Top IT Certifications of 2016

To increase expertise and refine skills, many IT professionals choose to pursue a certification.  Certifications can help advance your career and provide additional opportunities.  With so many certifications available, it can be difficult to find the right one for your desired career goal.  To aid in this process, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 IT certifications in an array of categories.

IT Certification Categories

Big Data Certifications

Today’s organizations are looking for more and better ways to wrangle the voluminous amounts of data available to them and pull out only the information they need. Big data is mainly about storing, managing and transferring very large sets of data and making it accessible for analysis. Along with the surge in big data interest has come a growing number of certifications, which seek to recognize the skills needed to work with enormous data sets.

EMC: Data Science Associate

The EMC Proven Professional Certification program is highly developed, with 12 different certification tracks that offer multiple credentials.

Exam Fee:  $200

Official Link to Certification: http://pearsonvue.com/emc/

SAS Business Intelligence Certification

This certification identifies individuals who can prepare data, build, assess and implement predictive models, as well as score new data sets. Candidates must take a performance-based exam using SAS Enterprise Miner to answer multiple-choice questions.

Exam Fee: $250

Link to Official Certification: https://support.sas.com/edu/schedules.html?ctry=us&id=1528

Study Materials: http://amzn.to/1llnOx6

Cloudera Certified Professional Data Scientist

Cloudera is a leader in software and services based on Apache Hadoop, catering to a wide range of markets, such as government, university research, financial services, telecommunications, energy and many more.

Cloudera offers four big data-related certifications:

  • Cloudera Certified Professional: Data Scientist (CCP: Data Scientist)
  • Cloudera Certified Developer for Apache Hadoop (CCDH)
  • Cloudera Certified Administrator for Apache Hadoop (CCAH)
  • Cloudera Certified Specialist in Apache HBase (CCSHB)

Exam Fee: $600 per exam, total of 3 exams per certification

Official Link to Certification: http://www.cloudera.com/content/www/en-us/training/certification/ccp-ds.html

Oracle Business Intelligence

Oracle has one of the largest certification programs in the world, and has granted over one million Oracle and Sun certifications worldwide.

Exam Fee: $245

Official Link to Certification: http://education.oracle.com/pls/web_prod-plq-dad/db_pages.getpage?page_id=654&get_params=p_id:166

MCSE: Business Intelligence

Microsoft is part of the big data mix with its MCSE: Business Intelligence certification, which qualifies individuals as BI and reporting engineers.  The credential identities people with the skills to design, build and deploy data solutions across an organization.

Exam Fee: $150 per exam, total of 5 exams

Official Link to Certification: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/mcse-sql-business-intelligence.aspx

Business Continuity & DR Certifications

Business continuity (BC) and disaster recovery (DC) are the yin and yang of the IT world. Where BC is about keeping systems running and data available despite interruption, DC aims to bring systems back to normal operation following a natural or man-made disaster of some kind.

Business continuity planning (BCP) and disaster recovery planning (DRP) remain important elements in IT governance and compliance, especially for corporations and organizations that must meet various mandates regarding privacy, confidentiality and availability of their systems and the data they house. With the increasing proliferation and use of cloud-based backup services — including a broad range of BC and DR offerings in the cloud — BCP and DRP have become considerably more tractable and occasionally less costly over the past four years.

CBCI: Business Continuity Institute’s Certification of the BCI

The primary certification from BCI is the Certificate of the Business Continuity Institute, also known as CBCI.

Exam Fee: $550

Official Link to Certification: http://www.thebci.org/index.php/training-education/the-cbci-credential

CBCM: Certified Information Security Certified Business Continuity

It offers credentials based on ISO Standards 31000 (Risk Analysis), 27001 (Information Security) and 22301 (Business Continuity Management), and also teaches the ISACA CISM and CISA courses, along with a variety of fraud control (auditing, forensics and fraud investigation) topics.

The CBCM is Certified Information Security’s pinnacle or expert-level BCM certification and builds on the Certified Business Continuity Administrator (CBCA).

Exam Fee: $100 per exam, total of 3 exams

Official Link to Certification: https://www.certifiedinfosec.com/iso-22301-bcm-certification/cbcm

CBCP: DRI International’s Certified Business Continuity Professional

The CBCP is an excellent credential for practicing or aspiring business continuity practitioners, but because it includes a “verifiable experience” component, candidates will have to meet some reasonable facsimile of on-the-job BCP experience to qualify for this credential.

Exam Fee: $695 plu $400 application fee

Official Link to Certification: www.drii.org/certification/cbcp.php

Study Materials: http://amzn.to/1lloa6X

EDRP: EC-Council’s Disaster Recovery Professional

The EDRP is gaining traction with companies and organizations seeking to validate skills and knowledge for those who plan, organize and oversee testing of their disaster response, recovery support, and business resumption practices and procedures.

Exam Fee: $250

Official Link to Certification: http://www.eccouncil.org/Certification/ec-council-disaster-recovery-professional

C/DRE: Mile 2’s Certified Disaster Recovery Engineer

The Certified Disaster Recovery Engineer (C/DRE) credential is Mile2’s pinnacle DR cert, which takes the Mile 2 Certified Security Sentinel (C/SS ) in Disaster Recovery as a prerequisite.

Exam Fee: $300

Official Link to Certification: https://mile2.com/disaster-recovery-business-continuity-planning.html

Cloud IT Certifications

Over the past several years, no other area of IT has generated as much hype, interest and investment as cloud computing. Though the term can — and often does — have different meanings for different users, there’s no doubt that the cloud is now a permanent fixture for end users, service providers, as well as companies and organizations of all sizes around the world.

As a result, cloud computing attracts considerable coverage and attention from certification providers and companies that offer cloud related products, such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and VMware, among countless others.

AWS Certified Solutions Architect

Amazon Web Services launched its AWS certification program in May 2013 in response to a growing demand for cloud computing professionals with demonstrable skills to support AWS clients. The program offers three associate- and two professional-level certifications.

Exam Fee: $300

Official Link to Certification: aws.amazon.com/certification/certification-levels/certified-solutions-architect-professional

EMCCA: EMC Cloud Architect

The EMC Proven Professional Certification program is highly developed, with 12 different certification tracks that offer multiple credentials.

Exam Fee: $200

Official Link to Certification: https://education.emc.com/guest/certification/framework/ca/default.aspx

Prep Guide:

CompTIA Cloud+

One significant event as far as cloud-related certifications are concerned occurred in November 2011 with the release of the CloudTIA Cloud Essentials certification. The Cloud Essentials certification was the first wholly cloud-focused certification offered by the Computing Technology Industry Association and was developed with involvement from ITPreneurs and the Cloud Credential Council (CCC).

Exam Fee: $277

Official Link to Certification: certification.comptia.org/getCertified/certifications/cloudplus.aspx

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1lloIJY

MCSE: Private Cloud

Microsoft announced the Private Cloud credential in January 2012, as the first installment for its newly recast MCSE certification. The highly popular MCSE: Private Cloud Solutions Expert speaks to WindowsServer and System Center 2012, and requires the Microsoft Certified Solution Associate — MCSA: Windows Server 2012 as a prerequisite.

Exam Fee: $150 per exam , total of 2 exams.  $450 for prerequisite exams

Official Link to Certification: www.microsoft.com/learning/en-us/private-cloud-certification.aspx

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1lloT7S

Vmware VCP6- Cloud

If there’s a contributing technology that enables the cloud, it has to be virtualization, and nobody has done virtualization longer or from as many angles as VMware. The company’s newest cloud credential is the VCP6 – Cloud Management and Automation (VCP6-CMA) certification, which is based on vSphere 6.0 and vRealize, and recognizes IT professionals who can extend data virtualization throughout the cloud.

Exam Fee: $345

Official Link to Certification: https://mylearn.vmware.com/mgrReg/plan.cfm?plan=64295&ui=www_cert

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1HTOKi1

Computer Forensics Certifications

Computer forensics is a challenging IT discipline and experienced and certified professionals are in high demand. Yet computer forensics certs remain something of a wild frontier.  Today, there is an appreciable number of available, high-quality certification programs that focus on digital investigations and computer forensics.

CCE: Certified Computer Examiner

The Certified Computer Examiner (CCE) comes from the International Society of Forensic Computer Examiners, also known as ISFCE.

It is well recognized in the industry and in the law enforcement community as a leading credential for computer forensics professionals. Private-sector holders usually include security officers and managers, IT administrators or managers, security or forensics consultants, systems and data security analysts and investigators, and even some lawyers and human resources managers.

