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IT certifications: Which one is right for you?

As an IT professional, you’ve probably wondered if you should pursue IT certifications. 

IT certifications can be an important tool for advancing your IT career, but not all of them are created equal.

We’ve invested a lot of research and created a few tools to help you answer these questions:

  • Which IT certifications will help your career the most? 
  • How expensive are IT certifications?
  • Are certifications worth the investment?

While the IT community has a love/hate relationship with certifications, our research shows they provide a real boost to your IT career and earning potential—except in a few cases.

Tools for choosing the best IT certifications for your career:

  • Chart: Compare the cost and salary benefits of popular certifications
  • Quick info: Explore our detailed information about the prerequisites, cost and potential salary increase

IT certifications comparison chart

Note: Find out more about our methodology below the chart.

Cloud Certifications

Certification

5-Year Cost

Related Jobs

Prerequisites

Potential Salary Increase

Data Certifications

Certification

5-Year Cost

Related Jobs

Prerequisites

Potential Salary Increase

Information Security Certifications

Certification

5-Year Cost

Related Jobs

Prerequisites

Potential Salary Increase

IT Management Certifications

Certification

5-Year Cost

Related Jobs

Prerequisites

Potential Salary Increase

Computer Networking Certifications

Certification

5-Year Cost

Related Jobs

Prerequisites

Potential Salary Increase

Programming Certifications

Certification

5-Year Cost

Related Jobs

Prerequisites

Potential Salary Increase

Our methodology

Using internal data from a 12-month period, we compared the salaries offered for similar job categories that requested certifications against those that didn’t. When our sample size wasn’t large enough for analysis, we noted “insufficient data” in the salary column.

We discovered many IT certifications can add a considerable boost to your salary. However, it’s important to note that many factors, such as your position, location and industry, affect the salary results. There’s also no guarantee you’ll receive a raise immediately after earning a certification. While an employer may reward you, the real value is being ready to advance your career—a certification can help you pursue higher-level IT positions.

In some cases, our results showed the salary increase varies a lot by role, particularly for management vs. technical positions. In those instances, we broke out the salary increase by role type.

Finally, the true cost of an IT certification can be much more than the price of the exam to get certified. Therefore, the five-year cost includes the exam price plus any mandatory training required by the certifying body, as well as maintenance and recertification fees incurred within five years.

Additional resources

Tom’s IT Pro offers excellent insider knowledge of the best certifications within IT specialties. We highly recommend you explore this resource if you’re deciding between IT certifications.

Are you a TEKsystems consultant? You can access thousands of free IT classes, including many popular certification tracks. Find out more.