Types of Certifications

There are literally hundreds of certifications related to computer careers. Some are easy to get, and some take more time and effort. Some are inexpensive, and some can cost up to $1,000. Obviously, you cannot hope to obtain them all. You should investigate which certifications relate most closely to your chosen discipline and which can offer the best return on investment.

Technical Certifications: Most certifications are technical in nature. For example, you can be certified in a particular software application, such as Microsoft Excel. Other certifications relate to hardware, such as those offered by Dell. Or, a technical certification can be independent of any vendor, such as a Server+ certification. Here is a sampling of the technical certifications available:

  • Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) certifications. These are “vendor-neutral” certifications. The A+ certification is intended for computer technicians and covers tasks such as installation, configuration, problem diagnosis, preventive maintenance, and basic networking. CompTIA also offers other certifications, such as Security+, Network+, and Server+.
  • Cisco certifications. These are offered by Cisco, a vendor of networking hardware. For example, you can be certified as a Cisco Certified Network Associate ( CCNA certification), focusing on routing and switching. There are at least 13 separate Cisco certifications.
  • Microsoft certifications, including Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE)
  • Apple certifications, such as Mac OS X training
  • Dell certifications, such as Dell Certified Systems Expert (DCSE)
  • Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW) certifications
  • Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) certifications
  • Certified Wireless Network Professional (CWNP) certifications
  • Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC)
  • Security Certified Program (SCP), which focuses on information security
  • International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC)2

Other certifications are available for Novell, Oracle, HP, Linux, UNIX, Red Hat, Java, Citrix, and many more.

Soft Skills Certifications: While technical skills are important, employers also value soft skills, such as good communication, teamwork, and, especially, project management. Several certification companies and organizations now offer soft skills certifications, such as the Project+ certification from CompTIA.

Last Updated: 04/27/2014

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