The Top Five (5) Entry Level IT Certifications for 2022 are:
- Cybersecurity jobs take 21% longer to fill than other IT jobs on average.
- From October of 2020 to September of 2021, there were 162,700 job openings available for Information Security Analysts, but only 138,000 workers currently employed in those positions.
According to Amazon’s Executive Insights, 51% of businesses find it difficult to find qualified Cloud Engineers. And on top of that the Bureau of Labor statistics reported that there will be 11,000 openings for computer network architects each year over the next ten years. The salaries for security, cloud, and network professionals are not trivial, and often exceed six figures after a few years of experience.
In order to get those positions and receive those six figure salaries, people who are seeking to get into the IT profession need to start at entry level positions. Oftentimes, the bare minimum experience includes having some level of IT Certifications.
What is the Career Path?
When thinking about certifications, an individual should be thinking about their long-term career path. Do you want to become an IT Manager? How about a Cloud, Network, or Security Architect? This question should be answered first in order to help decide which path to follow. Once this question has been decided, it is easier to select a certification and certification path. The road to becoming an IT Architect, Manager, Director, or C-level IT Executive is a marathon, not a sprint. It often takes ten years or more to get there while acquiring a broad shallow skillset in multiple disciplines as well as a deep skillset in a focus area (such as cloud, networking, or security).
1. Microsoft Azure Fundamentals – AZ-900
Microsoft may be the first place to start looking for certifications for many, given their dominance in the IT industry. Their cloud business has boomed with Microsoft Azure and many organizations are migrating their traditional on-premise environment into the Microsoft Azure Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) platform. The certification path to get started with Microsoft Azure is Exam AZ-900: Microsoft Azure Fundamentals. This is the exam you would take first in your Microsoft Azure career path. In order to help people become familiar with Azure Fundamentals, Microsoft has released a learning path that includes videos, which you can access here: Azure Fundamentals part 1: Describe core Azure concepts (AZ-900) – Learn | Microsoft Docs.
2. Cisco Certified Networking Associate – CCNA 200-301
The Cisco Certified Networking Associate exam demonstrates the following skills: network fundamentals, network access, IP connectivity, IP services, security fundamentals, and automation and programmability. There is some discussion as to whether a person should take CCT Routing and Switching as that is mentioned on Cisco’s website as an entry-level certification, however, it is meant for identifying and replacing field devices, rather than configuration and networking best practices. Cisco’s website provides some resources for learning, which can be found here: 200-301 CCNA – Cisco.
3. AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner – CLF-C01
The AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner certification demonstrates a person’s familiarity with Amazon Web Services. Amazon is the dominant force in cloud computing and many organizations have a presence in their cloud environment. Cloud is only expected to grow and Amazon has been leading the way with new and innovative services. Amazon provides learning plans for the AWS Cloud Practition Exam here: AWS Skill Builder.
4. CompTIA Security+
CompTIA has had a long reputation for being a standard to certifications in the IT industry. Following the CompTIA Security+ program will give the IT professional the skills and understanding for understanding attacks, threats, and vulnerabilities, designing and architecting security best practices, administering security-related technologies, security operations and incident response, as well as governance, risk, and compliance (GRC). EDR solutions are gaining a lot of traction in the industry and security engineers and analysts will be needed to monitor and respond to incidents.
5. CompTIA A+
The CompTIA A+ Certification demonstrates that an IT Professional has a broad skillset of configuring and administrating server-side and client-side technologies. Oftentimes, this is the first certification an IT Professional will achieve before moving onto vendor-specific certifications. The A+ certification covers nine focus areas:
- Operating Systems
- Software Troubleshooting
- Hardware & Network Troubleshooting
- Mobile Devices
- Virtualization and Cloud Computing
- Operational Procedures
The CompTIA A+ Certification may provide an easier entry into a job where practical skills and experience can be gained whereas other certifications are more niche.
These top 5 entry level IT Certifications for 2022 will provide an early IT professional the skills and experience they need to focus in on a career path from which they can expand and grow into. The demand for people with these certifications is high and the need will not be going away in the foreseeable future. Therefore, anyone looking to get into IT should explore one of these five entry-level certifications.