10 IT certs paying the highest premiums today

Looking for the next hot IT certification to add to your resume? According to data from Foote Partners, these 10 IT certifications increased the most in value in the past year.

10 IT certifications paying the highest premiums today
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IT certifications can boost your career, but it’s not always easy to tell which certifications hold the most value for your resume. Moreover, the pay associated any given certification can fluctuate based on business interest in the credential and the supply of IT pros who hold it. To help gauge certification values, Foote Partners tracks premiums paid for popular IT certifications in its IT Skills and Certifications Pay Index report.

As opposed to non-certified IT skills, the cash value of IT certifications is less volatile, according to David Foote, co-founder, chief analyst and chief research officer at Foote Partners. But certifications do tend to spike in value after they’re launched and then level out as more people get certified.

Foote Partners has identified the following 10 certifications as increasing the most in value last year, based on compensation data provided by more than 3,300 private- and public-sector employers in the U.S. and Canada. Here, certification value is based off what percentage of base salary accounts for a single certification, on average. Whether you already have one of these certifications or you’re planning to earn one, there’s no better time to have one of these 10 IT certifications on your resume.

Oracle Certified Associate – DBA (OCA)

Companies are dealing with more data than ever and a major aspect of big data is database management. While cash pay for tech certs is at a four-year low, database certifications are one of the eight certification categories that have experienced an increase in value, according to Foote Partners.

The Oracle Certified Associate (OCA) Oracle Database Administrator certification is one such certification, growing 40 percent in market value over the past year. The OCA DBA validates your ability to install, troubleshoot and maintain Oracle database architecture, and is designed for database admins, software engineers, IT managers, software developers and anyone who works closely with Oracle’s database software.

The OCA DBA is offered in three tracks, including 11g, 12c and SQL. To earn the cert, you must first pass the Oracle Database SQL exam, which consists of 73 multiple choice questions in 100 minutes.

Exam fee: $245

Expiration: Does not expire

Oracle Certified Associate – WebLogic Server Administrator

The OCA WebLogic Server Administrator certification covers the basics of WebLogic Server, including terminology, administrative tools, file systems, configurations and more. The certification is geared toward software engineers, systems administrators, database administrators and systems engineers.  

You can opt to take the Oracle WebLogic Server 12c: Administration 1 course to prepare for the exam, but it’s not required. Hands-on experience and Oracle training through labs or field experience is also recommended before taking the exam, which covers using the admin console, monitoring a domain, deploying applications, creating and configuring clusters, troubleshooting and planning, and server security.

The OCA WebLogic Server Administrator certification grew 40 percent in value over the past year.

Exam fee: $245

Expiration: Does not expire

CompTIA Network (Network+)

Like database certs, networking credentials also gained value in 2018, as enterprise technology has grown in complexity and companies need to ensure networks are properly maintained and secured. The CompTIA Network+ certification is one such credential, covering all the basics of troubleshooting, configuring and managing enterprise networks. It grew 33 percent in value over the past year and is designed for junior network administrators, computer technicians, network field technicians, help desk technicians, junior system engineers, system engineers, IS consultants, network support specialists, network field engineers and network analysts. The CompTIA Network+ tests your ability to implement network security, fix network problems, use switches and routers to build strong networks, and identify strengths and weaknesses in current network configurations. The 90-minute exam consists of 90 questions.

Exam fee: $319

Expiration: 3 years

SAS Certified Big Data Professional Using SAS 9

The SAS Certified Big Data Professional certification also gained value, growing 29 percent in the past year, likely due to increasing demand for data professionals, according to Foote Partners. The path to certification includes nine courses and two exams and it’s designed for data analysts, data scientists, SAS programmers, big data professionals and anyone who works with enterprise data.

Courses cover SAS programming skills, accessing and manipulating data, data reporting and analytics, communication skills, statistics and analysis, Hadoop, Hive, Pig and SAS software. Online courses can be completed at your own pace within 12 months. If you purchase the e-learning package, you’ll also get access to SAS software for practice, an online community and real-world case studies that relate to what you’ll be learning. Candidates need at least six months’ experience of programming in SAS or another language or you can complete the SAS Programing for Data Science Fast Track to learn the basics.

