Top IT Certifications and Skills for a Successful Career in the Tech Industry

A woman works in the control room of a data center. If you’re interested in pursuing a career in IT, you’re far from alone. Employment is expected to increase by 11 percent (a notably higher growth rate than the average across all occupations) in the computer and information technology space from 2019 to 2029, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

“Demand for these workers will stem from greater emphasis on cloud computing, the collection and storage of big data, and information security,” the BLS website states.

For burgeoning technologists looking to succeed in the field, the right IT certifications and skills can make all the difference. The vast majority (87 percent) of IT professionals hold at least one certification, according to the Global Knowledge 2020 IT Skills and Salary Report. Additionally, as a result of certification training, 52 percent of IT pros report doing higher quality work, 36 percent feel more engaged at work, and 17 percent received a raise.

If you’re wondering which certifications and skills you should focus on to achieve your professional goals in the realm of IT, here are a few categories to consider based on industry research.

Most Popular IT Certifications

As of 2020, these are the most popular IT certifications internationally, according to the Global Knowledge IT Skills and Salary Report. Note: These are in order starting with the most popular.

  1. ITIL Foundation
  2. Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Routing and Switching
  3. Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
  4. Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) Routing and Switching
  5. CompTIA A+
  6. Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
  7. CompTIA Security+
  8. CompTIA Network+
  9. Citrix Certified Associate – Virtualization (CCA-V)
  10. AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate

Cybersecurity is the most popular category for IT certifications, with security-related certs accounting for 30 percent of the top 10 list, according to the report.

Highest Paying IT Certifications

The 2020 Global Knowledge IT Skills and Salary Report lists the following as the top-paying IT certifications around the world. Note: These are in order starting with the highest paying.

  1. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
  2. Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect
  3. Google Certified Professional Data Engineer
  4. Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC)
  5. Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT)
  6. Project Management Professional (PMP)
  7. Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
  8. TOGAF 9.1
  9. AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate
  10. AWS Certified Developer – Associate

In-Demand IT Skills

Concerning hiring trends in the U.S., these are the most in-demand IT skills, according to the 2021 Salary Guide from Robert Half Technology. Please note that these are presented in no particular order.

  • JavaScript
  • PHP
  • Linux
  • Agile and Scrum
  • C#
  • Angular
  • NET
  • ITIL
  • Java
  • Cloud computing (Google Cloud, Azure and AWS)
  • Golang or Go
  • Containerization (Docker, Kubernetes, Helm)
  • Ruby on Rails
  • PHP
  • Python
  • Kotlin
  • React Native and ReactJS
  • Virtualization
  • SQL

Soft Skills for Success in Tech

To stand out in IT or any other industry, you’ll need more than just technical or “hard” skills to impress recruiters and hiring managers. Soft skills – which are part of your personality and much more difficult to teach than tech talents – are crucial if you want to succeed as an IT professional, according to the CompTIA blog entry “10 Skills You Didn’t Know Could Land You an IT Job.”

The blog entry lists the following as soft skills that will set you up to become an “IT rock star.”

  • Communication
  • Analytical capabilities
  • Organization
  • Project management
  • Creativity
  • Perseverance
  • Curiosity
  • Helpfulness
  • Resourcefulness
  • Problem-solving abilities

For comparison, these are the most sought-after soft skills by employers looking to hire IT pros in the U.S., according to the Robert Half Technology report. Note: These are presented in no particular order.

  • Project management
  • Attention to detail
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Leadership
  • Customer service
  • Critical thinking
  • Change management skills
  • Business acumen

If you’re interested in learning more about what it takes to have a successful career in IT, feel free to reach out to our team by calling 877-599-3999 or emailing Our techs hold a wide range of certifications to deliver comprehensive IT support to the businesses we serve. Our Careers page might be worth a look as well if you’re searching for your next opportunity.

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