If you’re thinking of launching a career in information technology (IT) or of getting certified for something you’re already doing in IT, then there are a host of certifications available that you should consider pursuing. Whether you’re interested in networking, security, or systems administration, you’ll be able to find an IT certification that can help launch or enhance your career.
But let’s be honest: you’re after the big bucks. With that in mind, this article lists the top seven highest-paying IT certifications for US and Canadian workers, what each job pays, and what the work entails. The salary data in this piece was provided by Global Knowledge, a learning services and professional development solutions provider and the data is based on what their customers are studying and the kind of work that generates once they graduate. If you’re interested in any of the jobs listed below, then head over to Global Knowledge’s website to see if they can provide you with resources or courses designed to improve your likelihood of getting certified.
7. Citrix Certified Professional – Virtualization (CCP-V)
Only those aspirants who have earned the Citrix Certified Associate virtualization certification can become Professional level-certified. These are people who have mastered material that relates to managing, maintaining, monitoring, and troubleshooting XenDesktop 7 solutions, according to Global Knowledge.
Once you’ve done that, you can try your hand at the Professional certification, which proves your ability to install, configure, and test XenDesktop 7 solutions. You’ll also have to pass the beta 1Y1-202 Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop Administration 7.6 LTSR exams, which cost $300. Virtualization is a cornerstone of cloud-based infrastructure deployment and management, which makes it a critical skill for any organization looking to increase its cloud computing footprint in the future. If you’re able to accomplish these tasks, then you’ll put yourself in a position to earn $102,353 per year.
6. Project Management Professional (PMP)
IT professionals love the PMP certification because it lets them apply their skills across a wide variety of industries. Most companies, regardless of focus, have a digital footprint. The ability to apply project management (PM) principles to that footprint gives you a solid foot in the door across almost any industry and opens the door to management-level positions. In the technology space, certified PMP professionals are most often responsible for managing IT-focused teams and tasks (especially large projects like hardware and software rollouts or app integrations, but also ongoing monitoring) as well as development projects. PMP holders are hired to ensure these efforts get done not only on time, but also within budget.
Let’s get to what you’re really interested in: the money. The average PMP certificate holder makes $105,324 per year. That’s not bad work if you can get it. Here’s how you can: you’ll need at least a high school diploma, 7,500 hours leading and directing projects, and 35 hours of PM education. The test, which costs $405, is comprised of 200 multiple-choice questions.
5. Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
For those of you who want to prove yourselves in the areas of IT security, IT audit, risk management, and governance, the CISA exam is a great benchmark. CISA holders provide valuable services to an organizations IT, legal, and accounting departments.
The exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions. If you pass it, then you must also prove you have five years of related professional experience and 20 hours of training. If you’re able to do all of that, then you’ll be among a group of professionals whose average yearly salary is $110,634.
4. Certified Information Systems Security Pro (CISSP)
If you’re an analyst, auditor, manager, security consultant, or systems engineer, then the CISSP might be the right certification for you. It’s a chance for you to prove that you’re capable of designing, engineering, and maintaining a company’s IT security policy.
The test, which consists of 250 multiple-choice and drag-and-drop questions, gives you access to a career that pays, on average, $118,179 per year. You’ll need to score a 700 or better to pass the test, which you’ll definitely want to do because you will pay $599 for the chance to take it.
3. AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate
The highest-paying certification from 2015 is designed for people who design and manage applications on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform. The exam covers everything from designing and deploying AWS systems to AWS best practices. Eligible candidates need to have one year of AWS experience and expertise in one major programming language, among other qualifications.
The exam consists of 60 multiple-choice questions, which you’ll have to complete in less than 80 minutes. The tests costs $150, but the certification enters you into a career in which the average person makes $119,085 per year.
2. Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
Unlike the CISSP, the CISM certification is primarily focused on information security management. While you’ll still be involved in designing and engineering security protocols, you’ll be more involved in managing a company’s security. This kind of position will give you access to lines of business outside of IT as you’ll be required to work with other stakeholders to achieve the company’s overall business goals while maintaining a secure state.
If this sounds like something in which you’re interested, you’ll absolutely love the pay, which is, on average, $122,448 per year. Before you can reap your rewards, however, you’ll have to pass the test, which consists of 200 multiple-choice questions. You’ll also have to prove you’ve had five years of relevant work experience. The test will cost approximately $415, but it will likely cost a lot more if you’re buying the relevant exam preparation materials and taking preparation courses.
1. Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC)
The CRISC exam covers four major risk subject areas: Identification, Assessment, Response and Mitigation, and Control Monitoring and Reporting. If you’re interested in working in this field or if you have experience in the field and wish to be certified, you should look into the CRISC certification.
The exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions. It will cost you a minimum of $420 but it will probably cost a bit more once you factor in test materials and preparation costs. If you pass the exam, you’re looking at a career that will earn the average employee $127,507 per year.
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