IT Careers: The Top 8 Certifications for Modern Job Seekers

You’ve been on all of the job boards. Monster, oDesk,, and pretty much any other website that even feels like it might house a job board. You’re coming up empty-handed. Maybe what you need are additional certifications, but which ones? Here are 8 that could make a difference.

Amazon Web Services

Amazon is a freight train in cloud-based services. And, a lot of employers are asking for and requiring AWS certification. The Certified Solutions Architect (Associate). This cert was designed for individuals with experience in designing apps and systems on the AWS platform.

This includes designing and deploying scalable fault-tolerant systems, moving existing apps to AWS, pushing and pulling information to and from AWS, complying with AWS best practices, selecting the right AWS service based on individual and company requirements, and estimating costs for services and employing cost-control protocols and mechanisms to help save companies money.

To get this certification, you can’t just walk in off the street. You must have at least one year of hands-on experience designing cost-efficient and fault-tolerant scalable distributed systems on the AWS platform.

You also have to be able to identify and define the requirements for the application you’re designing or implementing. You should have experience deploying hybrid systems and have the ability to build secure and reliable applications on the AWS platform.

The exam consists of an 80-minutes exam, all multiple choice, and is available in multiple languages including english, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, French, and German. There’s a practice exam for $20 and the exam registration is $150.


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The Cisco Certified Architect is for senior infrastructure architects. The curriculum is focused on understanding the business strategy and translating that into a technical infrastructure. You must have a valid Cisco CCDE cert to take this exam, and also have an understanding of networking infrastructure principles.

Unfortunately, there are no formal training programs for the CCAr, but you can meet with an in-person board made up of exam committee members and defend your proposed network solution. There is also a published syllabus for you to review.

Full payment of $350 is due at least 90 days prior to the exam. This is for the written exam. The Practical Exam is $1,400. If you fail the exam and have to retake it, you must wait at least 30 days before rescheduling for a second exam and must pay the exam fees again. If you fail a second time, you must wait 90 days before you can reschedule. If you fail 5 times, you must wait 180 days before your next attempt.

Travel costs are not reimbursed.


This program certifies you for a specific security discipline in computer forensics. It’s vendor-neutral and will cover various aspects of security. It’s a 5-day course where you will learn how to investigate cyber crime, the laws involved, and how to obtain a search warrant. You’ll also learn about various types of evidence and the roles of first responders.

Finally, you’ll learn advanced diagnostics and forensics like how to recover deleted files and partitions in Windows and Mac OS X as well as Linux and how to crack passwords, investigate logs, analyze network traffic, detect wireless attacks and web attacks. You’ll also learn how to track emails and investigate email crimes.

Expect to pay $100 for the eligibility application fee, and $500 for the Exam Voucher. There are also miscellaneous fees depending on your particular circumstances.


Microsoft offers a variety of courses you can take. This IT service management training will get you started, and you’ll learn a lot about various aspects of management and IT. At the same time MCSE courses will prepare you for jobs in which Microsoft-specific courses are required.

Fees range based on the specific exam and course you’re taking.

Red Hat

Red Hat helps you gain the knowledge you need to build and maintain an infrastructure in a datacenter, on a cloud platform or in applications. The RHCA with a datacenter concentration is the highest level of certification offered, with Cloud being the highest level offered with respect to cloud infrastructure. Application platform is a concentration in app development and deployment.

Exam requirements vary with the type of exam you’re studying for.


Data center virtualization, the cloud, end-user computing, network virtualization, and cloud application platform design and deployment. These are the areas where you will become certified through a VMware certification program.

CompTIA Security+

CompTIA Security+ is where most people start when it comes to basic security certification. This cert is basically vender-neutral and will teach you the basics of computer security. The exam study materials are free and the exam costs $258 per attempt. It’s 90 minutes long.

MTA Security Fundamentals

Unlike the MCSE courses, the security fundamentals focuses on, you guessed it, security. This is where most people begin their careers but, if you’ve somehow missed it, you’ll want to pick it up. You’ll learn all about basic security concepts, and get a better understanding of how Windows-based network operating systems work. You’ll also gain a better understanding of Windows Servers, Active Directory, account management, and system recovery tools.

Author Bio: Chandana is a Senior Content Writer for She has a M.A. in English Literature from Gauhati University and is PRINCE2 Foundation certified. Her unique and refreshing writing style continues to educate and inspire readers from around the world.

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