As an IT instructor, I have been asked on more than one occasion my opinion towards the certification field and what is and not hot to get. Well, that all depends on what you need, what you want, and what you like. Most people will simply decide based on which certification will guarantee the best outcome as a money maker, a job getter or a career advancement option without really being aware of what companies really need, or more importantly what you really like.
IT skills required to success
According to The internet and countless news reads, although IT is still the fastest and best growing industry in Europe, at least 85% of difficult to fill positions are finding it hard to recruit specialists, because there is a lack of them, a lack of technically skilled people, indicating that employers looking for employees with top skills are hard to find.
And in Spain where the terrain is slightly more rough the need for more diverse skills is ever more in demand and more demanding than ever before. Spain still has one of the highest unemployment rates in Europe in general. And according to the web Statista.com, Greece is at 20 percent and Spain nearly 17 percent.
Most demanded sectors
But in what sectors? Well, the IT sector boasts in Spain of only a 4 percent unemployment rate, in Madrid and Barcelona that being as low as 1 percent in the IT sector alone. So as a career move it is looking quite good with higher prospects for the very near future in the IT sector. But what IT is the winner here? Ironically it is not university status that really wins, it is market need that creates this necessity. The technicians are more in demand before the engineers, and if you are an engineer you may well still have to get some sort of IT certification to consolidate your IT status. We will always need the engineers, but the technicians are winning on the IT highway for diversity and for specifics in a field that encompasses a very wide ever changing and expanding field. Latest statistics in various European countries indicate that on average the technicians out wage the engineers, with technical knowledge backed by the latest and in some cases the greatest certifications all help to sustain a bright future for anyone on that IT journey.
So what are the best techs, the most sought after certs backed by the latest in demand knowledge? Let´s go through them one by one.
The need for diversity in technology and vendors and for knowledge is still in demand. There are some strange movements in the cert industry that can help an individual and a prospecting company comply with market needs and trends. Take cisco for example. There once was a time where the famous CCIE was one of the certs on most top listings anywhere, it is still there in terms of wages where it offers one of the highest paid positions in the industry, but it is not the only one today. There are many more, some have just shot up from nowhere and others a variation on the same theme. And if we analyze all this, Companies need people with these skills where in terms of certifications just four types would fit all the bills nicely.
- Virtualization and Software. Companies like VMWare, CITRIX, Microsoft, are in demand.
- Security is big. Comptia A+. CISSP, CEH and various other security cert are in hot demand.
- Project management and IT management. ITIL, PMP, is still a big winner too.
- Cloud Services and Technologies. Here we have AWS, AZURE, Cisco Cloud, Google App Services and Docker.
But how do we apply all this to ourselves?
First know what you like, know what companies need, put these two together and match them all up, and put it into a want. Easier said than done. But If you are a networker it is very likely you are taking the steps towards virtualized networks, where AWS and Cisco DataCenter and Cloud services have their part. If you are in Systems and Software, then you are likely to be geared towards virtualization of servers and services, the likes of VMWare, Citrix and Microsoft Hyper-V are the most obvious. If you are part of the IT Services sector, the Cloud services area is where you will most likely be, with the likes of Microsoft Azure, Cisco Cloud (Prime Services catalog), AWS and Google Apps Services, and Docker. Security is not only needed but very necessary for companies to avoid drastic problems along the way to fulfilment and a paranoid free life. Security certs are in demand, backed by knowledge and experience slowly but surely are growing and becoming all the more resilient and in demand. Most any certification related to security and your knowledge of such is worthy of perusing and obtaining. Such as the coveted CCIE-Security, Certified Ethical Hacking, Comptia, CISSP, CEH all are very much in demand and growing stronger by the year.
You can never replace pure experience, or knowing, or being able to do, with a simple cert, but a cert backed by experience and knowledge will provide a great combination. It is true that owning a cert does not always guarantee that you have the skills required, especially in the “cheat-sheet” market where certs are sometimes very easily obtained and the person holding the cert may well be completely oblivious to its contents either by not really knowing, not understanding or not being able to do what the cert pertains to show, that you are knowledgeable about the topic. And if you do have the experience then it would be easier to get the certification in less time than it would take if you only had the certification and want to get the experience. Always back up your certs with the experience, the practice and the knowledge. If you have a CCNA, then be sure that you know and can configure the Cisco Routers and Switches well according to the level of the cert that you hold, if not then that is precisely what you need to practice and obtain. And the same goes for CCNP level and CCIE level too.
So, I would recommend, diversity – meaning in some cases it is much more beneficial having four CCNAs for example with cisco than with one CCNP. It still results in the same amount of exams, but the diversity would be better consider than a higher level in one technological area. There are exceptions of course, one being the CCIE, always respected, always guaranteed, being an expert in your tech field, but remember it is only one tech field, there are at least seven different CCIEs certs that cover the various technological areas. Check www.globalknowledge.es for info.
Next, know what you like, and know what you do well. Then go for that. It is always beneficial to merge the two ideas, the first being what employers are looking for and the second being what you are good at and what you like. Try to mix them all together and you may come up some surprises. An example being, that you may not feel or even want to continue pursuing the coveted CCIE but want to be in the IT field, you may discover that you have a talent for organizing IT or Managing IT. So look past what you would normally look to and try to discover other areas where you may feel right at home, like ITIL or PMP which are always good and in demand.
So be open, be aware, and be sure to check out all these offerings and more on globalknowledge.es
The in demand certifications of 2018 in Europe:
- Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC)
- Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
- AWS Certified solutions Architect– Associate
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
- Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
- Project Management Professional (PMP)
- Citrix Certified Professional – Virtualization (CCP-V)
- Citrix Certified Associate – Networking (CCA-N)
- VMware Certified Professional 6 – Data Center Virtualization (VCP6-DCV)
- Citrix Certified Associate – Virtualization (CCA-V)
- ITIL v3 Foundation
- CompTIA Project +
- Cisco Certified Data Center and Cloud.