Home » Computer Science Careers » The 10 Most Lucrative IT Certifications of 2018

The 10 Most Lucrative IT Certifications of 2018

If you want a high-paying position, you’ll need to demonstrate high-value skills. Earning an advanced certification is always a great way to show employers what you’re capable of in black-and-white terms. Passing a rigorous exam, and often meeting additional experience requirements, demonstrates mastery by external standards, and can make an essential difference in your job prospects or career advancement. According to CIO.com, the right certifications could mean anywhere from an 8 to 16 percent increase in your pay.

Information technology is a highly dynamic and ever-changing field, however. As the industry evolves, new types or sets of certifications continue to crop up, while once-desirable credentials fall out of favor. So what IT certifications do today’s employers want to see? We’ve ranked the 10 of the most high-paying IT certifications of 2018 in ascending order, and given you the essentials on each, including:

  • The exam length and curriculum
  • The cost of the exam
  • Prerequisite certifications, courses or experience
  • How frequently employers post jobs associated with the certification
  • The average salary of jobs associated with the certification

Read on to discover which of these high-paying IT certifications fits your career goals.

#10 Citrix Certified Professional Ð Virtualization (CCP-V)

The Citrix certification website states that the CCP-V qualifies professionals to “install, configure and roll out common XenDesktop solutions.” In order to pass the certification test, you’ll need skills in scaling, optimizing, and advanced configurations and troubleshooting in virtual desktops.

What the Exam Covers

The test is 90 minutes long, and includes multiple-choice, drag-and-drop, simulations and decision trees. The test covers the following topics:

  • Intermediate FlexCast Management Architecture (FMA)
  • Workspace Environment Management (WEM)
  • The Virtual Desktop Agent (VDA)
  • App Layering
  • User Environment
  • StoreFront Optimization and Routing
  • HDX and Multimedia
  • Supporting and Troubleshooting User connection issues
  • Provisioning Services Infrastructure
  • Streaming the vDisk
  • Target Devices
  • Integrating Provisioning Services with XenApp and XenDesktop
  • Advanced Architecture
  • Supporting Provisioning Services

Exam Cost

$300 examination fee

Prerequisites

Before taking the exam for the Citrix Certified Professional Ð Virtualization (CCP-V), you’ll need to first earn the Citrix Certified Associate – Virtualization (CCA-V) credential.

Availability of Associated Jobs

There are 124 current openings for Citrix Certified Professionals in Virtualization, and employers include World Wide Technology, Inc., BAE Systems, Sparkhound, and, of course, Citrix.

Average Salary of Associated Jobs

Professionals with the CCP-V credential make a median income of $83,166, and salaries for top positions can be higher than $115,000.

#9 Cisco Certified Networking Professional (CCNP) Routing & Switching

Cisco still dominates the realm of networking. The Cisco Certified Networking Professional- Routing & Switching (CCNP-R&S) credential is a solid professional choice, and has remained so for some time. This desirable credential requires an unusually extensive and costly testing process, which requires candidates to show mastery of Cisco switch and router planning, installation, configuration, and troubleshooting. The Cisco certification website states that the exam, “validates the ability to plan, implement, verify and troubleshoot local and wide-area enterprise networks and work collaboratively with specialists on advanced security, voice, wireless and video solutions.”

What the Exam Covers

Three exams are required for the CCNP- R&S: Routing, Switching and Troubleshooting. Each test is 2 hours long and covers a number of topics:

  • Routing: IP addressing and routing in implementing scalable and highly secure Cisco routers that are connected to LANs, WANs, and IPv6.
  • Switching: planning, configuring, and verifying the implementation of complex enterprise switching solutions that use the Cisco Enterprise Campus Architecture.
  • Troubleshooting:knowledge in planning and performing regular maintenance on complex enterprise routed and switched networks
    Using technology-based practices and a systematic ITIL-compliant approach to perform network troubleshooting.

Exam Cost

$200 for each of the three required tests ($600 total)

Prerequisites

Before being awarded the CNP- R&S, Cisco requires that candidates first earn the Cisco Certified Network Associate- Routing and Switching certification or any Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert certification.

Availability of Associated Jobs

There are 3,725 job openings for IT professionals with the CCNP in Routing and Switching credential, making this a popular job qualification. Employers for this credential include Spectrum and General Dynamics Information Technology.

Average Salary of Associated Jobs

Jobs associated with this certification make a median of $83,178.

