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22 technology credentials to help employees upskill and stay relevant

At a glance

  • Technology employees are often required to update their credentials within their role or may need to certify to stay relevant. Many companies offer certificates or certifications in a variety of subjects, including information technology, cybersecurity and more.
  • Some of the most popular industry certificates and certifications include AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner, Google IT Support Professional and Cisco Certified Technician.
  • Most certificates and certifications require an exam, which comes with fees for registration.
  • University of Phoenix accepts most credentials for credit toward a degree, through the University’s Prior Learning Assessment. To learn more, visit this page.

As a field, information technology is constantly changing. Breakthroughs and inventions can be landscape-changing, and they happen every day. So it’s doubly important to keep your skills sharp, wherever you are in your tech career. Some roles, in fact, require employees to consistently upskill and pursue certificates or certifications proving their abilities. 

Here, we cover some of the major topics surrounding technology certificates and certifications, why they are important and a sampling of which ones are out there!

Why are tech credentials important?

Preparing for roles in the technology field generally requires more than on-the-job experience. An educational background, supplemented by certificates and certifications in specific, in-demand subjects, can help make your resumé more well-rounded. In addition, remaining relevant during your career may require additional credentials over time. It’s important to be a lifelong learner.

While automation and advanced robotics may make certain business processes more efficient, new technologies call for specialists who understand them. Without investment on the people side of the equation, new tech may not produce the intended results.

How to get tech certificates and certifications

Although thousands of technology credentials are out there, they have many aspects in common. Requirements generally include:

  • Taking a prep course
  • Sitting for an exam
  • Paying a fee for the prep course/exam
  • Completing the course online

Certificates and certifications vary in difficulty and experience requirements. Many are accessible to anyone, regardless of their work experience. For more advanced credentials, however, time spent working professionally is a prerequisite.  

22 tech certificates and certifications to have on your radar

Let’s check out some of the credentials on offer from major tech companies and credentialing organizations. This is not an exhaustive list, but serves to provide insight on some of the opportunities out there. You’ll want to do your own research depending on your particular interests and career path.

Google

General information:

  • Completion time of about six months
  • Completely online courses
  • English language (with subtitles in other languages)
  • Certificate upon completion

Google IT Support Professional Certificate

This course is designed for beginners in the IT field, even for those with no educational background or degree.

Topics:

  • Customer support
  • Hardware assembly
  • Networking
  • Operating systems

This program includes an “applied learning project,” mimicking real-world IT problems to better prepare students with skills they’ll need in the workforce.

Google IT Automation with Python Professional Certificate

This certificate also centers on beginner-level IT skills, with a focus on coding and task automation. Automating tasks can help make business tasks and data management more efficient, making it an important IT skill.

Topics:

  • Python scriptwriting for automation
  • IT resource management at scale
  • Virtual and physical machine management
  • Leveraging Git and GitHub

According to the program page, this program does not require experience. It does, however, build on IT fundamentals that are taught in the IT Support Professional course.

Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate

Nearly everything done on the internet produces data, which data analytics professionals can leverage to inform business decisions. This course focuses on how data is collected, organized, analyzed and visualized for day-to-day operations.

Topics:

  • Data organization, including spreadsheets, SQL and R programming
  • Data analysis tools and visualization
  • Data presentation and findings
  • Ethics of data

Google also offers two industry specializations: finance and public sector. These were developed in conjunction with the University of Illinois and the University of Michigan, respectively.  

Google UX Design Professional Certificate

UX, or user experience, design focuses on how end users interact with an application, program or service. It’s a subtle art that combines an understanding of technology and psychology.

Topics:

  • Wireframe creation
  • UX design
  • Learning and implementing the design process
  • UX research and basic concepts

By the end of this course, students will have created a portfolio, including a mobile application and website. This can be helpful material when students go on to the next steps in their careers.

EC-Council (International Council of Electronic Commerce Consultants)

Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

Organizations employ ethical hackers to find threats and vulnerabilities in their cybersecurity infrastructure. This certification tests the essential background required for work in this field, and it does require some background knowledge in IT. EC-Council recommends two years of IT experience.

Topics:

  • Identifying attack techniques
  • Hacking tools and techniques
  • Cybersecurity methodology, including foot printing and reconnaissance  

Certified Network Defender

This certification prepares IT specialists to protect businesses from cybersecurity threats and anticipate threats. It’s suited for individuals with experience in IT looking to make a transition into cybersecurity.

Topics:

  • Security across multiple operating systems and devices
  • Risk management and anticipation
  • Threat assessment
  • Cybersecurity monitoring and analysis

Microsoft

Microsoft 365 Certified: Fundamentals

This certification covers the fundamentals of implementing and using Microsoft 365. It measures understanding of SaaS solutions and basic cloud services.

Topics:

  • Basic ideas in cloud computing
  • Microsoft 365 services
  • Basic security and compliance
  • Pricing and support

Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals

Microsoft Azure is the company’s cloud computing platform, and this certification can prove your know-how on this popular platform. You’ll need to understand the different cloud computing models, security protocols, and basic networking and storage concepts.

