Information technology certifications are highly respected testaments to a professional’s training and expertise in Information Technology. Whether you’re changing careers, branching into another facet of IT, or completely new to the IT sector, pursuing certification is a fast track to recognizable and transferable skills attractive to many employers. For example, studies show that certified professionals are able to handle over a third more tech support cases than non-certified employees.

Pursuing IT certifications used to be both expensive and inconvenient. New online courses enable you to jumpstart a new career through straightforward and highly accessible online training. Brenner Spear, a content developer at OpenSesame, a company that offers online training courses, talks about the top three IT certifications and how you can get them.

Oracle Certified Professional Java SE 6 Programmer

Prerequisites: None
Time Commitment: 21 hours of course material + 2.5 hour exam
Financial Commitment: $80 course + $300 exam fees

The median starting salary for an individual with an OCPJP certification is $50,800, which usually grows by $11,000 within the first 4 years of certification. There are currently 130+ jobs on that require a Java programmer.

To become an OCP Java Programmer, there’s only one exam you have to take: the Java SE 6 Programmer Certified Professional Exam. offers 1Z0-851 Study Exam Material, a comprehensive 21-hour interactive course covering the seven sections of the exam. These are a few of the topics covered in each section of the exam:

Section 1: introduces classes, methods, objects and arrays as variables, and how to declare an interface.
Section 2: covers if & switch statements, for loops, for-each loops & while loops, and exceptions & exception handling (try, catch, finally).
Section 3: teaches how to navigate file systems using FileReader and FileWriter, as well as integrate data from other code using APIs.
Section 4: explains the different states in which a thread can exist.
Section 5: describes the effect of modifiers on inheritance.
Section 6: explains the process of determining which collection of classes would be best for different designs, as well as the different versions of the collections API.
Section 7: introduces the garbage collection system, and how to recognize when objects are ready for garbage collection.

Alternatively, you may purchase a selfstudy CD set for $660 from Oracle themselves. When you have completed the study process, you can take the certification exam at an Oracle Testing Center or through Pearson VUE. Register for either through Oracle. This is probably the fastest way to get a credible certification stating you’re a “professional.”

Oracle Database Administrator Certified Associate

Prerequisites: None
Time Commitment: 31 hours of course material + two 1.5-2 hour exams
Financial Commitment: two $80 courses + $320 (total) exam fees

OCA Database administrators earn a median of $40,000 annually, which usually grows by $23,000 within the first 4 years. To become an OCA Database Administrator, you must complete two required exams, the 1Z0-051: Database SQL Fundamentals & the 1Z0-052: Database SQL Administration. Mindleaders, a seller in the OpenSesame marketplace, offers material for both.

The Oracle 1Z0-051 Exam Study Material presents 12 hours of material cut into seven sections which cover the basics of SQL database management. No experience is needed to take this course. Some of the topics in each section include:

Section 1: introduces the SELECT statement and how to limit/sort the rows retrieved.
Section 2: introduces and explains the four main functions: SELECT, INPUT, DELETE & UPDATE.
Section 3: covers group functions, and how to use GROUP BY & HAVING.
Section 4: explains how to use JOIN commands, as well as what subqueries are.
Section 5: describes, in depth, DML (data manipulation language) and DML statements.
Section 6: teaches how to create tables and add constraints during their creation.
Section 7: describes simple & complex views, and the differences between them. Explains sequences & indexes, as well as public & private synonyms.

