Everything You Need to Know about IT Certifications

Considering a career in IT? Great! Candidates with IT skills are in-demand by employers and there is high earning potential for those in the field. To get started in IT, you’ll want to consider earning an IT certification. In this blog, you’ll learn what certifications are, why employers value them, and what career paths you can use them in.  

What is an IT Certification? 

Inside the IT industry, certifications are used as verification that you possess a certain degree of technical knowledge and capabilities. Specific certifications are sometimes required to hold certain positions or work on technologies.  

Certifications can be vendor-specific or vendor-neutral. Vendor-specific certifications focus on one particular technology or skill. For example, earning a Microsoft Azure Fundamentals certification (AZ-900) certifies your skills to work within the Microsoft Azure Platform. Vendor-neutral certifications validate a broader understanding and skill base of technologies and products that are universally applicable. For example, CompTIA A+ is a qualifying credential that you have the knowledge base to hold a technical support or IT operational role.  

To earn an IT certification, you’ll need to learn the objectives of the desired certification and then sit an exam with a passing score.  

Learn more about what IT certifications are in the video below. 

Degrees vs. Certifications for starting an IT career?  

So, what’s the difference between degrees and certifications? Do you need a degree? These are commonly asked questions in the IT field. In recent years, it has become more common for employers to not require a degree to be hired. This is especially true in the tech industry.  

While both options can help you get started in an IT career, you’ll want to consider which best suits you. In this video, Sophia breaks down the differences regarding time, cost, focus, learning style, and hiring potential.  

Why do employers value IT certifications?  

Certifications can make you a more marketable job candidate. Employers often search for candidates that hold a particular certification to verify that they will be able to deal with the technologies that organizations use. For example, if a company is looking for a cloud engineer and they use AWS for their cloud services, they will likely look for someone who holds an AWS certification. 

Learn more about why employers seek out candidates with certifications in the video below.  

What are the potential IT career paths?  

Before training for certification, you’ll want to consider where it can take you in your career. There are many paths to choose from in an IT career. Understanding what paths are available can help you decide where to start and the next steps to take from there. These paths include technical support, cybersecurity, network or systems administration, and IT project management.  

A common entry-level role for the industry is technical support. While this can be a rewarding and challenging career path, many people wonder where else their experience can take them. In the video below, Sophia looks at some of the most popular career paths to advance in your career beyond the help desk.  

Begin training for your IT career 

 Ready to kick off your career? ACI Learning is here to help you. The Computer User Support Specialist Program (ITIL© and CompTIA) is a great place to start for entry-level learners. This program develops competence in IT fundamentals — preparing you for your ITIL© Foundation, CompTIA A+, Network+, and Security+ certification exams. It's a combination that prepares you for the most in-demand certifications for entry-level IT positions. 

If you’re not sure what’s right for you, ACI Learning’s expert Career Training Consultants can help you make the right decision for your training needs. If the IT industry is right for you, they will search for any grants that you may qualify for and set up a personalized IT certification program around your schedule. Interested in learning more about what a meeting with a Career Training Consultant is like and what you will learn from a one-on-one information session? Contact us to learn more! 


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