Exam Fee: $395

Official Link to Certification: http://www.isfce.com/certification.htm

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1llpeYl

CFCE: Certified Forensic Computer Examiner

The International Association of Computer Investigative Specialists (IACIS) is the organization behind the Certified Forensic Computer Examiner (CFCE) credential. This organization caters primarily to law enforcement personnel (and you must be employed in law enforcement to qualify for regular IACIS membership), but the organization also offers an associate membership to retired law enforcement personnel and to full-time contractors to law-enforcement organizations.

Exam Fee: $750

Official Link to Certification: www.iacis.com/certifications/cfce

CHFI: Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator V8

The International Council of E-Commerce Consultants, also known as EC-Council, is a well-known training and certification organization that specializes in the areas of anti-hacking, computer forensics and penetration testing.

The Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI) V8 certification emphasizes forensics tools, analytical techniques and procedures involved in obtaining, maintaining and presenting computer forensic evidence and data in a court of law.

Exam Fee: $500

Official Link to Certification: www.eccouncil.org/Certification/computer-hacking-forensics-investigator

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1llpmXL

CSFA: CyberSecurity Forensic Analyst

The CyberSecurity Institute in Monroe, Washington provides computer forensic services aimed at law firms, businesses and individuals, and administers a small but well-respected certification program. Information security and forensics courses are available through the CyberSecurity Academy, the Institute’s training arm.

Exam Fee: $750

Official Link to Certification: www.cybersecurityforensicanalyst.com/index.html

GCFA and GCFE Certifications

SANS organization’s forensics credentials include the intermediate-level GIAC Certified Forensic Examiner (GCFE) and the more senior GIAC Certified Forensic Analyst (GCFA). Neither credential requires taking SANS courses (which enjoy a strong reputation as among the best in the information security community, with high-powered instructors to match), but they are recommended to candidates, and often offered before, during or after SANS conferences held around the USA at regular intervals.

Exam Fee: $1,199

Official Link to Certification:  http://www.giac.org/

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1llpGpp

Computer Hardware Certifications

Becoming a computer technician is a great point of entry into the IT field, and computer hardware certifications will help demonstrate your knowledge and competency in maintaining computers, mobile devices, printers and more. These top 5 computer hardware certs can help you get your IT career off the ground.

ACMT: Apple Certified Macintosh Technician

The Apple Certified Macintosh Technician (ACMT) credential offers a gateway into a variety of Apple hardware-related certifications. Apple uses this curriculum internally to train its own in-house support technicians and Apple Store employees, and its authorized service and repair partners as well.  The ACMT curriculum seeks to verify candidates’ ability to conduct basic troubleshooting and repair on a variety of Apple platforms, including desktop and portable systems, such as iMac, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air.

Exam Fee: $150 per exam, total of 2 exams.

Official Link to Certification: http://training.apple.com/certification/acmt

BISCI Technician

The BICSI Technician certification recognizes individuals who lead an installation group or team, perform advanced testing and troubleshooting of cable installations, evaluate cabling requirements, recommend solutions based on standards and best practices, and roll out new and retrofit projects. Technicians must be well versed in both copper and fiber cabling.

Exam Fee: $260

Official Link to Certification: https://www.bicsi.org/programs.aspx?l=2596&r=2604&c=TECH

CompTIA A+

The CompTIA A+ certification is the granddaddy and best-known of all hardware credentials. For anyone serious about working with PCs, laptops, mobile devices, printers or operating systems, the A+ should at least be on their radar if not in their game plan.

Exam Fee: $194 per exam, total of 2 exams.

Official Link to Certification: http://certification.comptia.org/certifications/a

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1llpZ3E

CompTIA Server+

In addition to the A+ certification, CompTIA also offer a server-related certification, which steps up from basic PC hardware, software and networking topics to the more demanding, powerful and expensive capabilities in the same vein usually associated with server systems.

Exam Fee: $277

Link to Official Certification: http://certification.comptia.org/certifications/server

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1Yy2GCn

CWTS: Certified Wireless Technology Specialist

Cisco certifications are valued throughout the tech industry, so it’s no surprise that one of its hardware certifications made our list. The Cisco Certified Technician, or CCT, certification is an entry-level credential that demonstrates a person’s ability to support and maintain Cisco networking devices at a customer site.

Exam Fee: $125

Official Link to Certification: http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/training-events/training-certifications/certifications/entry/technician-cct/routing-switching.html

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1OvhBIA

Computer Networking Certifications

IT pros skilled in the many areas of networking remain in high demand in today’s job market. Those who are serious about their careers should consider one or more of these best-of-breed networking certs in order to set themselves apart from the competition. When it comes to the care and feeding of modern networks, there’s quite a laundry list of tools and technologies that qualified IT professionals must master — especially those who aspire to work as network administrators.

CCNP: Cisco Certified Network Professional Data Center

Networking professionals looking to validate their data center skills and achieve a competitive edge in the workplace can’t go wrong with the Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) Data Center credential.

Exam Fee: $250 per exam, total of 4 exams.

Official Link to Certification: http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/training-events/training-certifications/certifications/professional/ccnp-data-center.html

EMCDCA: EMC2: Data Center Architect

The EMCDCA focuses on validating and building architectural design skills for IT professionals working with virtualized infrastructures and cloud environments. All training is vendor-neutral and skills learned are easily transferable to various vendor environments.

Exam Fee: $200

Official Link to Certification: https://education.emc.com/guest/campaign/datacenterArchitect/default.aspx

VMware Certified Professional 6- Data Center Virtualization

The VMware VCP6-DCV is one of those credentials that sits firmly on the line between traditional data center networking and cloud management.  VMware offers an extensive certification program with a rigorous Data Center virtualization track, which includes the VCP6-DCV.

Exam Fee: $225

Official Link to Certification: https://mylearn.vmware.com/mgrReg/plan.cfm?plan=64178&ui=www_cert#tab-requirements

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1OviZek

DCCA: Schneider Electric Data Center Certified Associate

The Schneider Electric vendor-neutral DCCA is a terrific entry-level certification for individuals who design, build and manage data centers as part of a data center-centric IT team.  The DCCA certification focuses on proficiency working with physical data center infrastructures, such as power and cooling, racks, cabling, management and security.

Exam Fee: $250

Official Link to Certification: www2.schneider-electric.com/sites/corporate/en/products-services/training/energy-university/data-center-certificate-program.page

BISCI Data Center Design Consultant (DCDC)

BICSI is a membership association that offers several engineering-oriented IT communications credentials aimed at networking professionals who design and implement optical fiber-, copper-based and wireless infrastructures.

Exam Fee: $275 plus $370 application fee

Official Link to Certification: www.bicsi.org/double.aspx?l=5194&r=5620

Database Certifications

Savvy, talented and knowledgeable database professionals are always in demand. Here are some of the best certifications for DBAs, database developers, data analysis and architects, BI and data warehousing specialists and anyone else working with databases.

OCP: Oracle Certified Professional

Most Oracle DBMS credentials require candidates to attend authorized training classes to qualify for the related exam, but MySQL (and Sun-derived) credentials often do not. Oracle certifications represent a true ladder, in that it is generally necessary to earn the associate-level credentials first, professional-level credentials second, and master third, finally culminating at the expert level.

Exam Fee: $245

Official Link to Certification: education.oracle.com

ICCP CDMP: Certified Data Management Pro

While most colleges with computer programs offer database tracks at the undergraduate, master’s and PhD levels, there are few well-known vendor-neutral database certifications. The Institute for the Certification of Computing Professionals (ICCP) is part of this unique group, offering its Certified Data Management Professional (CDMP) at both the Mastery and Practitioner levels.

Exam Fee: $299

Official Link to Certification: iccp.org/certification/designations/cdmp

Microsoft SQL Server Database Certifications

SQL Server is particularly popular in organizations that also use Microsoft’s Visual Studio environment for software development. It offers a broad range of tools and add-ons for business intelligence, data warehousing and data-driven applications of all kinds.

Exam Fee: $150

Official Link to Certification: www.microsoft.com/learning/en-us/certification-overview.aspx

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1lly5cG

IBM Information Management Certs

By itself, this category includes nearly 40 different credentials that cover platforms such as DB2, Informix, InfoSphere and WebSphere, along with dynamic data warehousing, business intelligence, IMS, information platform solutions, Optim and Guardium, and PureData. The range of database credentials offered includes Database Associate, Database Administrator, Advanced Database Administrator, Solutions Developer, Solutions Expert and more. It’s a big complex certification space, but one where particular platform allegiances are likely to guide readers straight to the handful of items that are probably relevant to their interests and needs.

