Top IT certifications that pay the highest salaries

The more certifications you have, the higher your paycheck, according to Global Knowledge.

These data science certificates will boost your career and salary

The more IT certifications, the higher the paycheck, according to a Global Knowledge report. That's a good thing, because 85% of respondents said they hold at least one additional certification. 

SEE: The driving force behind IT salaries in Global Knowledge's report (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Of that 85%, more than half said they earned their most recent certification in the past 12 months, and 66% said they are already pursuing their next certification or plan to this year. Global Knowledge's 2019 IT Skills and Salary Report highlighted the importance of continuing education. As the tech world evolves, employees must do the same to remain relevant and competitive in their jobs.  

"Certifications show that you have the breadth and depth of expertise and that you are committed to continuously learning," said Zane Schweer, lead researcher on the report. "Say you just had one certification in entry level field, such as entry level cloud certification. Well, cloud changes all the time. Your career is changing all the time. Your job roles are changing all the time." 

The more certifications you have, the more well-versed you are in those topics, which is appealing to employers, Schweer said.      

While certifications do demand both time and money, IT professionals aren't hesitating to get certifications because they realize the value. The benefits of these certifications also aren't limited to the employee, but are also good for the organization as a whole, Schweer said. 

SEE: AWS: 9 pro tips and best practices (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Individual and organizational benefits of certifications 

Across the world, salaries of certified professionals surpassed those of non-certified, the report found. 

The largest salary difference was in Latin America, with a 21% discrepancy between certified and non-certified staff, followed by Asia-Pacific (11%), and North America (7%). 

The more certifications an employee has, the higher they are paid. In North America, for example, an individual with at least six IT certifications makes $10,000 more than those with just one, according to the report. 

Increased salary wasn't the only benefit employees saw: More than half (52%) said their expertise is more sought after within their organization upon gaining certifications. 

Some 45% of respondents with certifications said they have implemented their efficiencies and 43% said they are faster at their jobs, the report found. 

These individual benefits transfer into benefits for an organization. By gaining skills, employees are better at closing skills gaps, meeting client requirements, productivity, and completing projects quicker, according to the report. 

Top-paying certifications

The average highest paying certification categories worldwide were AWS Certified Solutions Architect-Professional ($120,136), Google Cloud Platform (GCP) Cloud Architect ($118,756), and CISSP ($116,573). 

The report also listed the top-paying certification in each region. 

North America

  1. GCP Cloud Architect ($152,129) 
  2. CISM ($132,919)
  3. Certified ScrumMaster ($132,903)
  4. AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate ($130,883) 
  5. AWS Certified SysOps Administrator - Associate ($130,610) 
  6. AWS Certified Developer - Associate ($130,272)
  7. Project Management Professional ($129,457)
  8. CRISC ($128,556)
  9. CCE-V ($125,870)
  10. CISSP ($123,815)

Latin America 

  1. TOGAF 9.1 ($74,646) 
  2. Six Sigma Green Belt ($71,532) 
  3. Project Management Professional ($63,064) 
  4. CCIE Routing and Switching ($57,685) 
  5. CISSP ($57,168)
  6. AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate ($56,193)
  7. VCA6-DCV ($53,284) 
  8. COBIT 5 Foundation ($52,412)
  9. CRISC ($52,255) 
  10. GCP Cloud Architect ($50,636) 

Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) 

  1. GCP Cloud Architect ($103,448) 
  2. TOGAF 9.1 ($99,402)
  3. GCP Data Engineer ($97,175) 
  4. CISSP ($95,340) 
  5. PRINCE2 Practitioner ($87,987)
  6. AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate ($87,641) 
  7. AWS Certified Developer - Associate ($86,457) 
  8. CRISC ($85,427) 
  9. Certified ScrumMaster ($83,221) 
  10. CISM ($83,193) 


  1. TOGAF 9.1 ($102,503) 
  2. GCP Data Engineer ($98,254) 
  3. CGEIT ($94,147) 
  4. CRISC ($93,582) 
  5. CISSP ($91,688)
  6. GCP Cloud Architect ($88,160) 
  7. CISM ($85,443)
  8. Project Management Professional ($85,305)
  9. MCSE: Server Infrastructure ($79,890)
  10. MCSA: Windows Server 2008 ($78,527)

Cybersecurity is the most popular certification 

The most popular certifications were in cybersecurity, based on the amount of CISSP, CISA, CISM, and CRISC certifications across regions. With the number of public cybersecurity breaches in 2019, along with mounting rise of malware and ransomware, cybersecurity certifications are lucrative.

Check out the full report from Global Knowledge for a complete list of popular certifications, as well as resources for where to get them.

For more, see Global IT compensation is at an all-time high, thanks to skills trainings on TechRepublic.

This article was republished on January 30, 2020 with additional information.

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