15 Top Paying Certifications for 2013
Randy Muller, Global Knowledge Instructor, MCT, MCSE, MCSA, MCDST
Having earned an IT certification, many individuals think they are automatically entitled to a huge raise. The truth is that several factors, including geography, industry, experience, and yes, certifications, combine to play a major role in determining an individual’s salary. However, certain certifications do have greater impact on the earning potential of an individual. Here, we take a look at the 15 certifications with the highest earning potential for 2013.
Note: The rankings below are derived from certifications that received the minimum number of responses to be statistically relevant in the Global Knowledge annual salary survey completed in October 2012. Certain certifications pay more, but are not represented due to their exclusive nature. These include CCIE: Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert and VCDX: VMware Certified Design Expert, for example.
1. PMP: Project Management Professional – $105,750
The Project Management Institute’s (PMI) Project Management Professional (PMP) credential is recognized as the most important certification for project managers. It is globally acknowledged, in heavy demand, and highly sought after by corporations and individuals alike. A Project Management Professional designation demonstrates that you have not only the experience but also the education to successfully lead and direct projects. The PMP credential is for experienced project management professionals, as the qualifications and testing for this certification are rigorous, as are the required continuing education requirements. All of these factors ensure that the PMP credential is widely respected. The PMP experience and exam requirements focus on five process groups: Initiating, Planning, Executing, Controlling, and Closing.
2. CISSP: Certified Information Systems Security Professional – $103,299
The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) credential is primarily intended for security managers and profes¬sionals who develop policies and procedures in information security. The CISSP certification has become the gold standard in information security certifications and education. Earning and maintaining a CISSP certification is required for many government, military, and civilian security positions. The CISSP was the first credential in the field of information security, accredited by the ANSI (American National Standards Institute) to ISO (International Organization for Standardization) Standard 17024:2003.
3. MCSD: Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer – $97,849
The Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer is the new Microsoft developer certification that replaces the old Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer certification. The new certification validates a candidate’s ability to design and build application solutions. These solutions may span multiple versions of a single technology or integrate multiple technologies. Developers are expected to analyze and design enterprise solutions using different Microsoft languages and development tools.
Currently, there are three separate certification tracks for those seeking to earn this certification: MCSD: Windows Store Apps, MCSD: Web Applications, and MCSD: Application Lifecycle Management. Each MCSD track requires anywhere from three to six separate exams. Microsoft has introduced a recertification requirement for the new MCSD. Current certification holders will have to recertify every two years, ensuring that they remain current on the base technology that will have changed due to service packs, revisions, and new product releases. (Those holding MCSE certifications will have to recertify every three years).
4. MCDBA: Microsoft Certified Database Administrator – $95,950
Access to information is critical in today’s fast-paced, global environment. Corporations are even more dependent on quick and reliable systems to process and retrieve information. This means they must operate their own database servers and business intelligence software to access this information in order to grow and become more successful, and Microsoft Certified Database Administrators (MCDBA) are the ones who provide this expertise. An MCDBA-certified individual has proven his or her ability to design, implement, and manage SQL Server 2000 databases. This certification was retired on September 30, 2012, though if you achieved it before that date it will still appear on your transcript as a legacy certification. There are two new MCSE certifications for SQL 2012: Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE): Data Platform and Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE): Business Intelligence.
5. CCDA®: Cisco Certified Design Associate – $94,799
The Cisco Certified Design Associate (CCDA) indicates that the certified individual has a strong foundation and apprentice knowledge of network design for Cisco converged networks. A CCDA certification is for network design engineers, technicians, and support engineers, who enable efficient network environments. The CCDA-certified individual has the skills to design a routed and switched network infrastructure and services involv¬ing LAN, WAN, and broadband access for businesses and organizations.
6. MCAD: Microsoft Certified Application Developer – $93,349
The Microsoft Certified Application Developer (MCAD) credential provides industry recognition for professional developers who build powerful applications using Microsoft Visual Studio .NET and Web services. Responsibilities include implementing requirements, developing, testing, deploying, and maintaining department-level applications components, Web or desktop clients, or back-end data services by using Microsoft tools and technologies. The MCAD certification is appropriate for Programmers, Analysts, Software Engineers, Software Application Specialists and Application/Software Developers.
7. VCP-DV: VMware Certified Professional Datacenter Virtualization – $92,400
Virtualization, and those who are knowledgeable on virtualization products, are in heavy demand, especially those professionals with datacenter virtualization skills. In the highly competitive virtualization market it is essential to distinguish yourself with a certification that validates your technical capabilities. VMware is one of the leading vendors of virtualization products and earning a VMware certification is the first step toward gaining industry-recognized expertise in virtual infrastructure. Earning the VCP-DV certification demonstrates that you have not only completed a VMWare-authorized training course but also have the necessary experience and training to successfully install, deploy, scale, and manage VMware vSphere environments.
