So you’ve become your own system administrator: you’ve built your own server, you know how to get cloud hosting with a super-cheap godaddy renewal coupon code. But how does one turn that into a paid salary?
In the world of Information Technology, experience rules above all- but what do you do to get your foot in the door, without verifiable experience or a college degree? The answer is certifications. Certifications are ways to prove yourself to potential employers and verify that you have the skills and abilities to properly complete the jobs they need done. Here are the top 5 certifications for getting started in IT.
1) CompTIA A+. This certification is considered the baseline for all IT careers. Depending on your location, this certification and a desire to excel could be all you require to get your first help desk position! This certification covers a variety of subjects, from your basic hardware and software to intensive troubleshooting labs, where your overall goal is to uncover and repair the hidden virtual problem. The exam vouchers are comparatively inexpensive, starting just shy of $200 for the two exams required. It is also entirely possible to find deals and discounts online, which can significantly drop the cost of your exam!
2) CompTIA Network+. If you’ve completed your A+ and you’re prepared for a bigger challenge, you’ve definitely found it! The Network+ is an in-depth look at exactly how and why networks function, from the varieties of cables that modern networks utilize, to network topologies and protocols. This exam is a single test compared to the two tests required for the A+ certification, but it certainly is no slouch. Passage of this exam gets you the next step forward into a career as an IT tech, and is accepted as required reading for anyone who wants to continue climbing the IT ladder.
3) CompTIA Security+. This exam is to security what the CompTIA Network+ is to networks! This is an in-depth look into encryption methods, steganography, and the popular methods to attack a computer network. Have you ever wondered exactly how a computer hacker can take over your computer, or steal your identity? Studying for this exam will reveal a world of methods and traps which you may have never considered! This certification is commonly required to enter into an IT position working for the U.S. Government, and it has the robustness and difficulty to ensure that you truly understand the material.
4) CCENT (Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician). Cisco offers a pair of examinations, known as the “Inter Connecting Network Devices” examinations (commonly referred to as the ICND exams), to show mastery of Cisco devices. As Cisco is the largest producer of enterprise-level networking equipment worldwide, it is incredibly helpful to learn and master the use of Cisco equipment. Completing the ICND1 exam earns you the CCENT certification, and it’s a great way to continue to build an IT resume. Completing the ICND1 allows you the chance to complete the ICND2, and earn the CCNA certification!
5) CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate). This certification is earned with a passing grade on the ICND2 examination. Building on the foundational knowledge of the ICND1 examination, the successful completion of the ICND2 can open career doorways that have previously remained firmly closed. With the world relying heavily on Cisco hardware and software, this certification gives you the opportunity to work virtually anywhere on the planet that houses an enterprise-sized Cisco network. Looking to do important and interesting work in a new location? The CCNA certification gives you the opportunity!
The completion of these certifications may be all that it takes to change out of a career that you hate into one that you enjoy. Not only that, but with CCNA salaries for U.S.-based positions starting in the $50,000 territory and eventually reaching over $100,000 a year for experienced technicians, it’s easy to completely revamp your life in exchange for a few months of study! If you are at all interested in Information Technology, you owe it to yourself to consider the amazing opportunities that these certifications provide.