Certifications With the Highest Demand

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For years, cynical IT pros have maintained that certifications aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. But recruiters and analysts report a growing interest in IT certification. While it’s true that employers still want to see experience, certification can provide outside validation of your skills… and signal a commitment to furthering those skills.

Certifications in these areas are showing some of the sharpest growth in demand:

Security

The recent breaches at Target, Home Depot and the almost-daily privacy and security lapses at healthcare institutions are making security a hot area for IT pros.

Fortune 1000 companies are now spending millions of dollars on their privacy programs, with financial services, consumer products, and retail firms leading the way, according to a survey by the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP). A third of the responding companies said they plan to increase their privacy program staff, while only 3 percent expect to cut staffers.

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That’s why certifications such as GIAC Certified Penetration Tester, InfoSys Security Management Professional (ISSMP/CISSP), and EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker are among the fastest-growing with regard to premium pay, according to analyst firm Foote Partners.

In addition, government jobs these days often require security certifications for contractors as well as staff positions.

Mobility and Cloud

In its predictions for 2015, Juniper Research maintains that mobile and cloud will alter the architectural landscape, and that DevOps techniques will revamp the way we deliver solutions to business stakeholders. Perhaps the biggest challenge facing companies, however, will be recruiting and retaining people will the skills to build applications quickly and to integrate them into legacy portfolios.

Cloud employers are looking for pros skilled in Linux, Java/J2EE, SaaS (Software-as-a-Service), Python, virtualization, and other areas, according to a recent analysis of the Dice database.

Amazon Web Services recently unveiled a new DevOps Engineer certification, which validates the technical expertise required for provisioning, operating and managing distributed application systems on its public-cloud platform. (It’s still in beta through mid-December.) To be eligible, you must already be certified as an AWS Certified Developer – Associate or AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate.

Linux

A new Gartner report cites a shift to open-source software as a major factor in the coming major disruption to data centers. IT leaders responding to a survey by TechPro Research put more faith in the future of Linux desktops than in the possibility of Apple elbowing ahead of Microsoft in the enterprise.

Combine that with Microsoft open-sourcing its .NET code to run atop Linux servers, along with the wild popularity of container technology such as Docker, and the future of Linux seems bright.

Linux Professional Institute certifications, CompTIA Linux+ and RedHat Certified Technician are among the skills making big gains in market value of late.

While the ranks of Linux pros is growing, the segment isn’t expanding fast enough to meet demand, said Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, in announcing two new vendor-neutral certifications: the Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator (LFCS), which covers the skills necessary for basic-to-intermediate system administration from the command-line for systems running Linux, and the Linux Foundation Certified Engineer (LFCE), which focuses on the design and implementation of system architecture. Both are performance-based and can be on CentOS, openSUSE, or Ubuntu.

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