Monday, 21 December 2015

10 best IT certifications for 2016

 By Sarah Morgan


1. (ISC)2’s CISSP


The Cyber security skills gap has been around for years now, and shows no sign of closing. The Financial Times described it as the “largest human capital shortage in the world”. (ISC)2’s CISSP continues to establish itself as the top IT certification and global standard in the field and is the perfect certification to elevate you into top level roles. It’s also now required by a vast amount of top jobs. 

It is so coveted because it covers the elite skills in both technical and managerial aspects of security including security engineering, risk management, access management, software development security and network security.

The demand for IT security will continue to soar in 2016 and getting CISSP certified will continue to be a fantastic way to reach the top security roles within the growing industry.


2. EC-Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker


EC-Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker certification can be directly used to prevent the cyber-attacks that have been making headline news recently. Ethical hackers carry out processes to simulate a real life cyber-attack on a business’s network. The difference being that when they find a weakness that could be maliciously exploited, they use their skills to protect businesses and close the gaps in security.

Because of these high profile attacks, such as JP Morgan Chase who recently lost 76 million data records, EC-Council’s CEH is continuing to be in high demand. This means the CEH is going to continue to grow to become a massive certification in the IT industry in 2016. 


Image courtesy of EC-Council

3. Cisco’s CCNA (Routing and Switching)


The skills gap is not exclusive to security. In a recent TEK Systems survey, 81% of bosses from all areas of IT say they have difficulty finding the right talent. Another of the most in demand areas is networking.

Cisco’s CCNA (Routing and Switching) is the best certification for you to get into a networking role and teaches you all the fundamental skills in areas like IP addressing, network device security, IP routing and LAN switching technologies.

The CCNA is not just a great certification to get into networking, but is a great certification to get into IT. This is because these skills are versatile, and networking is applicable in many other areas of IT. Getting CCNA certified in 2016 is a great move to get your IT and networking career moving in one of the best directions possible.


4. Microsoft Specialist: Windows 10


The release of Windows 10 back in July was probably one of the most exciting IT events of 2015. Certifications to accompany it, helping you get skilled up on the operating system are rapidly being released.

The primary certification for Windows 10 in 2016 is likely to be the new Microsoft Specialist: Windows 10. Following Microsoft Official Curriculum, the course will take you right through from installing Windows 10, to using all of Windows 10’s advanced capabilities. These include managing user profiles and state virtualisation, managing Hyper-V and managing devices using Enterprise Mobility Solutions and Enterprise Desktop.

With further development to the content and refinement as more and more people get certified, Microsoft Specialist: Windows 10 will be one of the certifications to get excited about in 2016.

Image courtesy of Microsoft

5. AXELOS PRINCE 2 AGILE


Brilliant managers who complete successful projects at a high rate are hard to find. This is why project management skills are useful in almost any workplace at almost any time, particularly in IT.

The PRINCE2 Agile certification from Axelos is one of the most comprehensive in the world as it combines two of the most popular project management methodologies. PRINCE2, the most popular methodology in the UK, along with Agile, give you unrivaled breadth of project management knowledge from a certification.

Learn the highly transferable skills that the PRINCE2 and Agile methodologies include, and you’ll be much more able to move up the careers ladder, completing successful projects at a higher rate. 


6. The Open Group TOGAF® 9.1 Certification


1000s of companies worldwide have implemented TOGAF skills to improve their productivity and the UK leads this trend accounting for 16% of all TOGAF certified professionals. Continuing this trend, many businesses are now making a TOGAF certification a requirement for a wide variety of roles in IT. 

This trend of more businesses adopting Enterprise Architecture skills like those in TOGAF, means getting certified in 2016 will be a great move for almost anyone in IT. Gaining skills and knowledge in the Architecture Development Method (ADM), The Enterprise Continuum and the TOGAF Resource Base can help you get a better return from your IT operations, helping things run faster, cheaper and reducing risk.


7. Microsoft MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect


Cloud technology made huge strides in 2015, becoming much more important to businesses and the momentum will continue throughout 2016 and beyond. In the coming year we’re likely to see an increase in the capacity and reliability of cloudops - analytics that will allow cloud performance to be monitored more closely and predict when it is likely to suffer.

Microsoft’s Azure is at the forefront of the cloud movement. If you haven’t migrated your existing on premise infrastructure to Azure (or another cloud offering), 2016 is a great time to get your business’s architecture prepared for the future.

Getting Microsoft MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect certified will teach you how to integrate into one of the world’s leading cloud platforms. You’ll have the skills to migrate your business’s architecture to the cloud, managing Azure Virtual machines and the hosting and storing of web applications and SQL data.

You’ll then be able to start reaping the benefits cloud technology brings like increased flexibility, simpler disaster recovery, better security, automatic software updates and capital-free expenditure.


8. (ISC)2 Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) 



(ISC)2’s CCSP specialises in cloud security. The above-mentioned growing cloud market needs IT professionals to adopt vital skills including security, another industry currently in high demand.

The CCSP will teach you comprehensive knowledge of cloud security operations. It covers data protection, data recovery, access management, the software development lifecycle and every aspect of cloud infrastructure protection.


Image courtesy of FutUndBeidl/Flickr
2016 is a fantastic time to get cloud certified. As the technology continues to develop and expand, more professionals with cloud skills will be needed to deploy and maintain cloud architectures. It’s worth mentioning those who are slow to adapt their skills to the cloud now, will be left regretting it in the future when cloud technology becomes the norm.

9. VMware® vSphere: Fast Track [V6]


VMware’s vSphere v6 was released earlier this year and is now established in the market. It is the best way to learn how to introduce and manage a vSphere infrastructure into your business. Version 6 introduced new capacities, supporting up to 64 nodes and 8.000 VMs as well as 12 vCPUs and 4 TB vRAM. These now allow you to make more of the high availability, hardware flexibility, reduced power consumption and faster provisioning that VMware and vSphere can bring to your business and help make it more efficient.

All of this means that 2016 is an excellent time for you to introduce vSphere to your business with the skills the VMware® vSphere: Fast Track [V6] certification can give you. Or if you’re already implementing vSphere, learning to use vCenter Server, manage host storage, configure virtual networks, create a vApp and how to install vSphere components will be valuable in improving how you currently manage the technology.

10. Microsoft MCSA: Windows Server 2016


The launch of Microsoft’s Windows Server 2016 platform has been highly anticipated. Since early 2015 Microsoft has been drip-feeding snippets of information about their new offering and while the technology is still yet to be officially launched, Microsoft did recently announce the launch of the MCSA: Windows Server 2016 certification. Firebrand also had the fantastic opportunity to have a sneak-peek at Windows Server 2016 back in August which further built anticipation.


The exact curriculum still remains unannounced, but the course will teach you to implement and manage Windows Server 2016, as well as covering server security, storage and architecture management. It will be exciting to see what developments Microsoft has for their new Windows Server platform in 2016, as well as the MCSA that will accompany it. 

Many people are already eager to get skilled on the latest Microsoft technology and as the certification officially launches, it will be one of the hottest new certifications to hit the market in 2016.

 About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry.