Recently, we have been witnessing a spike in demand for cybersecurity and cloud computing personnel, which is why the highest paying certifications are either in information security or cloud. Cybersecurity labor crunch was prevalent long before the pandemic even started, and the number of vacancies has risen significantly since then. With organizations practicing social distancing, operations have gone digital. This increase in digitalization has come up as an opportunity for cyberattackers to attack vulnerable networks and steal their data.
The 2020’s highest-paying certifications show a strong emphasis on particular topics, such as cloud computing, cybersecurity, networking, and project management. Cloud, Machine Learning, AI, and project management dominate the top five spots. It will continue to dominate in 2020 as well.
Following are the highest paying IT certification of 2020, listed in the order from highest paying to lowest paying:
Google Certified Cloud Architect
This is a relatively new certification, launching in 2017, has the highest average salary amongst all the certifications amounting to $175,761. A Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect can design and manage the cloud architecture. He also ensures the operational reliability of the cloud architecture and outlines its security and compliance. He is also well versed in the GCP platform. To obtain this certification, one needs to register for the test by paying a registration fee of $200. The test format is Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) and can be taken online in the presence of a proctor or person. There are multiple test centres available, and a candidate can locate one nearest to him. The exam is aimed towards measuring the candidate’s demonstration and performance skills based on various predetermined parameters. Google Certified Professional Cloud Architects demonstrate exceptional ability in designing, developing, and managing an architecture that is scalable, reliable, and secure.
AWS Certified Solutions Architect- Associate
This certification requires candidates to have at least one year of experience working with AWS tech. The candidate should be able to pull through computing, networking, storage, and database management. It is considered one of the most challenging certifications to obtain and is second on the highest paying list with an average salary of $149,446. A candidate must pass the AWS Certified Solutions Architect- Associate (SAA-C01) exam to obtain this certification. It also serves as a proviso for AWS Solutions Architect- Professional. It is advisable for candidates preparing for this certification to earn the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Certification and complete the course provided by ACG for this certification. It is the perfect certification for those looking to design cloud infrastructures, deploy apps, and can find solutions to architectural designs requested by the customer.
Certified Information Security Manager (CSIM)
ISACA’s Certified Information Security Manager Certification is the highest-paying certification in the cybersecurity space. This certification has four primary domains, namely, Information Security Governance, Information Risk Management, Information Security Program Development and Management, and Information Security Incident Management. Every candidate must pass each domain. This certification is focused on the management of information security of an enterprise. It is offered by a non-profit association formed to safeguard professionals in information security and risk management. The average salary of a Certified Information Security Manager is $148,622. Security Manager and Director are the most common roles associated with this certification. The exam follows the 200-800 scaled scoring method, and there are 200 multiple-choice questions. It is mandatory for candidates appearing for this exam to have 20 continuing professional education hours annually and at least five years of work experience in information security and three years of experience in three out of four of the CISM domains.
Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control
This certification is vendor-neutral and checks for a candidate’s performance in information system control and risk management. Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control is also managed by ISACA. It requires a candidate to pass an exam with four domains in particular- IT Risk Identification, IT Risk Assessment, Risk Response, and Mitigation, and Risk Control, Monitoring, and Reporting. Job roles associated with this certification are Risk professionals, Control analysts, and project managers. This certification is for professionals looking to gain experience in Business/IT risk and implementation of information system controls. The candidate must have the necessary management skills when it comes to enterprise risk and should know how to design risk-based information system controls. This is a widely recognized certification and adds significant value in building your career. The Average salary of professionals certified in Risk and Information Systems Control is $146,480. This certification requires a minimum of three years of work experience in at least two of the four domains. It is also mandatory for candidates to abide by the ISACA professional code of ethics to obtain this certification.
Project Management Professional
This certification is managed by the Project Management Institute and is considered the most prominent certification for project managers. This certification is widely recognized and serves as a significant differentiator when it comes to entrusting organizational projects. It ensures that a candidate has the ability to plan and deliver the projects assigned to them effectively. This certification requires candidates to have at least 35 hours of Project Management Professional related training and 7500 hours of management experience for those who are not graduates and 4500 hours of experience for those who have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Fees to earn 35 PDUs may vary in different countries, and it can be anywhere between $300- $5000. The exam for this certification is 4 hour long and multiple-choice questions based, it is also available in 13 different languages across the globe. There are five domains with different weightage allotted to each of them- initiating the project, planning the project, executing the project, monitoring and controlling the project, and closing the project. The average salary for PMP professionals is $143,493.
