7 Certifications for Aspiring IT Leaders
We take a look at seven leading certifications for IT professionals that can prepare you for in-demand, highly rewarding jobs in tech leadership.
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In today’s digital world, enterprises and institutions of all types rely on multiple information systems as well as consumer data to run their daily business processes. This trend has seen a spike in demand for experienced information executives and IT professionals with a broad range of skills.
Leading tech companies, federal agencies, and private corporations are seeking IT leaders who double up as technological innovators, business managers, acquisition experts, strategic thinkers, and technical professionals.
Certifications help prospective IT leaders acquire deep knowledge and hands-on experience that’s valuable for anyone looking to move up the ranks in their technology career. Earning an IT certification will not only add an element of competence and credibility to your resume but also position you as an avid learner and keen tech practitioner. From a hiring manager's perspective, this could be the factor that tilts the scales in your favor.
Now that you know how IT certifications boost your value, your employment opportunities, and your earning potential, let’s take a look at eight leading IT certifications with the highest demand and opportunities for advancement.
Project Management Professional (PMP)
Created and administered by the Project Management Institute (PMI), the PMP certification is a highly sought credential that equips you with the education, skills, and competencies necessary for leading and directing projects. The PMP training program, which is specially designed for project managers, covers all the main stages of an IT project lifecycle, from start to finish. These include initiating, planning, execution, monitoring, and control.
Individuals who complete this program acquire in-depth knowledge of project management concepts and challenges. Organizations can entrust PMP-certified professionals to define, plan, execute, and deliver all project initiatives successfully.
Since project management skills apply seamlessly across industries, PMP certificate holders should be well prepared for a broad spectrum of scenarios and outcomes.
Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
CISSP is an advanced level certification that's often considered the gold standard within the information security domain. It was created by ISC, a global leader that specializes in training professionals in the cybersecurity field.
The certification covers eight major domains dealing with different information security aspects. These are security and risk management, asset security, security engineering, communication and network security, identity and access management, security assessment and testing, security operations, and software development security.
Individuals who take up the CISSP certification understand the design, architecture, management, and controls of a highly secure IT environment. With a CISSP, you have all it takes to successfully design, implement, and maintain a state-of-the-art cybersecurity program.
SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) Expert
Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) is an emerging cybersecurity technology that aims to protect digital businesses through cloud-based secure access. The SASE security model was coined by Gartner after the realization that existing network security approaches no longer provide the desired security levels and access controls for cloud-centric digital enterprises, devices, and users.
The SASE Expert Certification, offered by Cato Networks, equips network administrators, security architects, and other IT professionals with knowledge for building effective networking and security solutions on a distributed, cloud-native infrastructure. Cato Networks is the world’s first SASE platform, so it only makes sense for them to offer this certification.
As businesses across the world are moving their traditional enterprise data-center operations to the cloud, it is fair to conclude that the future of network security lies in the cloud. This makes SASE certified experts some of the most sought-after professionals in the modern IT landscape.
Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
CISM is one of the key certifications for cybersecurity professionals looking to make a move from security technologist to a managerial position in the IT security ranks. This top-paying certification equips you with advanced knowledge for managing, designing, implementing, overseeing, and assessing enterprise information security systems.
The CISM certification learning program covers four domains, namely, information security governance, information risk management, information security program development and management, and, finally, information security incident management.
Certified professionals have strong security management skills and can therefore be tasked with leadership roles in information security, governance, and risk management within an enterprise.
PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)
The PMI-ACP certification helps individuals master agile methodologies, techniques, and tools through real-life scenarios. It helps IT professionals address the needs of organization that depend on agile frameworks and approaches when executing projects.
Individuals who take the PMI-ACP training course successfully are expected to demonstrate increased professional versatility and expertise on agile practices when managing projects. If you’re looking for a progressive roadmap to Agile mastery, this is the certification you should take.
Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT)
CGEIT is a universally recognized certification designed for IT leaders responsible for directing, supporting, and managing IT governance in large organizations. It helps senior management professionals ensure that the organization’s IT is governed accordingly and in line with the business needs and goals.
The CGEIT training program covers five major domains, namely, frameworks for enterprise IT governance, strategic management, benefits realization, risk optimization, and resource optimization. Anyone with a significant advisory, management, or assurance role in corporate IT governance is a suitable candidate for the certification.
As such, senior IT managers, CIOs, information security and compliance professionals, and other positions that fall under IT leadership will require the CGEIT certification.
Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC)
Awarded by ISACA, the CRISC certification equips IT professionals with the extensive knowledge and skills for identifying and managing risks through the development, implementation, monitoring, and maintenance of information system controls in an enterprise.
Individuals who take up this certification cover four major domain areas: IT risk identification; IT risk assessment; risk response and mitigation; risk and control monitoring/reporting. Certified professionals have sufficient expertise for managing and controlling risks across IT-enabled business operations in an enterprise. They can also play the role of security managers or directors who help organizations manage real-world challenges such as data breaches and other risk-based scenarios.
IT leaders who upskill with any of the above certifications not only open new career opportunities but also acquire a differentiator among their peers. As you can see, most of these certifications enhance your competency and expertise in the rapidly growing fields of cloud development, security management, and project management.
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