6 Tech Certifications with Greatest Demand

Which technology skills and certifications are in greatest demand in North America?

Industry analyst firm Robert Half recently published its 2018 salary guide (PDF), which offers an answer to that question. Among its “trending” certifications:

  • Agile and Scrum certifications
  • CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional)
  • CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate)
  • CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional)
  • CompTIA A+
  • PMP (Project Management Professional)

“Skills and certifications enhance the marketability of the professionals who hold them,” read the salary guide. “In fact, employers may increase salaries 5 to 10 percent for professionals who have certain in-demand abilities.”

Meanwhile, the firm’s breakdown of in-demand skills includes:

  • .NET
  • Angular
  • C#
  • Java
  • PHP
  • VMware

The technology industry currently enjoys low unemployment, which can make things difficult for companies on the hunt for tech pros with certain kinds of certifications and specialized skills. Some 41 percent of CIOs told Robert Half’s analysts that the hiring process “takes longer than they’d like,” with hiring times for staff-level positions stretching to an average of 4.5 weeks. (The firm surveyed 2,500 CIOs for its salary guide, along with 8,000 tech pros.)

On the other side of the interview table, tech pros aren’t necessarily driven by high salaries: as pointed out by a number of surveys and studies, including ones conducted by Dice, career advancement and perks are also key considerations. Some 52 percent of tech pros told Robert Half that they began conversations “around career path and growth opportunities during the interview process.”

That desperation means that many companies are willing to consider job applicants who are self-taught in particular skills and programming languages, including .NET and Java. When it comes to filling roles such as security or sysadmin, however, companies usually make certifications a requirement—and with good reason, considering the data and assets at stake.

A Need for Security

A few weeks ago, Foote Partners LLC also conducted an analysis of the tech certifications with the best ROI; it concluded that information-security certs offered the best combination of pay premiums and market-value increases. At the top of its list:

  • InfoSys Security Architecture Professional (ISSAP/CISSP)
  • Check Point Certified Security Master (CCSM)
  • GIAC Reverse Engineering Malware (GREM)
  • GIAC Certified Perimeter Protection Analyst (GPPA)
  • InfoSys Security Management Professional (ISSMP/CISSP)

Again, there’s an (understandable) emphasis on security and networking. If you want to work in those areas, but fear the time and expense that come with earning certifications, consider asking your boss to help foot the bill. Nearly half of companies (47 percent) recently surveyed by Dice and The Linux Foundation said they would be willing to pay for employees’ open-source certifications; it stands to reason that some would write a check for non-open ones, as well.

According to Robert Half, security analysts and managers can easily pull down six-figure salaries; those involved in network maintenance and architecture command healthy paychecks, as well. With the right mix of experience and certifications, you can command that sort of money.

13 Responses to “6 Tech Certifications with Greatest Demand”

  1. Lorraine A. Moore-Green

    Every company has it own training for its employees. I earn all of my certificates at my organization. We believe in training the employees so they are successful on the job

  2. This would probably work better if people could actually read it. Who thought it would be a great idea to use light grey letters on a white background? The only thing anyone can read is the bold black text. So pretty much just the title, “A need for security”, “Related Jobs”, and the “Post a comment” section titles. That’s it. Those are the only words visible as the rest looks like crack in the snow.

  3. What they are not saying is how many American schools do not add classes for these certifications that are essentially required to work anywhere in the IT field, especially A+ (or anything Cisco for network positions). The week-long classes that most companies and unemployment offices provide do not cover all the material on the tests by a long shot. Extra $50 or more books are paid out of your pocket (ridiculous prices for a book). Sure, companies and unemployment will pay the bare minimum for a class to get you started, but you are still spending tons more money and time to pass that test. None of these certs are really testing you on the knowledge you’ll need for your position (most never use these certs after they pass the tests). Unfortunately, it’s the H1B’s from India that have these classes as core curriculum in higher education, they are tested countless times before they even take the exam, and come to this country already with the certs, thus getting the jobs based on passing a test and no real experience. I just started a new job (after 25 years of loyal service in a corporate IT dept with no certs whatsoever), and am required to pass A+ (just passed 901 a couple nights ago). When are companies and government agencies going to look at experience and not a piece of paper? When are American schools going to have classes designed specifically to pass these exams? When are the H1B’s going to realize that there are plenty of good working Americans with tons of experience who can do the job better? These surveys by Robert Half are quite meaningless. Let’s look at the real problem of “required certs” and what they really do in the big scope of things (answer: nothing at all, I did quite well for 25 years without one, thank you).

    • Lynelle:

      Thank you for that! I just finished a Masters in Cyber Security and have been working in an entry level IT contract job for the last year and a half. Of all the courses I took, maybe 4 addressed real-world issues or were geared towards passing a cert exam (Network+). My instructors even advised us to get (and pay for) additional training outside of the classwork. Although I’m glad I got the degree, some of it feels like a waste (especially now that the loans are due). The manager here is encouraging us to get a cert or 2 (CASP, CSA or ISSM). But like you, much of my actually training is coming from here on the job. Some of my “cert-ed” co-workers have also expressed frustration at the time, effort and money put into something they rarely use (or acknowlegde). My point is this: If you’re going to “REQUIRE” something – USE IT. Degree or cert, I would like to see a true return on my investment.

    • I totally agree with what Lynelle wrote. I am one of those who don’t have an INDUSTRY Certification, but went to a community college and got myself a college certification, however because I don’t have Industry certification, and most of my experience is from consulting and working on my own, it’s been a real struggle to get into the work force in IT..

  4. Low unemployment. LoL. Right.

    I wonder were they get those numbers. Clearly not from the many unemployed B.S. of Computer Science grads I’ve known, or those who are barely employed; making $12/hour in a call center; doing work they could’ve done without the degree,