12 Top Paying IT Certifications for 2022

ITCareerFinder examines salary data and hiring trends to determine the top paying IT certifications and why they demand a premium.

This article will be updated annually with the latest credentials and wages. Current year: 2022.

Top Paying IT Certifications

Do IT certifications really pay off? It depends.

According to the IT Skills and Certifications Pay Index published by renowned analyst firm Foote Partners LLC, tech certifications continued their three-year plunge in value during the third quarter of 2021 and are now at their lowest point since early 2013.

However, there are still some IT certifications that employers are willing to pay extra for.

To ensure that you invest in the training and certifications that offer the highest potential return, here are 12 of the highest paying IT certifications for 2022.

  • SANS/GIAC Security Expert (GSE)

    The GSE certification is the most prestigious and valuable credential, topping Foote Partners’ recent list of highest-paying certs. However, it’s also among the most difficult to earn.

    With companies everywhere looking for solutions to burgeoning cyber security issues, GSE's rigorous, hands-on exam, lab exam and experience requirements – covering general security skills, incident handling, intrusion detection and analysis – sets it apart and makes it particularly valuable for individual contributors said David Foote, Foote Partners’ chief analyst & CRO.

    In fact, employers are willing to pay high salaries and median cash bonuses or premiums equivalent to 13% of base salary to tech workers and leaders who get GSE certified.

    For example, according to Foote Partners’ 2022 IT Professional Salary Survey, the average total cash compensation (including premiums) for certified cyber security specialists is $108,703, while certified senior-level specialists earn $133,161. Meanwhile, PayScale reports that the average salary for GSE-certified information security analysts is $100,000 and $189,000 for penetration testers.

    Before you start spending that extra cash, note that the pre-requisite baseline for the GSE is: GSEC, GCIH, GCIA with two Gold certifications.

  • GIAC Exploit Researcher and Advanced Penetration Tester (GXPN)

    Clearly, the demand for penetration testing skills and certifications will remain constant going forward, driven by regulation, compliance and ongoing business risk Foote said. That’s why employers are willing to pay median cash bonuses or premiums equivalent to 12% of base salary to professionals who attain the GXPN certification. Moreover, PayScale puts the average salary for GXPN certified IT pros at $107,000.

    The GXPN certifies that network and systems penetration testers, incident handlers, application developers and IDS engineers have the knowledge, skills, and ability to conduct advanced penetration tests, model the behavior of attackers and improve security in the popular Windows and Linux environments.

    Applicants need to pass a 3-hour proctored exam to earn the highly valuable GXPN.

  • GIAC Security Leadership (GSLC)

    For current information security managers, security professionals with leadership responsibilities or IT pros looking to move into management, earning the GSLC certification can boost your career and help you score a median cash bonus equivalent to 12% of base salary. The 3-hour proctored exam covers management issues related to the overall security lifecycle including governance and technical controls, incident response, staff, projects, application security and more.

    Currently, managers of information security with the GSLC earn average total compensation of $147,080, while lead IT security specialists earn $152,143 and directors of information security earn $200,006 according to the 2022 IT Professional Salary Survey. PayScale puts the average salary at $113,000 with senior leaders earning close to $200,000.

    Best of all, applicants can qualify through a combination of practical work experience, training, college courses or self-paced study.

  • InfoSys Security Architecture Professional (ISSAP/CISSP)

    “With millions of people working from home and connecting to an organization’s internal network remotely, the role of security architect is more important than ever,” Foote said.

    Companies are having to “rearchitect everything” to increase security and reduce the risk of cyber-attacks and data breaches he expanded.

    It’s no wonder that the CISSP with the architecture extension has increased in value. According to Foote, security architects can command premium pay equal to 12% of base salary and total cash compensation of $130,770, leaving little doubt that the ISSAP certification is a worthwhile investment for professionals who want to build on their expertise in information security architecture.

  • InfoSys Security Engineering Professional (ISSEP/CISSP)

    If you have two or more years’ experience in engineering and already hold the CISSP, obtaining your ISSEP certification can lead to greater opportunities and higher wages. This in-demand cert has increased in value by 33% over the last six months and commands average pay premiums of 12% on top of average annual base salaries of $151,000 according to PayScale.

    To sit for the ISSEP examination, you must be a CISSP in good standing and have two years cumulative, paid work experience in one or more of the five domains of the CISSP-ISSEP CBK.

  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

    Most IT pros start their journey to ISSEP or ISSAP concentration by earning a valuable core security credential and prerequisite, the CISSP certification. This baseline, vendor-neutral cert – which covers 8 domains and general concepts of information security – can benefit the careers of everyone in IT.

