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Top 7 Certifications to Kickstart Your IT Career

Top 7 Certifications to Kickstart Your IT Career

Information technology (IT) has become an indispensable aspect of all organizations, regardless of their size or industry vertical. IT is essential for a multitude of organizational functions, including website design, digital marketing, network management, data storage and administration, software development, and hardware maintenance. Besides this, it also includes data security maintenance, cloud management, providing services to customers, and more.

With IT playing an integral role in organizational operations, the IT sector is emerging as one of the fastest-growing industries resulting in a surge of job opportunities in the IT domain. These jobs require different kinds of skills, knowledge, and expertise. Not only do these jobs pay well, but they also offer various other benefits to employees. These include greater work-life balance, flexibility in work, medical benefits, paid leaves, training opportunities for career advancement, and more. So, it comes as no surprise that job seekers highly seek IT jobs, though competition for these positions is also intense.

Given the high demand for IT jobs, competition among the candidates is also fierce. To beat other job seekers and improve your chances of getting a coveted job, you must hone the required skills, knowledge, and expertise. Obtaining certifications is the best approach to acquiring this knowledge and becoming a master in a particular skill set. In addition, earning certifications will help you differentiate yourself from other job seekers and gain the attention of employers, thus, improving your prospects of securing the job.

What are IT certifications, and how can they help to grow your career?

IT certifications are dedicated courses that focus on building a candidate’s particular skill set, knowledge, and expertise of a candidate through theoretical and practical instruction, hands-on practice exercises, and study materials. Leading IT organizations like Cisco, Apple, CISSP, and Linux offer these courses, typically imparted through online modules and are of short duration, providing students with the flexibility to learn at their own pace and convenience. Students need not sacrifice their other engagements, such as work or college studies. These certifications may or may not require an academic background. 

IT Certifications help to verify and validate an individual’s proficiency and expertise in a particular IT skill set and knowledge domain. Including certifications in a job seeker’s resume enhances their marketability to recruiters and makes them trust their knowledge in a given field. Consequently, job seekers with IT certifications are often preferred over others who lack such credentials.

IT certifications are valuable for professionals at all career stages.

We here at Xyber IT have compiled a list of popular and highly beneficial IT certifications for beginners and entry-level candidates. These certifications are ideal for those seeking to acquire the necessary skills or advance their career in the IT field.   

1. Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)

Cisco CCNA is a lower-level certification that teaches students how to install, configure, and operate enterprise-level routers and switches. This course also empowers Cisco Certified Network Associates to detect and proffer solutions to routine network problems. Moreover, it helps them specialize in wireless, security, or voice networking. This certification can open new avenues for course pursuers because many employers are looking for candidates with this specific certification for their entry-level roles. You will find this course easy and interesting to study. To become CCNA certified, you must pass a written exam of 90 minutes duration. The test contains 50 to 60 questions. The cost of enrolling for this exam is approx. $295. This certification makes you eligible to apply for various entry-level jobs, including system administrator, network administrator, and network engineer. 

2. Certified Information System Security Professional (CISSP)    

The CISSP from (ISC)² is an essential certification in the IT industry that verifies a pursuer’s competence in information security and makes him better prepared to protect his organization from a cyber-attack. 

This certification helps to build those technical and managerial skills that are needed to succeed in the area of building and maintenance of information security programs. Some positions like IT auditor, security analyst, and information security analyst require this certification from job seekers. The program centers around the following domains: security and risk management, asset security, security architecture, and engineering, communication, and network security. It also covers identity and access management (IAM), security assessment and testing, security operations, and software development security. 

To obtain this certification, the candidate must possess at least five years of experience in two or more domains, as outlined above. In addition, a relevant college degree or approved credential may satisfy one year of work experience and holding an (ISC)² membership also satisfies this requirement. After you complete this certification, you will have to appear in a 6-hour exam that contains 250 questions. 

3. Apple Certified Associate (ACA)

Apple occupies third place among the vendors of computer systems in the U.S. The Apple Certified Associate certification focuses on integrating Mac users into the traditional Windows-based IT environment or other standards-based networks. It is one of the IT certifications that can be taken online from the comfort of your home. It does not require you to be physically present at a venue for giving the exams. The material for this course consists of 50 pages and is available as a PDF document. It can be downloaded for free from the Apple training site. Moreover, it is within your budget, costing around $65.    

4. Linux Essentials Professional Development Certification (PDC)

The next course to be featured in this list of most valuable IT Certifications is the Linux Essential Professional Development Certification (PDC). It has been developed to provide students with a comprehensive view of how the Linux operating system functions. Linux is a free, open-source, and community-based operating system designed for both server-computing and desktop. 

For this course, students need not have any previous knowledge of Linux. It starts with an outline of this open-source software and then takes participants through the history of Linux, followed by throwing light on basic usage of the different componential tools of Linux. This certificate’s prerequisite is passing one exam (010-150). For enrollment in this certification course, you must have some basic computer knowledge. As certified Linux professionals are in high demand, doing this certification can start and uplift your career in the IT industry. It costs just about $85.

5. CompTIA IT Fundamentals+ (ITF+) 

This CompTIA IT Fundamentals+ certification deserves a spot on this list of helpful IT certifications and programs. It is ideal for those beginning their IT career or switching career paths. The course helps to verify your fundamental understanding of information technology basics. The time allocated for the exam is 60 minutes. It consists of 70 multiple-choice questions that focus on various areas. These include software development, applications, security, database security, software, IT terminology and concepts, and infrastructure and networks. 

6. ITIL 4 Foundation

Next on the entry-level IT Courses & Certifications list is ITIL 4 Foundation framework from Axelos. It is a popular management methodology designed to improve team efficiency and organizational processes. The ITIL 4 Foundation certification encompasses IT service management basics. It also includes the best practices for creating, delivering, and bettering tech-enabled products and services. If you are keen to work in an IT service management role, this certification can help you get started. The topics covered in this exam are the guiding principles of ITIL 4 and the four dimensions of service management. This exam includes key concepts such as Agile, Lean, and DevOps. The fee for the exam varies, and you have to check with the vendor for its present costs. 

7. AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner

The AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam offered by Amazon is the last certification to appear in this list of some of the best and most popular IT certifications. This entry-level cloud certification enlightens participants on the fundamentals of IT services and their use in the AWS cloud platform. The topics covered in this exam are designing cloud architecture, coding, cloud security, implementation, migration, load, performance testing, business applications, and troubleshooting. Before undertaking this entry-level certification, you should have at least six months of exposure to the AWS cloud. Also, you need to learn about the core AWS services, billing, pricing models, use cases, security concepts, and how the cloud impacts businesses. The fee for this exam is $100.

Though these IT certifications for beginners are mostly paidfree IT certifications are also available online. Carefully review this list of career-enhancing certifications shared by Xyber IT, a reputed IT staffing organization, and choose the one that best fits your career needs and aspirations. Then, pursue it with a whole heart and single-minded devotion. Who knows, it might open the door for many exciting opportunities in the IT world that can take your career graph to unprecedented heights.