Information technology (IT) professionals are in demand, especially those who are tops in their fields. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), “Employment of computer and information systems managers is projected to grow 10 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. The need for cybersecurity and the popularity of cloud computing are just a few possible drivers for this growth. Careers in this field are also typically lucrative. According to the BLS, “The median annual wage for computer and information systems managers was $151,150 in May 2020.”
To remain current in their field, IT professionals can regularly update their knowledge and learn new skills. Certificate programs are one way to do this. University of Phoenix offers more than a dozen certificate programs in IT disciplines. When deciding which certificates to pursue, IT professionals may consider the specialty, how the certificate might affect their future marketability and whether they can complete the coursework easily and conveniently.
IT professionals who are relative beginners should probably choose certificate programs below the A+ level. In addition to improving knowledge, these certificates can also help a beginner determine a specialty. From there, they can explore additional certificate programs in a more specialized area. Some of these beginner certificates are:
- CompTIA Network+
- CompTIA Security+
- AWS Cloud Practitioner
- CompTIA IT Fundamentals (ITF+)
Specialty certificates boost knowledge in a particular IT discipline. Certain jobs may require certificates. When deciding which programs to pursue, a professional may want to balance their own interests with career opportunities or the requirements for available job listings that are of interest to them. Some universities also allow courses taken toward the certificate to apply toward a degree program.
One example of a growing IT specialty is cybersecurity. Several certificates exist within that specialty. Some examples are:
- A cybersecurity policy and governance certificate prepares students to take the EC-Council Certified Chief Information Security Officer (CCISO) exam. The lessons teach students how to secure organizational information and plan responses to cyber attacks.
- An advanced cybersecurity certificate is for those with experience in the field who want to build on their knowledge.
- A cyber and network defense certificate focuses on how to prevent an attack. It also prepares students for the EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) exam.
- A graduate cybersecurity certificate helps those who already have a bachelor’s degree advance their education. It prepares students to perform audits and to manage IT systems. This certificate is also aligned with the ISACA Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
IT careers give professionals a wide range of flexibility to change roles or add qualifications. Here are a few more specialties that can be bolstered with a certificate program.
- A certificate in cloud computing prepares students to understand cloud development operations, secure cloud networks and deploy cloud-based applications. It can also prepare students for jobs building and managing organizational cloud-based systems.
- An advanced networking certificate helps students understand and manage network protocols, operating systems, and architecture.
- A software development certificate can improve these skills and prepare students for the Microsoft C# and C++ certification exams.
- A cybersecurity digital forensics certificate enables students to assess a system’s vulnerability, then plan, implement and monitor security.
- A cybersecurity network forensics certificate teaches students how to conduct network penetration tests and assess the vulnerability of networked computers.
Individuals who already have a master’s degree in information technology can continue their education with certificate programs as well. A post-master’s certificate in information systems and technology leadership prepares IT professionals to lead decision-making and align initiatives with the organization’s overall strategy. Students who earn credits earned in these programs often may apply them toward a doctoral degree if desired.
About University of Phoenix
University of Phoenix offers on-campus and asynchronous online courses for a wide variety of certificate and degree programs. Professional Development Courses also are offered. For IT professionals, there are many options to choose from. In addition to 15 technology certificate programs, the University also offers three associate, four bachelor’s and one master’s degree program in IT/computer science.
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