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Best IT Certifications for 2018

Best IT Certifications for 2018
Best and most rewarding IT certifications to pursue in 2018!
Rave Uno
Last Updated: Jan 21, 2018
IT certifications are a way to certify and validate an individual's IT skills. There are many certifications available from a number of academies and organizations. In the ever changing IT market of today, a certification is an important piece of paper, for both experienced and fresh candidates. Read on to learn more.

An IT certification is no ordinary exam. It is not a simple case of studying from textbooks and study material. IT Certifications require a good combination of practical and technical know-how. While a majority are multiple choice questions, some certifications require a practical exam or on-job experience.
Why is an IT Certification Needed?
Certifications provide that much-needed edge, which differentiates one professional from the other. It gives experienced workers a chance to update themselves in their respective areas of expertise. Instead of going in for another degree, they can add to their education with a certification. Certifications prove how dedicated a professional is to the field they work in.

For fresh graduates, it gives a hiring advantage over their competitors. It is a given in the IT industry, that an inexperienced but a certified professional, is a better choice than an non-certified one. A certificate can be used as a proof of competency. And for the inexperienced, certification knowledge is more valuable for a job, than what they may have learned during their education.

Some of the best in-demand IT certifications are explained in the following sections.
AWS (Amazon Web Services) Certifications
  1. AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate: This certification tests your skills in designing and deploying fault tolerant systems on AWS in the best possible ways.
  2. AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional: This certification tests your expertise in designing applications and systems on an AWS platform.
  1. AWS Certified Developer – Associate: This certification tests your skills in developing and maintaining applications on the AWS platform.
  2. AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional: This certification tests your expertise in operating and managing applications and systems on AWS platform.
  1. AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate: This certification tests your skills in management and operations on an AWS platform.
  2. AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional: This certification tests your expertise in operating and managing applications and systems on AWS platform.
  1. AWS Certified Big Data – Specialty: This certification tests your skills in designing and implementing AWS services to make sense out of big-data.
  2. AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty: This exam tests your expertise in designing and implementing AWS and hybrid IT architectures.
The AWS certifications are classified into associate, specialty, and professional categories. The associate level certifications is the first step towards becoming AWS certified.

The syllabus for each of these certifications have been designed so that you become well versed with various features that the AWS platform possesses. AWS is basically a cloud computing platform and it is one of the popular ones. Amazon has set up hubs in seven geographical locations: Eastern USA, Western USA, Singapore, Australia, Japan and Ireland, primarily for storage and delivery. It is going to be set up soon in other regions like Bahrain, China, France, Hong Kong and Sweden.

