As is sometimes the case, I gleaned a few useful tidbits of information from the latest newsletter from Global Knowledge, the well-known IT and cert training company with classroom and custom content offerings across all the major certs (and quite a few minor credentials, too). Their recent article “15 Top Paying Certifications for 2013” tossed up a few interesting items and reinforced my own beliefs in where much of the certification action is these days.
Here’s their list of certs, by the numbers, along with some commentary from yours truly:
1. Project Management Professional (PMP): The PMP has been at the top of this heap for a few years now, and continues to ring chimes across the IT industry. I think it’s great that a soft skill certification beats out the hard skill items in this list, but I wonder at the omission of long-time high-value credentials such as CCIE, SAP consultant credentials, architecture certs of all kinds (TOGAF, CCAr, MCA, and so forth) from this list. When it comes to outright high-dollar pay, as far as I know all of these things continue to pay $20K-plus per year better, on average, than the nearly $106K that Global Knoweldge assigns to the PMP in this survey. But then, GK is reporting on its own survey results, which also include this caveat: “Certain certifications pay more, but are not represented due to their exclusive nature. These include CCIE…and VCDX: VMware Certified Design Expert, for example.”
2. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP): Like the PMP, the CISSP is another perennial favorite, with a position at or near the top of these kinds of lists. It remains a valuable, useful, and relevant credential as continued high demand for CISSP-certified security professionals constantly demonstrates. Sales of books, practice exams, training classes, and mention on job posting sites all bear out its status as an evergreen IT certification.
3. Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD): Having just come back to life last summer, I’m surprised to see the new MCSD popping up in a survey so soon after its resuscitation. Nevertheless, MS developer technologies remain of great interest, both to software development firms that build software for sale to third parties, and to larger or more ambitious IT departments, which often include in-house development staff to build or customize Windows-based apps in-house to establish or exploit competitive or proprietary advantages in information technology.
4. Microsoft Certified Database Administrator (MCDBA): Considering that the MCDBA credential extends only up to (and no further than) Microsoft’s SQL Server 2000, it’s a surprise of the opposite kind to see it appear in this kind of list. Just goes to show you how long some technologies can hang on, despite four or five subsequent versions of the SQL Server platform (2005, 2007, 2008 and 2008 R2, plus 2012) since then.
5. Cisco Certified Design Associate (CCDA): The design certs from Cisco often gain less notice than the company’s straight-out associate, professional, and expert level credentials (CCNA, CCNP, and CCIE), but they remain useful and valuable nonetheless. It’s nice to see that growing infrastructure and ongoing deployment of networking technologies make design skills attractive and worthwhile, too.
Ed Tittel is a 30-year-plus veteran of the computing industry, who’s worked as a programmer, a technical manager, a classroom instructor, a network consultant and a technical evangelist for companies that include Burroughs, Schlumberger, Novell, IBM/Tivoli and NetQoS. He has written and blogged for numerous publications, including Tom's Hardware, and is the author of over 140 computing books with a special emphasis on information security, Web markup languages and development tools, and Windows operating systems.
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