Exam Fee: $200

Official Link to Certification: www-03.ibm.com/certify/certs/dm_index.shtml

MongoDB NoSQL Certification

MongoDB is both an open source, NoSQL document-oriented database and the name of the company providing that technology. Because of its document-oriented NoSQL model, MongoDB is well-suited for managing large amounts of loosely structured data, as is so often the case in big data projects.

Exam Fee: $150

Official Link to Certification: https://university.mongodb.com/exams

Enterprise Architect Certifications

Enterprise IT architect certifications most often appear at the very apex of certification programs, where less than one percent of IT pros ultimately make that climb. Even so, numerous IT architect certifications are available, and it isn’t necessary to invest in one particular certification sponsor’s vision to make it to such certification heights.

Open CA: Open Group Certified Architect

Formerly known as the IT Architecture Certification (ITAC), the Open Group’s Certified Architect (Open CA) certification seeks to identify those with strong IT architecture skills and knowledge. The Open Group is a well-known purveyor of open industry standards and technologies across the IT profession, so it stands to reason they’d be involved in IT architecture, because it seeks to integrate across many standards, tools and technologies.

Fee Exam: $1,250

Official Link to Certification: www.opengroup.org/certifications/professional/open-ca

CITA: IASA’s Certified IT Architect

The group known as the International Association for all IT Architects, IASA operates a multi-level certification program known as the Certified IT Architect (CITA) that comes in Foundation, Associate, Specialist and Professional flavors.

Exam Fee: $300 – $600

Official Link to Certification: http://iasaglobal.org/certifications/

EACOE Architect Certification

Enterprise Architecture Center of Excellence (EACOE) is home to a four-tiered IT architecture certification program comprised of Enterprise Architect, Senior Enterprise Architect, Distinguished Enterprise Architect and Enterprise Architecture Fellow.

Exam Fee: $3,295

Official Link to Certification: www.eacoe.org/certifications.php

Certified SOA Architect

The Certified SOA Architect credential has a declared and definite emphasis on service-oriented architectures (SOAs), along with related technology solutions and infrastructures. It’s not as general a credential as the others included in this article, but the cert has attracted considerable interest and traction in the industry nevertheless.

Exam Fee: $150 per exam, total of 5 exams

Official Link to Certification: http://www.soaschool.com/certifications/architect

CEA: FEAC’s Certified Enterprise Architect

The FEAC program includes various workshops and training classes, as well as custom course content or related short courses (taught at colleges or universities around the U.S., including UVA in northern Virginia and California State University- East Bay). In general, there are four core courses involved in pursuing the Commercial Black Belt CEA, along with a practicum project in which the goal is to help students gain practice and to produce actual work product for their parent employers or home organizations.

Exam Fee: $11,000

Official Link to Certification: http://www.feacinstitute.org/feac-training/feac-training-type/feaf

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1llyDPz

Healthcare IT Certifications

Healthcare IT continues to rise as health systems make bigger investments in technology and security. Today there are a number of certifications that specifically target IT for healthcare from a mix of IT industry vendors as well as healthcare-focused organizations.

CompTIA Healthcare IT Technician

The CompTIA Healthcare IT Technician certification focuses on the skills and knowledge that IT professionals need to implement, deploy and support healthcare IT systems in clinical settings that range from individual practices to healthcare facilities, such as hospitals and clinics of all sizes.

Exam Fee: $109

Official Link to Certification: certification.comptia.org/getCertified/certifications/hittech.aspx

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1OvkgCb

RHIA: Registered Health Information Advisor

The RHIA provides the knowledge and services that link care providers, patients and payers together in the medical system as practiced in the United States today. RHIAs are experts in managing patient health information and related records, administering health information systems, collecting and analyzing patient data, and using classification systems and medical terminology.

Exam Fee: $299

Official Link to Certification: http://www.pearsonvue.com/ahima/

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1llyMm7

HCISPP: Healthcare Information Security and Privacy Practitioner

The HCISPP is geared toward medical records supervisors, compliance officers, information technology/security managers, risk analysts and others who work in hospitals, health centers, consulting firms and even regulatory agencies. An HCISPP has fundamental knowledge and experience in security  and privacy controls that protect personal health information.

Exam Fee: $349

Official Link to Certification: http://www.pearsonvue.com/isc2/

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1llyQSO

CAHIMS and CPHIMS form HIMSS

HIMSS offers two Healthcare Information & Management Systems certifications at the Certified Associate level (CAHIMS) and Certified Professional level (CPHIMS).

The CAHIMS is geared toward mid-level healthcare IT professionals with less than five years of experience, working as systems analysts, IT/IS managers and IT/IS consultants, as well as nurses and senior staff.  The next step in the career pathway is the CPHIMS, which recognizes seasoned professionals in healthcare IT. This cert covers many of the same topics as the CAHIMS but emphasizes analysis, management and leadership skills.

CAHIMS Exam Fee: $225

CPHIMS Exam Fee: $375

Official Link to Certification: www.himss.org/health-it-certification?navItemNumber=17564

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1OvkwRP

CPHIT: Certified Professional in Health Information Technology

Health IT Certification, LLC, is the name of a professional organization that provides training and certification for professionals who are charged with planning, selecting, implementing and managing electronic health records (EHR), along with health information technology (HIT), and those who are involved with creation and management of health information exchanges (CPHIEs, where HIE stands for Health Information Exchange).

Exam Fee: $495

Official Link to Certification: www.healthitcertification.com/index.html

Help Desk Certifications

Technical support and help desk positions remain traditional points of entry into IT for many people nowadays. One way to make yourself stand out as a help desk professional is to validate your knowledge and skills through one of these leading help desk certifications.

HSI-SCA: HDI Support Center Analyst

The HDI-SCA credential is designed for IT professionals who are on the front line, interfacing directly with customers. The HDI-SCA validates skills necessary to provide quality support, including understanding and knowledge of common service center management processes, best practices and ITIL processes.

Exam Fee: $145

Official Link to Certification: http://www.thinkhdi.com/education/courses/hdi-support-center-analyst.aspx

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1llyY4Q

ACSP: Apple Certified Support Professional

The basis for this credential is the OS X Support Essentials exam, which covers the general functions of a particular OS X version, as well as installation, configuration, user account management, network configuration and services, and system management best practices and methods. To prepare for ACSP certification, Apple offers the Yosemite 101 OS X Support Essentials 10.10 course.

Exam Fee: $150

Official Link to Certification: training.apple.com/certification/osxyosemite

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1llz8co

iET Service Desk Analyst & Service Desk Manager

The Service Desk Analyst and Service Desk Manager credentials come from iET Solutions, a provider of global IT Service Management (including ITIL) and Software Asset Management solutions for mid-sized to enterprise class organizations.

Exam Fee: $1,395

Official Link to Certification Manager: www.iet-solutions.com//index.php?cID=253

Official Link to Certification Analyst: www.iet-solutions.com//index.php?cID=252

Microsoft Specialist in Windows 10

The exam is designed to validate technical skills in key areas such as identity management, storage and network configuration, managing apps, remote access and data access. Successful candidates are able to plan and implement solutions for desktop and device deployment and Intune device management as well as data loss protection and virtualization using Hyper-V.

Exam Fee: $150

Official Link to Certification: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/specialist-certification.aspx

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1kXBlv2

CompTIA A+

A+ credential holders are technical support technicians, either in-house or field techs, who can install, configure and maintain PCs, laptops, printers and mobile devices, dig in to PC and mobile operating systems to configure and troubleshoot those systems, and perform basic networking. Candidates pursuing the A+ cert must pass two exams: one with a focus on PC hardware and networking, and another on operating systems, security and mobile devices.

Exam Fee: $194

Official Link to Certification: certification.comptia.org/getCertified/certifications/a.aspx

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1llzgZw

Information Security Certificaitons

When it comes to information security, you need only read the headlines to observe that those with malicious intent constantly find new and scary ways to access and misuse privileged information for criminal, unscrupulous or questionable purposes. As a result, IT Professionals skilled in information security remain in very high demand and should do so for the foreseeable future.

CompTIA Security+

While Security+ is an entry-level certification, successful candidates should possess at least two years of experience working in the area of network security and should consider first obtaining the Network+ certification. IT pros who obtain the cert possess expertise in knowledge areas such as cryptography, identity management, security systems, organizational systems, security risk identification and mitigation, network access control, security infrastructure and more.

