A propos of my recent blog “How do certification plans figure in an uncertain economy?,” and all the surrounding conversation — which features the common thread that high-demand technical specialities in IT, especially more senior credentials in such area, remain active and vigorous certification goals for many — CertMag just published a new story last Monday (July 26) entitled “Today’s Most In-Demand Certifications.” This turns out to be an interesting list, for lots of reasons, so I’ll present it here just as it appears in the story, and accompany it with some comments and observations of my own:
- CISSP (ISC-squared’s Certified Information Systems Security Professional) is a vendor neutral information security cert (about which I contributed to the Sybex CISSP Study Guide, now in it’s fourth edition) that’s been a top ten item since the late 1990s. Recently, the Feds recognized it as among a handful of credentials that would-be infosec workers who actually work for the government, or for a government contractor, must obtain. This has made an already-hot credential hotter still.
- MCSE (Microsoft Certified System Engineer) is getting a bit long in the tooth (it covers only up through Windows Server 2003, and has nothing to do with or say about Windows Server 2008). I’m amazed it’s still at the top of the Microsoft class (though Certmag does say that “…although the MCSE designation is in particularly high demand, job candidates who have earned any Microsoft certification have an edge in the job market” (emphasis mine). To me this speaks of slow uptake of Microsoft’s MCTS, MCITP, and MCM (Microsoft Certified Master) credentials in the market, perhaps along with slower-than-expected uptake of Windows Server 2008 itself.
- PMP (The Project Management Insitute’s, or PMI’s, Project Management Professional) This is a major “soft skills” certification and undoubtedly a very important one. It’s not only a great addition to anyone’s IT resume, it’s also a potential ticket into management. While it’s not completely equal to an MBA, it’s not at all bad, either, and in fact, teaches its holders a great deal of useful information, tools, and techniques designed to boost one’s productivity and job performance. It’s my personal favorite in this batch, in fact.
- CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) The CCNA is the gateway to all of Cisco’s Professional level certifications, and is a pre-requisite for many of its specialist credentials as well. Although I’m surprised to see it here because it’s simply a first step to more advanced learning and credentialing, it certainly is a common stop on the Cisco certification road for most, if not all, of its huge certified population, which probably numbers in the millions by now.
I’m surprised not to see more highly-specialized and hot credentials on this list — such as those from SAP, Brocade, EMC, the Cisco CCIE family, ITIL stuff, and more — amidst these results. For a more catholic view of the certification space, you might want to leaven the previously cited CertMag story with Laura Schneider’s About.com story “Top 15 Highest Paying Certifications in the Technology Industry” as well.