The Oracle 1Z0-052 Exam Study Material has 19 hours of material cut into 10 sections which build off the foundational knowledge provided in the previous course. These more advanced topics include:

Section 1: explains memory structures and storage structures, and how to use all the tools for administering an Oracle database.
Section 2: teaches how to create a database with the DBCA (Database configuration Assistant) and set it up the way you want/need it.
Section 3: shows how to manage database storage structures and schema objects, as well as how to correctly use temporary tables.
Section 4: covers network architecture and how to configure an Oracle Network Environment correctly.
Section 5: explains how to keep an Oracle database secure by controlling accounts and privileges, as well as standard database auditing.
Section 6: teaches how to recognize PL/SQL objects, and how to use undo and undo data.
Section 7: covers an array of helpful tools, such as: automatic memory management, AWR (automatic workload repository), advisory framework, and memory advisors.
Section 8: explains the concepts of backup and recovery, and how to make automated routine incremental backups.
Section 9: covers the types of failures Oracle databases can experience and how to recover from them.
Section 10: teaches how to import and export data using the Oracle data pump, as well as manage any patches released.

Both courses include three full-length practice exams to test your grasp of the material. When it comes to exam day, only a 60% and 66%, respectively, are required to pass. If you have some database experience, passing the 051 with no studying is probably possible, but it won’t help your overall understanding of Oracle-specific topics, which could be a hindrance when taking the 052 course and exam.

Interested? Register for both exams with Oracle – the 1Z0-051 exam is even available online. Oracle also offers on-demand prep-seminars (videos) for both the 1Z0-051 and the 1Z0-052, for $650 a piece.

Linux Red Hat Certified System Administrator

Prerequisites: None
Time Commitment: two full work-weeks
Financial Commitment: two $2700 classes + $200 exam fees


Prerequisites: 1-3 years of full-time Linux administration experience
Time Commitment: 21 hours of course material + 2 hour exam
Financial Commitment: $80 course + $400 exam fees

For the last decade, Red Hat has been the leading Linux operating system for the enterprise user. Earning an RHCSA certification demonstrates your ability to administer Red Hat Enterprise Linux environments, including important common core skills like handling command-line environments and network file systems.

To pursue a Red Hat certification, you must attend Red Hat’s onsite training, virtual training, remote classroom training or in-person training.

Linux Red Hat System Administration I (RH124) is the introductory course. Classroom training by Red Hat Inc. and classes from certified Red Hat instructors from sites like ExitCertified are available for $2,700. A few skills taught during the course include:

  • The how-to’s of the graphical Installation of Linux
  • Dealing with physical storage
  • Using command line
  • Installing local components and services, as well as configuring them
  • Creating and securing networks & network services
  • Keeping files secure and organized
  • Creating and overseeing users and groups
  • Using file-sharing services
  • Using GUI-based tools and important command-line concepts

Linux Red Hat System Administration II (RH135) follows the RH124 course. Both classroom training from Red Hat Inc. and ExitCertified offer the course with the RHCSA exam included, but the class is $2900 (which means you’re saving $200 on the normally $400 exam). The more advanced skills taught in this course include:

  • Troubleshooting networks, file systems and logical volumes
  • Handling file systems and logical volumes, and using a LVM (Logical Volume Manager)
  • Managing user and file access, as well as packages
  • Installing and managing services and processes
  • More important command-line operations

If you have 1-3 years of full-time Linux administrator experience, OpenSesame offers a course to prepare for the required RHCSA Exam (EX200). The RHCSA EX200 Exam Study Material comprises 21 hours of material cut into 9 sections. This course focuses on topics included in the exam that even experienced administrators will need to review, including:

  • Hardware and installation requirements
  • Installing RHEL 6 on a virtual machine over a network with the help of Kickstart
  • An overview of all the required command line skills
  • Controlling Security using firewalls, access control lists, file permissions, and SELinux
  • Everything that goes on during a startup
  • Filesystem maintenance, including logical volumes, storage encryption, and partitions
  • The Red Hat Package Manager
  • Managing users and groups
  • Administration tasks

Have certs helped you?

With excellent online and in-person training options, certification in the in-demand IT sector is within your reach. Do you have any of these, or other start-from-scratch certifications? Have they helped you start down a new career path?

Brenner Spear is a content developer at OpenSesame, the world’s largest marketplace for buying and selling elearning courses. He is currently a student at Chapman University in Orange, California, majoring in CIS (Computer Information Systems) and Business.