Amazon being the most popular choice in the field of cloud computing, these certifications can add great value to your CV. It is advised that fresh graduates first complete the associate level certification and then proceed towards “professional” level. For working professionals, it is fine to do one of the “specialty” certifications that they are interested in after having completed the associate level certification.
Google Certifications
Associate Android Developer
To get certified as an Associate Android Developer involves one to primarily have a strong knowledge of UI and UX development using XML and Java codes and a good understanding of testing and debugging. A sufficient exposure to fundamentals of application components along with storage and system integration is also a must. The procedure to enroll for this certification and then obtaining a soft copy of the certification, is absolutely simple.
Android apps are certainly among the coolest stuff available with the existing technology and with advancements in app development, the scope for app development is only going to grow with time. A certification like this can certainly be an added advantage to your qualifications. This certification is for fresh graduates having a deep understanding of Android Development and working professionals looking to test the skills they have gained during their career.
Mobile Web Specialist
This certification is tailored for students and professionals having a good understanding of HTML, Java Script, and CSS. Key skills involved in completing this certification successfully are: Accessibility, front end networking, testing, debugging, performance optimization, caching, and progressive web apps.
Many websites that look good on computers tend to look chaotic on mobile devices, primarily on smartphones. Making the content on websites look presentable and attractive to the audience using mobile devices is the responsibility of a mobile web specialist. In other words, mobile web specialists have to make these websites suit the user's mobile device. With advancements in electronic technology and the wide-spread popularity of cool gadgets, the demand for certified professionals is only going to increase in the coming years.
Apple Certifications
Apple Certified Pro - Final Cut Pro X
Expertise in basic tools used, importing, organizing, and managing media, advanced audio designing, 3D text, effects, transitions, and re-timing, are some of the prerequisites to complete this certification successfully. It is meant for students as well as professionals who have a desire to excel in film making, video shooting, direction, and graphic designing.
Apple Certified Pro - Logic Pro X
Basic music skills is the most important prerequisite for this course. It is meant for music performers who desire a deeper understanding of things involved in music recording as well as music production. Making music with MIDI and software instruments, recording audio and various types of mixing are included in the course content, that need to be mastered to clear this certification.
Productivity App Certifications
  1. Apple Certified Professional - Pages
  2. Apple Certified Professional – Numbers
  3. Apple Certified Professional – Keynote
These are individual productivity app certifications. However, most people choose to do all of these since contents of all three certifications are taught in one single course. It teaches modern approaches of creating documentations, spreadsheets and presentations.
The detailed list of the course contents is: working with charts, designing a brochure, creating promotional materials, making spreadsheets, designing customized calculators, illustrating data using charts, outlining and presenting media-rich presentations, developing custom themes for delivering a presentation. It also includes pages, numbers, and keynotes for iOS as well as moving between iOS, iCloud, and OS X.
Microsoft Certifications
MCSA Data Engineering with Azure
The purpose of this certification is basically to make you proficient in analytic and solutions on Azure and Big Data. A strong base of clusters, data lake, batch processing and SQL data warehousing are some of the prerequisites. Some of the other essentials are, expertise in Azure data factory and real time processing of Big Data.
MCSA Machine Learning
This certification requires a basic understanding of programming concepts, data structures, and writing and debugging of data structures. Artificial intelligence/machine learning is one of the new booming fields of IT and the scope for development is incredible. After a technology becomes old, organizations start hiring the experienced crowd. Hence, now is a perfect time for fresh graduates to invest their brains into Machine Learning and enter the IT industry.
Cisco Certifications
  1. CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate)
  2. CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional)
  3. CCIE (Cisco Certified Inter-network Expert)
CCAr (Cisco Certified Architect) is the highest qualification certificate offered by Cisco and professionals certified in this, work on extremely complex networks.
The networking field is the best IT field in terms of growth and opportunities. And Cisco is the brand leader in networking certifications. For any level of networking expertise, be it entry or experienced, Cisco has a certificate and in various networking subjects like cloud collaboration, data center, routing and switching, security and wireless. For each of these specializations, CCNA is an entry level exam whereas CCNP and CCIE are for professional and expert levels respectively.
Cisco Industrial Networking Specialist
This is a unique course which trains you on IoT (Internet of Things). IoT is a developing technology which will surely hit the IT industry with a bang in the coming years. Now is the best time to invest in learning IoT as this is a technology of the future. There are several websites offering online certifications in IoT, but a certification from Cisco is certainly more trustworthy and popular as compared to others.
IoT is basically a technology to make things easier by avoiding human – machine and machine – human interactions. An in-depth knowledge of control systems fundamentals for industrial networking is a must in order to crack this certification.
Certification from Axelos
ITIL Certifications
  1. ITIL Foundation Level
  2. ITIL Practitioner Level
  3. ITIL Intermediate Level
  4. ITIL Expert Level
Technical support is an important aspect of IT and it is no longer restricted to getting solutions for the problems faced by your software from call centers. It has exceeded leaps and bounds in the past few years. This has brought great importance to certifications for support professionals. This course is intended for professionals working at L1, L2 or L3 levels of support.
ITIL Foundation Level is an entry level certification which will give you knowledge about the key elements, concepts and terminology used in the ITIL service life-cycle. ITIL Practitioner Level certification serves as a link between the foundation and intermediate levels and has been designed with a view of an individual gaining knowledge about implementing ITIL in their organization efficiently.

