Qualifications can lead to a glittering IT career

If you want a career in technology, you may at this stage be wondering what qualifications you should be aiming to achieve. This depends on which IT sector you see yourself working in – after all, the qualifications for software development will be different than for a hardware technician.

If you’re looking for a career as a database developer or server administrator, then the Microsoft Certified IT Professional credential (MCITP) can be important, as it validates a person’s proven capabilities. In order to secure one, candidates must pass several Microsoft exams designed to track their previous job before earning the new designation.

The Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) is another important qualification because it helps IT staff to validate abilities to install, maintain and troubleshoot Microsoft technology. The MCTS qualifications communicate the skills and expertise a holder has on a specific platform, and earning one requires passing multiple targeted exams that focus on the responsibilities of specific platforms.

Security is always a critical topic and always will be. For a company, strong security is vital for shareholder value, client confidence and sales. As such, Security+ is an important qualification that provides a vendor-neutral and respected foundation to industry staff seeking to display proficiency with security.

Another qualification related to security is the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), which is for industry professionals with no less than five years of full-time experience. The qualification is recognised internationally and shows a person’s expertise with security in operations and networks, and their ability to understand legal compliance responsibilities and manage risk.

Anyone looking to get into development should look into acquiring the Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD), which measures a developer’s ability to build and maintain software solutions with Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0 and Visual Studio 2010. Such certification will elevate developers beyond the rung of all others and onto a higher platform that clearly shows competency and proficiency in designing, optimising and operating Microsoft technologies.

With technology becoming ever more popular and increasing numbers of people knowing how to deal with their machines, it’s becoming harder to find professionals with hardware and support skills – because the world of technology is now so vast, it is harder to find those willing to dig into a desktop box or troubleshoot Windows boot errors. Nonetheless, they remain essential skills, and so CompTIA’s A+ certificate shows that a candidate has proven experience in support, and as the certificate covers desktop installation, problem diagnosis, computer or network error troubleshooting and preventive maintenance, organisations will have no doubts over the ability of any technician holding the qualification.

If you have ambitions of becoming a leader of a technology project, the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is a great one to secure as it validates skills and knowledge essential for planning, executing, budgeting and leading a technology project. The certificate requires five years of project management experience or three years’ experience and 35 hours of related education, so no organisation will be able to doubt your ability if you have a PMP certificate. This is also an important credential to have today, as with the recession all organisations will appreciate someone with proven abilities in scheduling, budgeting and management skills.

Although the desktop computing world is predominately one of Microsoft’s Windows operating system, Linux is well known and continues to grow. It provides an open source alternative to the closed systems of Windows and OSX, and professionals who want to formalise their Linux experience can do so with the Linux+ certificate, issued by CompTIA.

It is clear that technology is no longer just about knowing how to operate a computer and trying to get a job that way, but by knowing what area of technology you want to focus on, you can bolster your chances of success by acquiring the right qualifications.