How to Get Ahead in IT: Certificates You Need

CompTIA CASP certification

Getting ahead in the fast-paced and ever-evolving IT field requires more than just strong technical skills. Certifications are highly regarded as they showcase expertise, validate knowledge, and demonstrate a commitment to continuous learning in one’s career. To that end, here are a few key certifications you might consider pursuing:

Entry-Level Certifications

CompTIA A+ 

This is widely regarded as an essential certification for those just starting out in IT. The A+ covers the fundamental skills and knowledge needed for roles like IT support specialist, field service technician, or IT operations specialist. It comprises a broad range of topics, including computer hardware, operating systems, software troubleshooting, networking, security, mobile devices, and operational procedures.

CompTIA Network+

After obtaining your A+, the next logical step is pursuing the Network+ certification. It focuses on developing the skills necessary to configure, manage, and troubleshoot both wired and wireless networks. The Network+ confirms your understanding of networking components, protocols, cloud computing, and network operations.

Mid-Level Certifications

Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA)

For IT professionals interested in specializing in Microsoft technologies and solutions, the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) is a recommended mid-level certification. It covers critical skills for managing and administering the Windows Server operating system, including in areas like installation, storage, networking, and identity functionality.

Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)

The CCNA administered by Cisco is a highly respected associate-level certification for networking professionals. It validates your skills in installing, configuring, operating, and troubleshooting medium-sized routed and switched networks.

Advanced Certifications 

CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP)

The experts over at ProTrain tell us that for experienced IT professionals specializing in enterprise security operations, the CompTIA CASP certification is a distinguished credential. It proves you can properly integrate security controls, implement secure architecture, and apply risk management practices to protect organizations from threats and vulnerabilities.

Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

This certification, offered by the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants (EC-Council), takes a penetration testing and ethical hacking approach to security. As a CEH, you will be trained in the same hacking tools, techniques and methodologies used by real-world hackers and cyber attackers. This allows you to effectively find, evaluate, and fix potential security weaknesses and vulnerabilities within systems on behalf of an organization.

Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP)

Serving as the next step after CCNA for those on a Cisco networking career path, the CCNP certification program validates a candidate’s ability to plan, implement, verify, and troubleshoot local and wide-area enterprise networks. It covers advanced routing, switching, troubleshooting, and security skills.

Specialized Certifications

AWS Certified Solutions Architect

With increasingly more companies migrating components of their IT infrastructure to the cloud, certifications from major cloud service providers are becoming highly marketable. The AWS Certified Solutions Architect certification validates your capability to design and deploy secure, reliable, and fault-tolerant systems that run on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud platform.

ITIL Foundation 

The ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) Foundation certification focuses on the ITSM (IT Service Management) component of ITIL. It covers IT service management best practices for designing, implementing, managing and improving IT services to meet business needs.


While it does take dedicated effort, getting relevant industry certifications pays off immensely by expanding your technical knowledge, boosting your marketability and credibility, increasing your earnings potential, and creating more career advancement opportunities in the IT field. Certifications are a tangible way to show your skills and make you stand out from other candidates in the competitive IT job market. Stay committed to your professional development goals and your investment in certifications will continue providing returns throughout your IT career.