If you want to begin or advance your IT career, certifications can give you an additional career advantage in 2012. Certifications are in demand not only for showing an employee/candidate’s proficiency in a particular area, but also because earning a certification reflects a higher standard of competency and quality in prospective and current employees. Certifications combined with experience can be a winning combination in today’s IT market, where there are a lot more job openings for credentialed candidates. If you are looking for ways to stand out from the crowd, try getting certified!

Here’s our list of top 15 IT certification picks for 2012:

1. CompTIA Cloud Essentials: Companies will continue to shift towards cloud environments in 2012 – this can be either public cloud environments or privately managed and secured cloud environments. Whether you are new to IT or an established IT professional, knowing the fundamentals of Cloud Computing is essential. CompTIA’s Cloud Essentials certification is an excellent way to get started for your cloud computing services.

2. Healthcare IT Technician: Electronic Health Records (EHR) are buzzing these days, with recent focus on Health Care Information Technology. With HIPAA regulations already in effect, and more on the way, the world is moving towards a digital age in health care. IT professionals looking to work in the healthcare industry need to understand how these rules and regulations impact the way these professionals do their jobs. CompTIA’s Healthcare IT Technician certification offers an excellent introduction to these topics.

3.  CASP: With increasing awareness of threats to an organization’s data security from various quarters, including browser-based threats, malware, phishing, data theft, email-based threats, and many more. Understanding how to design and build security solutions is essential for corporations and governmental agencies. CompTIA’s Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP) certification is an advanced enterprise level certification for those with 10+ years experience in IT administration and at least five years of hands-on security experience. The CASP certification is being added as part of the DOD Directive 8570 at the Technical Level III and IA Management Level II. The CASP certification exam has performance-based questions, and concentrates on new technologies such as IPv6, VoIP, and SaaS.

4- MCITP: Windows 2008 R2 Server Enterprise Administrator: Windows Administrators continue to be in high demand in 2012 also. The Windows Server 2008 certification exam has now been updated to reflect the latest technology, including R2. The MCITP Enterprise Administrator certification is proof that an administrator is capable of managing an organization’s large or small farm of Windows servers. The recent upgrade to Windows 2008 R2 includes virtualization topics and helping administrators get a good understanding of private cloud computing. Click here to know more.

5. PMI PMP: By earning the Project Management Professional certification, IT professionals prove that they have the knowledge and skills necessary to lead large scale projects to a successful conclusion by completing the project on-time, on-budget, and by using the allocated resources. It is notable that project management has emerged as an important job today, for instance, when companies initiate projects which they held back during the downturn, but now want those projects to be completed as cost-efficiently and quickly as possible. The PMP certification validates your skills for the hundreds of project management jobs where a PMP certification is a prerequisite or at least a preferred skill.

6. MCITP: Windows 7 Enterprise Desktop Support Administrator: This certification provides the knowledge to install, maintain, and manage the Windows 7 Enterprise Desktop operating system. During the last few years, Windows 7 has gained a lot of popularity in recent times and its implementation in the corporate world has increased by leaps and bounds over XP and Vista operating systems. Global Knowledge estimates that MCITP Enterprise Administrator-certified professionals earn $79,824 on average. Click here to learn more about this certification.

7. CompTIA A+ : While not a hot certification per se, CompTIA A+ certification continues to be popular for those just entering the field of IT. The A+ certification demonstrates a candidate’s competency as a computer technician who is knowledgeable not only in IT hardware maintenance, troubleshooting and installation, but also in the areas of networking and security. This vendor neutral certification covers several technologies and operating systems from such vendors as Microsoft, Apple Inc., Novell, and some of the Linux variations.
Many companies such as HP, Dell, and Intel have made A+ certification a requirement for IT employees, but so does the United States Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security.

8. CompTIA Network+ : Network+ is a certification that is used to measure skills of a network technician: understanding of network hardware, installation, and troubleshooting. Companies such as Dell, HP, Ricoh, Sharp, and Xerox recommend or require CompTIA Network+ for their networking technicians. It is a technical prerequisite option for IT technicians seeking to join the Apple Consultants Network, and is recognized by the U.S. Department of Defense. The latest version (released in 2012) of N+ is N10-005 exam.

