How to Choose the Right IT Certification and Not Regret It
Earning IT certification shows that you have gained the skills needed for a job and allows you to add value to your current or new position. Certifications can take you further in your career and give you an advantage over those who have not taken them.
If you’re an entry-level professional, certifications can give you a leg up on your competition and provide you valuable recognition as an accredited member of an industry. But with so many IT certifications out there, it can be difficult to decide which certification is right for you.
The Best IT Certifications for Beginners
Whether you plan to start a career in IT or are a professional looking to switch to a career in tech, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best IT certifications for beginners. Here’s the list.
1. CompTIA A+
CompTIA A+ certification is one of the most popular entry-level certifications out there. The vendor-neutral certification covers general IT topics, including networking, security, and troubleshooting.
This certification is an industry standard for a computer technician and verifies your ability to solve operating systems, security, and networking problems.
CompTIA A+ certification consists of two exams, each costing $246. The exams cover topics like installing and configuring operating systems, managing IoT technology, and troubleshooting work-from-home setups.
2. CompTIA IT Fundamentals (ITF+)
The ITF+ certification does exactly what its name suggests, serving up a course designed with the beginner in mind. The certification is designed to validate your basic understanding of IT and give you an idea of what it’s like working in IT.
The exam includes questions focusing on IT terminologies, database basics, and software development. The exam costs $134, making ITF+ an affordable career-boosting certification you can add to your resume.
3. CompTIA Security+
CompTIA Security+ is a vendor-neutral certification designed to validate your competency in basic IT security and cybersecurity skills. Security+ prepares you for job roles like security analyst, security administrator, and cybersecurity specialist. The certification is also one of the best entry-level network engineer certifications.
To earn the certification, you must pass an exam that costs $392. The exam covers topics such as threats and vulnerabilities, risk management, and cryptography.
4. Amazon Web Services (AWS) Certified Cloud Practitioner
The AWS Cloud Practitioner certification is designed to help you gain basic knowledge about the AWS platform, and better prepare you for entry-level cloud computing jobs.
The certification will equip you with the skills to implement and manage basic cloud infrastructure using Amazon Web Services (AWS). It includes an exam covering cloud security, load and performance testing, and designing cloud architecture. The exam costs $100.
5. Cisco Certified Technician (CCT)
The CCT certification validates your ability to troubleshoot Cisco system components and networking devices. It can verify to a potential employer your capacity to diagnose, restore, repair, and replace the respective components and devices.
The certification is a good choice if you are looking for an IT network specialist job. The certification offers three main tracks, CCT Data Center, CCT Collaboration, and CCT Routing and Switching. Each exam costs $125.
Things to Consider When Choosing IT Certifications
As mentioned, there’s a huge list of IT certifications, so it can be difficult to know which ones to choose. Here are some things to consider when choosing IT certifications.
1. The IT Field You Want to Specialize In
Before deciding which certification to pursue, think about your career goals and the specific skills you need to achieve them. It’s important to understand what each certification will do for you, as an IT professional.
There are many certifications in different IT disciplines, from hardware to software to security. Therefore, if you’re considering an IT certification, you should first decide what type of IT professional you want to become.
For example, if you want to become a security specialist, you should probably start with CompTIA Security+ or other cybersecurity courses. This is because Security+ focuses on security-related topics.
2. How Long It Takes to Get an IT Certification
One of the questions you may want answered is how long it takes to complete an IT certification. The short answer is that some can be completed in a week or two while others may take months. Be sure you have enough time so that your certification doesn’t interfere with your other obligations.
3. Popularity of the IT Certifications
Even if you’re just starting out in IT, it’s a good idea to know what certifications are most valued by employers and which ones can help you get ahead in your field. Researching the most sought-after IT certifications will help you figure out what certifications employers are asking for on entry-level positions.
4. Accreditation of the Certification Body
You want to make sure that your IT certification is from a reputable source. There are many types of IT certifications available, some offered by unrecognized accreditation organizations.
It’s important that you take the time to check and ensure that the institution offering the IT certifications is accredited. If a certification body isn’t accredited, it may not have the proper procedures or systems in place to offer reputable courses and certifications. As such, it’s always best to steer clear of unrecognized bodies when selecting IT certifications.
How Much Can You Earn After Gaining IT Certification?
Compensation is one of the top reasons why most people choose their careers. And, as you might expect, salaries vary greatly depending on the certification sought.
Different IT certifications require varying levels of knowledge and often come with a pay scale as well. This is important because a company may be more willing to hire you if they think you will be able to do the job, which means not only should you think about what they need—but also how much they’re willing to pay you.
Choose an IT Certification That Matches Your Career Goal
There are many IT certifications available, and it can be difficult to know which one to choose. Beginners should look for entry-level certifications that will give them the basic foundation they need to start their career in IT. Some of the best IT certifications for beginners include CompTIA A+, and CompTIA Network+, and Cisco Certified Technician.
To choose the right certifications, there are some factors you should consider. The best entry-level IT certification depends on your goals, time to completion, and desired salary, to mention a few.