before I went to training. I got my CCNA and RHCE, and had a job within 90 days of completion. That being said, the job I got had a lot to do with relationship building and perseverance; I did NOT get the job I applied for, but by keeping the lines of communication with the company open, and building a relationship with the management there, they came back to me with another position when it opened.

WiseIT
WiseIT

Just wondering if there are any stats on how many job openings don't ever get posted but are filled regardless. I agree with Sckinz1 that contacts are highly important.

jlomax01
jlomax01

Need a job But new to the field, about to get bachelor's but no on the job experience and no certs. what can I do when the posting calls for needed entry or Jr level network tech with 5yr's experience. Is there a Jr-Jr position I do not know about. when I started this schooling everyone needed associate degree, got that and all most finished with bachelor's but no on the job experience and no certs NO JOB. What can I do?

jzabrams
jzabrams

...I don't see anything having to with The Cloud in this list? Virtualization either for that matter, though I certainly can see the benefit of being certified on VMWare or similar.

tigertale
tigertale

Just a statistic..it would be more interesting to know how many PMPs can manage a project. I have one but all it shows is that you can pass a test and that (hopefully) you are project-oriented. People who know how to sell themselves and agressively network IN ADDITION to these high on the list certifications get the job over the experienced.

rgalligher
rgalligher

Well, as a PMP, I was pleased to see it at the top of the list. Surprised though at the other rankings as far as what level on the list. As one said here, if this is an old article, that explains why. I've been involved in software development for close to 21 years with an AS in CIS. I've been fortunate to have been employed in this field with that level of degree. I have over 15 years project management experience and received my PMP certification in 2009. Many of my fellow PMP's in this area have said that with the certification doors are more likely to open, but you better be good or that information gets around too. I've also seen non certified project managers land good paying jobs because they are good. It's hard to really pinpoint why those with many certifications and highly skilled IT workers don't land the jobs that others do. A lot of it is in who you know too. Network - but networking is not what they can do for you but what you can do for them, it goes both ways.

alexisgarcia72
alexisgarcia72

We was working in a complex project and we hire a couple of technicians with some experience and no certifications. We need 30 days to end the project. We repeat the same with another company, this time, instead of a couple of technicians, I get the help of one engineer with CCNA, MCSE and S+ certs. We finish in just one week!. This last engineer knows all security, network and server requirements from top to bottom so I definitely search just for certified people in future projects.

jonrosen
jonrosen

As many have said, not really a fully realistic list, or at least not any more. Net+ is trumped by CCNA. And yes, while CCNA is a bit more proprietary, 90% or more of it can be used cross-platform (Juniper, etc) ITIL.. One of the bigger jokes IMO. I have it.. I'm sure it's helped land me something. I've never used it. The only people who need to get ITIL, are the NON-IT people. Those in IT with any brain, 99.9% of ITIL is common sense. It's the finance and non-IT managers who need to understand the value of IT, not those IN the IT field. MCSE... Why bother listing that when you've got MCITP there? As others have stated, MCSE (aka Must Consult Someone Experienced) is pretty much out of the picture now. A+, I've gotten jobs from it, and I still get asked about things based on it, so that's still a good one. I'm just damned glad mine is grandfathered in from before you had to re-cert every 3 years. Experience is truly key (I've got more book knowledge than hands-on for my CCNP, which is frustrating, but the truth), and there's almost always work for A+, it just may not be what you WANT to do. For the guy who just recently got 4-6 certs... Looking for 4 years? Either in the wrong area of the world somehow, or you've the problem of too-experienced and no one wants to pay you what you think you're worth, or even what they think you're worth. I'd almost suggest consult with some of that cert spread. In the end, HR is most of the problem. Clueless people with more power than they deserve are hamstringing companies with the way they work. No doubt about it.

lmdir
lmdir

I have over 15 years of IT experience at all levels, manager, administrator, programmer. I recently attained A+, MCSA, Security+, and ITIL v.3., to bolster my skills and prove I could still learn. I have not been able to land a job in 4 years.

kfoster
kfoster

What?! No love for any Oracle Certifications?

nat.hansen
nat.hansen

Not only do I agree with what you're saying, but what you did is exactly how it should be done (from my point of view). Experience counts most of all, certifications help big time afterwards (puts it into perspective). Again, well done!

