Whether you're choosing a language-specific or platform-oriented credential, it's worth looking at our top five programming certifications for IT pros, freshly updated for 2017.
Credit: ShutterstockAnthropologists reckon that humans around the globe speak somewhere between 6,000 and 7,000 distinct languages, with a number around 6,700 appearing most frequently in online sources. Nobody has conducted an exhaustive survey for all computer programming languages in use around the world, but other, more focused studies are available.
The studies include the U.S. Department of Defense Survey of Computing Languages (also known as the DoD Language Survey) conducted in 1995, which identified no fewer than 450 programming languages in use in various weapons and automated information systems in the 1970s, with 37 total languages recounted as part of the 1995 survey of languages in use for weapons systems. Encyclopedia Britannica indicates that there are currently more than 2,000 programming languages in use, although some are obviously more commonly used than others. At any rate, some number from hundreds to thousands of such languages appears both reasonable and defensible, depending on the types of systems and applications under consideration.
In this certification guide, we provide you with our top five programming certifications for IT professionals. These days, computer programming certifications are as much about development platforms and environments as they are about specific programming languages. You'll find an interesting mix of language-focused or language-specific credentials available, such as C/C++ certs, as well as various platform-oriented credentials like Microsoft's MCSD cert.
Because many desktop programs are now either universal or web-related apps, programming professionals may want to consider adding web and mobile application development credentials to their portfolios. Numerous excellent certifications and related training materials for web and mobile app developers are available. Some of the certs discussed here, such as the MCSD, also transfer into cert programs for web or mobile apps. To learn more, be sure to take a look at our recommendations for best web and best mobile app developer certs for 2017. Keep in mind that, while certifications certainly speak to employers and boost earning potential, a college degree is still the most common path to computer programming jobs.
We performed an informal job search that gives you an idea of the relative frequency with which our top five certs appear in actual job postings.
Job Board Search Results
Salaries vary depending on the job role, but, on average, software and application developers can expect to earn something in the mid- to high 80s. SimplyHired reported average earnings for application developers at slightly more than $83,000 and almost $90,000 for software developers. Earnings on the high side were reported at more than $130,000 ($131,346 for application developers and $136,161 for software developers), with low earnings in the mid-50s. Computer programmers earn slightly less, with average earnings reported at $58,511. Salaries ranged from lows in the mid-30s to $106,111 for top earners.
Now let's take a closer look at the top five programming certifications for 2017, in no particular order.
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