There are benefits to both IT certifications and IT degree programs.

IT certifications can help your resume stand out by showing you have taken the initiative to build your professional credibility. They can be the difference between keeping your job and having to seek out a new one, as well as helping open doors for promotions. When you have an IT certification, you join a group of select individuals who have demonstrated their skills and proven that they possess comprehensive knowledge of technologies and systems.

Here’s a list of six of the top certifications, based on salary, and examples of online IT degrees and programs that will prepare you to sit for the exams.

 

6. Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

Average salary: $95,155

Certified Ethical Hackers learn how perimeter defenses work in an interactive setting. CEHs develop skills in scanning, testing, hacking, and securing systems from intruders. Security officers, auditors, and other security-related professionals would benefit most from this certification.

Program that may help prepare you: Graduate Certificate, Network Defense

 

5. Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE)

Average salary: $96,726

Formerly known as the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, the updated MCSE is a sought-out certification, especially by employers that are still operating under outdated solutions. MCSEs develop extended skills in Windows Server, SharePoint, Exchange, SQL, and Lync.

Professionals working for companies that have not yet upgraded to Windows Server 2008 will benefit from this certification.

Degree that may help prepare you: Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, Minor: Network Technology: Microsoft

 

4. Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) Routing and Switching

Average salary: $97,038

CCNP Routing and Switching is designed for people with a minimum of one year of experience in networking. The certification provides updated skills in planning, developing, and troubleshooting wide-area enterprise networks.

Positions typically associated with CCNP Routing and Switching include network engineers, systems engineers, and network technicians.

Degree that may help prepare you: Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, Minor: Network Technology: Cisco

 

3. Project Management Professionals (PMP)

Average salary: $109,405

The PMP®, offered by Project Management Institute (PMI), certifies that PM professionals have the skills to effectively manage projects in all industries on time, on budget, and to the goals set forth. PMP applicants are typically current project managers with experience in cross-functional team direction that have a hand in all aspects of project delivery.

Degree that may help prepare you: Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, IT Project Management

 

2. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

Average salary: $110,603

The CISSP is governed by (ISC)2 with a focus on deepening skills in managing comprehensive security programs. It was the first certification in the area of information security to meet ISO/IEC Standard 17024 and is a globally-recognized credential.

CISSP certification can lead to positions such as CISO (chief information security officer), network architect, IT director, or security architect.

Degree that may help prepare you: Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, Information Assurance and Cybersecurity

 

1. Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)

Average salary: $118,348

CISMs have a full understanding of adapting and managing technology and complex information security systems for large enterprises. This certification, provided by ISACA, also recognizes a professionals’ expertise in how to develop and implement such systems in support of larger business goals.

Information security managers, CIOs, and IS/IT consultants would benefit from a CISM certification.

Degree that may help prepare you: Master of Science in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity, Network Defense

 

 

IT certifications are a credential that will help you illustrate your knowledge in a specific technology or system. In addition, IT certifications can count toward credit in an online degree program. Professional certifications are not credentials awarded or conferred by Capella University.

Learn more about Capella’s online information technology degree programs.

 
See graduation rates, median student debt, and other information at Capella Results.
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