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9 IT Certifications to Consider in 2024

By Shane Sullivan/Tiffany Cowherd

February 21, 2024

8 min read

 

If you’re preparing to pursue a career in cyber security, computer programming, network systems administration or another area of the information technology (IT) field, keep in mind that many employers look for candidates with verified technical skills. It’s important to align your education and technical training with employers’ requirements and what job postings ask for, which often include industry-recognized certifications. In this article, we’ll take a look at 9 IT certifications that you should consider in 2024, providing a brief profile of each credential. We’ll also provide some guidance on how to go about deciding which professional certifications might be right for you. 

 

IT Certification vs. IT Certificate: What’s the Difference?

You have likely seen the terms “certification” and “certificate” used in relation to IT education requirements and been curious about their similarities and differences. There is a distinct difference between a certification versus a certificate. In short, a certification comes from a professional organization that verifies the holders’ skills, while a certificate is an educational credential in a particular discipline from a university or similar institution. Take a look at online job listings on platforms like Indeed or LinkedIn and you’ll see that employers list qualifications that include both educational credentials and industry certifications.

Going into more detail, IT certifications are usually conferred by an independent third-party organization that establishes standards and best practices for some aspect of the IT industry, or one of the major tech companies, such as Microsoft or Amazon Web Services (AWS). By meeting eligibility requirements and passing a certification exam, individuals can obtain the certification and include the credential in their title, which would be the letters after someone’s name, such as CDP (Certified Data Professional) or CISA (Certified Information Systems Auditor). Employers sometimes prefer to hire candidates with specific credentials, or they may help entry-level employees obtain certification after they’re hired. Industrial or professional certification programs often require credential holders to participate in continuing professional education programs or to re-certify every few years to keep their skills up to date, and IT certifications are no exception.

A certificate is a credential awarded by an academic institution that confirms an individual has successfully completed a course of study, similar to a degree program but typically shorter. Certificate programs are often available at the undergraduate and graduate levels. They typically can be completed in less time and at a lower cost than a full degree program and can be used to enhance or deepen your knowledge of a particular skill, which may then aid in a job search or potential career advancement opportunity.

While being configured and obtained in different ways, certifications and certificates can intersect in meaningful ways. Elements of the coursework in academic certificate programs are sometimes designed to prepare students for widely accepted certification exams. This is evident in the IT certificates offered here at DeVry:
 

  • Our Undergraduate Certificate in Information Technology Essentials is designed to expose you to concepts across the technology field, helping you gain hands-on experience with Internet of Things (IoT) projects, networking and digital devices, programming, operating systems and more. Elements of the coursework in this online program can also prepare you to pursue IT certifications like CompTIA A+, CompTIA Linux+, CompTIA Network+ and CompTIA Cloud+. This program is eligible for our Tech Essentials Grant, which offers $2,400 toward the cost of your IT Essentials certificate program upon completion.1 Please see the catalog for complete admissions requirements.

  • Our Undergraduate Certificate in Cyber Security will help you develop fundamental skills required to combat cybercrime with coursework that teaches you how to design strategies to safeguard information, infrastructure and brands against the threat of cyberattacks. Elements of the curriculum in this 100% online certificate program may also help you to prepare to pursue IT certifications like the ones described above, plus cyber security-related credentials like CompTIA PenTest+ and CompTIA Security+, and the EC Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker certifications.
     

At DeVry, you can accomplish your educational goals in a way that works for your life and career goals. Apply the skills you learn in your undergraduate certificate program right away by entering the workforce, or if you choose to continue your education beyond the certificate level, our stacking programs allow you to apply eligible credits you’ve earned toward a qualifying associate or bachelor’s degree.2

 

Finding the information technology certificate program that’s right for you is an important first step. That’s why we offer a broad variety of tech certificates in IT-related fields like cloud computing, software design, networking and more. 

IT Certifications You Could Pursue

Many information technology-related certifications can help you prepare to pursue that first job in cyber security, data analysis, software design or some other area of IT, or help you sharpen your skills to prepare for what’s next. As promised, here’s our list of 9 important IT certifications:
 

1. CompTIA A+

According to CompTIA, this fundamental IT credential appears in more tech support job listings than any other. This certification verifies skills involved in critical IT support tasks for professionals supporting networking, security and virtualization and more.
 

2. CompTIA Security+

Validating the baseline skills required to pursue an IT security career, CompTIA’s Security+ certification establishes core knowledge required in cyber security and can be used as a springboard to intermediate-level roles in the continuously evolving tech environment. Incorporating best practices and hands-on troubleshooting, this IT certification verifies the skills required to identify, analyze and respond to security incidents.
 

