Best Unified Communications Certifications For 2015

Best Unified Communications Certifications For 2015
By , Kim Lindros

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

The need for today's organizations to share information, and the proliferation of high-speed broadband connections, has been driving the global unified communications market for several years. UC streamlines communications, so that geologically dispersed employees can interact (digitally) as if they're in the same office, even if they're thousands of miles apart.

Centralized administration also makes UC popular with IT managers because of the reduced time and effort needed to support and secure corporate communications of all kinds. Because of the need for specialized skills to make large-scale UC implementations run at their best, the top UC vendors offer certifications as a measure of workforce quality.

With Cisco maintaining its lead in the UC product arena for several years in a row, we chose two Cisco certifications to feature in this year's top five -- the CCNP Collaboration and the CCIE Collaboration. The CCNP Collaboration replaces the CCNP Voice, which is being retired in 2015. You'll also read about the MCSE: Communication cert (based on Microsoft's Lync Server, or Skype for Business) and UC certs from IBM and Avaya.

As far as salaries for certified UC pros go, SimplyHired lists $73,000 as the average salary for a Unified Communications Engineer role. GlassDoor lists salaries as high as $158,000 for senior and lead UC positions.

Average Unified Communications Engineer Salaries (Image: SimplyHired)

With new UC technologies coming to market, unified communications is an interesting and in-demand area to work in as companies labor to improve communication and collaboration. If you have an interest in telephony or video conferencing, UC is a good career path to explore. As you'll notice in the pages that follow, it's also not an easy path. Unified communications roles require knowledge of a number of areas and technical disciplines, and as a result, earning UC certifications often requires multiple exams and credentials.

Table 1 lists the results of an informal job search we conducted to see which unified communications certs are hot with employers. These numbers are a snapshot in time, but should give you some idea of what's available in this space.

Table 1: Job Board Search Results

Avaya ACSS368183421117
CCIE Collaboration31167226
CCNP* 6435216010436795
IBM Sametime410103116
MCSE Communication41511263910

    *The CCNP Collaboration was released in Spring 2015, when this article was updated; thus the search was performed on "CCNP" only.

Read on to learn about some of the best unified communications certifications for IT pros available today.

More by Ed TittelConnect with Ed on Google+Best IT Certifications