The top certification on the annual Skillsoft list has a salary of more than $171,000. Find out what certifications you should be working toward.
At a salary of $171,749, Google certified professional data engineer is the highest paying job on Skillsoft's newly released annual Global Knowledge 15 Top-Paying Certifications List, which reveals the most in-demand skills and technology areas for organizations, as well as the average salaries associated with them.
SEE: 15 highest-paying certifications for 2021 (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
Cybersecurity and cloud certifications comprise most of the list collectively for 2021, confirming how crucial risk management has become to organizations today, the firm said. The top-paying certifications in cloud computing command salaries of more than $150,000, according to Skillsoft.
The company said ITIL 4 Foundation is the most widely held certification.
"Project management and virtualization are perennial entries in this list, which is not surprising given how mission-critical those skills are," said Michael Yoo, general manager, technology and developer skills, at Skillsoft. "There isn't a high performing technology organization anywhere in the world that doesn't depend upon effective and efficient project management."
It is hard to find "good project management that gets on-time, on-budget results and flexibly adapt to real-world curveballs," Yoo added.
"Technology is only as powerful as the capabilities of the people trained to use it," Yoo said in a statement. "With this in mind, certifications are an excellent way of infusing vital skills into an organization, while boosting employee productivity and investing in ongoing professional development."
SEE: The best programming languages to learn--and the worst (TechRepublic Premium)
If IT professionals don't see a future with a company, they'll leave, Yoo said. "They want to work for an organization that is just as serious about their career and professional development as they are; formal learning paths are a great example. And organizations can't afford to lose top talent: 41% of IT decision-makers had one position they couldn't fill in the past 12 months, and 52% had two to four positions they were unable to fill."
When you can't fill positions, jobs aren't being done and other employees' workloads increase, he said.
Data from the Global Knowledge IT Skills and Salary Report confirms that more than three-quarters (76%) of IT decision-makers struggle with existing skills gaps, are challenged with talent recruitment and retention, and face overwhelming workloads, according to Skillsoft. These issues can open organizations up to significant risk, which underscores the importance of certifications as they help businesses close organizational skills gaps and boost productivity, the company said.
"Cybersecurity hacks and technology-related outages have become more commonplace, and both can have a tremendous impact on an organization's bottom line," Yoo continued. "Pair risks like these with the high rate of skills gaps and growing talent wars, and you can clearly understand why organizations are willing to pay higher salaries to skilled IT professionals who can protect them."
IT certification is one of the best ways to validate your knowledge, skills and abilities in a subject, Skillsoft said. Learning new skills or earning a certification can result in a raise of as much as $12,000 a year, according to the Global Knowledge report.
However, Skillsoft added that it is important to note that salaries are based on several factors, including the ability to apply a person's certified skills at work, job role, continuous professional development, tenure and hard work.
The list also provides a snapshot of the average certification-holder for each credential, including the average number of certifications held, the most popular cross-certification, if they hold cybersecurity-related certifications, if they are in management and their average age, the company said.
- Google Certified Professional Data Engineer—$171,749
- Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect—$169,029
- AWS Certified Solutions Architect—Associate—$159,033
- CRISC—Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control—$151,995
- CISSP—Certified Information Systems Security Professional—$151,853
- CISM—Certified Information Security Manager—$149,246
- PMP—Project Management Professional—$148,906
- NCP-MCI—Nutanix Certified Professional—Multicloud Infrastructure—$142,810
- CISA—Certified Information Systems Auditor—$134,460
- VCP-DVC—VMware Certified Professional - Data Center Virtualization 2020—$132,947
- MCSE: Windows Server—$125,980
- Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate—$121,420
- CCNP Enterprise—Cisco Certified Network Professional—Enterprise—$118,911
- CCA-V—Citrix Certified Associate—Virtualization—$115,308
The certifications on the Skillsoft list are accredited by industry leaders, including AWS, Cisco, Google Cloud, ISACA and Microsoft, the company said.
The 15 Top-Paying Certifications List uses data from over 3,700 U.S. IT professionals who participated in Global Knowledge's IT Skills and Salary Survey, an annual survey of technology professionals and IT decision-makers, Skillsoft said.
- Forrester projects strong growth for US tech budgets (TechRepublic)
- Tech projects for IT leaders: How to build a home lab (TechRepublic)
- How to become a CIO: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)
- Working from home: How to get remote right (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
- Contract work policy (TechRepublic Premium)
- CXO: More must-read coverage (TechRepublic on Flipboard)