#8 Project Management Professional (PMP¨)

From security to networks to program development, IT work consists of projects which require planning and oversight. While the PMP is not exclusively an IT certification, it’s in-demand in IT firms, and has been for many years. A Project Management Professional (PMP) certification on your resume shows that, as an IT professional, you have not only technical skill, but managerial expertise as well. The PMP is the most recognized of all project management credentials, and is administered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). According to the
PMI certification website,
the PMP demonstrates that those holding the credential “understand the global language of project management.” The exam curriculum is organized according to the linear phases any project must go through: initiation, planning, executing, controlling and closing.

What the Exam Covers

The exam is 4 hours long and consists of 200 multiple-choice questions, which cover the following topics:

  • Initiating projects
  • Planning projects
  • Executing projects
  • Monitoring and controlling projects
  • Closing projects

Exam Cost

$555 examination fee, or $405 with membership in the Project Management Institute (PMI)

Prerequisites

A bachelor’s degree, along with 4,500 hours leading and directing projects and 35 hours of project management education are required to take the PMP. Those without a bachelor’s will need 7,500 hours leading and directing projects and 35 hours of project management education.

Availability of Associated Jobs

There are some 12,414 positions open for Project Management Professionals, making this the most popular certification in our ranking. A few of the most these are Advantage Solutions, General Dynamics Information Technology, Grant Thornton, and Jackson Hewitt.

Average Salary of Associated Jobs

Professionals with the PMP certification make a median of $84,094, and a recent survey by PMI found that those with a PMP earn 20% more than those in a similar position without.

#7 Citrix Certified Associate Ð Networking (CCA-N)

Those with Desktop and App visualization experience looking for a high-paying IT certification should pursue the Citrix Network Certified Associate- Networking credential. Professionals with the CCA-N have the knowledge required to administer enterprise environments consisting of NetScaler Gateway to allow secure remote access to data, desktops and applications.
According to the Citrix certification website, the CCA-N, “validates the knowledge and skills needed to implement and manage Citrix NetScaler 10 for app and desktop virtualization solutions in an enterprise environment.” You’ll be able to select one of two exams to attempt in order to qualify for the CCA-N, specializing in either Unified Gateway or Traffic Management.

What the Exam Covers

In order to earn the CCA-N, candidates may take either of two exams: Citrix NetScaler Essentials and Unified Gateway or Citrix NetScaler Essentials and Traffic Management. Both are 2-hour tests and cover the following curriculum:

  • NetScaler Platforms
  • Load Balancing
  • SSL Offload
  • Securing the NetScaler
  • Troubleshooting
  • Unified Gateway
  • AppExpert Expressions and Policies
  • Authentication, Authorization and Policies
  • Managing Client Connections
  • Integration for XenDesktop and XenApp Solutions
  • Configuring Unified Gateway
  • Classic and Default Policies
  • Rewrite, Responder, and URL Transform
  • Content Switching
  • Optimization
  • Global Server Load Balancing

Exam Cost

$200 test fee

Prerequisites

There are no prerequisites, though Citrix recommends preparing with their training for the NetScaler 12 Essentials and Unified Gateway Exam or their training for the NetScaler 12 Essentials and Traffic Management exam.

Availability of Associated Jobs

There are 16 current openings for Certified AWS Solution Architects. Some of the companies which look for this certification are BAE Systems and Sparkhound.

Average Salary of Associated Jobs

Professionals with the CCA-N Certification make a median salary of $86,300.

#6 CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker)

With the high-profile data breaches at places like Equifax and Yahoo, organizations are looking to hire security experts of every stripe. If you’ve got the skills to probe and uncover security flaws, you can use your knowledge to strengthen, rather than exploit, the security of networks and systems, and earn a good salary doing so. The Certified Ethical Hacker credential is offered by the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants (EC Council), and according to the EC Council’s certification website, designates professionals who know how to “look for weaknesses and vulnerabilities in target systems and use the same knowledge and tools as a malicious hacker, but in a lawful and legitimate manner to assess the security posture of a target system(s).” The exam covers the many techniques hackers use to infiltrate and compromise security systems; you’ll need to show that you can “think like a hacker” in order to pass. While the exam is challenging, this high-paying credential is essential to success in this exciting and in-demand field.

