10 Best IT Certifications for 2024

KEY TAKEAWAYS

IT certifications are important because they offer employers' tangible evidence of your knowledge and skills. They also help you rise above other candidates in the job market or advance your current career. We take a look at 10 certificates that can kick-start or improve your career.

The barriers to a career transition into IT have significantly lowered, making it a perfect time for individuals with diverse backgrounds to pivot into a tech career.

The industry’s embrace of transferable skills, such as problem-solving, communication, and leadership, coupled with its openness to varied educational paths like certifications and self-learning, creates a welcoming environment for career changers. A non-tech background is no longer a hindrance but a springboard.

With the written IT certification combined with a unique blend of skills, you can open doors to exciting new career opportunities while redefining the business and the technological landscape. Whether you are looking to explore a career in tech for the first time or advance your IT career, here is a selection of some of the best IT certifications by employers in 2024.

Best 10 IT Certifications to Boost Your Career in 2024

Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL)

The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is a globally recognized framework crucial for anyone pursuing a career in IT service management. ITIL ensures alignment with business objectives by standardizing IT service practices to ensure everyone speaks the same language.

Your journey will begin with the ITIL 4 Foundation. This certification is essential for IT professionals seeking to improve service quality, innovate solutions, and advance their careers in various IT roles, from managing professional operations to strategic leadership.

Cost: $500

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CompTIA certifications

CompTIA certifications are highly regarded across the IT industry for validating foundational and entry-level skills across various domains. These certifications encompass essential IT topics like networking, security, and IT support, which are crucial for professionals beginning or transitioning their careers in IT. 

For those new to IT, the CompTIA IT Fundamentals+ offers a solid foundation, giving insights into the IT sector. The CompTIA A+ certification is tailored for support roles, focusing on troubleshooting and problem-solving in networking, operating systems, and security. The CompTIA Network+ is aimed at junior network roles, emphasizing the ability to manage and design networks. 

Finally, CompTIA Security+ is essential for roles in IT security, covering a comprehensive range of security topics, from cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities to risk management and cryptography. These certifications collectively ensure that IT professionals are equipped to handle various challenges and roles within the dynamic field of information technology.

 Cost: $75 to $125 per exam

Professional Scrum Master (PSM)

The Professional Scrum Master (PSM) certification involves a series of Scrum-focused certifications designed to validate knowledge and practical application of the Scrum framework. Available in three progressive levels, PSM I, II, and III, the certificate caters to a range of expertise, from fundamental Scrum principles to advanced implementation and coaching skills. 

The PSM I focuses on the basics of Scrum and its application in teams. PSM II delves into Scrum Master accountabilities and team functionalities, and PSM III covers comprehensive knowledge on influencing organizational change and teaching Scrum. 

Cost: The training course fee varies from $400 to $1,500, depending on the geographic location, and includes the cost of the certification test. If taking the test alone it is $200 per attempt.

PMP: Project Management Professional

The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification by the Project Management Institute (PMI) is regarded as a highly prestigious credential in IT. It demonstrates to potential employers proficiency in handling all aspects of project management, including team coordination, goal setting, and budget management, encompassing the five core project lifecycle stages. These skills are essential in ensuring IT projects are delivered within budget and on time.

Cost: $405 for PMI members and $555 for non-members

Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

The Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification, offered by the EC-Council, is a prominent credential in the field of cybersecurity designed to equip IT professionals with advanced skills in ethical hacking and penetration testing. This certification validates the ability to ethically identify and exploit computer system vulnerabilities, helping organizations strengthen their security. 

The training covers the latest hacking tools, techniques, and methodologies malicious hackers use, enabling professionals to anticipate and mitigate potential security risks.

Cost: From $950 to $1,119, depending on how and where you complete the exam

Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)

The Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) certification is designed for information security professionals aspiring to take on team leadership or managerial roles. It showcases an individual’s expertise in critical areas, including risk assessment, information security governance, and incident response. This certification marks advanced skills and knowledge, indicating to employers a candidate’s readiness for higher-level responsibilities in information security. 

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It is tailored for those with at least five years of professional experience in information security management. However, specific qualifications and experiences can waive up to two years of this requirement. 

CISM covers critical areas such as security governance, program management, incident management, and risk management. Holders of the CISM certification are recognized for their capability to develop holistic security strategies, making them essential assets in any organization.

