Information Technology (IT) graduates often wonder what kinds of IT certifications they’ll need to maintain after graduating with an IT degree. The simplest answer is that they’ll need the certifications that relate the most to their fields of study and their career goals. With the increased use of cloud computing, big data storage and information, IT professionals will need to be current on certifications relating to their areas of expertise. Here are several certifications an IT graduate may consider obtaining and maintaining.
I.T. Certifications for New Graduates
Individuals starting their careers in the IT industry should consider maintaining the following certifications.
Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) – This certification demonstrates that the IT graduate is qualified to install, configure and operates enterprise-level switches and routers. They can identify and fix common network problems. When obtaining this certification, the individual has the option of specializing in security, voice or wireless networking. It requires passing one exam.
CompTIA A+ – This certification is generally obtained at the beginning of an IT career. It demonstrates that the technician can maintain computers, laptops, operating systems, printers and mobile devices. It requires passing two exams.
Network + – This globally-recognized certification demonstrates the technician’s ability to design, maintain and troubleshoot both wireless and wired network. It involves passing one exam.
Cisco Certified Entry Network Technician (CCENT) – This certification demonstrates the ability to install, run and troubleshoot a small enterprise branch network and also handle basic network security.
Cisco offers a wide variety of IT certifications suitable for the IT graduate at almost stage in his or her career. Each of the certifications is usually valid for a certain period. Before the expiration date, the candidate will need to take a recertification exam or show proof of continuing education (CE) credits.
Advanced Level Certifications
Here are some certifications the IT graduate may wish to obtain at any point in their career.
Microsoft Certification – This area is broad because there are so many Microsoft certifications available depending on the IT professional’s career aspirations and areas of interest. Applicants can choose from business applications; Cloud platform and infrastructure; data management and analytics; mobility, and productivity.
CCNP Security – This certification, aimed at the Network Security Engineer, demonstrates the IT professional’s skill in providing security for routers, switches, appliances and Network devices along with the ability to run and troubleshoot firewalls, VPNs and IPS solutions in the networking environment.
The IT graduate who plans on working as an IT professional should consider earning and maintaining the following certifications. To earn many of the advanced certifications, the IT professional must have obtained certain other certifications as prerequisites.
Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) Collaboration – This certification demonstrates advanced collaboration skills working with Cisco Collaboration and Unified Communications as well as devices and networks. To pass the exam, the candidate must show competence in designing, running, configuring and troubleshooting various network types.
Project Management Professional (PMP) – Offered through the Project Management Institute, this certification is a difficult certification and one that has strict requirements. It demonstrates the individual’s abilities as a project manager. Applicants must have training and leadership experience as well as experience as a project manager.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that computer and information technology jobs will see an employment growth of 13 percent between 2016 and 2026, resulting in about 557,100 new jobs. This number will make these jobs more competitive, which makes it important for IT degree graduates to maintain IT certifications.