There are benefits to obtaining IT certifications regardless of where you are in your career or how long you have been working in the field. Here is a list of the 10 most popular IT certifications for entry-level positions.
A certification in information technology (IT) is often a certificate that you earn to demonstrate your expertise in a particular area relating to information technology (IT). In most cases, you will need to demonstrate your competence in your chosen field by scoring well on a test designed specifically for that purpose.
There is a possibility that obtaining a certification will result in enhanced job performance as well as increased competitiveness in the labour market. If you have a certification in information technology that you can list on your CV, potential employers will have an easier time assessing your skills. In addition, certifications are associated with greater wages; information technology professionals who were promoted as a result of earning a new certification experienced a boost in their annual compensation of around $13,000 on average.
It is not necessary to have certifications in order to find work in the information technology field. However, there is evidence to suggest that obtaining the appropriate certification can result in a variety of employment benefits. A certification could be worth the expense if you are seeking for a method that is both structured and guarantees you will learn new abilities and receive a credential.
List of Top 10 Certifications for Beginners in IT Field
1. CompTIA A+
One of the most popular certifications for a thorough entry-level introduction to IT is CompTIA A+. Those who complete the certification examinations will be qualified to address fundamental problems with mobile devices, operating systems, networking, and security. For the CompTIA A+ certification, two examinations are necessary.
The CompTIA A+ offers an overview of the IT industry. Then, by acquiring experience or earning pertinent certifications, many IT workers can continue on to specialise in a particular area of IT, such as networks, security, or cloud computing.
- Cost: $232 per exam, $464 total
- Potential jobs: System support expert, desktop support administrator, associate network engineer, service desk analyst
- Requirements: There are two certification tests needed. The examinations don’t have any prerequisites, but CompTIA advises having nine to twelve months of practical experience.
- Certification path: Candidates can pursue other CompTIA certifications like Security+ or Network+ after earning the CompTIA A+, as well as certifications from other vendors like the CCNA.
2. Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)
The CCNA certification, which is at the associate level, addresses the basics of IT networking issues. This covers IP connectivity, IP services, and network access. Although it’s not a vendor-neutral certification—you’ll only be tested on Cisco tools and products—network professionals still favour it because of Cisco’s dominance in the networking industry. The CCNA certification only requires passing one exam.
- Cost: $300
- Potential jobs: System administrator, network engineer, network administrator, and specialist in networks
- Requirements: It takes one certification test. Although there are no prerequisites for the exam, Cisco advises having a year of training and networking experience.
- Certification path: Candidates can pursue more specialised network certifications following the CCNA, such as the Juniper Networks Certified Associate – Junos or the Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) (JNCIA-Junos).
3. CompTIA Security+
You can carry out fundamental security tasks thanks to the CompTIA Security+ certification. The certification will cover topics like wireless security, physical security, and encryption. One exam is necessary. You can pursue more advanced security certifications like the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) or the more specialised Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) if you’re interested in specialising in IT security (CISSP).
Security is a field that is expanding; according to ISC2, there will be 1.8 million cybersecurity jobs in the United States by 2022 . Check out other well-known cybersecurity certifications if you’re interested in the field.
- Cost: $370
- Potential jobs: Administrators of networks; security analysts; security consultants; security engineers; and security specialists
- Requirements: One certification exam is necessary. There are no requirements, but CompTIA advises having the Network+ certification and two years of IT management experience.
- Certification path: Candidates can pursue additional security credentials after earning the Security+, such as the ISACA Certified Information Systems Auditor or the ISC2 Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP) (CISA).
4. Microsoft Fundamentals
For those who will be working with Microsoft products, the Microsoft fundamentals certifications are a good entry-level qualification because they test core technological skills. Since more than half of surveyed IT decision-makers worldwide indicated that their companies would invest in Microsoft technology, understanding Microsoft products is likely to be a skill in demand. This is according to a report by Global Knowledge. The Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) certifications were replaced by the Fundamentals certifications on June 30, 2021.
A number of specialised areas under security, Azure (Microsoft’s cloud solution), AI, data, and software like Power Platform, Microsoft 365, and Dynamics are among the exams you can choose to take. The Microsoft Azure Fundamentals certification will give you the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of Microsoft cloud concepts if you’re looking for a certification in a field that’s in demand.
- Cost: $99 per exam
- Potential jobs: IT specialist, Microsoft server support technician, Microsoft systems administrator, Microsoft technician specialist
- Requirements: Each certification requires passing a single exam. There aren’t any requirements.
- Certification path: Following a Microsoft Fundamental certification, candidates may pursue additional certifications in a variety of specialisations, such as Microsoft Certified: Security Operations Analyst Associate or Azure Database Administrator Associate.
5. Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud Practitioner
One of the most sought-after areas of IT today is cloud computing, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) is currently the most popular cloud platform globally. Learning the AWS platform could therefore give you an advantage in this expanding sector. Of all the AWS certifications, the AWS Cloud Practitioner is the most basic.
For those just starting out in IT, the AWS Cloud Practitioner certification can be a great way to help you gain the fundamental knowledge of AWS. The associate-level AWS certification, which is a level above the practitioner certification, is required for many cloud-related jobs. The associate-level AWS Solutions Architect, SysOps Administrator, or Developer certifications may be a better fit for you if you already have a year of AWS experience. Other cloud certifications, such as the Google Associate Cloud Engineer or Microsoft Azure Fundamentals, are options as well.
- Cost: $100
- Potential jobs: Intern in cloud engineering, cloud architect, cloud engineer, and cloud developer
- Requirements: There are no prerequisites for the exam, but Amazon advises having at least a fundamental understanding of AWS services and uses, as well as having had exposure to AWS for about six months.
- Certification path: You can pursue a more specialised certification, such as the AWS Certified Developer or AWS Certified Solutions Architect, after earning the AWS Cloud Practitioner.
6. CompTIA IT Fundamentals (ITF+)
The ITF+ is an entry-level certification created for people who want to determine if an IT career is the right one for them. This certification can assist you in making a decision if you are a student or career switcher who is still debating whether IT is right for you. Other certifications, like the CompTIA A+, may be a better fit if you’re looking for one to help you develop the skills you need for a job in IT.
- Cost: $126
- Requirements: Prior experience is not necessary
- Certification path: Candidates can move on to take the CompTIA A+ or other entry-level certifications after passing the ITF+.
7. CompTIA Network+
A fundamental certification in networking concepts is the CompTIA Network+. The Network+ certification, in contrast to the CCNA, is vendor-neutral, which means you aren’t tested on any particular hardware or software. In comparison to the CCNA, the Network+ is thought to be more fundamental, making it a good choice for those who are just getting started in networking or who find the CCNA to be too comprehensive for their needs at the moment.
- Cost: $338
- Potential jobs: System administrator, network administrator, and network engineer
- Requirements: There are no formal requirements, but CompTIA A+ certification and nine to twelve months of network experience are recommended.
- Certification path: After earning their Network+, many candidates go on to earn their CCNA or another networking certification.
8. GIAC Information Security Fundamentals (GISF)
For security and related ideas like networking, cryptography, and cybersecurity technologies, the GISF is a fundamental certification. System administrators and non-IT security managers are just a couple of the people who can benefit from cybersecurity knowledge, according to GIAC, who also recommends the certification for anyone new to cybersecurity who wants a fundamental introduction to the field.
- Cost: $2,499 (includes two practice exams)
- Potential jobs: Information security expert, non-IT security manager, and cybersecurity analyst
- Requirements: The GISF does not have any formal requirements.
- Certification path: The GISF can be followed by the GIAC Security Essentials Certification (GSEC)
9. Google Cloud Digital Leader
Cloud Digital Leader is the name of Google’s entry-level cloud certification. During the certification exam, you will be broadly tested on fundamental Google Cloud concepts. Even though entry-level Google Cloud jobs frequently require the next level certification—the Google Associate Cloud Engineer—studying for the Cloud Digital Leader certification exam can give you a solid foundation in Google Cloud.
- Cost: $99
- Potential jobs: Job-role independent
- Requirements: No formal requirements
- Certification path: The Cloud Digital Leader is a prerequisite for certifications like the Google Associate Cloud Engineer, which will prepare candidates for entry-level jobs.
10. Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
The CAPM is a certification that will help you get ready for project management positions at the entry level. Although not an IT certification, project management skills are valued by many IT positions and teams. If you have a technical background and want to transition into a role that is more project management-focused, it may be worthwhile to pursue the CAPM.
- Cost: $300 for non-PMI members, $225 for PMI members
- Potential jobs: IT project manager, IT project coordinator
- Requirements: No formal requirements
- Certification path: Candidates may pursue the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification if they want to continue down the project management route.
How to get an IT certification
Choosing a certification, studying for the exam, and passing the exam are typically the steps required to obtain an IT certification. These are the steps you should follow if you’re thinking about getting a certification:
1. Decide on a certification: Choose a certification based on your needs and areas of interest. If you’re unsure of where to begin, see which certifications are mentioned the most frequently in the job descriptions of the positions you’re interested in.
2. Prepare for the exam: Preparation includes making sure you meet all requirements, scheduling, paying for, and studying for the exam. You have the choice of either studying on your own or registering for a course that will assist you in preparing for the test.
3. Take the exam: It is possible to take the certification exam online or in person. Check any prerequisites again a day or two before the exam to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything important, like a valid ID.