Technology has grown so much faster than anyone could have probably predicted. At the beginning of the millennium, only 50% of Americans had broadband access. Today, this service is now available in over 90% of households.
Industries are catching up, too. Gartner forecasts that spending for public cloud services would reach over $309 billion this year, an almost 20% increase compared to 2020. By 2024, IT spending for cloud platforms will balloon from 10% in 2020 to almost 15%.
It isn’t surprising, then, that along with the growth of computing is the increasing number of available networking and computer systems jobs. Even better, one no longer needs to have a four-year IT degree to land a position in the field. In some cases, certifications are enough.
Also read: Is the OSI Model Still Relevant?
Why IT Networking Certifications are Vital
Because of the high demand for IT professionals, some companies just hire someone fresh out of college. However, if you want to give yourself an upper hand when you apply, you should consider getting an IT networking certification. Here are reasons why it’s a good choice:
1. Specialization matters
The IT industry is broad, and although you can be a “Jack or Jill” of all trades, you can command a better salary if you specialize. Later in this article, you’ll learn a variety of 2021 networking certifications. You’re free to choose one or more, depending on the path you want to take. All can help establish your expertise in a particular IT field.
2. Networking certifications make you competitive
A person who completed a four-year degree in computer systems will likely perform better than someone who learns to code or analyze data just in their spare time. However, those who acquire a few or more networking certifications may be more competitive in the job market. Many certificates now tackle the core or foundations of IT systems, which are also taught in a four-year course. Moreover, you can also get to specialize and take advantage of more up-to-date training.
3. Certifications can increase your salary
Glassdoor estimates that the average salary of an IT professional in the United States is around $80,000. However, if you become a cloud architect, you can boost that to over $130,000 annually. Even if you apply for an entry-level position for the same job, the minimum wage is still higher than the average IT professional salary at $91,000.
4. Keep pace with rapidly evolving technology
Moore’s law attempts to measure technology’s speed of growth according to transistor count. Before, that number doubled every two years. Now, it has shrunk to 18 months. Tech changes so fast that the law is having a hard time catching up. Think of the zero-trust approach, networking as a platform, edge computing, and other concepts you may have never heard of three or five years ago.
Whatever you’ve learned before may already be outdated, and therefore useless to the company you wish to apply to. Completing networking certifications updates your knowledge without being tied to conventional methods of instruction.
10 IT Networking Certifications You Must Take Now
For 2021, most of the best IT networking certifications revolve around the following: cybersecurity, cloud, database, and virtual computing.
1. Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
This certification is ideal for those who like an entry-level, penetration-testing job. Cybercrime is poised to be the fastest-growing threat in the IT industry. It could cost businesses a whopping $400 billion, according to McAfee. Large-scale industries now hire ethical hackers to test their network security. These professionals can also work or build a business in cybersecurity.
2. Certified Data Professional (CDP)
One of the primary languages of IT is big data. Enterprises create billions of them, but the cost of poor data is also high. According to IBM, it could reach at least $3 trillion annually. As a data management professional, you just don’t handle the copious amounts of information. You will also be able to analyze data in a way that’s understandable to relevant stakeholders, such as the CEO and CFO.
3. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
IT professionals can upgrade their network security skills and earn more money with CISSP. This independent IT networking certification allows you to not only design networks but also manage and control them. Simply put, as the scope of your work expands, so will your opportunities.
4. Project Management Professional (PMP)
Project management is just as essential in IT as in virtually all industries. It covers other aspects most technical IT networking certifications don’t, such as how to manage people and resources, make critical time-sensitive decisions, and helping the business achieve its IT goals.
5. Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)
One of the oldest and most popular IT networking certifications, CCNA remains relevant for many reasons. It increases your chances of landing a job or shifting a career in networking, such as being a network engineer, systems administrator, or even an IT manager. From there, you can prove your advanced skills with Cisco Certified Professional Network Professional (CCNP).
6. Salesforce Identity and Access Management Designer
One of the newest networking certifications for IT professionals, this is intended for enterprise or security architects that want to adopt a more secure and updated method of protecting systems, such as multi-factor authentication under the Salesforce ecosystem.
7. Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) Certification
This is a comprehensive certification process that, when completed, may give you between four and five certifications. It also affirms your knowledge, experience, expertise, and skill in both service management and IT infrastructure.
8. VCP-DCV: VMware Certified Professional 6
The market for the virtualization of data centers is growing immensely. According to Markets and Markets, its value could reach at least $8 billion in 2022. From 2017 to the end of the forecast period, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) could go over 16.5%.
However, it needs the right skills to manage it. For enterprises that use VMWare, this is one of the best IT networking certifications to get. It measures your ability to secure, design, control, implement, and solve the virtual infrastructure.
9. Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect
This works for both professionals and business owners that want to maximize the power of cloud computing. At the end of the exam, you can illustrate your skills in designing cloud architecture, creating security and compliance policies, and maintaining the reliability of the network.
10. Certified Wireless Network Administrator (CWNA)
More enterprises are shifting to software-defined area networks (SD-WANs), virtual private networks, and even secure-access service edge (SASE). These three make the wireless network more efficient without compromising security compliance. One of the most in-demand jobs, CWNA can give is being a wireless network administrator.
Certifications as Career Boosts
The breadth of IT networking certifications changes to reflect the evolution of IT. That’s why most need to be renewed every few years. Nevertheless, this doesn’t diminish the fact that these certificates are tickets to a better career in 2021 and beyond.
Read next: Best Business & Enterprise VPNs of 2021