Top Professional Certifications to Advance Your Career

Job markets are becoming increasingly competitive and they are rapidly changing. The advancement of new technologies and ideas in work, forces people to stand out from the crowd and be more creative than ever. The best way for people to keep pace with this change, is to expand their skills by taking different professional certification courses.

Professional certification is a process in which a person proves that he has the knowledge, experience, and skills to perform a specific job. Certification is more than a credential for your employer or potential employer. Possessing such a qualification, confirms that a person is important, committed, and well trained professionally.

Professionals with certifications generally can expect:

- Better employment and opportunities

- Good remuneration packages

- Social/professional recognition

- To be more competitive than others

A wide variety of industries and careers offer professional certification, ranging from Accounting, Computer Science, Technology, Banking and Finance, etc.

Here are a few certifications to consider:

MCITP (Microsoft Certified IT Professional)

These certifications prove that you have the comprehensive set of skills to perform a particular IT role, such as database administrator or enterprise messaging administrator. MCITP certifications builds on the technical proficiency measured in the Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certifications.

In order to earn the MCITP: Database Administrator you must first pass the Microsoft Certified Technical Specialist certification in SQL Server 2008 (by passing the 70-432 exam) and then pass the 70-450 exam.

The MCITP Database Administrator demonstrates knowledge of SQL Server instances and database solutions, database server security solutions, high availability databases, backup and recovery solutions, monitoring strategies, database management and maintenance strategies, and data distribution strategies.

MCSD (Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer)

This certification validates a candidate's ability to design and build application solutions. These solutions may span multiple versions of a single technology or integrate multiple technologies. Developers are expected to analyze and design enterprise solutions using different Microsoft languages and development tools.

Currently there are four certification tracks for those seeking to earn this certification:

1. MCSD Windows Store Apps

2. MCSD Web Applications

3. MCSD SharePoint Applications

4. MCSD Application Lifecycle Management

Each MCSD track requires anywhere from three to six separate exams. Microsoft has introduced a recertification requirement for the new MCSD. Current certification holders will have to recertify every two years, ensuring that they remain current on the base technology that will have changed due to service packs, revisions, and new product releases.

MCT (Microsoft Certified Trainers)

An MCT is a professional trainer who has been certified by Microsoft to deliver Microsoft Official Curriculum (MOC) instructor-led courses to Information Technology (IT) professionals and developers.

The key benefits of MCTs include access to the complete library of official Microsoft training and certification products; substantial discounts on exams, books, and Microsoft products; readiness resources and access to a members-only online community; and invitations to exclusive events and programs.

As a Microsoft Certified Trainer, you need to earn a Microsoft Certification validating your experience and knowledge in using Microsoft products and solutions for each course you deliver.

CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate)

Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Routing and Switching is a certification program for entry-level network engineers that helps maximize your investment in basic networking knowledge and increase the value of your employer's network.

There are no prerequisites for this certification programme. The best way to prepare for this certification is to take the Cisco-approved training:

- Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part 1 (ICND1)

- Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part 2 (ICND2)

- Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices: Accelerated (CCNAX)

The following self-study resources will also help you prepare for the exam:

Member Led Study Sessions

Cisco Demos the Cisco Learning Labs

Cisco Demos E-Learning

IPv6 Explained with Cisco Press Author Wendell Odom

Earning a certification does not guarantee that you will strike your dream job. They do however allow individuals to take their careers to a new level and change one’s life for the better. The job market is insanely competitive and as such, certifications provide today’s job candidates with the competitive advantage to differentiate themselves from the crowd. If you possess a certification, it shows that you are hungry for knowledge and self-development. 




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