11 Must-have Credentials to Survive and Thrive in IT

The technology industry is growing — and almost everyone knows it. IT workers are in high demand, and considering the steep rise in earning potential amongst IT leaders, almost every employee is eager to find work in the tech field.

While many IT teams will hire workers with little IT knowledge or skill and train employees on the job, the truth is that surviving and thriving IT will require workers to pursue a significant number of certifications. Before you quit your current job and launch yourself into an IT career, here are the credentials you will eventually need to procure to find success in tech.


The Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) certification, available from the International Information System Security Certification Consortium ((ISC) 2), demonstrates your ability to design, manage and secure data, applications and infrastructure within the cloud.


The Certified Data Privacy Solutions Engineer (CDPSE) certification is available from the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA). The cert demonstrates your ability to implement privacy by design, which allows you to create tech platforms and products that ensure data privacy for all users.


Available from the Institute for Certification of Computing Processionals (ICCP), the Certified Data Professional (CDP) certification allows you more flexibility than other certs on this list. As a CDP candidate, you select a domain, such as business analytics, data governance, information systems or IT management, which you will demonstrate different levels of mastery over.


An ethical hacker is an individual with the knowledge and skills to find and exploit vulnerabilities in computer systems but who is committed to using this power to help others establish better security measures. The Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification is available through the EC-Council.


Another certification from ISACA, the Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) certification demonstrates your abilities in information security governance, information risk management, information security program development and similar responsibilities. This certification is all but mandatory for those interested in moving into IT management.


The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification, available from (ISC)2, demonstrates basic knowledge about IT security and information assurance. To qualify for this credential, you will need at least five years of cumulative, paid work experience in at least two of the eight domains included in the certification.


As one of the largest providers of digital business systems, Cisco offers certifications to ensure that IT professionals understand how to navigate Cisco solutions. The Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) certification is the highest level of cert you can earn from Cisco, demonstrating your expert-level knowledge and skill with Cisco tools.


There are seven different Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) certifications for you to choose from: enterprise, data center, security, service provider, collaboration, CbyerOps and DevNet. This level of certification is essential before you can move on to CCIE or other expert-level certs from Cisco.

CompTIA A+

Often considered the gold standard in entry-level IT certification, CompTIA A+ covers the basics of IT knowledge and skill, such as hardware, technical support and troubleshooting. To earn this cert, you will need to pass two separate exams, and most pursuing the A+ cert have about a years’ worth of experience in the field.


The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) certification scheme involves several certifications that demonstrate your skills and knowledge in the IT management framework. To acquire this cert, you choose one or both of two paths: Managing Professional (MP) or Strategic Leader (SL).


Available through the Project Management Institute, the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification demonstrates your aptitude in the fundamentals of project management, to include initiating, planning, executing, monitoring, controlling and closing a project. To qualify for this cert, you will need a four-year degree as well as experience in the field.

You can earn these credentials while you are engaged in an entry-level IT position, and they will likely help you elevate your role to low-level management. However, if you want to pursue an IT career into the c-suite, you will need to garner even more valuable credentials. An ABET-accredited Bachelor of Science in Information Technology degree will showcase your knowledge, skill and commitment to the IT field, catapulting you forward in your career and broadening your opportunities for success.

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