8. CNE: Certified Novell Engineer – $91,350
The Certified Novell Engineer (CNE) shows that those certified individuals have the expertise and knowledge to solve advanced company-wide support problems and high-level network problems. They perform planning, installation, configuration, troubleshooting, and upgrade services for networks. The Certified Novell Engineer (CNE) has been recognized as one of the IT industry’s leading certifications for advanced networking and troubleshooting professionals.
9. ITIL v3 Foundation – $90,900
The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITILv3) is a foundational process that provides for quality IT Service Management. The success of ITIL is through the use of documented and proven processes that cover the entire Service Lifecycle. The ITIL Expert level is the third of four levels. The ITIL Expert level certification is aimed at those individuals who are interested in demonstrating a superior level of knowledge of ITIL Version 3 (v3) in its entirety. Once you have achieved ITIL Expert level you will also satisfy the pre-requisite entry criteria for the ITIL Master Level; the highest level of certification within the ITIL v3 scheme, though the Master level is still under development.
10. CCA: Citrix Certified Administrator – Citrix XenServer 6 – $90,850
The Citrix CCA is an entry-level certification. Earning this certification validates the candidate’s skills with one of 11 specific Citrix products, the most popular being XenApp, XenDesktop, and XenServer. The Citrix Certified Administrator (CCA) for Citrix XenServer 6 certification validates the certified individual’s ability to effectively install, configure, administer, troubleshoot, and maintain XenServer 6.0 Enterprise edition and Provisioning Services 6.0 in an enterprise environment.
11. MCITP: Database Administrator – $90,200
The MCITP certification validates that the IT professional is capable of deploying, building, designing, optimizing, and operating technologies for a particular job role. MCITP certifications builds on the technical proficiency measured in the Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certifications. In order to earn the MCITP: Database Administrator you must first pass the Microsoft Certified Technical Specialist certification in SQL Server 2008 (by passing the 70-432 exam) and then pass the 70-450 exam. The MCITP Database Administrator demonstrates knowledge of SQL Server instances and database solutions, database server security solutions, high availability databases, backup and recovery solutions, monitoring strategies, database management and maintenance strategies, and data distribution strategies.
12. MCTS: SQL Server 2005 – $90,100
Those who have earned the MCTS: SQL Server 2005 certification are IT professionals who may pursue careers as database administrators, database developers, or business intelligence developers. They may also be people who do not work with Microsoft SQL Server as a part of their primary job functions but who want to show their breadth of technology experience, such as developers, systems administrators, and others. This certification validates that the IT professional can implement and maintain databases by using specific instructions and specifications.
13. MCT: Microsoft Certified Trainer – $89,949
Those holding the Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCTs) certification are the premier technical and instructional experts on Microsoft technologies. An MCT has earned at least one premier certification on a Microsoft product and maintains that certification. Some of the benefits of earning and maintaining an MCT include access to the complete library of Official Microsoft Learning Products; substantial discounts on exams, books, and Microsoft products; members-only newsgroups and online community resources; and invitations to exclusive events and programs. MCT’s must renew each year by completing an online application, pay an annual fee, and meet a number of program requirements to renew your certification for the coming year.
14. CCNP®: Cisco Certified Network Professional – $89,749
There are two tracks available at the Associate and Professional levels – Designing and Networking. The Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) demonstrates that you have the ability to plan, implement, verify, and troubleshoot local and wide-area enterprise networks. A CCNP-certified individual is expected to work collaboratively with other Cisco specialists on advanced products such as security, voice, wireless, and video solutions.
15. CCA: Citrix Certified Administrator – Citrix XenDesktop 5 – $89,499
The Citrix CCA is an entry-level certification. Earning this certification validates the candidate’s skills with one of 11 specific Citrix products, the most popular being XenApp, XenDesktop, and XenServer. The CCA for Citrix XenDesktop 5 certifies the expertise required to install, administer, and troubleshoot an enterprise environment containing a XenDesktop implementation, including Provisioning Services, XenServer, XenApp and the Desktop Delivery Controller
Earning a certification does not guarantee that you will walk into a higher paying job. Certification counts, but employers look at several factors, including experience. There was a time when certification holders were reasonably assured of landing a job. Today it is more of a qualifier – not having a certification means you may not even get an interview.
About the Author
Randy Muller (MCT, MCTS, MCSE, CEH) is an instructor with Global Knowledge, specializing in teaching Microsoft Office 365, Exchange, Lync Server as well as Windows Server 2008.