3. Amazon Web Services (AWS) Certified Solutions Architect – Associate

The AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate credential is intended to demonstrate knowledge and skills across the range of AWS services and increase the credential holder’s confidence and credibility when interacting with customers and stakeholders. This certification focuses on the design of cost and performance-optimized solutions while highlighting an understanding of the AWS Well-Architected Framework.
 

4. Google Professional Cloud Architect

Google’s Professional Cloud Architect certification verifies skills associated with an understanding of cloud architecture and Google Cloud. The certification exam assesses candidates’ abilities to manage implementations of cloud architecture, analyze and optimize technical and business processes and manage and provision cloud solution infrastructure.
 

5. Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud Practitioner

Described as a good starting point for IT professionals on the AWS certification journey, the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner validates foundational skills and understanding of AWS Cloud, services and terminology. This IT certification, according to AWS, is appropriate for individuals switching to a cloud career with no prior IT or cloud experience, or for those looking for foundational cloud literacy.
 

6. Google IT Support Professional Certificate

This certificate program is intended to provide the skills required to gain entry-level employment in the field of IT support. The fully online Google IT Support Professional program covers tech support fundamentals, operating systems, networks, security and system administration, with an emphasis on troubleshooting and problem-solving to keep computers and networks running without interruption.
 

7. Microsoft 365 Certified: Fundamentals

Microsoft’s family of 365 certifications consists of three levels: Fundamentals, Associate and Expert. This Fundamental certification is right for you if you’d like to demonstrate a base-level knowledge of cloud services, show fluency in SaaS (software as a solution) solutions, particularly the various Microsoft 365 offerings, and showcase your familiarity with the currently available Microsoft 365 cloud service options.
 

8. Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

The EC-Council’s CEH certification is a globally-recognized, structured professional course for aspiring professionals in cyber security. With an extensive program that covers 5 phases of ethical hacking, this program allows you to learn the commercial-grade hacking tools and techniques used by information security professionals to lawfully hack an organization.
 

9. Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

Offered by the ISACA network of IT and information systems (IS) professionals, the CISA credential is recognized as the standard of achievement for professionals who audit, control, monitor and assess organizational IT and business systems. Intended for mid-level IT and IS practitioners, CISA certification verifies skills in the IS auditing process, IT governance and management, IS operations and business resilience, and protection of information assets.

Which Certifications Should I Pursue?

The array of certifications available to aspiring or experienced IT professionals can be overwhelming. You can, however, get your bearings by establishing clear professional goals. Are you looking for an entry-level position or advancing your career after gaining a few years of on-the-job experience? If you know where you’re headed in your job search, the decision may become much easier.

As we mentioned earlier on, it’s a good idea to look at the certifications employers may include in the qualifications section of their online job postings. Employers may prefer to hire candidates with certifications that align with the duties and responsibilities of the positions for which they’re hiring and may specify those certifications in their job listings. Even if you don’t find a specific certification requirement there, you can do a side-by-side comparison of the job descriptions and the certifications in the corresponding IT area to see where they align.

Can an IT Certificate or Degree Help Prepare Me for IT Certifications?

All our undergraduate tech certificates, like our Undergraduate Certificate in Cloud Computing, Undergraduate Certificate in Networking Essentials, Undergraduate Certificate in Cyber Security, Undergraduate Certificate in Engineering Technology and others, are aligned with industry-recognized certifications. While these are just one step toward earning a certification, they can help you gain familiarity with tech and IT principles, give you hands-on experience with current technology and applications and provide you with guidance from knowledgeable professors who work in the field. 

Choose the Tech Certificate or Degree Program That Matches Your Career Goals

If you’re planning to pursue a tech career or change direction with the experience you’ve already earned, DeVry can help you pursue your professional goals. We offer a range of tech certificate and degree programs with the innovation that you’d expect from an institution that’s been progress driven for nearly a century.

Gain a hands-on foundation of tech knowledge in topics like operating systems, hardware, connectivity, programming and security while you build the skills needed in today’s Internet of Things (IoT) economy.

Online learning with DeVry can help you balance your commitment to education with work, family and other aspects of your busy life. Let’s talk about getting you enrolled in the program that fits your personal and professional goals.
 

1Students may participate in only one DeVry University-based scholarship, grant or group tuition benefit program at a time. Those who qualify for more than one program will be presumed to accept the program with the highest reduction in by- session cost. Students who qualify for and prefer a different tuition benefit program must confirm, in writing, the alternate program in which they wish to participate prior to starting classes at DeVry. Scholarship and grant terms and eligibility conditions are subject to change. Scholarships are available to those who apply and qualify. Click here for more information.
2At the time of application to the next credential level, an evaluation of qualifying transfer credits will occur and the most beneficial outcome will be applied. Future programmatic changes could impact the application of credits to a future program. Refer to the academic catalog for details.

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