Exam Fee: $302

Official Link to Certification: http://certification.comptia.org/getCertified/certifications/security.aspx

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1kXBApU

CEH: Certified Ethical Hacker

The Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) is an intermediate-level credential offered by the International Council of Electronic Commerce Consultants (EC-Council). It’s a must-have for IT professionals pursuing careers in ethical hacking. CEH credential holders possess skills and knowledge on hacking practices in areas such as footprinting and reconnaissance, scanning networks, enumeration, system hacking, Trojans, worms and viruses, sniffers, denial of service attacks, social engineering, session hijacking, hacking web servers, wireless networks and web applications, SQL injection, cryptography, penetration testing, evading IDS, firewalls and honeypots and more.

Exam Fee: $500

Official Link to Certification: https://www.eccouncil.org/Certification/certified-ethical-hacker

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1kXBG0M

GSEC: SANS GIAC Security Essentials

Another fine entry-level credential is the GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC), designed for professionals seeking to demonstrate that they not only understand information security terminology and concepts, but also possess the skills and technical expertise necessary for “hands-on” security roles.

Exam Fee: $1,099

Official Link to Certification: http://www.giac.org/certification/security-essentials-gsec

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1kXBL4M

CISSP: Certified Information Systems Security Professional

The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) is an advanced-level certification for IT pros serious about careers in information security. Offered by the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, known as (ISC)2  and pronounced ISC-squared, this vendor-neutral credential is recognized worldwide for its standards of excellence.

Exam Fee: $599 plus $399 per concentration

Official Link to Certification: htpps://www.isc2.org/CISSP/Default.aspx

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1kXBVch

CISM: Certified Information Security Manager

Designed for experienced security professionals, CISM credential holders must agree to ISACA’s Code of Professional Ethics, pass a comprehensive examination, possess at least five years of security experience, comply with the Continuing Education Policy and submit a written application.

Exam Fee: $625

Official Link to Certification: http://www.isaca.org/Certification/CISM-Certified-Information-Security-Manager/Pages/default.aspx

Governance Certifications

CEOs across the world look for trustworthy professionals who can see the big picture. That’s why certified IT governance pros are in high demand, especially in organizations that must meet the rigors of compliance while balancing risk against profitability

ITIL Expert Certification

ITIL (formerly known as the Information Technology Infrastructure Library) is a well-defined set of best practices that organizations can use to design, implement, manage and maintain IT service projects. The primary focus of ITIL is service management, which aligns IT projects and services with the business goals of an organization. ITIL also meets quality standards set by ISO/IEC 20000, so an organization that consistently and closely follows ITIL practices is highly likely to offer high-quality products and/or services.

Exam Fee: $799

Official Link to Certification: www.axelos.com/qualifications/itil-qualifications/itil-expert-level

Prep Materials:

ISACA CGEIT Certification

The Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT) credential is geared towards professionals who play a significant role in managing, advising and/or assuring IT governance. Typical job roles include senior security analyst and chief information security officer — the upper echelon of the organization chart.

Exam Fee: $400 – $675

Official Link to Certification: www.isaca.org/Certification/CGEIT-Certified-in-the-Governance-of-Enterprise-IT/Pages/default.aspx

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1NdzxUS

ISACA CRISC Certification

CRISC certified professionals manage risk, design and oversee response measures, monitor systems for risk, and ensure the organization’s risk management strategies are met. Organizations look for employees with the CRISC credential for jobs such as IT security analyst, security engineer architect, information assurance program manager and senior IT auditor.

Exam Fee: $400 – $675

Official Link to Certification: www.isaca.org/Certification/CRISC-Certified-in-Risk-and-Information-Systems-Control/Pages/default.aspx

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1NdzBE7

PMI-RMP: Risk Management Professional

The PMI-RMP recognizes individuals who have a combination of top-notch project management skills with the ability to identify and accurately assess project risks, and to mitigate identified threats to organizations.  Candidates must pass one exam and meet stringent education and experience requirements.

Exam Fee: $670

Official Link to Certification: http://www.pmi.org/certification/risk-management-professional-rmp.aspx

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1Io0Jz5

BCS IT Governance & InfoSec Foundation

Within the Professional certification track is a foundation-level certificate for information security management (a second track in data protection is also available), from which candidates can progress to practitioner certificates (specializations) in business continuity management, data protection, freedom of information, information risk management and information assurance architecture.

Exam Fee: $232

Official Link to Certification: certifications.bcs.org/category/15733

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1NdzMzd

IT Trainer Certifications

Becoming an IT instructor is not an easy path, but the destination is full of opportunities. IT trainers need to stay on top of the technologies they’re teaching and know how to effectively share their knowledge and engage with their students. Here are five credentials that will help them do just that.

CompTIA CTT+

Today, one vendor-neutral certification pretty much dominates this technical and certification training job niche: the CompTIA CTT+.

CTT stood for Certified Technical Trainer before CompTIA acquired this credential in 2001 from The Chauncey Group, and that’s still very much the arena in which this general-purpose technical training certification plays. The CTT+ is accepted as evidence of trainer training in many IT certification programs outside CompTIA, including Dell, Microsoft, Novell, IBM and Ricoh among others.

Exam Fee: $579 per exam, total of 2 exams

Official Link to Certification: certification.comptia.org/getCertified/certifications/ctt.aspx

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1Io0Uuf

MCT: Microsoft Certified Trainer

The Microsoft Certified Trainer program has been around since the inception of the Microsoft certification program in the early 1990s, and remains another traditional path that would-be Microsoft trainers take en route to obtaining official status as a certified instructor for Microsoft technical and certification classes.

Exam Fee: No exam fee

Official Link to Certification: www.microsoft.com/learning/en-us/mct-certification.aspx

CCSI: Certified Cisco Systems Instructor

Earning and holding a CCSI is a lot like obtaining and maintaining an H-1 Visa for non-citizens who wish to work in the USA: it means developing and maintaining a good relationship with some CLP who will act as your sponsor, and who will work with you and Cisco to help you earn and maintain this certification. If you want to teach Cisco courses, this will be a necessary relationship to build and hold!

Exam Fee: $250 – $300

Official Link to Certification: www.cisco.com/web/learning/wwlpc/clp_associate.html#~overview

CCI: Citrix Certified Instructor

CCIs teach Citrix courseware at Citrix Authorized Learning Centers (CALCs), which include in-house training operations at Citrix itself, as well as authorized learning partner training sites of all kinds. Learning partner sites may include major training companies, training boutiques, community college programs and so forth. In that sense, the CCI is much like the Cisco CCSI because it requires creating and maintaining a good working relationship with a Citrix training partner to earn and keep up with the CCI credential.

Exam Fee: $300 – $950

Official Link to Certification: training.citrix.com/cms/index.php/certification-links/citrix-certified-instructor/

ACT: Apple Certified Trainer

The Apple Certified Trainer, or ACT, is the person who delivers official Apple curriculum elements, both inside the company and at Apple Authorized training outlets. Two ACT credentials are available — ACT for IT (OS X courses) and ACT for Creative (Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro, Motion and Aperture courses) — but this part of the article focuses on ACT for IT. Subjects covered include the Apple operating systems, OS X and OS X Server.

Exam Fee: $150

Official Link to Certification: training.apple.com/act

Linux Certifications

Twenty-odd years after Linus Torvalds developed Linux, the operating system has become a genuine force in the computing industry. While Linux is not widely used on desktops (comprising a little under one percent of the overall desktop operating system market share in September 2015, it is extraordinarily strong on the web server side, where it enjoys a market share of around 53.2 percent.

CompTIA Linux+ Powered by LPI

Earning the CompTIA Linux+ Powered by LPI requires candidates to pass two exams. The first of these exams covers system architecture, installation and package management, GNU and Unix commands, devices, file systems and standard file system hierarchies. The second exam digs into command shells, scripting and data management, user interfaces and desktops, administrative tasks and activities, basic system services, networking fundamentals and security topics.

Exam Fee: $188

Official Link to Certification: certification.comptia.org/getCertified/certifications/linux.aspx

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1Io1EQ1

LPI: Linus Professional Institute Certifications

The Linux Professional Institute (LPI) came into existence in October 1999, almost one decade after Linus Torvalds began his pioneering efforts on the Linux kernel. Over the past 15 years or so, LPI has taken a place as one of the leading certification providers on Linux topics and technologies. Given the organization’s distribution-agnostic approach to Linux, it offers excellent coverage of a platform that is available in many different forms and flavors in today’s marketplace.