What the Exam Covers

The examination is an 4-hour test, which consists of 125 multiple choice questions. The test covers the following subjects:

  • Footprinting and Reconnaissance
  • Scanning Networks
  • Enumeration
  • System Hacking
  • Malware Threats
  • Sniffing
  • Social Engineering
  • Denial-of-Service
  • Session Hijacking
  • Hacking Web Servers
  • Hacking Web Applications
  • SQL Injection
  • Hacking Wireless Networks
  • Hacking Mobile Platforms
  • Evading IDS, Firewalls, and Honeypots
  • Cloud Computing
  • Cryptography

Exam Cost

The cost is $500 to take the EH test, plus a $100 eligibility fee for those selecting self-study over a formal preparation course which includes the examination.

Prerequisites

Because of the sensitive nature of information relating to security and security flaws, the EC Council is stringent in its eligibility criteria. The EH examination is open to those who have completed the EC Council’s preparation course, or to those who self-study and can verify two years’ work in the security field.

Availability of Associated Jobs

There are 2,378 jobs posted for Certified Ethical Hackers. Common employers include IT and defense companies, such as Raytheon, General Dynamics Information Technology, Foreground Security, and Lockheed Martin.

Average Salary of Associated Jobs

IT workers with the CEH certification earn a median income of $87,315.

#5 Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

Like the CEH, the CISSP is a high-paying IT certification related to security. The CISSP is the go-to credential for IT experts who wish to specialize in designing and maintaining organization-wide security infrastructures. Offered by the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, or (ISC)2
The (ISC)2’s certification website states that the earning this credential requires “understanding of new threats, technologies, regulations, standards, and practices.” The exam covers eight knowledge domains, including Security and Risk Management, Identity and Access Management and Software Development Security, among others.

What the Exam Covers

The CISSP is a 3-hour test with, multiple-choice and “advanced innovative response” questions. The test covers following eight knowledge domains:

  • Security and Risk Management
  • Asset Security
  • Security Engineering
  • Communications and Network Security
  • Identity and Access Management
  • Security Assessment and Testing
  • Security Operations
  • Software Development Security

Exam Cost

The cost is $549 to take the test, and additional attempts cost $345

Prerequisites

In addition to the examination, you’ll need five years of cumulative, paid, full-time professional experience in any two of the above eight knowledge domains OR a bachelor’s degree in a related field OR one of a large number of (ISC)2-approved CISSP “prerequisite Pathway” credentials.

Availability of Associated Jobs

There are 10,689 job postings for Certified AWS Solution Architects, making this the second most-popular certification in our ranking. Security and communications companies are actively hiring, including Lockheed Martin, Leidos, AT&T, and Booz Allen Hamilton.

Average Salary of Associated Jobs

IT workers with a CISSP Certification draw an average income of $87,770.

#4 Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

Information systems audit control, assurance and security professionals are in demand, and the CISA is a longstanding, desirable and high-paying IT certification. The ISACA has been offering this certification for 30 years- a lifetime in the world of IT. The ISACA’s certification website calls this credential the “standard of achievement for those who audit, control, monitor and assess information technology and business systems.” The examining body has recently added more testing centers and dates, along with faster results processing, which makes the examination more convenient. The test covers five knowledge domains, such as Governance and Management of IT and Protection of Information Assets.

What the Exam Covers

The examination lasts 4 hours and consists of 150 multiple-choice questions, covering the following five knowledge domains:

  • The Process of Auditing Information Systems
  • Governance and Management of IT
  • Information Systems Acquisition, Development, & Implementation
  • Information Systems Operations, Maintenance, & Service Management
  • Protection of Information Assets

Exam Cost

It costs $595 to take the exam, with several discounts available. Membership in the ISACA discounts the cost to $465. Early registration is $415 for ISACA members and $545 for non-members.

Prerequisites

In addition to a passing exam grade, you’ll have to show a minimum of 5 years of professional information systems auditing, control or security experience to earn the CISA. Short on time in the field? ISACA allows various substitutions of education for up to three years’ experience.

Availability of Associated Jobs

This IT certification is very popular; there are 4,888 positions currently open for Certified Information Systems Auditors. Some of the companies hiring CISA certified workers are QuickChek, PwC and Wells Fargo.

Average Salary of Associated Jobs

While the exam is notoriously difficult, this is one of the most high-paying IT certifications. The average annual salary for professionals with the CISA Certification is $87,906.