Darrell.Kirby
Darrell.Kirby

I agree. That is why the PMP requires experience prior to sitting for the exam.

drskyuen
drskyuen

Anamika, I suggest you go for N+ then CCNA if you wish to go into networking Linux is not too popular here, but if you wish then go for Linux+ The current new trend is vm then take VCP Hence together with your degree in software engineering -- you assure of getting a job here. However it is advisable to do all these certifications in India as it is 10 times cheaper there ( training and books cost ). Go luck for your studies and remember to try to get some real job experience say 1 to 2 years before coming over here.

Darrell.Kirby
Darrell.Kirby

This has become a pretty hot Cert. So has Cloud based certs.

robart6020
robart6020

ever considered starting your own business?

F___M
F___M

Yep we sure did get stupid at 50!

Darrell.Kirby
Darrell.Kirby

There is a HUGE catch 22 with the PMP or attempting to get experience in the field. You have to fill out the PMP form which asks various questions before you can even atttempt to take the test. I actually went through a grad program at a local college for the PMP. I was also lucky enough to have a past employer select me to run various projects. It is a tough area to break into hence the salaries. They also have the CAPM for those wishing to break into the field.

Darrell.Kirby
Darrell.Kirby

You can check out Salary.com or Glassdoor.com. They are good at giving the average salary for an area of expertise.

Darrell.Kirby
Darrell.Kirby

I totally agree with you on this. You can get Microsoft, Cisco and other certs through your local Commuinty Colleges.

nat.hansen
nat.hansen

Boss at an old company I used to work for sent me on the ITIL course with exam straight after, haven't used it since the day I got it, forgotten most of the content aswell. This cert seems more for management looking to make a different with IT process, not for a techy looking to implement and maintain technology. I believe someone else wrote, "it really comes down to common IT sense", which I completely agree.

dswope79
dswope79

to start at the lowest level (Help Desk) if it gets your foot in the door. You have to get in and prove yourself and build your reputation. Through constant willingness to learn and improve your skill set, your reputation will grow as well as your worth to a company.

dswope79
dswope79

Yeah, don't forget to post how much experience that consultant had under his/her belt. You make it sound like just because he held certs is why he was so knowledgeable which is completely false.

nat.hansen
nat.hansen

Don't share this info with him/her, otherwise they'll ask for triple pay (the three weeks that they saved you), otherwise you'll be forced to go backwards but don't worry, experience will catch up, it always does.

erh7771
erh7771

are you willing to move?

nat.hansen
nat.hansen

I would love to see what Oracle is like, unfortunately I haven't had the opportunity to work for company big enough to to justify the economics of an Oracle outlay. Correct me if I'm wrong but unless the company is big enough to have a presence in multiple countries, we revert to.... Smaller applications. Having said that, I wouldn't tell a company to use Oracle without a certified specialist, I guess this is where you'd come to the party :)

Darryl~
Darryl~

it was after many months of sending out resumes, since then I took a position with the municipal goverment where I live.....there are good things & bad things about owning/running a business. Running a business can cause a lot of stress which isn't there when someone else's money is "on the line"; there's also things like medical benefits, pension, and other things that can be less expensive when working for someone else. Sometimes it's not clear which is the proper path to follow.

F___M
F___M

My business will be 20 years old this June. That doesnt stop current and potential customers from jumping ship on the services to younger, "smarter", "cheaper" techs. The upside to that is when they come crawling back, my price has magically gone up. hahahaha :)

Darryl~
Darryl~

and pretty much exactly what I did many years ago ;)

lmdir
lmdir

I live in NYC, you would think there would be jobs here. Besides, my home is underwater, so no, I'm not moving anytime soon.

jzabrams
jzabrams

...your customers are always looking to better-deal you. You sound like a jerk.

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