The Future of Tech: Must-Have Certifications for 2024

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The tech industry is constantly evolving with new skills, tools, and frameworks. To stay relevant and advance your career, getting certified in the latest technologies is crucial. But with so many options, how do you know which online certification is the best for 2024?

Best Certifications 2024- Right Decisions
Credit: Right Decisions

In this comprehensive guide, we will compare the top 10 tech certifications for 2024 and help you determine which is the best fit for your goals and skills.

How We Ranked the Top Certifications

To create this ranking, we analyzed data from various sources including:

  • Job search platforms like LinkedIn and Indeed to identify certifications that are in high demand by employers
  • Salary data from PayScale, Glassdoor and other sites to understand income potential
  • Industry reports on skills gaps and emerging tech trends
  • Feedback from tech professionals

We then scored each certification on the following criteria:

  • Demand – How much demand is there for people with this certification? What’s the job growth outlook?
  • Income potential – What’s the average salary for certified professionals?
  • Difficulty – How challenging is the exam and what’s required to pass it?
  • Value – Does it provide the right skills for the price?
  • Prestige – Is the certification respected and valued in the industry?

Based on these factors, here is our list of the 10 best tech certifications to get in 2024:

#10 Google Cloud Digital Leader

Provider: Google

Exam Cost: $125

Demand: High

The Google Cloud Digital Leader certification validates your ability to articulate the business value of Google Cloud products and services. It’s a great introductory certification if you want to get started with cloud computing skills.

While this certification focuses more on cloud business acumen than hands-on technical skills, it’s still in high demand for sales, marketing, and business roles related to Google Cloud.

Key Data:

  • Job growth for cloud computing roles is estimated at 33% through 2031.
  • Average salary for certified professionals is $126,000.

#9 Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert

Provider: Microsoft

Exam Cost: $165 per exam x 2 exams

Demand: High

The Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert certification demonstrates your expertise in compute, network, storage, and security for designing Azure-based solutions.

It’s one of the top Azure certifications in demand by employers hiring for cloud engineers, solutions architects, and similar roles. Having this certification under your belt can make you a very attractive candidate.

Key Data:

  • There are over 50,000 job openings on LinkedIn requesting this certification.
  • Average salary is $140,000.

#8 CompTIA Security+

Provider: CompTIA

Exam Cost: $370

Demand: Very High

The CompTIA Security+ certification validates your knowledge of core cybersecurity skills related to threats, attacks, vulnerabilities, tools, and security architecture.

It’s compliant with ISO 17024 standards and approved by the US Department of Defense, so it carries a lot of weight among employers. Positions like security engineer, security analyst, and network security administrator often require this certification.

Key Data:

  • Cybersecurity job demand is up 340% over the past 5 years.
  • Average salary for Security+ certified professionals is $90,000.

#7 AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate

Provider: Amazon Web Services

Exam Cost: $150

Demand: Very High

The Associate-level AWS Certified Solutions Architect certification verifies a solid understanding of architecting secure, reliable, and cost-optimized cloud solutions on AWS.

It’s one of AWS’s most popular certifications and a prerequisite for the Professional certification. Knowledge of AWS services is in very high demand, making this a highly valuable certification.

Key Data:

  • AWS has a 33% market share in public cloud services.
  • Average salary is $140,000.

#6 PMP – Project Management Professional

Provider: Project Management Institute

Exam Cost: $405 for PMI members, $555 for non-members

Demand: High

The PMP certification demonstrates your project management experience, education, knowledge and skills to lead projects and teams. It’s the gold standard certification for project managers globally.

Whether you work in tech, construction, healthcare or any other industry, earning your PMP certificate can boost your salary and job prospects. It’s ideal if you want to move into a project manager or senior PM role.

Key Data:

  • Project management roles are expected to grow by 25% through 2031.
  • PMP certified project managers earn 25% more on average.

#5 CompTIA A+

Provider: CompTIA

Exam Cost: $238 per exam x 2 exams

Demand: High

The CompTIA A+ certification validates your knowledge of core IT skills including troubleshooting, networking, hardware, virtualization, and more.

It’s an entry-level prerequisite for many IT support and technician jobs. The certification also serves as a stepping stone to more advanced certifications.

Key Data:

  • 8 out of 10 cybersecurity employers recommend or require A+ certification.
  • Average salary is around $55,000.

#4 CISSP – Certified Information Systems Security Professional

Provider: (ISC)2

Exam Cost: $699

Demand: Very High

The CISSP certification is globally recognized as the gold standard for cybersecurity professionals. It demonstrates your knowledge across 8 key domains including risk management, security architecture, data security, and more.

This certification carries a lot of weight and prestige. Typical job roles include Security Engineer, Security Manager, Security Architect, and Chief Information Security Officer.

Key Data:

  • Cybersecurity job demand is up 340% over the past 5 years.
  • Average salary is $160,000.

#3 AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional

Provider: Amazon Web Services

Exam Cost: $300

Demand: Very High

The Professional-level AWS Certified Solutions Architect certification validates advanced technical skills and experience in designing distributed systems and complex cloud architectures on AWS.

It’s one of the most prestigious and in-demand cloud computing certifications. This certification commands high salaries and is a must-have for high-level cloud architect roles.

Key Data:

  • There are over 30,000 open jobs requesting this certification.
  • Average salary is $170,000.

