• 06/17/2014
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11 Best IT Certifications For Cutting-Edge Skills

Networking and infrastructure professionals looking to improve their job skills should consider these groundbreaking training programs.


Additional certs?

What other additional certifications are community members thinking of to broaden their expertise? I'm sure we missed some -- let us know what they are.

Re: Additional certs?

I would like to see CCDE in  the list. It deserves.:)

Re: Additional certs?

Although I am struggling these days to complete my CCIE, but i feel ITIL and JNCIE should also be allowed to make in space in your list.

Re: Additional certs?

Aditya, thanks for the feedback. I hear conflicting things about ITIL these days and how it works with newer architectures like cloud and SDN. Are companies still training employees in ITIL?

Re: Additional certs?

Yes i can still see numbers increasing for ITIL certification, although i am not sure about conflicting points, would be helpful if you can share some of them here. Also Cloud and SDN is more about Software and SAM (Software asset managment) is a primary topic of ITILv2 and is closely associated with the ITIL Application Management function.

Re: Additional certs?

Aditya, I unfortunately don't quite understand all the details of the disagreement, but there's an article about it here:

And I have heard other speakers and experts say that that ITIL's is too static and forces businesses to adapt to a common model when they should be developing one that is unique to their own needs.

LOL, if World-War III were to break out tomorrow Greg would p...

'ITIL's is too static and forces businesses to adapt to a common model'

That common model has helped many an Enterprise solve the business/IT alignment conundrum that has plauged them for many years. It's also a framework and like all frameworks, you pick and choose the parts that are most relevant.

However, in this context I doubt it could be classed as a cutting-edge skill, a bit like Project and Risk Management, only for the experienced.

I think the best bets on the list were NSX and Cisco's Network Programmabilty offerings, everything else seemed more geared towards developers. On the OpenStack front, I'd probably go with the RedHat distro rather than Mirantis.

Re: Additional certs?

Yes I agree ITIL ask you to adapt common model, but again you can modify or make hybrid model as per your need. But this shall increase management pain and i guess just to reduce stress and glichtes in process and management ITIL helps you to bring your self on common platform.

Re: Additional certs?

@Susan, data is increasing becoming mobile and financial data is also coming along for the ride. This make risk and information management very important, individuals in the financial departments have a lot of demand to learn about techniques by which data can be audited, tracked and secured (both from attackers and backups). I feel this is one reason that makes CRISC certification among the top paying certifications for 2014.

Re: Additional certs?

Brian, I think you're right. There is a lot riding on the success or failure of these folks, so they should be paid well, IMO.

Re: Additional certs?

Susan, that is a good point, often times it can take decades to buildup these expertise, either through education/certification or from experience, or both, all this requires resources in the form of time or capital, and the returns should definitely be able to match the initial investment.

And rightly so, a firm should expect to compensate an individual that is going from a financial management position to a CFO position, with a $100k+ range pay. 

Re: Additional certs?

Additional certs play a big role in landing interview and possibly a good job. I always hear that I have 20 years of experience why do I need a cert? Well the person next to you has 15 years experience and has it thats why. There is a point in time where the years of experience flat line as a sell to a company. I know it is not IT technical but PMP Certifcation can be used by anyone. 

Re: Additional certs?


Agreed. While certs do not prove your skills, they do end up doing a couple of favorable things for you on a personal level:

- Make your resumé look better (purely subjective)

- Match keywords from searches (e.g "CCNP or equivalent") meaning you get considered more often

- Provide a differentiator between you and somebody equally capable



Re: Additional certs?

The value of certification is universal and validates knowledge and experience across most industries.  Self-reported experience doesn't always articulate to the hiring manager your true value.  Just because you have over ten years of experience doesn't mean you was good at your job. Have you ever worked with someone that (a) you couldn't figure out how they got the job in the first place and (b) you didn't understand how they kept their job?  You might be working with someone like that now.  I've seen "duct taped" networks with servers sitting on top of milk crates and I can assure you that's not the preferred SOP for most businesses.  I think most of us would agree that experience alone doesn't mean you are qualified.  

Certification today provides hiring managers a tool to measure and validate not only your experience but also your vendor specific knowledge.  We are truly living in a global economy and investing in your professional development is necessary if you want to stay competitive within the IT industry.  Technology is pervasive and changing daily with competition.   Certification provides a great compliment to individuals with a degree. 

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These certs are all nice to have but not everyone can afford to get certified. That's the issue I have with these certs. I think it's somewhat of a racquet.

Re: Cost

In India most of the companies and enterprise are sponsoring these kind of certification. I did CCNA, CCNP, JNCIA and they all were sponsored by my company. The only condition is i should pass, in case i fail the exam i had to bear the cost.

Re: Cost

That condition souds like major motivation to study up before the exam!