Exam Fee: $188

Official Link to Certification: www.lpi.org/linux-certifications/programs

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1NdAdth

Linus Foundation LCFS and LCFE Certificaitons

The Linux Foundation, a membership-based organization, promotes the development of the Linux kernel through collaboration, conferences and education. The organization’s small but respected certification program includes the Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator (LCFS) and the Linux Foundation Certified Engineer (LCFE).

Exam Fee: $300

Official Link to Certification: https://training.linuxfoundation.org/certification

Red Hat RHCSA, THCE & RHCA Certification

Like so many other certification programs, Red Hat offers a typical administrator → engineer → architect certification ladder; unlike many other such programs, however, it offers highly regarded and valued credentials at each rung, along with demanding and hands-on oriented exams and an excellent training curriculum to match. All exams for the following Red Hat certifications are performance based and last two hours or longer.

Exam Fee: $400 – $600

Official Link to Certification: www.redhat.com/training/certifications/#certifications

Oracle Linus OCA & OCP Certification

Today, Oracle offers associate- and professional-level certifications based on Linux rather than harking back to any kind of Unix roots. These certifications retain enough of their Sun roots, however, so that courses are not mandatory preambles to taking the exams for the two Oracle Linux certifications currently available.  As with other vendor-specific Linux certifications, Oracle’s is most appealing to those who work with or around that distribution, or who wish to work for employees who use those distributions.

Exam Fee: $245

Official Link to Certification: education.oracle.com/pls/web_prod-plq-dad/db_pages.getpage?age_id=458&get_params=p_track_id:LIN6OCA

Mobile App Development Certifications

With mobility, security, big data and social media at the forefront of IT these days, spending your certification dollars on a mobile app development certification is a smart move.

MTA developer: Microsoft Technology Associate Developer

Microsoft originally created the MTA certifications (and there are a bunch!) to help students in high schools and college get started with technology certifications. But the certs have proven to be great stepping stones for folks looking to enter the IT field and for IT professionals who want to change careers as well. Achieving an MTA certification can also help candidates prepare for higher level Microsoft certifications, like the Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD), mainly by getting hands-on experience with applicable products and technologies.

Exam Fee: $115

Official Link to Certification: www.microsoft.com/learning/en-us/mta-certification.aspx

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1NdA2hC

MC SD Windows Store Apps: Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer

Microsoft offers some of the most popular professional developer certifications in the world, aimed at mobile app developers, software developers, Web developers and quality control engineers.  The MCSD comes in two flavors: HTML5 and C#.

Exam Fee: $150

Official Link to Certification: www.microsoft.com/learning/en-us/mcsd-windows-store-apps-certification.aspx

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1Io1pnV

Android Certified Application Developer

Advanced Training Consultants (ATC) for Android, located in Dallas, Texas, provides certifications and training (through its partners) to help ensure a competent Android developer workforce. The Android Certified Application Developer is the ATC certification program’s base-level credential, which recognizes skills in designing, building, debugging and maintaining Android apps. Credential holders also understand the Android app life cycle, as well as how to use external resources and manifest files, store data and process background tasks.

Exam Fee: $150

Official Link to Certification: www.androidatc.com/pages-16/Android-Certified-Application-Developer

Oracle Jana ME Mobile Application Developer

The Oracle Java ME Mobile Application Developer credential is aimed at developers who use Java technologies to create mobile apps, and who thoroughly understand the Java Technology for Wireless Industry (JTWI) specification, the Wireless Messaging application programming interface (API) and Mobile Media APIs.

Exam Fee: $245

Official Link to Certification: education.oracle.com/pls/web_prod-plq-dad/db_pages.getpage?page_id=653&get_params=p_id:189

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1NdA49p

GIAC GMOB: GIAC Mobile Device Security Analyst

The GMOB recognizes security professionals who can find and mitigate vulnerabilities and threats against applications that run on the Android, BlackBerry, iOS and Windows Phone mobile operating systems. Skills include mobile device penetration testing, security policy application, configuration management and encryption.

Exam Fee: $1,099

Official Link to Certification: http://certification.comptia.org/getCertified/certifications/mobile_app_security.aspx

Mobility Certifications

Mobile technologies have been experiencing unprecedented growth and evolution, with no slowdown in sight. Mobility is truly taking IT by storm, forcing management to rethink everything from big-picture infrastructure design to the details of integration among wired and wireless networks. And of course, mobile certifications are following suit.

CCNP Wireless: Cisco Certified Network Professional

It might not include “mobile” or “mobility” in its name, but the CCNP Wireless certification covers plenty of mobility-related topics.

The CCNP Wireless credential is designed for support and network engineers who plan, install and troubleshoot wireless local area networks (WLANs) that incorporate Cisco equipment. Because mobile technologies often overlap with wireless networking, Cisco rolled a hefty dose of mobility topics into its CCNP Wireless certification.

Exam Fee: $250 per exam, total of 4 exams.

Official Link to Certification: www.cisco.com/web/learning/certifications/professional/ccnp_wireless/index.html

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1NdFdOC

CCP-M: Citrix Certified Professional Mobility

The Citrix certification program offers a handful of solutions-based credentials for apps and desktops, networking and mobility.

The company revamped its certification program in 2013 and introduced the Citrix Certified Professional — Mobility (CCP-M), which recognizes mobile designers and developers who design, install, configure and manage a Citrix XenMobile Enterprise solution. The credential addresses the unique nature of bring your own device (BYOD) issues, along with mobile device and application management, security and IT compliance requirements.

Exam Fee: $300

Official Link to Certification: training.citrix.com/cms/index.php/certification/mobility-certification/

AW EM: AirWatch Enterprise Mobility Expert

AirWatch, a VMware company, specializes in enterprise mobility management. The AirWatch solution supports many different mobile platforms and operating systems, as well as multiple devices, email platforms, applications and browser management products.

Exam Fee: Priced Individually

Official Link to Certification: http://www.air-watch.com/services/training/

VCP6-DTM: VMware Certified Professional 6

The VMware Certified Professional 6 – Desktop and Mobility (VCP6-DTM) certification identifies individuals who can deploy and configure Horizon with View in a vSphere virtualized data center, as well as use View and other technologies to implement and manage virtual desktops and applications.

Exam Fee: $120 – $225

Official Link to Certification: mylearn.vmware.com/mgrReg/plan.cfm?plan=64296&ui=www_cert

CompTIA Mobility+

CompTIA’s certifications are highly respected and often serve as prerequisites for other certification programs.

Mobility+ is geared toward mobility architects and engineers, network administrators and security professionals who implement and/or work in mobile computing environments. A single exam covers over-the-air technologies (Wi-Fi, cellular, Bluetooth, and RF), network infrastructure, mobile device management, security and troubleshooting.

Exam Fee: $269

Official Link to Certification: certification.comptia.org/getCertified/certifications/mobilityplus.aspx

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1Q3oTFb

Programming Certifications

These days, computer programming certifications are as much about development platforms and environments as they are about specific programming languages.You’ll find an interesting mix of language-focused or language-specific credentials available, such as C/C++ certs, as well as various platform-oriented credentials like those from Microsoft, which stress Visual Studio, .NET and other programming languages such as Visual C#, Visual C++, Visual F#, Visual Basic and so forth.

MCSD: Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer

The Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer is Microsoft’s prevailing certification for programmers and application developers. The MCSD covers current Visual Studio versions (for the MCSD:Application Lifecycle Management cert) and also emphasizes HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, C#, ASP.NET, Azure, Web Services and SharePoint.

Exam Fee: $150

Official Link to Certification: https://www.microsoft.com/learning/en-us/mcsd-certification.aspx

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1Q3p1EL

ACE: Adobe Certified Expert for Developers

Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) for Developers credentials zeros in on Adobe’s development platforms and tools such as LiveCycle, Flex and ColdFusion. The ACEs certify experienced developer’s abilities to build and maintain applications based on Adobe tools, platforms and application programming interfaces (APIs).

Exam Fee: $150

Official Link to Certification: http://www.adobe.com/support/certification/developer.html

(ISC)2 Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional (CSSLP)

Like all (ISC)2 certifications, the CSSLP is a vendor-neutral credential that is relevant to many different programming and development projects. Aimed at software developers, QA testers and the like, the CSSLP recognizes competency in securing applications throughout the software development lifecycle. The exam covers all phases of the lifecycle, including secure software concepts, requirements, design, implementation/coding and testing. Candidates should also be up to speed on software acceptance, deployment, operations, maintenance and disposal, along with supply chain and software acquisition.