Exam fee: $180 per exam

Expiration: SAS certifications do not expire

Certified Forensic Computer Examiner (CFCE)

As companies scramble to hire cybersecurity pros, certifications like the Certified Forensic Computer Examiner (CFCE) have seen increased demand, rising 25 percent in value over the past year. The certification, which is offered through the International Association of Computer Investigative Specialists (IACIS), covers the fundamentals of computer and digital forensics and is designed for current and former law enforcement professionals or government employees who work with digital forensics. It used to be exclusive to law enforcement or government employees but has been opened to contract and former employees of law enforcement agencies.

Unlike other certifications, the CFCE requires you to first complete a peer review phase where you will complete four scenario-based problems alongside a forensic professional. After you pass the practical exercise portion, you can move onto the certification phase, which includes an independent exercise and a written examination. You’ll need to maintain 40 continuing education credits every three years to keep your certification valid and pay a yearly fee of $75, which includes membership to IACIS. The credential also requires a background check.

Exam fee: Fees vary, but you will need a membership to the IACIS, which starts at $100 per year

Expiration: 3 years

Teradata 14 Certified Professional

The Teradata 14 Certified Professional is the first certification you can earn from Teradata’s Certified Professional Program, growing 25 percent in market value over the past year. It’s specifically targeted at those who work with Teradata and serves as a prerequisite for certification paths aimed at technical specialists, database administrators, solutions developers and enterprise architects. It covers the basic functionality of the Teradata database and it’s designed for everyone from beginners to experts.

Testing your ability to implement a Teradata database using a logical data model, the certification helps answer business’ growing need for data professionals who can design, develop and maintain database systems.

Exam fee: About $175 per exam, but cost varies by location

Expiration: 5 years

VMware Certified Advanced Professional — Cloud Management and Automation Design

Automation is a key strategic priority for digital transformations, helping companies manage complex systems and networks by automating repetitive tasks. The VMware Certified Advanced Professional certification for cloud management and automation design has ridden this wave, growing 25 percent in value in the past year. The certification validates your abilities to install, configure and administer a VMware vRealize environment, which is used to automate data center processes. It is designed for IT enterprise architects, solutions architects, system engineers, systems administrators and IT managers or directors.

Version 7 is the latest iteration of the certification, but VMware still honors version 6 certifications for those who have passed the exam or plan to soon. VMware recommends attending the training course VMware Cloud Automation: Design and Deploy [V7.1] before taking the exam. The five-day course can be attended in person, live online, at your own pace or onsite at your company. The four-hour exam consists of 23 questions.

Exam fee: $450 in the U.S., prices may vary based on location

Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT)

As more companies answer to privacy regulations such as GDPR, governance and compliance certifications will only increase in value. The Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT) certification from the ISACA, which is designed to validate skills and knowledge on IT governance, rose 25 percent in market value in the past year.

Designed for those involved in IT governance at large organizations, especially IT managers, the CGEIT shows employers that you’re ready to handle the complexities of ensuring effective implementation and use of technology, while managing risks and meeting compliance regulations.

The four-hour exam covers five domain areas of IT governance. To maintain your CGEIT, you’ll need to complete 120 continuing professional education hours in a three-year period.

Exam fee: $575 for members; $760 for non-members

Expiration: 3 years

Cloudera Certified Data Analyst

Data visualization is a hot skill in IT, since companies not only need to collect and store data, but they also need to make sense of it for executives and those outside of IT. The Cloudera Certified Data Analyst (CCA) certification fits into that niche, validating your abilities to work with large data sets, clean up data before it’s analyzed, import and export data to a MySQL database and prepare data for queries. CCA certifications rose 22 percent in the past year.

The exam is designed for SQL developers, data analysts, business intelligence specialists, developers, system architects and database administrators, and consists of eight to 12 performance-based tasks using the Cloudera Enterprise cluster. You’ll be given customer problems along with a large data set and a cluster — you’ll then need to implement technical solutions that meet the requirements for each situation. The exam lasts 120 minutes; there are no prerequisites.

Exam fee: $295

Expiration: 3 years

Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate

There’s an entire suite of Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) certifications that you can earn. The MSCA certifications gained 20 percent market value in the past year. They’re designed for anyone working in IT or with technology who wants to expand their skillsets. You’ll find courses for a broad set of IT skills, with options to get certified in everything from Office 365 to Microsoft Servers.

This includes certifications for BI reporting, machine learning, data engineering, Office 365, SWL database administration, web applications, SQL Server and Windows 10, among others. Each certification requires a different number of exams, so once you decide what credentials you want to earn, you can figure out what exams you need to pass.

Exam fee: $165 per exam

Expiration: Does not expire

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