As many know from personal experience, whether as a job candidate or a professional in human resources, having the right credentials can often make all the difference when pursuing new job opportunities or advancing within your current company. In the case of those who work in the IT profession, continual learning, upskilling and validating your experience is especially important, as the technology landscape is constantly changing. IT professionals must not get complacent, but regularly assess how they need to advance their skills and credentials to keep pace with changing technologies, regulations and practices to remain most effective and relevant in their jobs and maintain a competitive resume.
There are also many options depending on the type of skill you are looking to build or the specific profession you are pursuing. In my professional and personal experience, here are ten certifications that I recommend:
Data Privacy oriented certifications
Certified Data Privacy Solutions Engineer (CDPSE), from ISACA: Data privacy has become increasingly important for all IT professionals, especially as privacy regulations continue to expand. CDPSE allows professionals to validate their technical skills and knowledge to privacy solutions aligned with organizational needs and goals and incorporate privacy by design.
OneTrust Certified Fellow of Privacy Technology: OneTrust offers a certification that allows professionals to demonstrate their privacy operational experience, after completing their other professional certification courses.
Certified Information Privacy Technologist (CIPT), from IAPP: This certification validates those professionals who have an understanding of privacy in technology and can ensure that their enterprises are both meeting privacy goals and mitigating risks.
Security oriented certifications
Certified ISO 27001 Lead Auditor (LA) / Lead Implementer (LI) / Transition Training, from various certification bodies: With the ISO 27001 and ISO 27002 standards undergoing change, already certified ISO 27001:2013 LAs and LIs need to upgrade their competence by undertaking the transition course and be equipped to implement and audit new security controls. For those who are not certified, they can choose to get certified on either the LA or LI program or even both.
Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), from ISC2: This credential allows security professionals to validate their knowledge in security practices and principles and show they can design, implement and manage a cybersecurity program.
Cloud oriented certifications
Certificate of Cloud Auditing Knowledge (CCAK), from Cloud Security Alliance and ISACA: The cloud environment has been utilized at a level never seen before since the pandemic, and cloud auditing has become even more important. This credential is the first-ever, technical, vendor-neutral credential for cloud auditing, helping prepare IT professionals to help their organizations mitigate risks and realize the full benefits of the cloud.
AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional: Another cloud-focused credential helps professionals prove that they can design and deploy cloud architecture on AWS.
Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert: After earning the Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate certification, professionals can validate that they can implement and monitor an Azure infrastructure, as well as management and security solutions.
Technology oriented certifications:
Certified Scrum Master, from Scrum Alliance: Agile techniques have become valuable to many teams as they strive to become nimbler during this time of frequent change during the pandemic. This certification allows professionals to learn the Scrum framework and how to guide their teams in applying Scrum in the agile work approach.
Artificial Intelligence Graduate Program, from Stanford School of Engineering: Emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) will continue to be important for IT professionals to understand. This graduate certificate program provides professionals with the foundational knowledge and skills in AI, including in areas like robotics.
There are many paths you can choose in your pursuit of building your knowledge and skills to advance your career. Attaining the right mix of credentials that make sense for you, along with maintaining a passion for learning, and momentum and drive to reach your goals, will help you on that professional journey.