Gaming What is the most in demand IT certification right now?


Editorial Team
Nov 21, 2005
United Kingdom
That gets tricky and might vary depending upon what you want, and also where you are at (Dell's computer building course does not do much for anybody and even less if you are not going to work for Dell. Granted I would never suggest anybody takes that course anyway). Likewise if all the web development around you (granted you can do more remotely here) is php and you have ruby on rails then you are going to struggle.
I should also ask if you have a degree or anything. "Why do I need a certificate if I have a degree?" is a valid question to be asking a would be employer. Whether you consider it a bullet dodged if they still insist and you walk away is a different matter -- I have met some degree holders I would not let type a word document and sometimes tech is actually weird enough to matter.

With all that I am about to say you could probably get a better idea if you take the type of job you want (do you want to wake up at 4am to physically go fix a server? Or just do 9-5 remote work from your desk?), in the location you want (most job sites will allow you to narrow by location), how much you want to get paid and so on and look at descriptions here. Try to figure out what is there because it is cool and try to figure out what actually sticks around. Some places will also offer on the job training if you don't want to get a certificate and then go looking. I am also very dubious of "boot camps" wherein they try to train you up over a week or month and then force you through the certification afterwards, especially if you are not already good at IT in some capacity.


What could I dangle in front of a recruiter, have them cream their underwear and land a high paying job in a few days?
Some of the high end virtualisation stuff.
This is usually viewed less as a 2 year thing you do part time as much as equivalent to a phd or better that you probably want to have been in industry for years for anyway. It is still a certificate though.

For a lot of government roles then there are various certs that nobody outside them will care about, and might even hold against you. In the US this would be the A+, in Europe this might be various flavours of ECDL, elsewhere I am not sure.

Penetration tester and security testers are in some demand. What you end up doing here varies though -- some might be seriously high end coders in their own right, others will be following a basic script with kali. The latter you can usually find on the job training for too.

Beyond that you have most of the normal choices.

Microsoft's certs have been devalued somewhat compared to the late 90s and early 2000s. Still if you get the higher end ones there you can find quite a bit going (everybody still has Microsoft stuff for now). Their basic stuff will probably get you a tech support in a call centre type deal but if you want to be fixing/deploying servers and machines then you want to be higher up the rankings.

Unix/Linux is an odd one here. A good Linux sysadmin will be a highly sought after person but certificates are usually more for specific distros that focus on servers. Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) being one of the main ones but there are some others for the other popular distros with real backing.
There is also the virtualisation and containers thing to consider at this point. Virtualisation has been dominant for years now but containers (a type of something called paravirtualisation) are rising up to do other things and you will probably want to know about it.
Still there are also things from . How much raw demand vs how much someone will want you if they need it is a different matter.

Related to this are databases. There is not much room for growth in this compared to some of the others (you can get good money but never great money) but if you really know one of the big database types (mysql is popular but its use is fading a bit in some circles, I doubt we will be seeing the back of Oracle any time soon, NoSQL implementations like mongo and postgre have got very popular, there is still a few things using MsSQL which is Microsoft's take and will also usually involve their web servers and web programming languages which few learn) then you will get something at least.

Cisco are still popular in the phones and network space. They have lost a bit of ground to Juniper and such but again basically everybody has them (and they do use all sorts of odd terms compared to the rest of computing). Equally their lowest end things (CCNA) are probably the things that get held against you as worse than useless, where their CCNP and CCIE will get you something.

If your flag is accurate then actually my earlier comments about everybody having Microsoft might be inaccurate as India* seems to be all about the mobile phones. In this case something in the Android and IOS worlds (IOS is less popular but at the same time IOS users pay for things so people still want coders for it) if you are a coder could do something. Apple and Google do offer some things here
Security testing in mobile phone applications is going to be very lucrative as well -- I can run a port scan and whatnot as well as anybody and also tell you why your wordpress install is insecure but ask me to debug Java code for android APIs, never mind Swift and Objective C, and I am going to be reading a manual a lot before I can do any good. Or if you prefer how many phone applications have we seen hacked six ways from Sunday and incur massive fines from regulators because they are coded in 2 days by people that don't care? I don't know what there is in the way of certs here but it is the sort of thing I would not necessarily expect to come out of a university (even a postgrad/masters course) so rock up and be able to do this and something will be found.

*India is also a comparatively cheap country to employ people in and they speak English often enough that a lot of places outsource things to it. This might change in 20 years as things are rapidly getting expensive as money pours in so be aware of that one.

If you chase fads then AI will probably be big before too long, though what exists now as far as certificates I am not so sure and we don't know who will win the wars here (Microsoft, Google, IBM and many more are having massive fights as to who will take the lead here).

I don't know what exists for Amazon right now on the certs front but the amount of stuff that uses their AWS/EC2 means if you can know it well enough to use and get prices down for people that will keep you in good stead.
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