IT decision-makers (ITDMs) report that cybersecurity is the hardest area to find qualified talent, followed by cloud computing skills.
56% of ITDMs report that certified personnel closes organizational skills gaps.
48% of ITDMs report that certifications boost productivity.
44% of ITDM report that certifications help meet client requirements.
Knowing which cybersecurity certifications are in the greatest demand is invaluable in planning a career in the field. I asked Global Knowledge, the world’s largest dedicated IT training company, which hosts over 3,000 unique IT courses delivered by over 1,100 subject matter experts for their help in finding out which cybersecurity certifications are the most sought after in North America this year. Their 2019 IT Skills and Salary Report is considered the gold standard of IT skills, certification, and salary data, with many IT professionals relying on it to plan their careers. Human Resource professionals also use the report and consider it an invaluable reference to guide their recruiting efforts. Thank you Global Knowledge for providing custom research of the current state of demand for cybersecurity certifications.
Ranking The Most Sought-After Cybersecurity Certifications
Of the 63% of North American IT professionals planning to or are pursuing a certification in 2019, 23% are pursuing a cybersecurity certification according to the latest Global Knowledge IT Skills and Salary Report. The certifications reflect how quickly unique, specialized areas of knowledge are gaining in popularity. “Traditionally, cybersecurity senior leadership-level certifications have been dominated in popularity by the administrative and Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance accreditations. This continues to be reflected in the latest data with the most popular (ISC)2 and ISACA certification bodies represented well in the list,” said Brad Puckett, Global Knowledge’s global product director for cybersecurity. Brad used the Global Knowledgebase of survey data to produce the ten most sought-after cybersecurity certifications in North America in 2019 shown below:
AWS and Google certifications are among the most lucrative in North America, paying average salaries of $129,868 and $147,357 respectively.
Cross-certifying on AWS is providing a $12K salary bump to IT professionals who already have Citrix and Red Hat/Linux certifications today
Globally, four of the five top-paying certifications are in cloud computing.
These and many other insights of which certifications provide the highest salaries by region of the world are from the recently published Global Knowledge 2019 IT Skills and Salary Report. The report is downloadable here (27 pp., PDF, free, opt-in). The methodology is based on 12,271 interviews across non-management IT staffs (29% of interviews), mid-level professionals including managers and team leads (43%), and senior-level and executive roles (28%) across four global regions. For additional details regarding the study’s methodology, please see page 24 of the report.
Key insights from the report include the following:
Cross-certifying on AWS is providing a $12K salary bump to IT professionals who already have Citrix and Red Hat/Linux certifications. Citrix certifications pay an average salary of $109,546 and those earning an AWS certification see a $12,339 salary bump on average. Red Hat/Linux certification-based jobs pay an average of $113,165 and are seeing an average salary bump of $12,553. Cisco-certified IT professionals who gain AWS certification increase their salaries on average from $101,533 to $111,869, gaining a 10.2% increase. The following chart compares the salary bump AWS certifications are providing to IT professionals with seven of the more popular certifications (please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading).
AWS and Google certifications are among the most lucrative in North America, paying average salaries of $129,868 and $147,357 while the most popular are cybersecurity, governance, compliance, and policy. 27% of all respondents to Global Knowledge’s survey have at least one certification in this category. Nearly 18% are ITIL certified. In North American, the most popular certification categories beyond cybersecurity are CompTIA, Microsoft, and Cisco. The following table from the report provides an overview of salary by certification category (please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading).
AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate is the most popular AWS certification today, with 72% of respondents having achieved its requirements. Certified Solutions Architect – Associate leads the top five most commonly held AWS certifications today according to the survey. AWS Certified Developer – Associate (33%), AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate (24%), AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional (16%) and AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner round out the top five most common AWS certifications across the 12,271 global respondents to the Global Knowledge survey.
Security-related certifications pay on average over $17,000 per year more than the median IT certification salary.
Citrix certifications have annual salaries that range from $99,411 to $105,086 with a median salary of $102,365.
AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate is paying a median salary of $125,091.
Project Management Professional (PMP) certifications are the most pervasive, with 730,000 active PMPs in 210 countries and territories worldwide.
These and many other insights about the highest-paying certifications this year are from Global Knowledge’s latest research on the salary levels and market conditions for IT certifications. Their recent survey is summarized in the article, 15 Top Paying Certifications for 2017. This year Global Knowledge distributed the survey globally, providing the 15 top paying IT certifications for the United States recently. A certification had to have at least 115 survey responses to ensure that the data was statistically valid, and the certification exam had to be currently available.
Key insights on the 15 top paying IT certifications in 2017 include the following:
Strong demand continues for IT professionals with Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC) certifications. Global Knowledge estimates than more than 20,000 people worldwide have earned this credential. Ninety-six percent of those who have earned it keep it current. Demand for this certification is outstripping supply, driving up salaries in 2017.
All five AWS certifications available pay above market with the average salary being $125,591. Global Knowledge found that each of the five available AWS certifications pays above $100,000 a year. There’s clearly a shortage of certified AWS architects available today, as IT organizations often compete to hire IT professionals with this and more AWS certifications. Please see the Global Knowledge post, What It Takes To Earn a Top-Paying AWS Certification for additional details.
Honorable mentions include Cisco and CompTIA certifications, including CompTIA+ Security which pays an average salary of $89,147. CompTIA A+ certifications pay $79,877, CompTIA Network+ certifications pay $81,601, and Cisco CCNA Routing and Switching, $83,945.
Average income across all 15 certifications is $109,721. Certifications that specialize in security pay an average salary of $127,061 a year, over $17,000 more than the median salary across the top 15 certifications. The three Microsoft certifications range in salary from a high of $101,150 to a low of $93,718, with a median salary of $98,142. Citrix certifications have annual salaries that range from $105,086 to $99,411, with a median salary of $102,365. The following table provides a breakout of the top 15 IT certifications in 2016 according to Global Knowledge’s salary study.