Information Technology (IT) is a dynamic industry as advanced technologies arrive in the market frequently. IT professionals may consistently update their skills and knowledge as per current industry requirements. IT certifications can not only help you update your current skill set but also help you learn about the latest technological advancements in your domain. In this article, Pritish Kumar Halder examine some popular IT certifications and the qualifications and preparation required to obtain them.

10 popular IT certifications

If you want to pursue a career in IT, consider the following IT certifications:

1. Certified Professional Cloud Architect (GCPCA)

Certified Professional Cloud Architect or GCPCA certification is one of the most valuable and important IT certifications in the domain of cloud computing. This programme trains you to design, develop and manage robust, secure, scalable and dynamic solutions to drive business objectives.

Qualifications: While there are no specific prerequisites for this programme, the certifying authority recommends three or more years of industry experience, including a minimum of one-year experience in designing and managing solutions using GCP.

How to prepare: Before taking this exam, it can be helpful if you have real-world experience, training and practice with architecture within the GCP. Several prep courses can expand your knowledge and help you prepare for this test.

2. Certified Business Intelligence Professional (CBIP)

Business Intelligence (BI) is a technology-centric discipline that analyses data to optimise a business organisation’s performance. BI provides many benefits, like increased sales, reduced customer attrition and effective marketing capacity. The CBIP certification helps IT professionals design, develop and deploy computer programs to analyse business data.

Qualifications: Candidates with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in information systems, computer science, business administration, engineering, statistics, accounting or mathematics can pursue this programme. Two or more years of full-time work experience in data modelling, data planning, metadata systems development, application development or IT management makes you eligible for this certification.

How to prepare: Complete three exams each in two levels to receive the certification. There are several prep courses and bundled courses available online to prepare for this certification.

3. Cloudera Certified Associate Data Analyst (CCA)

Cloudera Certified Data Analyst (CCA) is a certification for professionals who use mainstream big data tools. The CCA is one of the most popular certification courses for data analytics. An SQL developer with a CCA certification can use their core competencies to pull and generate reports in Cloudera’s CDH environment using Impala and Hive. CCA is a hands-on and live practical examination that includes 8 to 12 problem statements with a performance-based marking system. A CCA certificate is valid for two years.

Qualifications: There are no prerequisites for appearing for this examination. It is ideal for data analysts, SQL developers, BI specialists, developers, database administrators and system architects.

How to prepare: You can complete Cloudera’s data analyst training course to prepare for the exam. The three categories for problem statements include preparing data, providing structure to the data and data analysis.

4. Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) with Python

This is a six-month-long, live, online program that provides a comprehensive understanding of key machine learning algorithms, optimisation techniques, neural networks, classifications and deep convolution. The certification is beneficial for professionals who manage software development teams working in machine learning and AI projects.

Qualifications: Any diploma holder or a graduate with a minimum of one year of work experience and a working knowledge of Java and C++ can join this programme. Knowledge of linear algebra, calculus and statistics may be an advantage.

How to prepare: You can access online learning materials and videos to prepare for the course. There is no examination for this course and you get a certificate of participation from IIT (Indian Institute of Technology), Mumbai.

5. AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate

The AWS Certified Solutions Architect certification demonstrates a person’s ability to create and use scalable systems on AWS. It is ideal for solutions architects with two or more years of experience designing and implementing effective and scalable AWS systems.

Qualifications: According to AWS, it is helpful to have a minimum of one year hands-on experience in creating and maintaining AWS applications and a solid understanding of AWS services and scalable distributed systems.

How to prepare: There are several AWS training courses and studying materials available to help you prepare for this certification.

6. Certification in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC)

If you are looking to advance your career to the management or director level, the Certified in Risk Information Systems Control (CRISC) certification may help accelerate your career growth and enhance your knowledge of risk management. The CRISC certification programme teaches risk management, development and implementation protocols and procedures for information systems and their controls. This certification is suited for most IT industry professionals.

Qualifications: It’s ideal to have at least three years of experience in domains like risk management, development and implementation as the exam contains questions that cover these topics.

How to prepare: There are live online preparatory courses available for the CRISC exam. The ISACA (Information Systems Audit and Control Association) offers test prep courses and study materials to help professionals prepare for the certification exam.

7. Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP)

For professionals who have already earned a CCNA certification, the Cisco Certified Network Professional or CCNP certification is a natural choice. This certification focuses on enterprise network technologies and allows professionals to choose a core speciality.

Qualifications: There are no prerequisites to take this examination. The CCNA certification is also not a mandatory requirement.

How to prepare: There are online resources and information repositories that can help you prepare for the CCNP exam. Cisco also offers training programs for interested candidates.

8. Project Management Professional (PMP)

The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification prepares you to manage people, processes and business environments. Offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI), it is considered one of the most important and beneficial certifications for project managers. This certification focuses on three methodologies, namely predictive life cycle, agile and hybrid methodologies.

Qualifications: To appear for the exam, candidates require a four-year degree, three years of project management experience and 35 hours of PMP-related education or an active CAPM Certification. If you do not have a four-year degree, you can also qualify with a high school diploma or associate’s degree, five years of project management experience and 35 hours of PMP-related education or a CAPM Certification.

How to prepare: There are several preparatory courses available online for the PMP certification. PMI offers exam content outlines and preparatory guidelines to help professionals prepare for the certification exam.

9. Cisco SD-WAN Training and Certification

SD-WAN combines techniques from Software Defined (SD) and Wide Area Networking (WAN) processes. Cisco SD-WAN is a cloud-based WAN architecture ideal for businesses who intend to migrate or transform to digital or cloud-based networking infrastructure. You can become a Cisco certified SD-WAN professional after obtaining the 300-415 ENSDWI certification. This certification course is best suited for system integrators, system installers, network administrators and solution designers.

Qualifications: A strong understanding of WAN technology, routing protocol operation, IP security and transport layer security are prerequisites for this course.

How to prepare: You can get access to training material on the internet, to prepare for this examination. You can also get hands-on training working on devices like routers, switches and extension tools.

10. Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) Foundation

The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) or ITIL 4 focuses on training candidates for IT service management, implementing best practices and aligning IT infrastructure to meet business needs. This certification introduces you to a widely recognised and accepted framework to manage most IT systems.

Qualifications: There are no prerequisites for this exam.

How to prepare: There are several resources available online to help you prepare for the ITIL examination. Some are free and some charge a nominal fee. AXELOS offers a search function to find ITIL training by region.