Re: Cost

For many years my employer paid for exams on the basis that they would pay for your first attempt, and the one you pass. That way you get some buffer especially for less well known exams (or very new versions of them) that don't have the same level of study material out there for them - but the pressure is still very much on you to pass.


I think that's a particularly fair policy; so for example with the CCIE, it seems wholly unreasonable to say that a company will only pay for the one you pass, given that most people still fail first time...

Re: Cost

I agree you jgherbert on CCIE, one of the exam which seeks lot of pratice, attention and money with chances of getting fail at first attempt. But still fact is company will only pay when you achieve passing grades otherwise you need to feel the loss.

Re: Cost

@aditshar1: "But still fact is company will only pay when you achieve passing grades otherwise you need to feel the loss."

Obviously I'm not going to argue with what your company actually does, but I will say that in my opinion, the "pay for the first time and the time you pass" is a much more equitable system. It still prevents people from taking exams over and over again at the company's expense, but it does also give some wiggle room for when you simply have a bad day, or realize you totally misunderstood a test. It happens, and certainly with the cost of CCIE I'm not sure I personally could take the financial risk on having to pay for an exam (plus travel expenses) that most people fail on first try. And then the company most likely wants to tie you in for at least a year afterwards in return for ME taking the risk? No thanks.

Re: Cost

@jgherbert -- That approach sounds like a practical one if a company really wants to encourage its employees to earn certifications.

Re: Cost

Paul, I have to say I agree with you that the certification model of education and proving your worth is not particularly fair or effective. It just seems to be the way the industry has evolved. As @aditshar pointed out, his company paid for several certification programs for him. But I believe he works for an extremely large company. So only the IT pros working in that environment where their employers have big training budgets are really able to benefit.

I also think the vendor-centric nature of the certs is going to rapidly decline in usefulness, and I wonder if we'll see more cross-vendor certs, or more people not bothering to get certified in the first place because the skills are not applicable enough to their real work. Anyone have thoughts on that?

Re: Cost

I agree you on cross vendor certification, but one hiring tend these days shows that employers prefer candidate with valid certification in the area they expertise. But i do admit that too many certifications also hamper your resume.

Re: Cost

I always wonder when I see a person with a really long list of certifications how they possibly had time to study and take all of those tests while doing a full-time job. If you are a consultant or something I can see why it might be really useful for getting clients and work, but if not, it seems kind of extraneous to just collect them...

Re: Cost

Certifications are always a big point of debate in security; while many say you can't be without a CISSP, others say practical experience is way more valuable, and is what employers are looking for above all. I'm guessing a lot of employers though use the CISSP as a checklist item in hiring.

Re: Cost

Any one out here for Certified Data Centre Management Professional (CDCMP), how well it suits cloud and virtulization needs. Any experiances .

Re: Cost

@Susan, You keep up a point, no use of collecting bunch of certificates it will just take your resume in different and confusing direction. I believe your certificates should reflect your expertise so employer understand what exactly candidate can deliver.

Re: Cost

I think certifications are a very controversial issue.  Some people will justify cheating on exams and that may be one (not the only) explanation behind some people who have a long list of certifications.

Re: Cost

@Susan... Yes, if you are employed by a company that will pay for you to become certified that's great. If you are coming out of school and trying to break into the field it makes it tough. I don't see certs going away anytime soon.

Re: Cost

The question also, of who benefits more employee or employer when the employer pays for the certification?

Oftentimes, the employer will only pay for the certification if the employee gets a passing grade, which can be risky for the employee considering how difficult some of these certifications are.  This could be yet another justification for cheating, not being able to afford (literaly) to fail.

Another common stipulation may be that the employee can only get re-imbursed for 1-2 exams per year and must agree to work at the company for say 1yr after the last exam has been taken.  Let's say a person is going for a certification that requires 5 exams.  That means, it would take you at least 3yrs to get certified if you want to be re-imbursed, plus an extra year working for the company.  Once these 4yrs are over, it is likely that the certification provider has already created an updated version of the credential.

At that point, do you start the process all over again or maybe enter the job marketplace with an outdated credential?

Re: Cost
I can understand those stipulations. If I owned a company and I was paying for my employee it would have to benefit the company. I would require a passing grade to get reimbursed.
Re: Cost

I agree.  Not only is cost an issue, but then there is the question of who stands to benefit the most from the fact that you just spend a lot of time and money getting certified?

When there is an abundance of certified professionals for competing technology #1 vs. competingn tech #2.  Technology #1 will become more popular because the labor will end up being cheaper and there will be more experts who know how to handle it, thereby giving the technology a better reputation of being efficient, reliable, and trusted by many industry professionals.

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I'm Brazilian and I have a question about IT certification.

Here in Brazil, there are many companies that sell courses on level foundations of APMG and EXIN (mainly self-study format or "online"), but I don't find as many in the USA and the EU.

Is there demand these certifications in the countries of you? You need the level Foundation first. How do you do to achieve the advanced and Master level?

I do not find online courses in the English language. Why?