Cost: $575 for members; $760 for non-members

Best Amazon Web Services (AWS) Certifications

Amazon Web Services (AWS) certifications are highly sought after in IT as businesses collectively recognize the importance of cloud computing. The AWS Certified Solutions Architect is one of the top certifications in this field, which could lead to an average salary of over $160,000.

The AWS Certified Security certification is in demand for security-focused professionals, offering an average salary of more than $165,000 and covering critical security aspects unique to AWS. For those new to IT, the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner is an entry-level certification ideal for those new to cloud computing, laying a foundation in AWS concepts.

Specializing in AWS is hugely beneficial due to its market dominance and the comprehensive range of certifications available, catering to various IT roles. This wide range of certifications will enhance your expertise in the AWS ecosystem and significantly boost your earning potential in the competitive tech market.

Cost: Between $100-$300

Best Google Certifications

Among the most in-demand Google certifications, the Google Cloud – Professional Cloud Architect stands out with an average annual salary of more than $200,000, reflecting its high ranking in the industry. This certification is pivotal for those crafting and managing cloud solutions using Google Cloud technologies. 

Following closely is the Google Cloud – Professional Data Engineer certification, with an average salary of $190,000, essential for professionals skilled in managing and analyzing large data sets in Google Cloud. The Google Cloud Associate – Cloud Engineer certification is also valuable for those managing enterprise solutions on Google Cloud.

These certifications are crucial for professionals seeking to specialize in Google Cloud, offering substantial financial rewards and recognition as experts in the rapidly evolving cloud technology sector.

Cost: $200 (plus tax where applicable)

Best CISCO Certifications

In networking, Cisco certifications are in high demand by employers due to their focus on practical skills and knowledge of networking technologies. The CCNA, an associate-level certification, covers fundamental networking concepts and is often the stepping stone to more advanced Cisco certifications. However, the most sought-after certification is the Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP), which is aimed at professionals with advanced networking knowledge, allowing them to design, implement, and troubleshoot complex networks.

The Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) represents the pinnacle of Cisco certifications, targeting experts with significant experience in networking infrastructure. These certifications, highly regarded in the IT industry, demonstrate a professional’s expertise in Cisco products and services and their ability to apply this knowledge in real-world scenarios, making them invaluable assets to any organization.

Cost $300

Best Microsoft Certifications

The most in-demand Microsoft certifications cater to various IT roles and emphasize cloud computing and system administration. The Microsoft Fundamentals certifications are suitable for entry-level professionals who cover core technology skills across Microsoft products and services like Azure, AI, and data. However, the Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect Expert certification is highly sought-after for its focus on designing and implementing scalable cloud solutions. 

The Microsoft Certified Azure Administrator Associate is also particularly popular, validating skills in administering Azure environments and commanding an average salary of over $120,000. These certifications provide a solid foundation for more advanced roles and demonstrate a candidate’s expertise in managing and optimizing Microsoft technologies, making them valuable for professionals aiming to advance their careers in IT, particularly in cloud computing and system administration.

Cost $165

The Bottom Line

Whether you’re just starting your journey in IT or looking to advance your career, choosing the proper certification is critical to thriving in 2024. The IT industry increasingly values diverse skill sets and backgrounds, making it a perfect time for career transitions.

Certifications like ITIL, CompTIA, and PSM offer pathways for those entering IT or seeking to deepen their expertise in IT service management, cybersecurity, or agile project management. For cloud computing enthusiasts, AWS and Google Cloud certifications are in high demand due to their focus on cloud architecture, data engineering, and security, promising attractive salary prospects.

Cisco certifications remain essential for networking professionals, while Microsoft’s Azure and Fundamentals certifications are crucial for those specializing in cloud computing and system administration. Each certification equips you with specialized knowledge and opens doors to lucrative and fulfilling career opportunities in the ever-evolving tech landscape.

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Neil C. Hughes

Neil is a freelance tech journalist with over two decades of IT experience. Celebrated as one of LinkedIn's Top Voices in technology and recognized by CIO Magazine and ZDNet for his influential insights, Neil has contributed to publications like INC, TNW, TechHQ, and Cybernews while also hosting the popular Tech Talks Daily Podcast.