Topics:

  • Architecture of Azure services
  • Management and governance of Azure services
  • Basic cloud computing fundamentals 

Microsoft Certified: Security, Compliance, and Identity Fundamentals

This certification focuses on cybersecurity. Students demonstrate a fundamental understanding of cyberthreats and how Microsoft services can be used to defend against them.

Topics:

  • Security, compliance and identity
  • Azure compliance
  • Azure Active Directory

CompTIA

CompTIA Security+

Th CompTIA Security+ certification focuses on security fundamentals to help keep business networks safe. It emphasizes practical skills and problem-solving to better prepare students for real-life challenges.

Topics:

  • Assessing security status of a network
  • Monitoring for cyberthreats
  • Acting in the event of cyberattack

CompTIA Network+

This beginner certification delves into what it takes to establish and maintain a network for a business. It includes many of the fundamentals of networking, security and troubleshooting that are important in IT support roles.

Topics:

  • Implementing a network
  • Network operations and security
  • Network and cloud architecture fundamentals

CompTIA A+

This certification covers the major aspects of IT support, making it a good choice for someone looking for a thorough and broad background for work in this field. According to CompTIA, this certification emphasizes “performance testing to prove pros can think on their feet to perform critical IT support tasks.”

Topics:

  • Understanding and implementing SaaS applications
  • Diagnosing and repairing common IT problems
  • Implementing operating systems
  • Cloud virtualization and security

Cisco

Cisco Certified Technician (CCT)

CCT represents the entry-level certifications on offer from Cisco. Completion of these certifications requires a functional understanding of Cisco systems, including repair, restoration and replacement.                                    

The three courses under this specification are:

CCT Collaboration

This CCT certification track tests the technical ins and outs of on-site support of Cisco systems. 

Topics:

  • Cisco operating environments and endpoints
  • Identifying and understanding Cisco software and hardware
  • Leveraging Command-Line Interface (CLI) for Cisco product service

CCT Data Center

This certification focuses on Cisco systems that deal with data management and security.

Topics:

  • Networking fundamentals
  • Data center hardware and software
  • Field servicing and equipment replacement
  • Troubleshooting common problems

CCT Routing and Switching

This certification focuses on Cisco routers, switches and operating environments.

Topics:

  • Identifying Cisco router hardware
  • Leveraging Command-Line Interface (CLI) for Cisco product service
  • Configuring remote servers
  • Recognizing connection endpoints

Amazon

The wide implementation of AWS products and services makes AWS certification a useful place to build in-demand skills. AWS offers certification at beginner, intermediate and expert levels.

AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner

This certification focuses on the fundamentals of cloud computing on the AWS platform. It requires no experience and can serve as a jumping-off point for later certifications.

Topics:

  • Basic IT services and the AWS Cloud
  • Basic security concepts
  • Billing and pricing models

AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional

An advanced certification, the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional designation indicates practical knowledge of AWS systems. It’s designed for those with at least two or more years of experience specifically operating with AWS products.

Topics:

  • Designing and deploying AWS applications
  • Advanced AWS functionality, such as CLI and API
  • Evaluating and creating AWS architectures for business applications


AWS Certified Security – Specialty

AWS offers specialized certifications in a number of topics, including data analytics, machine learning and more. These certifications demonstrate specific skills that solve specific problems in the world of cloud computing.

With the AWS Certified Security – Specialty credential, specialists can evaluate and implement important cybersecurity solutions to protect businesses from cyber threats.

Topics:

  • Securing AWS workloads
  • Classifying data and relevant AWS protection protocol
  • Designing security measures at scale

SAS offers academic discounts for students and educators looking to save on their exam costs.

Data Integration Developer

This certification focuses on data integration skills, particularly in SAS software and services.

Topics:

  • SAS Business Analytics architecture
  • Metadata creation and management
  • Job deployment
  • Working with transformations

AI & Machine Learning Professional

Machine learning and AI open up a variety of opportunities when it comes to drawing novel insights from data. This certification requires passage of three exams focusing on machine learning, forecasting and natural language processing.

Topics:

  • Machine learning
  • Computer vision
  • Data optimization

Platform Administrator

This certification proves specialists’ aptitude managing the servers, data repositories and operating systems that make up the SAS platform.

Topics:

  • Server status monitoring
  • Security configuration for SAS servers
  • Data source connectivity
  • Metadata management

The University of Phoenix connection

Individuals who complete tech credentials described in this article may choose to go on to pursue a bachelor’s or master’s degree to take their expertise to the next level. At University of Phoenix (UOPX), these individuals can earn credits toward their degree by leveraging what they’ve learned in a certificate or certification program.

Through the UOPX Prior Learning Assessment (PLA), students can demonstrate skills they’ve learned prior to taking on a UOPX degree program. This can save them time and money when pursuing their degree, and help them take the most advantage of their education.

Learn more about PLA, and how it can save you time and money on your degree!

In addition, UOPX students enjoy several discounts and offers that make earning tech certificates and certifications more accessible. These include exam discounts and content aligned with the credentials, including those from AWS, EC-Council and CompTIA. Learn more about tech-aligned learning from University of Phoenix!

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