Exam Fee: $549

Official Link to Certification: https://www.isc2.org/csslp/default.aspx

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1Q3p7Mz

Google Apps for Business Certified Deployment Specialist

The current Google Apps exam covers technical fundamentals, Gmail, Postini and Google Apps at many levels, including configuration and migration, mobile deployment and access, API basics, and planning, managing and troubleshooting Google Apps deployments.

Exam Fee: $100

Official Link to Certification: http://certification.googleapps.com/Home

C and C++ Certifications

Pearson VUE decided to carve a niche in the certification landscape by offering the world’s first international C/C++ certifications.  Candidates can choose the C or the C++ path, and move up the cert ladder from associate to professional to senior. Of the six potential certifications.

Exam Fee: $295

Official Link to Certification: http://www.cppinstitute.org/?p=5

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1Q3ppTM

Project Management Certifications

Project management certifications have claimed a place in all of the top IT certification lists for years. That’s because project managers are important to IT operations of all kinds. Whether you’re interested in becoming an IT project manager or want to add project management to the list of your soft skills, these top 5 certifications will help you complement your technical skills, and in turn increase your value.

PMP: Project Management Professional

The Project Management Institute (PMI) not only stands behind the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, it works with academia and training companies to ensure proper coverage and currency in the various curricula that exist to support this and other PMI credentials. Boasting more than 440,000 professionals in 190 countries, PMI’s PMP credential remains one of the most prestigious project management credentials available.

Exam Fee: $555

Official Link to Certification: www.pmi.org/Certification/Project-Management-Professional-PMP.aspx

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1Q3pwPd

CAPM: Certified Associate in Project Management

The same organization that stands behind the PMP also backs the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification, and it is properly considered a stepping-stone credential for those who wish to attain PMP status by stages, rather than in a single step.

Exam Fee: $300

Official Link to Certification: www.pmi.org/Certification/Certified-Associate-in-Project-Management-CAPM.aspx

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1NdG5Tq

CSM: Certified ScrumMaster

For project managers getting started as Scrum practitioners, the CSM is an excellent entry-level credential. Not only will candidates demonstrate an understanding of Scrum principles and values, but they’ll gain knowledge about how to implement and apply Scrum in practice. The Scrum Alliance provides CSMs with multiple resources as well as checklists and information about the “servant leader” role of the Scrum master.

Exam Fee: $995 – $1,395

Official Link to Certification: https://www.scrumalliance.org/certifications/practitioners/certified-scrummaster-csm

MPM: Master Project Manager Certification

The Master Project Manager (MPM) certification comes from the American Academy of Project Management (AAPM), a rival organization to the Project Management Institute.

The AAPM positions itself as a “board certification,” a type of professional licensure modeled after credentialing for pilots, ship captains and engineers, all of whom must assume legal responsibility for passengers or users under specific conditions.

Exam Fee: $300

Link to Official Certification: projectmanagementcertification.org/masterprojectmanager.html

CPM: Certified Project Manager Certification

The Certified Project Manager (CPM) certification is a mid-tier certification from the International Association of Project and Program Management (IAPPM).  The examination focuses on mastery of project management skills including project communications, finance, integration, information technology, marketing management, human resource management, risk and issue management and quality management.

Exam Fee: $550

Official Link to Certification: www.iappm.org/cpm.htm

Storage Certifications

For the past five or six years, storage-related certifications have loomed large and impressive in a variety of employer and job market surveys. In any case, there’s no doubt that skills and knowledge related to various networked forms of storage — such as storage area networks (SANs), network-attached storage (NAS) and even storage as a service (STaaS) — are in high demand in today’s workplace. Additionally, IT professionals interested in data center or network backbone related positions are likely to need strong storage chops to do their jobs.

BCNE: Brocade Certified Network Engineer

Brocade has been running a top-notch storage certification program for over a decade. The Brocade Certified Network Engineer (BCNE) is an intermediate-level Brocade credential (“Premier Level” in Brocade terminology) that enjoys broad recognition in the industry. The certification recognizes individuals who understand how to administer Brocade hardware, and who maintain Ethernet Layer 2 switching and IP routing networks using Brocade management tools and consoles.

Exam Fee: $150

Official Link to Certification: www.brocade.com/education/certification-accreditation/certified-network-engineer/index.page

CCNP Data Center: Cisco Certified Network Professional Data Center

Cisco requires the Cisco Certified Network Associate Data Center (CCNA Data Center) credential or any Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) certification as a prerequisite for the CCNP Data Center.  Of all of the storage-related Cisco certifications, the CCIE DATA Center is the most senior and the best-recognized, and while it is a difficult and demanding credential to earn, it comes with a terrific payoff for its holders.

Exam Fee: $250 per exam, total of 4 exams

Official Link to Certification: www.cisco.com/web/learning/certifications/professional/ccnp_datacenter/index.html

NCDA: NetApp Certified Data Administrator

The NetApp Certification Program (NCP) features several certifications within four main tracks: Implementation Engineer, Storage Administrator, Installation Engineer and Converged Infrastructure. All NetApp certifications focus on some aspect of storage hardware or the software that powers these products. The Storage Administrator track includes the NetApp Certified Storage Associate (NCSA) as well as our featured cert, the NetApp Certified Data Administrator (NCDA), which is a professional-level credential.

Exam Fee: $150

Official Link to Certification: http://www.netapp.com/us/services-support/university/certification/ncda/

EMCSA: EMC Storage Administrator Track

For most EMCSA candidates, their work begins with theAssociate-level Information Storage and Management Version 3 exam (E05-001). This qualifies candidates for Associate-level status in all specialty tracks. From there, a candidate pursuing a Specialist certification must pass one more exam in a chosen track. Finally, an Expert credential requires successful completion of an additional exam, available only for the CLARiiON and Symmetrix systems.

Exam Fee: $200

Official Link to Certification: https://education.emc.com/guest/certification/framework/sa/default.aspx

HP Master ASE: Storage Solutions Architect V1

Overall, the Master ASE – Storage Solutions Architect is a pretty demanding credential. It targets senior storage architects, who typically manage or lead teams in charge of designing multiple site enterprise storage environments based on HP Converged Storage solutions and platforms. The exam guide for HP0-J67 calls for three to five years of relevant work experience and familiarity with the HP Storage Portfolio product family, especially a working understanding of HP StoreVirtual snapshots, network configuration, campus and multi-site configurations, and synchronous and asynchronous replication.

Exam Fee: $200

Official Link to Certification: http://h10120.www1.hp.com/ExpertOne/datacard/Certification/MASE-StorSolArcV1

System Administration Certifications

When it comes to managing modern enterprise data centers, there’s a long list of tools and technologies SysAdmins need to master. There are also a number of certifications that can help validate knowledge and skills in those areas.

In addition to servers and clients that make up enterprise environments, there are a lot of crucial applications and network services that system administrators need to understand. The list includes directory and name services, network addressing, database services, Web and applications, email and a whole lot more.

MCSE: Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert

The Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) certification has long ruled the hearts and minds of those who work on Microsoft-based systems and servers. MCSE certifications focus on the latest technologies for servers, desktops, private clouds, business intelligence, messaging, communication and collaboration, SharePoint, enterprise devices and applications, and data platforms.

Exam Fee: $150

Official Link to Certification: https://www.microsoft.com/learning/en-us/mcse-certification.aspx

LPIC: Linus Professional Institute Certification

LPI candidates must usually possess LPIC-2 or LPIC-3 credentials to be successful in the workplace, but we include the LPIC-1 certification in our list because it’s a necessary prerequisite to the LPIC-2, which in turn leads to the LPIC-3.  Both the LPIC-2 certification and the LPIC-3 (Mixed Environment) are well-known and widely recognized in IT shops and operations that depend on Linux servers to handle their workloads.

Exam Fee: $188

Official Link to Certification: www.lpi.org/linux-certifications

RHCE: Red Hat Certified Engineer

The Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) is regarded as a high-level credential that’s not easy to obtain. Candidates must first obtain the Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA) credential and then pass a three and a half hour, hands-on, performance-based exam that’s intense and demanding.