#3 Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)

The ISACA’s certification website describes this credential as signifying “international security practices and recognize[ing] the individual who manages, designs, and oversees and assesses an enterpriseÕs information security.” As our number three in High Paying Certifications of 2018, the CISM comes with an impressive paycheck, and big responsibilities. While the CISA qualifies professionals as IT auditors, the CISM designates IT security managers and information risk managers, and requires a command of security policy and strategy. The test requires mastery of four domains:

What the Exam Covers

The exam is a 150-question, multiple-choice examination, which takes 4 hours to complete. Questions focus on the following five domains:

  • Information Security Governance
  • Information Risk Management
  • Information Security Program Development and Management
  • Information Security Incident Management

Exam Cost

As with the CISA, the CISM test costs $595 for ISACA non-members and $465 for members. Early registration costs $415 for members and $545 for non-members.

Prerequisites

A CISM candidate must show 5 years of full-time, paid, professional experience in thei field. In addition, 3 of those 5 must be directly related to information security management. Unlike the CISA, it is not possible to substitute education for filed experience.

Availability of Associated Jobs

There are 3,246 current openings for IT workers with this certification. Relatively few professionals possess the CISM, making this a desirable credential. Common employers include PwC, BNY Mellon and CTR Group.

Average Salary of Associated Jobs

This high-paying IT certification nets an average salary of $ 92,827.

#2 Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC)

The CRISC is the third credential offered by ISACA to make our list of Highest Paying IT Certifications of 2018. According to the ISACA’s certification website, the CRISC “recognize[s] a wide range of professionals for their knowledge of enterprise risk and their ability to design, implement, monitor, and maintain IS controls to mitigate such risk.” Simply put, the CRISC indicates an advanced understanding of enterprise risk assessment and control from a business perspective usinf Information Systems (IS) controls. Like data security, expertise in risk assessment has a certain level of built-in job security- companies will always want the greatest possible understanding of the risk entailed in their business ventures. As such, you’ll find that project managers and other business professionals pursue this lucrative and in-demand certification alongside IT pros.

What the Exam Covers

Like the CISA and CISM, the CRISC exam is 4 hours long and consists of 150 questions drawn from these four knowledge domains:

  • IT Risk Identification
  • IT Risk Assessment
  • Risk Response and Mitigation
  • Risk and Control Monitoring and Reporting

Exam Cost

Like other ISACA-administered examinations, the fee is $595 for ISACA non-members and $465 for members. Early registration for members is $415; non-members pay $545.

Prerequisites

To qualify, candidates need 3 years’ in managing IT risk by designing and implementing IS controls. Of these, two must be in the knowledge domains specified above, including at least one on the first two essential domains (Identification and Assessment). including experience across at least two (2) CRISC domains, of which one must be in Domain 1 or 2, is required for certification. Unlike the CISA and CISM, no substitutions for this experience can be made based on education.

Availability of Associated Jobs

Financial institutions, such as Citibank and Wells Fargo, frequently post jobs requiring a CRISC certification. There are currently 771 such positions open.

Average Salary of Associated Jobs

Professionals with this high-paying IT certification can expect to make about $99,400 per year. The highest-paying positions associated with this certification can reach salaries of $150,000.

1. AWS Certified Solutions Architect Ð Associate

The very highest-paying IT certification on our list of 2018’s best, is the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Ð Associate credential. AWS (Amazon Web Services) is the top public cloud platform, and demand for skilled AWS architects is hotter than hot. The exam is rigorous and demands a thorough understanding of designing and deploying scalable systems on AWS. The certification website states that “the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Ð Associate exam is intended for individuals with experience designing distributed applications and systems on the AWS platform.”

What the Exam Covers

The exam is an 80-minute, multiple-choice exam, which covers the following topics:

  • Designing and deploying scalable, highly available, and fault tolerant systems on AWS
  • Lift and shift of an existing on-premises application to AWS
  • Ingress and egress of data to and from AWS
  • Selecting the appropriate AWS service based on data, compute, database, or security requirements
  • Identifying appropriate use of AWS architectural best practices
  • Estimating AWS costs and identifying cost control mechanisms

Exam Cost

$150 examination fee, with a practice exam available for $20.

Prerequisites

None, but Amazon recommends the following coursework: Architecting on AWS and AWS Certification Exam Readiness Workshop: AWS Certified.

Availability of Associated Jobs

There are 165 current openings for Certified AWS Solution Architects. Common employers include Capgemini, Capital One, IBM, and, naturally, Amazon.

Average Salary of Associated Jobs

Professionals with the AWS Solutions Architect Certification make a median of $124,900. Even entry-level jobs associated with the AWS Solutions Architect certification make about $100,000, and top positions can pay as high as $200,000.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*