9. CompTIA Security+ : The Security+ certification opens doors to advanced training and careers in the growing field of information systems security and it qualifies practitioners for the more advanced CASP (CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner) certification. This certification deals with computer security topics such as cryptography and access control, as well as business-related topics such as disaster recovery and risk management.
Organizations that employ CompTIA Security+ certified staff include Hitachi Information Systems (Japan), Trendmicro (Philippines), Lockheed Martin, the U.S. State Department, Prestariang Systems Sdn. Bhd. (Malaysia) and U.S. government contractors such as EDS, General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman. CompTIA Security+ is one of the options for certifications required by the U.S. Department of Defense, for military personnel or military contractors engaged in information assurance activities. The Security+ credential may also qualify as an elective for Microsoft’s MCSA: Security and MCSE: Security certifications. Click  SY0-301 for more information on this certification.

10. MCITP: SharePoint 2010 Administrator : After the MCITP: SharePoint 2010 Administrator certification, the candidate will be able to deploy and design the infrastructure for Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Server.  According to Microsoft, candidates will be Senior Administrators with a minimum of two years of experience administering, deploying, managing, monitoring, upgrading, migrating, and designing SharePoint servers.  Click here to learn more about this certification.

11. MCPD: SharePoint 2010 Developer: Sharepoint is currently being used in the IT industry around the globe, and the need for SharePoint Developers is extremely high. You will need to work on designing custom code for solutions deployed to SharePoint servers. These days when business volatility is on the rise and time-to-market is the key, SharePoint 2010 enables the developers to customize SharePoint 2010 and deploy solutions that address specific business needs quickly and effectively. There are many job opportunities and advancements available for SharePoint knowledgeable and certified individuals. To know more about this certification, please click here.

12. CISSP: With information security being a priority for most companies, the CISSP certification is one of the hottest of all Security Certifications. This certification is approved by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) in both their Information Assurance Technical (IAT) and Managerial (IAM) categories for their DoDD 8570 certification requirement. The CISSP has been adopted as a baseline for the U.S. National Security Agency’s ISSEP program. This is one of the toughest and most respected certifications one can obtain in the security field. [Learn more..here]

13. Computer Hacking Forensics Investigator: The CHFI certification is focused on helping security professionals detect hacking attacks and other forms of computer sabotage and misuse. CHFI certifies the proficiency of a candidate on their ability to investigate the causes of an attack or other willful damage in area of cyber-security. According to the EC-Council, the CHFI program is not only aimed at IT security professionals, but is equally targeted towards meeting the needs of police and law enforcement officers in the defense, military and legal professionals. Several companies recruit Computer Hacking Forensic Investigators to protect their digital infrastructure and to proactively take appropriate steps against security breaches and other computer-related crimes within an organization. Learn more about this certification….[here]

14. MCPD .NET Developer: The MCPD .Net Developer certification validates that a candidate has a comprehensive set of skills that are necessary to design, build, and deploy applications successfully by using the Microsoft .NET Framework. This certification is a follow-up of the MCTS Developer certification and confirms that the candidate has succeeded in efforts to keep in touch with the latest in .Net technologies. Candidates for the MCPD typically have two to three years of relevant experience in developing and working with .Net technologies. Click here to learn more about this certification.

15. CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker): The Certified Ethical Hacker is a professional certification provided by the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants (EC-Council). This certification will provide the ability to secure and maintain a network as a penetration tester by learning to look for the infirmity and vulnerability in a network and the corresponding action to take to properly secure it. Ethical hackers, who are occasionally called “penetration testers,” identify flaws in the system that an unethical hacker would exploit. By having a formalized certification that is offered to companies, the CEH certification gives a positive, ethical perspective to hacking. To learn more about this certification, please click here.

3 thoughts on “Top 15 IT certifications for 2012

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