The ITIL Intermediate Level module is more focused towards IT Service Management and gives a deeper insight than the above mentioned levels of ITIL certifications. Finally, the ITIL Expert Level certification is offered to individuals who have successfully implemented ITIL standards in their organization and have a strong knowledge and skills of the best ITIL practices.
Ruby Certifications
Ruby on Rails
Certifications offered by Ruby Association are:
  1. Ruby Association Certified Ruby Programmer Silver version 2.1
  2. Ruby Association Certified Ruby Programmer Gold version 2.1
  3. Ruby Association Certified Ruby Programmer Platinum (under development)
Ruby and Rails are two different programs which come together to form an altogether new programming language named, “Ruby on Rails.”The Ruby programming language was developed with an intention of making the programmers happy. Rails is a simply a delight for the beginners since it is extremely easy. The best part about Ruby is that it guides you while writing programs. Web applications can be built using Ruby on Rails.

Ruby Motion can be used for building Android and iOS apps. Rails as such can not create any apps independently, but Ruby on Rails can be implemented mainly for app backgrounds in mobile apps. These certification courses teach you syntax, about built-in libraries and object orientation. It has been predicted that Ruby on Rails is going to be used extensively in the near future and survive as a stable language for over a decade.

A sound knowledge of Java Scripting is a must, however it is not a prerequisite for learning Ruby on Rails. Your chances of getting hired just multiply with knowledge of Java Scripting. It is a cool certification for both beginners as well as experienced professionals wanting to acquire new skills.
Red Hat certifications are the best and most sought-after Linux certifications. They carry out actual practical exams, instead of the normal multiple choice questions. The RHCSA is the entry level-exam to pursue a Red Hat certification. It deals with a basic system administration and there is no experience prerequisite. It is the mandatory base exam for higher Red Hat certifications like RHCE. The preparations for examinations of these certifications involves tremendous practice.
PEGA Certified System Architect
This certification is meant for experienced professionals having knowledge of application design, decision design, report design, integration and testing, as well as good experience in case designing, data modeling, and UI designing. The examination for this certification consists of scenario based questions, multiple choice questions and questions involving drag and drop. The course is intended for system architects and application developers.
CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional)
A certification from the non profit International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC2). It deals with information and network security, highly important subjects in any industry and organization. This particular certification is accredited by ANSI, and is highly regarded as an information systems standard. It requires a minimum of 5 years, full-time, security work experience.
CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker)
An ethical hacker or a penetration tester is employed by a company, to attempt to penetrate or hack into the network or computer system, so that weaknesses and failings in their security system can be exposed. As illegal hacking is rapidly becoming a serious threat for several organizations, ethical hacking is gaining popularity as a popular testing method for network security. This vendor neutral certification is provided by the International Council for E-Commerce Consultants.
GIAC (Global Information Assurance Certification)
GIAC is one of the leading institutions handling information security certifications, in a number of security disciplines. GIAC measures an individual's specific knowledge areas in the field of information security, for nearly 20 job specific responsibilities, like firewall analyst, intrusion analyst or security expert to name a few. It is a highly valued certification in the field of information security.
CISM (Certified Information Security Manager)
This is an advanced certification from the ISACA, for experienced professionals in the field of information security. A CISM certificate exam validates an individual's management skills and know-how of large, enterprise-level information security handling. It is of key value to those trying to upgrade their job position, from that of a security professional to a managerial position. It has been accredited by the ANSI and requires at least 5 years of work experience in IT security.
IT certifications have been a source of debate for industry experts. In recruiters minds, the key factor for deciding to hire an individual is experience. However a certification cannot replace experience. Also, you can get pigeonholed in that technology, and your company might hesitate to promote you.

Find out if a certification will result in a pay raise or make you eligible for a promotion. And see how flexible your schedule is, so that you can actually study for the exam. In the long run, your talent and skills are the key factors that contribute to your success in the IT field.