There are numerous industry certifications available to IT professionals. Some are vendor-neutral (such as CompTIA and CIW), while others are vendor (company/product) specific (such as Microsoft and Cisco). Some employers require certifications, some do not, and many consider certifications a "plus" to have when they are reviewing job applications.

In today's competitive job market, we recommend obtaining both a college degree and industry certification as credentials. A college degree should come first as they are required by most companies. We recommend starting with an Associate's Degree and making plans to continue onto a Bachelor's degree. A college degree from an accredited college is a credential for life and is required to open many doors that might otherwise not be available.

But what does an employee do if they have 10 resumes before them for an entry-level position and all have a college degree and limited experience? They often look for an industry certification. It not only demonstrates the applicant is proficient in a particular area (e.g. networking, programming, etc.), but that they are the type of person willing to go the extra mile in their preparation and professional development.

The following is a list of "some" of the major certifications available. Some of these are easier to obtain than others. In other words, there are entry-level certifications, such as A+ and Net+, and more advanced certifications such as PMP and Cisco CCNP.

Programming, Software Engineering/Development, Databases

  • MCTS (Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist)
  • MCAD (Microsoft Certified Application Developer
  • MCSD (Microsoft Certified Solution Developer
  • MSCD (Microsoft Certified Professional Developer
  • (MCITP (Microsoft Certified IT Professional)
  • SCJD (Sun Certified Java Developer)
  • OCA, OCP, OCM (Oracle Certified Associate, Professiona, and Master)
  • Prosoft CIW Database Administrator

Networking and Network/Server Admin

  • CompTIA A+ (PC Technician)
  • MCDST (Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician)
  • CompTIA Network+ (Network/LAN Administrator)
  • CompTIA Security+ (IT Security Administrator)
  • CompTIA Server+ (Server Administrators)
  • CompTIA Linux+ (Linux Administrators)
  • MCSA (Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator)
  • MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer)
  • CNE (Novell Certified Network Engineer)
  • CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate)
  • CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional)
  • CCSP (Cisco Certified Security Professional)
  • CISSP (Certified Information System Security Professional)
  • CCSA (Check Point Certified Security Administrator)
  • Prosoft CIW Security Professional
  • Prosoft CIW Server Administrator
  • CompTIA RDIF+ (Radio Frequency Identification Technician)

Web Development

  • Prosoft CIW (Certified Professional Webmaster) (Tracks: Associate, Professional, E-Commerce, etc.)
  • Adobe Certified Professsional (Tracks: Dreamweaver, Flash, Photoshop, Instructor, etc.)
  • SIP Certified Web Designer (Tracks: Managaer, Designer, Technician)
  • WebYado AWP (Associate Webmaster Professional)
  • BCIP (Brainbench Certified Internet Professional)

Management and Training

  • CompTIA Project+ (Project Manager)
  • CompTIA CTT+ (Certified Technical Trainer)
  • PMP (Project Management Professional)
  • MOS (Microsoft Office Specialist)
  • CPM (Certified Project Manager) (International Association of Project & Program Management - IAPMM)