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Learning Center Experience
By Dominique Rodgers
With the explosive growth in the information technology sector recently, an IT job may be easier to find than others. What about a great IT job, though? How does a professional distinguish themselves to land the best job? One great way is through additional certifications.
Which certifications are most in demand? Which ones are the most lucrative? Here are some suggestions.
If you're looking to beef up your skills in IT, you can never go wrong by learning more about security. One certification that's almost required these days is the CISSP, or Certified Information Security Systems Professional, according to Bill Rosenthal. "What's particularly in demand now are people expert in mobile app development for security," the CEO of Logical Operations added. "Enterprises have learned how to make networks secure - but this isn't the case in the mobile apps sector. Organizations need to bring staff up to speed quickly in this area because of the risks involved. The risks are growing."
While certifications such as CISSP are necessary, what can help candidates really stand out and get to the next level is something a bit more specific. Ethical hacking is always a handy skill to use in identifying unethical hacking. The OSCP, Offensive Security Certified Professional, exam will prove that. Scott Laliberte, managing director of Protiviti, says he is always looking for penetration testers to identify security issues at their earliest possible stage.
Another great skill in any field, but especially IT, is project management. A Project Management Professional certification will prove you have the skills and experience behind this resume-builder. "The PMP, mandatory for a lot of government contracts, is held in high esteem by companies because it shows the skills to make IT professionals more effective, and comes with a high salary as well. The four-hour exam is one of the most challenging to pass, and requires documented experience to even sit for it," says Alice Peek, director of education for Academy of Computer Education.
While some vendor-specific training can be so niche or sales-oriented as to be unhelpful, and some can even be scams, these two are universally known and desired. Glenn Mores, president and CEO of MicroData, requires the MCTS, Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist, for all of his employees, even those at the help desk. Mores says this certification "proves a minimum skill level that's required to effectively help users." For more senior engineers, he says he requires an MCSA, MCSE or MCSM, all additional exams in infrastructure and server technologies - and all very difficult. "You're definitely not going to 'cram' on a weekend and walk in to an examination center and pass" the exams for Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate, Expert and Master.
Stephen Sims says the Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert exam, CCIE, "is a grueling, but rewarding experience where you are expected to configure some very complex networks with very limited time. Those who pass have truly demonstrated their expertise in the field."
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