Certified Information Systems Security Professional
This certification is a base for quality checks in the field of Information Security. It is offered by (ISC)^2, a non-profit organization operating internationally. The exam for this certification is made available in 114 countries and can be performed in 8 different languages. This is one of the most recognized certificates. There are eight domains of this certification- Security and Risk Management, Asset Security, Security Architecture and Engineering, Communication and Network Security, Identity and Access Management, Security Assessment and Testing, Security Operations, and Software Development Security. The average salary of professionals with this certification is $141,452.
Certified Information Systems Auditor
This certification is awarded to a candidate who can effectively secure an organization’s assets and has required auditing, risk, and cybersecurity skills. This is one of the oldest and most prestigious IT certifications available, and it was first introduced in 1978. This certification has five domains- Auditing Information Systems, Governance and Management of IT, Information Systems Acquisition, Development and Implementation, Information Systems Operations, Maintenance and Service Management, and Protection of Information Assets. The exam for this certification is four hours, consisting of 150 multiple-choice questions, and candidates need to score at least 450 on a scale of 200-800 to pass this exam. It can be taken in June, September, or December of every year. A candidate must have at least five years of professional experience in auditing, control, and security or have 120 university credit hours. This certification acts as a designation awarded to candidates passing the exam. The average salary for Certified Information Systems Auditor is $132,278.
AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner
This certification is presented to candidates who demonstrate a thorough understanding of AWS Cloud. It ensures that the candidate has a basic knowledge of global infrastructure, architectural principles, security, and compliance aspects of AWS, and can identify technical assistance sources. The candidate must have six months of work experience in AWS operations and a basic understanding of IT services provided by AWS Cloud. The fee to take this exam is about $100 and $20 for the practice exam. It is a 90-minute long functional exam in multiple-choice questions format. It is available in 5 different languages and serves as a base for AWS’s various certifications, such as Solutions Architect, Developer, SysOps Administrator, etc. The average salary for AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner is $131,465.
VMare Certified Professional 6- Data Center Virtualization(VCP6-DCV)
This certification enables the candidate to build a virtual infrastructure using VMware vSphere 6 and deploy, consolidate, and administer vSphere High Availability and Distributed Resource Scheduler clusters. New candidates are recommended to undergo training of 6 months vSphere 6 and complete vSphere 6 Foundation Exam or vSphere 6.5 Foundation Exam. It is required for existing candidates to pass one of the following examinations- VCP6-DCV (2VO-621) or VCP6- DCV Delta (2VO-621D). The average salary for VCP6-DCV professionals is $130,226.
This certification increases the quality of service provided by a professional in terms of IT service management. It is the most used IT management framework in the world, dealing with DevOps, Agile, and Lean IT development. This certification proves the candidate has a thorough knowledge of the ITIL framework and the four dimensions of Service Management. The exam is of 60 minutes in duration consisting of 40 multiple-choice questions. The candidates are required to obtain at least 65% marks to qualify for this certification. Obtaining this certification can also help candidates in earning more. The average salary for ITIL Foundation Certified professionals is $129,402.
Every industry expects talent to bring a lot more skills than before, and it is not limited to the IT domain. For example, let’s observe the Healthcare industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for medical and health services managers is expected to grow by 18% through 2028, a rate much faster than average across all occupations. Employers are expected to hire additional 71,600 health services managers (including healthcare administrators). This demand is fueled by factors such as:
- Retiring Baby Boomers
- Longer life expectancies
- Healthcare and insurance reform
Employers are seeking health care professionals with the skills needed to fill these roles. Healthcare administrators need to have a strong understanding of areas like:
- Information technology
In the IT career field, hands-on experience goes a long way in showing that you have the chops to do the job you are applying for; however, to stand out and get paid, IT certifications are needed. There has been a long-standing argument that experience trumps certifications, and I think for most positions, that argument is valid. However, in the cleared space, IT certifications are a must to meet the requirements for specific contracts.
Many individuals in the IT career field are “paper certified,” meaning they just crammed for the exam and didn’t have any real-world experience. Many in the career field have been doing the work for a long time and have a decade or more of real experience but no certifications. While we don’t need to argue the pros and cons of expertise versus certifications, adding specific certifications to your resume will enhance your chances of landing a dream job or boosting your salary.
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