Exam Fee: $400

Official Link to Certification: www.redhat.com/training/certifications/rhce/

VCP6-DCV: VMware Certified Professional 6

As with the V5 credentials, VMware continues to offer candidates an entry-level cert in the form of the VMware Certified Associate 6 – Data Center Virtualization (VCA6-DCV) followed by the next tier on the certification ladder, the VMware Certified Professional 6 – Data Center Virtualization (VCP6-DCV). The VCP6-DCV is a professional-level certification that prepares credential holders for more advanced certifications including the VMware Certified Implementation Expert (VCIX6-DCV) and the pinnacle cert, VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX-DCV).

Exam Fee: $$225

Official Link to Certification: https://mylearn.vmware.com/mgrReg/plan.cfm?plan=64178&ui=www_cert#tab-requirements

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1HtSS8i

CompTIA Server+

The Server+ certification exam focuses on foundational server-related topics that are vendor-neutral in nature, including server hardware, operating systems, storage systems, the IT environment (documentation, diagrams and best practices), disaster recovery, virtualization and troubleshooting.

Exam Fee: $277

Official Link to Certification: certification.comptia.org/getCertified/certifications/server.aspx

Telecommunications Certifications

Our top 5 credentials consists of two Telecommunications Certification Organization (TCO) certifications, as well as a voice and data convergence credential developed under the auspices of the Telecommunications Industry Association, or TIA.

You will also read about engineering-oriented communications certs such as the iNARTE Telecommunications Engineer and a distribution credential from Building Industry Consulting Service International (BICSI), which was originally a building trades association. The BICSI certification is in such high standing that it’s a Department of Defense requirement.

iNARTE Telecommunications Engineer

The iNARTE Telecommunications certification program includes the Telecommunications Technician and Telecommunications Engineer credentials, geared toward many facets of the industry, including networking (LAN and WAN), cellular, satellite and many more. Both have Junior, Senior and Master level credentials.

Exam Fee: $132

Link to Official Certification: http://www.inarte.org/certifications/inarte-telecommunications-certification/

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1HtSYNd

CTNS: Certified Telecommunications Network Specialist

The Certified Telecommunications Network Specialist (CTNS) certification offered by the Telecommunications Certification Organization (TCO) is aimed at project team members, managers, analysts, planners and developers who understand telecom networking fundamentals, including services and infrastructure requirements. A CTNS usually works for a telecommunications services provider, reseller or telecom equipment manufacturer.

Exam Fee: $219

Official Link to Certification: http://www/teracomtraining.com/cart/largeview/155

CIPTS: Certified IP Telecom Network Specialist

The CIPTS focuses on IP networking and not on telephony or wireless. An example of the type of professional who acquires this certification, TCO cites AT&T software developers working on nationwide IP VPN services.

The CIPTS cert requires candidates to take and pass four exams. They are the same exams as the CTNS other than telephony and wireless.

Exam Fee: $159

Official Link to Certification: www.teracomtraining.com/cart/largeview/174

RCDD: Registered Communications Distributon Designer

The Registered Communications Distribution Designer (RCDD) certification offered by Building Industry Consulting Service International (BICSI) is one of a number of engineering-oriented IT communications credentials from this design and implementation, engineering-oriented organization.

Exam Fee: $285 plus $370 application fee

Official Link to Certification: www.bicsi.org/double.aspx?l=2558&r=2560

CCNT: Certified in Convergent Network Technologies

The Certified in Convergent Network Technologies (CCNT) certificate is an entry-level cert offered by Certification Partners and the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA). This certification is designed for network administrators and engineers, product managers and engineers and technical sales and support engineers who support or sell integrated data, voice and video services.

Exam Fee: $26.25 per exam, total of 6 exams

Official Link to Certification: www.ccntonline.com/article/ccnt-certification-3.asp

Unified Communications Certifications

Unified Communications brings multiple applications, such as e-mail, instant messaging, IP telephony, as well as audio and video conferencing together under one umbrella. In today’s globally dispersed world, UC certifications are growing in demand.

Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP)

The advanced-level CCNP Collaboration recognizes network engineers who are well versed in Cisco voice and unified communications devices and applications in an enterprise network.

Four exams are required to qualify for the CCNP Collaboration credential. An individual who achieves the certification designs, implements, configures, manages and troubleshoots Cisco unified communications applications, networks and devices.

Exam Fee: $250 per exam, total of 4 exams

Official Link to Certification: learningnetwork.cisco.com/community/certifications/ccnp-collaboration

Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE)

The MCSE: Communication focuses on Office 365 skills, including managing clients and end-user devices, SharePoint online site collection, managing cloud identities, planning and implementing networks and security, implementing and managing identities using DirSync, implementing and managing federated identities, and troubleshooting availability and usage. The cert also takes a deep dive into Microsoft Lync Server 2013, which is the company’s unified communications platform for the enterprise. Candidates must also be able to translate business requirements into a UC solution design and architecture.

Exam Fee: $150 per exam, total of 5 exams

Official Link to Certification: www.microsoft.com/learning/en-us/mcse-communication-certification.aspx

IBM Certified System Administrator

The intermediate-level IBM Sametime administrator credential is aimed at systems administrators with foundational IBM Sametime administration skills and hands-on experience with IBM Sametime 9.0.

Candidates must understand architectural considerations of running IBM Sametime within an IBM WebSphere environment, and demonstrate their knowledge of Sametime deployment and configuration, audio/video configuration within Sametime, along with management, troubleshooting, performance monitoring and optimization techniques.

Exam Fee: $200

Official Link to Certification: www-03.ibm.com/certify/certs/14011704.shtml

Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE)

CCIE Collaboration identifies expert skills in unified communications, video and telecom.  Only the cream of the crop achieve a CCIE credential, and the CCIE Collaboration is no exception. The expert-level CCIE Collaboration credential recognizes seasoned collaboration and UC architects, and voice and video network managers, who design, deploy and troubleshoot enterprise collaboration solutions that are moderately to highly complex.

Exam Fee: $400

Official Link to Certification: www.cisco.com/web/learning/certifications/expert/ccie_collaboration/index.html

Avaya Certified Solutions Specialist (ACSS)

For IT Professionals supporting Avaya products, the ACSS is a must-have for your credentials portfolio.

Avaya currently offers two separate professional credentialing tracks: Sales and Design, and Implementation and Support. Three credentials are currently available for the Sales and Design career path: the Avaya Professional Sales Specialist (APSS), the Avaya Professional Design Specialist (APDS) and the Avaya Certified Design Specialist (ACDS).

Exam Fee: $125

Official Link to Certification: www.avaya-learning.com/t/CredentialProgram/implement_support

Virtualization Certifications

Virtualization is a technology space where the platform rules. This explains why the top certifications originate from vendors who offer their own specific virtualization platforms and tools. These leading companies include VMware, Citrix, Red Hat, Cisco and Microsoft. Though there are other virtualization players in this niche, they don’t really compete with these large and well-established companies.

VMware Virtualization Certification

VMware dominates the virtualization market space, and currently offers a number of well-recognized and highly sought after credentials. You’ll find Associate, Professional, Implementation Expert, Advanced Professional, Expert and Design Expert levels in the VMware program, split among Data Center Virtualization, Cloud Management and Automation, Network Virtualization, and Desktop and Mobility

Exam Fee: $350

Official Link to Certification: https://mylearn.vmware.com/mgrReg/plan.cfm?plan=64178&ui=www_cert

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1Tiw3pb

Citrix Vitrualization Certification

Citrix offers three virtualization credentials, including the Citrix Certified Associate – Virtualization (CCA-V), Citrix Certified Professional – Virtualization (CCP-V) and Citrix Certified Expert – Virtualization (CCE-V). Credentials are valid for three years, and candidates are required to pass the current exam to recertify.

Exam Fee: $300

Official Link to Certification: http://training.citrix.com/cms/index.php/certification/virtualization/

RHCVA: Red Hat Certified Virtualization Adminstrator

Red Hat is another important player in virtualization certification, with its Red Hat Certified Virtualization Administrator (RHCVA) credential. This certification requires passing a hands-on performance-based, three-hour exam in the tradition of the Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) or Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA).

Exam Fee: $600

Official Link to Certification: www.redhat.com/training/certifications/rhcva

Cisco Unified Computing Specialist Certification

Cisco is an undisputed networking powerhouse. Because data centers and the networking infrastructure that supports them are increasingly going virtual, we feel that the Cisco Unified Computing Specialist certifications fitssquarely into our top 5 list. The two certs of interest in this category are the Cisco Data Center Unified Computing Design Specialist and the Cisco Data Center Unified Computing Support Specialist.  Each specialist certification requires successful completion of two exams. Once achieved, the certifications are valid for two years.

