IT certifications can test your knowledge in different skills, increase your pay, and set you apart from other entry-level applicants. Here are 9 entry-level certifications worth pursuing.
Certifications give your resume more credibility and can make you more marketable to recruiters and hiring managers. And at the entry level, they’re a great way to set yourself apart from other applicants – and even increase your pay.
As you advance in your career, you’ll want to consider more advanced certifications to further your professional development. By then, you will know which specialties to focus on and what skills you need for the desired career path. But at the entry level, you’re better off sticking with more generalized certifications that will help you get your foot in the door to enter this new universe.
Here are 9 IT certifications to jump start your career, whether you are graduating or have decided to change careers.
9 entry-level IT certifications to jump start your career:
- Cisco Certified Technician (CCT)
- Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Routing & Switching
- CompTIA IT Fundamentals + (ITF +)
- Comp TIA A +
- CompTIA Network +
- CompTIA Security +
- Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA)
- Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA)
- PMI Certified Associate in project Management (CAPM)
Cisco Certified Technician (CCT)
The Cisco Certified Technician (CCT) certification verifies your ability to diagnose, restore, repair, and replace critical Cisco network and system devices at customer sites. You can choose between two different CCT paths: Data Center or Routing and Switching.
The CCT Data Center certification covers the support and maintenance of Cisco Unified Computing systems and servers. It is intended for field support engineers working with Cisco data center system software and devices. You will need to complete the Cisco Data Center System Device Support (DCTECH) v2.0 course before passing the exam. The course covers the basics of data center networking, on-site maintenance and equipment replacement, and how to identify Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) component models, accessory cabling, and interfaces.
The CCT Routing and Switching certification covers on-site support and maintenance for Cisco routers, switches and operating environments. It is designed for on-site technical support and other support personnel who work with Cisco Data Center solutions. Before you can take the exam, you must complete the Cisco Routing and Switching Network Device Support (RSTECH) course. The self-paced online course covers networking fundamentals, Cisco external and switch models, Cisco IOS Software modes of operation, and the Cisco Command Line Interface (CLI).
Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Routing & Switching
CCNA Routing and Switching certification is a good option for those who want to work in a network, but also a solid choice if you are looking for an entry-level help desk position. The exam checks your ability to identify Cisco router and switch models, accessories, cabling, and interfaces. You will need an understanding of the Cisco IOS Software and Cisco CLI operating modes.
Before you can take the certification exam, you must complete the Support for Cisco Routing and Switching Network Devices course. This is a self-paced online course that includes up to six hours of on-demand training material that you can access for up to one year.
CompTIA IT Fundamentals + (ITF +)
The CompTIA IT Fundamentals + (ITF +) certification is designed for those who want to start a career in IT or want to change careers. The exam aims to validate your fundamental computer knowledge and give you a better idea of what it’s like to work in computer science. The certification exam covers networks, infrastructure, IT concepts and terminology, applications and software, security, database fundamentals, and software development. This is also a good place to start if you want to continue on the path to CompTIA certification, but it is not a requirement for other certifications.
Comp TIA A +
CompTIA A + certification is intended for support specialists, field service technicians, technical support analysts, and technical support. If you are looking to land a job in a related field, this is a solid entry-level certification that is well regarded in the industry.
The certification verifies your ability to troubleshoot and resolve networking, operating systems, mobile devices, and security issues. The certification focuses on nine major IT skills including hardware, networking, mobile devices, Windows operating system, hardware and network troubleshooting, operating system technologies, software troubleshooting, security and operational procedures.
CompTIA Network +
The CompTIA Network + is an entry-level certification that covers networking concepts, troubleshooting, operations, tools and security as well as IT infrastructure. The certification is designed for entry-level network administrators, network field technicians, junior system engineers, IS consultants, and network field engineers.
The exam checks your knowledge with configuring, managing and maintaining network devices, implementing and designing functional networks, network troubleshooting, and network security. If you know you want to work closely with computer networks, this is a well-recognized and valid certification that will set you apart from other entry-level candidates.
CompTIA Security +
Security is a crucial IT skill for any technology role, so it’s a good idea to earn your CompTIA Security + certification at the entry level. It is suitable for network, system and security administrators, security specialists, junior IT auditors, security consultants and security engineers.
The exam covers threats, attacks and vulnerabilities, risk management, architecture and design, technology and tools, cryptography and PKI, and identity and access management. Obtaining your Security + certification will show employers that you have the skills to install and configure systems to secure applications, networks, and devices in accordance with compliance laws.
Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA)
The Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) certification covers IT fundamentals such as infrastructure, databases, and development. It was designed by Microsoft as an entry-level certification for newbie IT workers or for those looking to change careers. The exam is intended to help you establish your career in IT, with an emphasis on databases, hardware, software or infrastructure. It covers what you need to know as a junior IT auditor or as a systems, network, or security administrator.
Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA)
Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) certification is another entry-level option from Microsoft that covers the design and creation of technology solutions across Microsoft’s software suites and services. It’s a bit more advanced than the MTA certification, but you don’t need to complete your MTA to get your MCSA. However, you will need to obtain your MCSA if you wish to continue on the Microsoft certification path to achieve your MCSE, MCSD, MCPS, or MCT certifications.
PMI Certified Associate in project Management (CAPM)
The Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification is a widely recognized entry-level certification for project management offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). You don’t necessarily need to be a project manager to earn your CAPM – many IT jobs require project management skills to oversee technical projects.
You will need at least 23 hours of project management training before you can take the exam, but you can do so through PMI’s Basic Project Management Course. The course is designed by PMI to prepare you for the CAPM certification exam – it covers the basics of project management and the skills you will need for an IT project management job.