Highest Valued Certifications for IT Professionals in 2019

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This is shaping up to be the year where automation, analytics, clouds, and artificial intelligence skills dominate the job market. You see signs of these capabilities everywhere you look. From commerce websites (e.g., Amazon) to hospitals where robotics are helping doctors perform incredibly precise treatments.

Many companies are also applying these technical capabilities to offer personalized experiences based on AI or machine learning combined with deep analytics. They are learning from past experiences with you and others that may share your preferences.

But, do you ever think about the brains and technical specialists behind all of these revolutionary technologies? In most cases, it takes large teams of certified and skilled individuals to design, build, test, and manage these and thousands of other products being developed right now.

Why do companies need these skills?

Companies need trained Data Scientists to build analytical models and self-learning algorithms. Software Engineers to design and architect technical solutions, which are more often being deployed as cloud applications. Certified Cyber-security Professionals ensure the company’s, and most importantly, the customer’s information is secured by establishing systems and protocols to mitigate risk. Finally, they need team leaders or Product Managers to take an idea from inception to production by helping a diverse team strive for success everyday.

These are all clearly roles and skills that will thrive long past the next decade. It also illustrates that nearly any type of IT profession relies heavily on teamwork to deliver user-friendly, secure, and useful smart technical products.

Career Forecast Measures

When we started evaluating top professions to get an IT certification in 2019, we looked at two important measures. We use these measures to present a simplified view of the career outlook you can expect by pursuing one of our top recommended IT certifications in 2019.

Please note, these recommendations should be factored along with your career goals and current professional/personal situation. You should pursue what you think is best for you individually.

Long-Term Career Outlook: Indicates whether this certification and related job opportunities has staying power over the next 10+ years.

  • No Regret – Significant career benefits and extremely low risk of job market reduction
  • Positive  High career benefits and low risk of job market reduction 
  • Cautious – Good benefits and mild risk of job market reduction

Industry Trend: Indicates the stage of the technology lifecycle the technologies in the specialization are currently in.

  • Research & Exploration – Unproven technology with low adoption by employers
  • Early Adoption – Companies beginning to test the technology, but adoption and popularity are still lagging
  • Emerging – Large growth in popularity and adoption by companies across many industries
  • Steady State – Technology has broad implementation and long-term support across nearly all industries
  • Declining – Obsolete or declining technology supported by niche markets

Top Certifications for IT Professionals in 2019

1. AI & Machine Learning

2. Data Science & Analytics

  • Long-Term Career Outlook: No Regret
  • Industry Trend: Steady State
  • Average Salary for Data Scientists: $117K ($86K-157K based on Glassdoor research)
  • Career Benefits: While Data Scientists have been in practice for well over a decade, many companies still struggle with how to leverage their data. Especially for small to medium sized companies, strategic and operational decisions are still mostly based on limited or inaccurate data points. This has started to shift with many cloud-based products offering built-in analytical tools to manage business operations (e.g., Salesforce CRM, Oracle NetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics). However, there is still a long way to go for companies of any size to mature their analytical capabilities. The real value of a data analytics professional is pulling data together from many sources and interpreting it to identify actionable insights. Not to mention, humans generate over 2.5 Quintilian bytes of data every minute across the internet. Someone needs to analyze all of that data right?
  • Top IT Certification: Certified Analytics Professional (CAP)
  • How to Get Certified in 2019: Our recommended vendor neutral certification is the Certified Analytics Professional (CAP). They offer certifications for professionals of all experience levels.

3. Cyber / Information Security

  • Long-Term Career Outlook: No Regret
  • Industry Trend: Emerging
  • Average Salary for Cyber-security Professionals: $129K ($93K-155K based on Glassdoor research)
  • Career Benefits: Without a doubt, this is one profession that isn’t going anywhere. We expect this field will evolve over time as companies begin deploying more personalized and complex security measures. The fear and risk of data breaches has spurred a large increase in information security investments for all types of companies. This profession isn’t just about looking at failed login attempts, it’s about assessing a companies security risks (e.g., employees, external hackers, systems, network) and designing solutions to mitigate those risks. Having an information security certification is almost always a prerequisite now since it demonstrates your competence in this high risk and important profession.
  • Top IT Certification: Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
  • How to Get Certified in 2019: Read everything you need to know to become a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), or Certified in Risk and Information Systems Controls (CRISC)

4. Cloud Engineering

  • Long-Term Career Outlook: Positive
  • Industry Trend: Steady State
  • Average Salary for Cloud Engineers: $95K ($50K-120K based on Glassdoor research)
  • Career Benefits: If you are interested in a career in the cloud, we highly recommend reading our Ultimate Guide to Cloud Certification to get started. As companies adopt the trend of moving more of their business to the cloud, they will need engineers to build and support the technology. There are a wide range of cloud service providers, but Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the clear leader in hosted solutions as we covered in our guide. There are a large number of job postings out there for cloud engineers, but there are also a large number of qualified candidates. You will need to earn at least a foundational certification to open up more opportunities for yourself.
  • Top IT Certification: Amazon Web Service (AWS) Engineer Certification
  • How to Get Certified in 2019: We cover everything you need to know to become a certified cloud practitioner in our Ultimate Guide to Cloud Certification.

5. IT Product Management

  • Long-Term Career Outlook: Positive
  • Industry Trend: Steady State
  • Average Salary for IT Product Managers: $113K ($78K-154K based on Glassdoor research)
  • Career Benefits: The role of an IT Product Manager has broad application across many industries and IT specializations. The role builds leadership skills to effectively manage technology systems and the team of resources that support it. It demonstrates your ability to define the strategy and roadmaps to build product capabilities to support business and/or customer needs. These skills and responsibilities will expand over time to establish you as an IT leader capable of delivering a quality product.
  • Top IT Certification: AIPMM Certified Product Manager (CPM)
  • How to Get Certified in 2019: The AIPMM Certified Product Manager (CPM) is the leading credential for this profession. It is recognized by companies across the US and internationally.

We are confident that pursuing certification and experience in any one of the above IT professions will open the door to many future opportunities.

Your career is ready for a shift, are you going to take the first step towards certification in 2019? Please share your thoughts below on these or other IT certifications you may want to know more about.

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