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Published on 30 September 2016

IT Certifications 5 New Realities

IT professionals can't just "know computers".
You can get an idea of how certifications have been perceived over time. This is an excerpt from our first IT Skills and Salary Report, 2008:
"There have been many articles, discussions, and opinions about the value of certification. In general, employer support for certification seems to be mixed."
93% of IT decision makers believe that a certified team member adds value beyond the cost of certification.
What a difference a decade can make. Our 2019 report shows that 93% of IT decision-makers believe that a certified team member adds value beyond the cost of certification. These values include faster troubleshooting and increased productivity, which are essential skills in today's tech world.
The pinnacle of achievement within the tech industry is the certification. This is a significant shift in perspective from a decade back, when many IT professionals didn't fully grasp the value of certification.

The Certification Value has risen dramatically
Analyzing survey responses over 12 years of our report reveals a clear rise in demand for certification training.
In 2008, 9 percent of respondents stated that the main reason they train was to prepare for certification. This number has risen from 9 percent to 45% in 2008 to 45% in 2019.
Only 38% of IT professionals had at least one certification in 2008 In 2019, 85% of IT professionals are certified.
In 2008, 42% said they planned to pursue certification within the next year. 66% of respondents plan to pursue certification in 2019 or are already working towards becoming certified.

69% of respondents to our survey currently hold more than one IT certification. The tech industry is competitive. Professionals often plan for their next certifications many years in advance.

Certifications pay off
Employers are not the only ones who benefit from increased certification training. The average salary for certified IT professionals in the United States and Canada is $111,334, which represents seven percent more than the average salary for non-certified professionals. It is worth pursuing certifications as long as the training is relevant to your career.
However, there has been a slight shift over the course of our reporting in the top-paying certificates. At $101,698, Project Management Professional (PMP(r),) was the highest-paying certification in 2008. The PMP(r), which ranks second in the United States and seventh globally in terms salary, is still a highly sought-after and lucrative certification. Since 2014, however, cloud and cybersecurity certifications have risen to the top of our highest-paid lists.
Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect is this year's top-paying certification in the U.S. with an average annual salary $152,129. AWS certifications also make a splash in our top 10, with AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate coming in fourth, AWS SysOps administrator - Associate taking fifth, AWS Developer - Associate ranking sixth in salary.
Cloud certifications weren't in our rankings a decade back, but cloud salaries are the highest paid by job function (excluding executive) in the entire world.
ISACA'S Certified Information Security Manager and Certified in Risk Systems and Control (CRISC), were among the top 10 highest-paid certifications. CRISC ranks eighth at $128.556 and CISM is second with $132,919
Check out our complete list for the 2019 highest-paying U.S. certifications.

The Most Popular Cybersecurity, ITIL(r), Cisco, and Microsoft Products
One thing that hasn't changed in 10 year is the popularity and value of certain certifications. Microsoft certifications were the dominant certification in 2008. Nearly 35% of respondents had a Microsoft certification. Next was Project Management, which was 16.3%.
Microsoft is still very popular eleven years later and 12 reports later. 21% of respondents still have at least one copy.