Tech Certifications’ Rising Value Places Pressure on Employers

If you want to know which tech skills are in demand, take a look at the market value of tech certifications.

Employers are often willing to pay a cash premium above base salary for tech pros with certifications in vital technology areas such as security, explained David Foote, chief analyst of Foote Partners LLC. They’re also willing to pay big for tech pros who are certified in emerging technologies, at least until the supply of talent catches up with demand. (Many employers have even shown a willingness to pay for employees’ certification classes.)

But which certifications are seeing the biggest increases in pay premiums and market value? Here’s a look at the ones that registered the biggest gains during the first half of the year, based on data collected for Foote Partners’ IT Skills and Certification Pay Index. If you’re currently recruiting talent, you may end up having to offer some strong salary numbers to pull tech pros with these certifications into your company.  

EMC System Administrator, Documentum Specialist (EMCSyA)

Pay Premium: 8 percent of base salary.
Market Value Increase: 33.3 percent in the first six months. 

With unstructured data growing at a rate of 62 percent per year, businesses are looking for tools and platforms such as Documentum, as well as certified talent to manage unstructured data so that it is accessible, searchable, available and relevant.

EC-Council Certified Incident Handler (ECIH)

Pay Premium: 13 percent of base salary.
Market Value Increase: 30 percent in the first six months.

With the unemployment rate in cybersecurity basically at zero, it’s not surprising that the value of the ECIH cert increased 30 percent during the first half of the year. ECIH provides the fundamental skills to handle and respond to various security incidents such as network security breaches, malicious code incidents and insider attack threats.

SAS Certified Big Data Professional Using SAS 9

Pay Premium: 9 percent of base salary.
Market Value Increase: 28.6 percent in the first six months. 

This nine-course curriculum covers the fundamentals of statistics and analytics, reporting, data visualization and how to work with Hadoop, Hive, Pig and SAS. The entire program can take anywhere from two to 12 months, depending on the tech pro’s time commitment.

Cisco Certified Network Professional – Cloud

Market Value Increase: 28.6 percent in the first six months
Pay Premium: 9 percent of base salary

With cloud adoption rates on the rise, administrators, designers, architects, engineers and datacenter professionals can all boost their job security and market value by validating their proficiency in handling and responding to various security incidents. This cert also demonstrates knowledge of cloud administration and ability to design and implement network, storage and cloud infrastructure solutions.

GIAC Certified Forensics Examiner (GCFE)  

Market Value Increase: 25 percent in the first six months.
Pay Premium: 
10 percent of base salary.

Although the value of the 92 information/cybersecurity certs tracked by Foote Partners grew .05 percent during the first half of the year, the biggest gainers involved auditing, ethical hacking, project management and forensics. The GCFE certification falls into this category.

Foote also pointed out that PMs who complete a security training and certification program have seen their market value rise 10 percent during 2018. Clearly, employers are hungry for cybersecurity professionals.

VMware Certified Advanced Professional 7 – Cloud Management and Automation Deployment

Market Value Increase: 25 percent in the first six months.
Pay Premium: 10 percent of base salary.

This cloud credential (and its little brother, VMware Certified Professional 7 – Cloud Management and Automation Deployment, based on vSphere 6.5 and vRealize) recognizes IT professionals who can extend data virtualization throughout the cloud.

VMware Certified Design Expert 6 – Data Center Virtualization

Market Value Increase: 25 percent in the first six months
Pay Premium: 10 percent of base salary.

Demand for certified datacenter professionals with virtualization skills is at an all-time-high, with starting salaries averaging between $87,000 and $99,000, depending on individual experience level.

Plus, the VCDE6-DCV sits firmly between traditional data center networking and cloud management, so it appeals to a wide networking audience, Foote said.

Note that candidates must thoroughly understand Domain Name System (DNS), routing and database connectivity techniques, and know how to deploy, configure, manage and scale VMware vSphere environments and storage at an advanced level.

EC-Council Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI)

Market Value Increase: 25 percent in the first six months.
Pay Premium: 15 percent of base salary.

The CHFI covers a wide range of topics and tools, including an overview of digital forensics and the investigation process, working with digital evidence, anti-forensics, database and cloud forensics, and investigating network traffic, as well as mobile and email forensics. 

Cloudera Certified Data Analyst

Market Value Increase: 22.2 percent in the first six months.
Pay Premium: 11 percent of base salary.

Earning this certification shows that tech pros can prepare, structure and analyze data in Cloudera’s CDH environment. It also demonstrates core analyst skills such as the ability to load, transform and model Hadoop data to define relationships and extract meaningful results from the raw output. 

Cisco Certified Network Administrator – Cloud

Market Value Increase: 20.0 percent in the first six months.
Pay Premium: 6 percent of base salary.

An entry-level credential, the CCNA-Cloud validates a professional’s ability to support cloud-based Cisco solutions in an SMB cloud environment, and to support a senior cloud engineer in an enterprise environment.

Having this certification can also provide career opportunities for employees of business and channel partner organizations who are transitioning from other technical areas such as datacenter or networking. Furthermore, the CCNA-Cloud was recently named one of five best cloud certs by cloudnews. No wonder employers are willing to pay more for it.

Related