Which IT certifications pay the most? According to new data from Foote Partners, the following saw median pay premiums increase significantly over the past year:
- Cybersecurity Forensic Analyst (16 percent)
- Open Group Master Architect (16 percent)
- Program Management Professional (16 percent)
- Open Group Master Certified IT Specialist (15 percent)
- TOGAF 9 (15 percent)
CIO.com has a breakdown of the other top-performing certifications, which include GIAC Reverse Engineering Malware (GREM), Infosys Security Engineering Professional (ISSEP/CISSP), and Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA). Foote Partners, which gathered its data from 2,600 employers, cautions that these salary increases don’t necessarily predict which certifications will be most “in demand” next year; only that there’s a clear need on the part of employers for tech pros who are formally qualified in certain core areas.
Beyond that, it’s fairly easy to see why some of these certificates are so capable of boosting pay. For example, in the wake of several high-profile data breaches, cybersecurity forensic analysts (along with other security experts) are necessary to keep corporate databases safe; now more than ever, security is front-of-mind for executives.
In a similar vein, companies need master architects and management professionals capable of building systems that can scale. Fierce competition among tech companies means growing as fast as possible—even if it means deferring revenue, at least in the short term—is a key goal.
While many tech pros devote serious time and effort to earning certifications, there’s a line of argument among some in the tech community that certifications aren’t necessarily worth pursuing, given the speed at which technology evolves, and employers’ independent tests to verify job applicants’ skillsets.
For every employer who’s willing to give an uncertified employee a shot, however, there are many more with non-negotiable demands for certificates from candidates. For that reason alone, earning certifications should be a prime consideration when considering whether to enter the tech industry.