#2 Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD)

Provider: Cloud Native Computing Foundation

Exam Cost: $300

Demand: Very High

The CKAD certification demonstrates your expertise in building scalable and fault-tolerant applications on Kubernetes, which is a hugely popular open-source container orchestration platform.

As Kubernetes adoption soars, companies urgently need CKAD certified developers. It can massively boost your career prospects as a DevOps engineer, site reliability engineer or cloud developer.

Key Data:

  • Container technology demand is up 200% over the past year.
  • Average salary is $160,000.

#1 Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

Provider: ISACA

Exam Cost: $575 for ISACA members, $760 for non-members

Demand: Very High

The CISA certification is globally recognized as the standard for IS audit control, assurance and security professionals. It demonstrates expertise in IT systems auditing, assurance, governance, and risk management.

It’s one of the most prestigious certifications in the field and in very high demand by employers. This certification can position you for CISO, Audit Manager, Compliance Officer and other leadership roles.

Key Data:

  • Annual growth rate for IS auditing roles is 7%.
  • Average salary is $170,000.

So in summary, based on our research the top technology certification for 2024 is the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) credential.

It’s valued very highly by employers and can position you for high-paying leadership roles in IT and cybersecurity.

Comparing the Value of Top Certifications

Now that we’ve ranked the top 10 certifications for 2024, let’s compare them across key criteria so you can determine which certification best fits your career goals.

Demand and Job Growth Outlook

The cybersecurity certifications (CISA, CISSP) are in the highest demand based on current job data, followed by cloud computing certifications like AWS and Azure. However, projections show strong growth ahead for certifications related to cloud, containers, DevOps and project management as well.

Here’s a comparison of demand:

CertificationCurrent Demand5 Year Growth Outlook
CISAVery HighHigh
CISSPVery HighModerate
AWS Certified Solutions Architect – ProfessionalVery HighVery High
CKADVery HighVery High
PMPHighVery High
Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect ExpertHighHigh
CompTIA Security+Very HighHigh
AWS Certified Solutions Architect – AssociateVery HighHigh
Google Cloud Digital LeaderHighHigh
CompTIA A+HighModerate

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Income Potential

The cybersecurity, cloud computing and project management certifications offer the highest income potential based on average salary data. Entry-level certifications have lower earning potential.

Here’s a comparison of average salaries:

CertificationAverage Salary
AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional$170,000
Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert$140,000
CompTIA Security+$90,000
AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate$140,000
Google Cloud Digital Leader$126,000
CompTIA A+$55,000

Prestige/Value in Industry

The CISA, CISSP, AWS Professional, and CKAD certifications are the most prestigious and respected in the industry. The Associate-level cloud certifications also have strong value. Entry-level certifications are less prestigious but can serve as stepping stones.

Here’s a comparison of prestige and value in the tech industry:

CertificationPrestige / Value
CISAVery High
CISSPVery High
AWS Certified Solutions Architect – ProfessionalVery High
CKADVery High
Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect ExpertHigh
CompTIA Security+Moderate
AWS Certified Solutions Architect – AssociateHigh
Google Cloud Digital LeaderModerate
CompTIA A+Low

Difficulty and Prerequisites

Cybersecurity and advanced cloud computing certifications have the most stringent eligibility requirements, prerequisites, and difficult exams compared to entry-level certifications.

Here’s a comparison of relative difficulty:

CertificationDifficulty LevelPrerequisites
CISAVery High5 years experience + CISM/CRISC
CISSPVery High5 years experience
AWS Certified Solutions Architect – ProfessionalHighAssociate-level AWS cert or AWS practitioner experience
CKADHighKubernetes experience
PMPModerate4,500 hours leading projects + 35 hours project management education
Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect ExpertModerateAzure Administrator or Developer Associate cert
CompTIA Security+ModerateRecommended Network+ and A+
AWS Certified Solutions Architect – AssociateLowNone
Google Cloud Digital LeaderLowNone
CompTIA A+LowNone

Which Certification Is the Best Fit For Me?

With this comparison, you can narrow down which certification best aligns with your specific skills, experience level, and career goals.

  • If you’re new to tech, CompTIA A+ is a great entry point and requires no prerequisites.
  • If you have some experience and want to boost your cloud skills, the Associate AWS and Azure certifications offer solid value.
  • The PMP allows you to pivot into project management roles if that interests you.
  • For mid to senior-level professionals, CISSP, CISA, AWS Professional and CKAD offer huge income and job prospects.
  • Specializing in a specific area like security (Security+, CISSP) or cloud platforms (AWS, Azure) also helps.

Finally, consider your interests and career aspirations. Gather input from managers, mentors and colleagues as well. Evaluating certifications is an investment – make sure you choose the ones that are the best fit and provide maximum value.

Wrapping Up

Earning the right professional certifications can empower you to get a raise, find a better job, or break into a new field. They show employers that you are dedicated to building cutting-edge skills and mastering the latest technologies and best practices.

While the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) credential tops our list for 2024 based on high prestige, demand and salary potential, there are many excellent technology certifications to choose from. Determine which certification best aligns with your experience, interests and career goals using the comparisons provided.

Staying certified and continuing your technology education demonstrates your commitment to growth and gives your career a major boost. Upskilling also helps drive business value, fuel innovation, and position companies for success in the digital age.

Investing in yourself through certification is one of the best moves you can make this year to reach new heights in your tech career and remain professionally competitive. The effort is well worth the reward.

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