Demonstrable high-value skills are important for broadening your gamut of professional capabilities, and securing a high-paying position. Studies show that a few certifications under your belt can help you secure an 8 to 16 percent pay rise.

Information technology is an ever-changing, dynamic industry that is evolving and expanding constantly. New technology is giving rise to new certifications, which is resulting in a paradigm shift in terms of employer requirements. So, what do today’s employers want to see from their IT employees?

We’ve ranked some of the most popular and high-paying IT certifications of 2018. Read on to find out how these certifications can make you an asset to your employers in the uber-competitive IT industry:

Networking Certifications

Networking is perhaps the most important part of an IT infrastructure; being the foundation for advancements in connectivity worldwide. Recently, it has given rise to some highly specialized fields, with increasing demand in the professional sphere. Following are some of the most important networking certifications for 2018:

1)      CompTIA Network+

This is a great entry-level certification for those contemplating a career in networking. The CompTIA Network+ certification will help you learn all about the OSI model, related hardware issues, as well as managing and troubleshooting networks, both wireless and wired. Job titles that can benefit from these certifications include; Network Technician, Network Support and Helpdesk Technician, among many others. These professionals can earn up to $79,000 a year.

2)      CCNA (Cisco Certified Networking Associate)

This is a more advanced, associate-level certification, considered by some as an industry standard. The CCNA certification is perfect for employees that have to operate, configure or install networks, making them experts at the various aspects of their jobs. CCNA qualified Network Engineers, System Admins and Network Admins are masters at network security, voice and wireless networks, and can expect to make about $80,000 a year.

Project Management Certifications

Project managers are responsible for initiating, planning, managing, executing and controlling projects. This certification imparts important knowledge on project management methodologies that can help organizations and businesses ace the projects at hand. IT project managers can expect to make upwards of $100,000 a year.  The most popular project management courses include:

  • Project Management Professional (PMP)
  • PMI-ACP (Agile Certified Practitioner)
  • Prince2 Foundation and Practitioner
  • CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management)

ITIL v3 Foundation Certification

The ITIL Foundation Training is generally regarded as the most advanced and widely used framework by IT managers across the globe. The IT service management industry, as the name suggests, is tasked with fulfilling customer needs. ITIL Foundation certification provides managers with important knowledge of IT service lifecycles; including design, strategy, operation transition and service improvement, among others. With this certificate, you can expect to earn up to $ 103,000 annually.

Data Analytics/ Science (Big Data Analytics)

If you are an IT professional looking for growth in a different direction, i.e. something other than networking, then a data science certification should be at the top of your list. The demand for data scientists is increasing exponentially and data scientists can easily earn up to 40% more than non-certified IT professionals. There are expected to be more than 50,000 data scientists’ jobs this year alone and earning this certification is a great step towards ensuring that you can get one-up on the competition.

Cloud Computing Certification

The adoption of cloud-based technology is giving rise to a need for specialists who have the skills and knowledge to help businesses transition from physical premises to the cloud. A Cloud Computing Certification is a good option for dedicated cloud networking specialists, as well as general networking professionals.

Microsoft Azure Certification

An Azure certification is a globally-recognized standard for IT professionals working on the cloud. It offers a structured education on analytics, database, mobile networking, storage and web for cloud services. This certification will make you an Azure specialist, and you will obtain professional credentials that’ll help you show off your automation, implementation, and monitoring prowess for Azure Solutions. Some popular Azure courses are:

  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA)
  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE)
  • Microsoft Certifies Solutions Developer (MCSD)
  • Microsoft Azure Certification- Architecting Microsoft on Azure.

DevOps Certification

This certification helps bridge the gap between IT and development teams. It imparts knowledge about the cultural and structured collaborative process, and how automation tools can make things easier. Modern DevOps tools such as Git, Docker, Puppet and Nagios can make you an expert in IT-service agility as well as continuous development and deployment of these services.

Top IT certifications are globally recognized professional qualifications, and the best possible path to learning more about the prevalent technologies and tools. These certifications can validate your ability to perform a job and help you keep pace with the fast-changing world of IT. Your real-world experience, coupled with the latest knowledge, is your key to expertise in IT.