Exam Fee:  $250

Official Link to Certification: http://www.cisco.com/web/learning/certifications/specialist/dc/uc_design.html

MCSE: Private Cloud

Globally recognized, the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE): Private Cloud cert targets IT professionals engaged in careers such as network management, server administration and system programming. Those attaining the credential possess skills and expertise necessary to implement and manage private cloud solutions using Microsoft technology.

Exam Fee: $150

Official Link to Certification: www.microsoft.com/learning/en-us/private-cloud-certification.aspx

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1HtTue7

VoIP & Telephony Certifications

As VoIP and IP-based PBXs continue replacing traditional PBXs and PSTNs, the telephony space is changing and so are related credentials for IT professionals. Here are five of the best VoIP and telephony certs to invest in this year.

Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP)

The Collaboration certification portfolio is geared toward network professionals and network engineers who work with voice and video solutions, particularly Cisco Collaboration solutions. Targeted skills include configuring and implementing Cisco Collaboration solutions, planning and designing video network collaborations, and maintaining implemented solutions.  Candidates are required to pass four exams to earn the CCNP Collaboration credential. Training is optional but recommended; candidates can expect to pay between $3,595 and $3,795 USD per course.

Exam Fee: $250 per exam, total of 4 exams

Official Link to Certification: learningnetwork.cisco.com/community/certifications/ccnp-collaboration

CTP: Certification Partners Convergence Technologies Professional

The vendor-neutral CTP certification was developed by Certification Partners and the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), and is endorsed by industry leaders such as Cisco, Avaya, Toshiba and Vertical. Many of these leaders either accept the CTP as a stepping stone or prerequisite to their credential program or recommend the CTP for training and preparation.

Exam Fee: $246

Official Link to Certification: www.ctpcertified.com/Certification/index.php

ACIS: Avaya Certified Implementation Specialist

The Avaya Certified Implementation Specialist (ACIS) certification recognizes an individual’s ability to install, deploy, test and troubleshoot Avaya products, at a beginning to intermediate skill level.

Exam Fee: $125

Official Link to Certification: www.avaya-learning.com/t/CredentialProgram/implement_support

Prep Materials: http://amzn.to/1TiwakP

dCAP: Digium Certified Asterisk Professional

The dCAP targets experienced Asterisk professionals. Candidates are expected to possess real-world experience (typically a minimum of 3 to 24 months), in-depth knowledge of Linux (basic administration, manipulating files and modifying configuration files) and Asterisk experience (installation, Asterisk dialplan format and syntax, connecting to remote sessions, use of basic CLI commands and registration of VoIP devices). Other recommended skills include basic programming and scripting languages (Perl, Bash, C, and/or C++, for example) and an understanding of VoIP protocols.

Exam Fee: $300

Official Link to Certification: www.digium.com/training/asterisk/certifications/dcap

SSVVP: SIP School VViOP Professional

The SSVVP exam focuses on general networking concepts and techniques, and devotes a substantial portion to VoIP topics: codecs, signaling, quality of service (QoS), VLAN tagging and priority, the Real Time Protocol (RTP), VoIP acceptance criteria and network design that reduces delay and jitter. Other topics covered on the SSVVP exam include hosted and video VoIP topics.

Exam Fee: $75

Official Link to Certification: www.thesipschool.com/courses/view

Web Certifications

Today’s list of the best web certifications is much different than it was five or ten years ago. For those who want to understand how to build, design and manage great websites, here are the best webmaster, web design and development certs for 2016.

ACE: Adobe Certified Expert

Adobe is a leading purveyor of graphics, design, publishing, video and interactive web development tools. In support of its software platforms and tool suites, the company offers the Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) credential, which covers a broad range of interactive and online content areas. Candidates can certify on a single Adobe product, such as Dreamweaver, or achieve an ACE Specialist or Master certification.

Exam Fee: $180

Official Link to Certification: training.adobe.com/certification.html

MTA & MCSD: Microsoft Ceveloper Certifications

Before the HTML5 specification reached official status as a World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Recommendation in 2014, Microsoft had already grabbed the HTML5 bit between its teeth and devoted an entry-level credential on the subject — the Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA): HTML5 App Development Fundamentals.

Exam Fee: $150

Official Link to Certification MTA HTML5: microsoft.com/learning/en-us/exam-98-375.aspx

Official Link to Certification MCSD: microsoft.com/learning/en-us/mcsd-certification.aspx

Zend Certified Engineer PHP

Zend Technologies is based in Israel, and offers one of the most popular implementations of PHP, now in its fifth major version. The company also sponsors the Zend Certified Engineer for PHP credential, which seeks to identify competent and knowledgeable programmers for Zend (PHP) Engine version 5.5.

Exam Fee:$195

Official Link to Certification:  zend.com/services/certification/php-5-certification

Mark Lassoff’s Certified Web Developer

The curriculum for this credential is both broad and ambitious; it covers HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP and MySQL. This is a powerful and widely used combination of technologies on many modern websites, and does a great job of preparing candidates to combine these markup, scripting and database query languages/databases to design, build and maintain commercial-grade websites.

Exam Fee: $59

Official Link to Certification: udemy.com/become-a-certified-web-developer

W3Schools Web Certification: HTML, CSS, JavaScript & more

What we like best about W3Schools’ offerings is that their materials are current, well-researched and presented, and mostly free. That is, you study for free, and pay only $95 per topic to take an associated exam. You can take as much or little time to prep for an exam as you like, and you only have to dig into your pocketbook when you decide you’re ready to take an exam.

Exam Fee: $95

Official Link to Certification: w3schools.com/cert/default.asp

Wireless Networking Certifications

If there’s one technical area in networking that bubbles to the top of the active and interesting subject matter known as networking, it has to be wireless. With the explosion of mobile devices in the enterprise, wireless networking professionals are more in demand than ever.

CWTS: Certified Wireless Technology Specialist

The Certified Wireless Network Professional (CWNP) organization has been around since 1999, offering vendor-neutral enterprise Wi-Fi certifications and training programs. In the CWNP certification hierarchy, the Certified Wireless Technology Specialist (CWTS) is the entry-level cert, aimed at enterprise wireless LAN sales and support professionals and project managers who understand enterprise 802.11 wireless network terminology and basic functionality, radio frequency (RF) behavior, wireless network installation, and hardware configuration.

Exam Fee: $150

Official Link to Certification: www.cwnp.com/certifications/cwts

CWNA: Certified Wireless Network Administrator

The Certified Wireless Network Administrator (CWNA) credential from the Certified Wireless Network Professional (CWNP) organization has been around for over a decade, and still represents a terrific workaday IT certification for those who install, configure and maintain wireless networks in the workplace.

Exam Fee: $175

Official Link to Certification: www.cwnp.com/certifications/cwna

Cisco Wireless Certifications

A wireless specialization is available for each Cisco networking credential at the Associate (CCNA Wireless), Professional (CCNP Wireless) and Expert (CCIE Wireless) levels.  In the case of the Wireless CCNA and CCNP, candidates must first earn the base-level CCNA credential, then take a series of exams to demonstrate their skills and knowledge in working with various Cisco wireless platforms and technologies at the corresponding levels of expertise involved.

Exam Fee: $250 – $1,000

Official Link to Certifications:

CCNA Wireless: www.cisco.com/web/learning/certifications/associate/ccna_wireless/index.html

CCNP Wireless: www.cisco.com/web/learning/certifications/professional/ccnp_wireless/index.html

CCIE Wireless: www.cisco.com/web/learning/certifications/expert/ccie_wireless/index.html

SANS GAWN: GIAC Assessing & Auditing Wireless Networks

SANS is well known as a purveyor of security research, training and certification, and their wireless GIAC credential carries their focus specifically into the wireless networking realms.  The GIAC Assessing and Auditing Wireless Networks credential, usually abbreviated as GAWN, functions as an expert-level certification in the overall GIAC framework.

Exam Fee: $1,049

Official Link to Certification: www.giac.org/certification/assessing-auditing-wireless-networks-gawn

JNCIS-WLAN: Juniper Networks Certified Specialist Wireless LAN

The Wireless LAN track includes only the Juniper Networks Certified Specialist Wireless LAN (JNCIS-WLAN). The JNCIS-WLAN is an intermediate-level credential that recognizes a networking professional’s ability to plan, deploy and configure Juniper Networks wireless LAN systems.

Exam Fee: $200

Official Link to Certification: http://www.juniper.net/us/en/training/certification/certification-tracks/wireless-lan-track/