The top 5 certifications to start your career in IT

If you’re looking to embark on a career in IT, but like most graduates or school leavers lack the experience necessary to demonstrate your knowledge, a certification is a great way of demonstrating that knowledge. Certifications are an independent endorsement that you have the skills necessary to perform certain tasks and have long been the stepping stone for those looking to get their foot on the ladder in the IT sector.

Compiled below are the top 5 certifications for those looking to boost their chances for a role in Networking, Development or Systems and Sever Management.

CompTIA A+
The A+ certification is a vendor-neutral qualification from CompTIA, which provides a practical starting point for those entering a career in IT. This certification covers the fundamental aspects of the industry required to excel in the role of a computer technician or support professional. Completing this certificate validates essential skills in installation and configuration, network technologies, media and topologies and management and security, over a variety of mediums including PCs, laptops, mobiles and printers.

Over 900,000 IT professionals hold this certification and its importance is indicated by the number of esteemed corporations, such as Dell, Intel and Lenovo, who require this of their service technicians. It is also recognised by the US Department of Defense. Providing the groundwork for further qualifications such as The CompTIA Network+, it acts as an efficient gateway to a long-term career with room for growth.

CompTIA Network+
The CompTIA Network+ Certification is recognised internationally as the sign of a qualified networking professional; this qualification indicates the candidates possession of the vital knowledge and skills needed to configure and operate a variety of networks on multiple platforms. Not only is it recommended or required by large companies such as Dell, HP, Ricoh, Sharp and Xerox, but it is listed by the Apple Consultants network as a prerequisite for applicants for IT technician roles. The qualification covers network technologies, installation and configuration, media and topologies, management and security. This makes it ideal for those looking for job roles such as network administrator, network technician, network installer, help desk technician and IT cable installer.

It is recommended you have the CompTIA A+ certificate before trying out for this. According to Payscale the pay range for an A+ professional is £12,400 – £44,400, and for a Network+ professional is £13, 536 – £37,058.

Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA)
MTA, Microsoft’s official certification for entry-level candidates, greatly enhances understanding of IT fundamentals, and imparts practical knowledge on how to use Microsoft technologies to solve today’s business challenges. The MTA certification can be gained by following any one of three tracks, depending on future interests and career goals.

These include:
• MTA IT infrastructure track – aimed towards those hoping to build a career in desktop or server infrastructure or private cloud computing
• MTA database track – covering data platform administration or business intelligence candidates
• MTA development track – geared towards those who want to start a career as a software developer.

The MTA certification is a recommended starting point into the Microsoft technology certification track and provides a useful foundation for future success in pursuing the more advanced MCSA, MCSE, and MCSD credentials.

Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)
This provides a great starting point for entry-level network engineers by maximizing foundational knowledge and demonstrating candidate’s ability as a competent network support associate. With a market share of between 65-70% of global enterprise networks, Cisco has a clear lead in the Routing and Switching world.

This certification validates the candidate’s ability to install, configure, operate and troubleshoot, medium-sized routed and switched networks to the Cisco standard and expectations. As a globally renowned qualification, CCNA has received Silver certification from the iPv6 Forum’s Education Certification Program. Students who gain this certification can display the iPv6 logo showing that they demonstrate accredited skills and knowledge.

Linux LPIC1
Linux is consistently growing in popularity due to its increased flexibility over other operating systems, which makes it a valuable tool for IT professionals and businesses. Linux certifications are an essential credential for entry-level candidates aiming to work with Linux. It verifies the candidate’s ability to perform basic maintenance tasks and install and configure network-connected workstations within the system.

Due to the specialist knowledge required to service the system, Linux certified officials have a better chance of a higher wage, ITJobsWatch indicates that the average salary for an LPI professional is £25,000 (with nearly 1/3 of companies offering above normal pay increases to Linux Pros).

All of these highly regarded qualifications are aimed towards entry-level candidates looking to enhance their credentials in order to advance their career. Each is designed for a specific purpose, so all you need to do is choose the most relevant course for your career objectives, and get started towards obtaining that powerful salary.

Author Bio: Edward Jones works as a Technical Writer for Firebrand Training within the Marketing Department. Edward is responsible for the creating engaging How-to Guides and keeping the industry updated with the latest advances in the IT Certification sector.