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IT Certifications: The Fastest Way to IT Career Success

John Reiling, PMP, PE, MBA is an experienced Project Manager and IT professional. John's web site, Tech Training Online (http://www.techtrainingonline.com) provides online IT certification training for beginning and experienced IT professionals.



Let's face it.  IT Certifications are a key component of breaking into and maintaining an accelerating and successful career in the information technology field.  Earning an IT certification can enable a professional to gain the critical skills needed to become a valued IT professional and advance in the field. Over time, the ideal combination of IT certifications and experience can be a strong differentiator in the workplace and job market.   IT certifications can be the “accelerator” that helps get your foot in the door to get the best experience!

Experienced professionals also can advance their computer careers by earning IT certifications. For example, current network analysts, systems analysts, systems engineers, technical consultants, or technical support engineers with at least a year of experience can advance their careers by earning one or more certifications. IT certification is a short-term process that reaps long-term career results, including increased competency and productivity.  In the long run, it the the combination of skills and experience across a variety of situations that provides the greatest value and produces the most experience.

So which certifications provide a good entre for a young professional, or for an experienced professional that wants to break into a new area?  Here are some possibilities to think about. 

1. CompTIA A+
A+ is one of the most widely chosen IT certifications for launching an IT career. It tests such basis skills as installation, configuration, diagnosing, preventive maintenance, and basic networking. Some CompTIA A+ topic areas include security, safety, environmental issues, communication, and professionalism. Earning CompTIA A+ IT certification involves initially passing the A+ Essentials exam, then passing one choice of three additional exams: IT technician, remote support technician, or depot technician.

2. CompTIA Security+
Security+ is popular and is a good complement to the A+, or another infrastructure-oriented IT certification, and is ideally earned after at least two years of on-the-job networking experience, with an emphasis on security.  Security+ certification requires completion of the 90-minute Security+ exam which tests knowledge of communication security, infrastructure security, cryptography, operational security, and general security concepts. Certification candidates are encouraged to have  Cost: $244

3. Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)
The CCNA certification is focused on networking at the foundation and apprentice level, including installation, configuration, and operation of LAN, WAN, and dial access services for small networks.  Expertise in protocols is required, including IP, IGRP, Serial, Frame Relay, IP RIP, VLANs, RIP, Ethernet, Access Lists. CCNA certification is valid for three years.

4. Sun Certified Programmer for the Java 2 Platform (SCJP)
This foundation certification is for IT professionals interested in application development and programming.  Specifically, it is focused on the fundamentals of the Java programming language, one of the most popular programming languages for web-based applications. Passing the exam involves understanding the basic syntax and structure of the Java programming language, and the ability to create Java applications that run on both server and desktop systems.

So many professionals are struggling with what to do for their next career move.  Often they stay stuck, and simply lose time that they could otherwise use to advance their careers.

Does that sound like you? 

If you are interested in entering a new career field, or simply trying to expand your current skill set, earning an IT certification a great strategy.  Earning an industry or vendor IT certification proves to current and potential employers - and peers - that you have the requisite knowledge to perform as a professional, and that your expertise is confirmed by a recognized industry organization. Becoming certified can increase your salary, enhance your skills and make your job more satisfying.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


John Reiling, PMP, PE, MBA is an experienced Project Manager and IT professional. John's web site, Tech Training Online (http://www.techtrainingonline.com) provides online IT certification training for beginning and experienced IT professionals.




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