Last year I released an article on the hottest certs for 2009. The amount of readers is indicative that we are still faced with confusion. I am adamant in telling the student/ IT professional to look at relevance. One should ask:
1. Is it relevant to my present job?
2. Which company is offering the certification? Of course one can never go wrong with Microsoft, Cisco, HP, Planet 3.
3. What is the demand now and in the future?
The Gartner Group recently released their top ten technologies for 2010. At the helm is Cloud Computing followed by Advanced Analytics. Also included in the top ten are Client Computing, IT for Green, Social Computing, Flash Memory, Security and Virtualization. I tend to agree with the number one selection keeping in mind that Clouding is tied to virtual technology. My number one recommendation for hottest certification would therefore be VCP offered by VMWare. Though costly, it is going to be the most sought after qualification in 2010. VMWare will also be offering an advanced certification, the VMWare Certified Design Expert HPE0-S52.
Green IT is a dark horse in this IT race. Again this cert is tied to virtualization. Companies are paying attention to sustainability and cost savings. Symantec’s vice president of global solutions recently stated, “perhaps in the past Green IT was a wish list item, it’s now essential for almost all companies we surveyed”. One major driving factor for the interest in Green is electricity conservation. Some companies are paying as much as $21 to $27 million per year for electricity use. There are certifications being offered by organizations like Green Building Certification Institute (LEED); Cisco; IBM. Unfamiliar terminology like Green Datacenters is now being tossed around. My second choice for hot certs would therefore be GREEN.
Social Computing, and the booming of Web 2.0 has propelled network security even further. Facebook, Digg, MySpace, wikis, blogs, all need to addressed in today’s work environment. Certifications that will continue to be in demand are Security +( a brilliant start for a security career), CISSP, MCSE Security, CheckPoint’s CCSE, Cisco’s CCSP and CWSP offered by Planet 3. My recommendation to potential students is to package an IT security cert with your qualifications.
Though we are witnessing a change in requests for certified professionals one should not forget the oldies. Microsoft has made a major play with the release of their 64bit Windows 2008 server. This certification will not go away. The Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician is great for the beginner and may be packaged with CompTIA’s Network +. MCSE Messaging is also in great demand. A quick browse through dice.com or itjobs.com will reinforce the sentiment that Red Hat Linux is a moneymaker (RHCE 302). Software-as a-Service (SaaS) is another innovative technology that is sweeping through the IT world. I hope that one have identified the effect of virtualization. I read an article recently where the authored stated “want to travel the word? Get a virtualization cert! I concur!
Career changers, not to be left out, should focus on developing a strong understanding of networking technology. I recommend a class that teaches the theory of data communications. The CompTIA Network + is a great class HP Product Certified. Cisco’s CCNA is a highly marketable cert for the beginner and will place the serious learner in some great environments.
Specializations is another way in. Mobility is the rage, so Blackberry and any Messaging Certification is well worth the time. A strong understanding of Active Directory, Exchange, Group Policy can be rewarding. Today’s Health Industry is fully computerized. Security and Compliance certs are also in demand. All in all, I can go on and on with certs and their value. Basically it comes down to relevance and to a great extent, what you enjoy. There is a certification that is suited to every professional. With some ground work, you’ll find it. Press on!
Project Management is woefully in need. Two certs come to mind, PMI’s Project Management Professional and the CAPM. This exam requires an extensive amount of skill and experience, but the financial reward, $101,000, as per ZDNet is enticing. I have identified a great demand for Microsoft Dynamics. Though I am not informed about this qualification, there is demand for CRM professionals. At this point I will mention one technology that I believe will definitely catch on with time, and that is WiMAX. Verizon and AT&T are both working on this technology and I believe we will soon see certs being offered.