Information Technology Certifications

The all important topic of information technology certifications

There are many different organizations that offer information technology certifications. Figuring out which one is the right way to go can be overwhelming. Each one of them has to do with a slice of the field, ranging from servers, help desk, database management or security. This page serves as a branch out point for my articles about certifications.

Yeah but which ones should I get?

Different certifications are built around the different paths of IT.  Early on in my career I got the CompTIA Security+ and the A+ at the recommendation of my school.  This was good enough to get my foot in the door most places. I’ve seen variations of Cisco CCENT or CCNA, or CompTIA Server+ or Linux+.  Some people start out with a MTA. It all depends on where you are in your career, where you want to go and what interests you the most.  What should your early career certification goals be?

OMG all the acronyms!

Various vendors all have their own naming conventions and it seems like they are trying to be confusing. I will cover which exams cover which general topics, and explain what the acronyms mean. Most of them will deal with cyber security with a focus on penetration testing. I personally have A+, Security+, MTA, VCA6, and CISSP.  I suggest building a plan with a 5 year goal, and trying to achieve one certification each year.  It is best to maintain a work/study/life balance so that you do not overwhelm yourself.

Vendors

There are many different companies that put out information technology certification exams. CompTIA has a wide-ranging selection and is generally accepted as the go-to for entry level certifications. Microsoft products are used throughout the world and therefore if you want to be noticed by recruiters, having one will help you.  VMWare has a great selection of certifications for system administrators in virtual environments. EC-Council is another organization with a training program similar to CompTIA. They have a clear path from beginner to expert but their training can be expensive. Offensive Security is 100% strictly penetration testing and is one of the most respected organizations in hacking. eLearnSecurity is one of the most widely recognized companies worldwide and offers courses and exams ranging from entry-level to advanced.

My opinions

Many of these vendors are well-known organizations, and my writing is about my experiences. Some advice you hear from others maybe different than what I have to say. Ultimately, use this information to make the best decision for yourself.  If you have questions that I did not cover by any posts here, feel free to ask me.  I want to help people make the best decision for their situation.