    To illustrate, PayScale lists some 350 job tiles under the CISSP with an average salary of $117,000. If you want to specialize in cyber security, The New York Times reports that there will be 3.5 million unfilled jobs globally by 2021, up from one million positions in 2014.

    Suffice it to say, showing employers that you not only understand security concepts, principles and tools but also the most pertinent issues around cyber security, will greatly increase your power at the salary negotiation table.

  • Six Sigma Master Black Belt

    Having a Six Sigma Master Black Belt certification signals to employers that you have the skills and knowledge to manage projects successfully, a passion for quality and process improvement, and the ability to lead and coach team members. In fact, because of its focus on improving profitability, many companies are actively recruiting Six Sigma Black Belts and market demand is higher than ever.

    Speaking of profitability, the market value increase for Six Sigma Master Black Belt certification was 9.1% in the six months through July 1, 2021 and the average total compensation was listed at $169,170 in Foote Partners’ IT Salary Survey.

    Applicants are required to pass an exam, have a minimum 4 years’ experience executing Six Sigma Projects in a Black Belt Capacity (or equivalent), and submit a project for review on a pass/fail basis.

  • The Zachman Certified Enterprise Architect

    In the past, enterprise architects found it hard to prove their worth to the organization and sustain job security, so the Zachman Framework was born. In a nutshell, the popular framework helps resolve those issues by providing a matrix or formal way to manage a company’s enterprise architecture and assets.

    With businesses grappling with rapid transformation and accelerated AI, enterprise architecture is making a comeback and some companies are even making the Zachman certification a requirement Foote said. A distinctive element of this program is reality-based learning or the process of integrating theory with work and life experience. Even better, the average premium for certificate holders is 12% on top of base salaries averaging $135,003.

  • Certified Scrum Master

    Why is scrum the most popular Agile framework for iterative software development? Because it’s easy to implement and it works. While product owners, project managers, developers and also trainers and coaches can benefit from certification, the World Economic Forum ranked scrum master 6th in their list of product development jobs of tomorrow. And employment data firm Burning Glass predicts a 37.9-percent increase in demand for scrum masters over the next ten years.

    What’s more, according to Foote Partners’ data, certified scrum master certification holders can command 11% in median pay premiums or bonuses above base salaries averaging $96,785.

  • PMI Program Management Professional (PgMP)

    How does an experienced and successful project manager take their career to the next level? By becoming a program manager. However, even though program management is a well-paid next step, becoming proficient at managing multiple related projects is not easy.

    Earning PMI's Program Management Professional certification can help you move forward with confidence, demonstrate your competency to prospective employers and earn median pay premiums of 11% above base salaries that range up to $126,000. Plus, both high school and college grads can qualify by meeting the hands-on experience requirements and passing two evaluations.

  • CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+)

    Data shows that earning CompTIA's intermediate-level CySA+ certification may help you earn more money and elevate your career no matter which role, area of specialization or industry you pursue. For example, InfoSec puts the national median salary for someone with CySA+ certification at $74,952 per year, but as high as $152,806 depending on your location and role.

    Plus, the hands-on, performance-based and multiple-choice assessment is also approved by US Department of Defense to fulfill Directive 8570.01-M requirements.

    After validating that you have the skills, techniques and knowledge to prevent, detect and combat cyber security threats inside and outside of organization, employers will reward you with bonuses or premium pay ranging from 8% to 13% of base salary according to Foote Partners.

  • Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)

    With Gartner forecasting that worldwide spending on public cloud services will grow 23.1% in 2021 to total $332.3 billion in the wake of the pandemic, earning the CCSP certification is a great way to show that you know how to secure critical assets in the cloud and earn median annual pay premiums of 11%, regardless of your level or position.

    Although PayScale puts the average salary for CCSP certified pros at $118,000, the sky’s the limit. IT managers can earn base salaries of $185,000, while CTOs can earn $250,000.

    While the CCSP isn’t for newcomers, showing commitment to ongoing development can demonstrate your leadership potential to employers and lead to new and exciting career opportunities.

Final Thoughts

Although almost any certification can enhance your resume and raise your market value, it’s clear that companies are most concerned about advanced persistent threats and protecting valuable data and information. Until supply catches up with demand, earning any one of these cyber security certifications can give you a competitive advantage and the best opportunity to earn high salaries, bonuses and potentially move into management.

Methodology

Our list of the top-paying IT certifications is based on customized data contained in the latest Foote Partners’ IT Skills and Certifications Pay Index and the firm’s 2022 IT Professional Salary Survey. The reports are based on compensation data provided by 3,805 private and public-sector employers in 83 American and Canadian cities who report pay for their 345,313 technology professionals in the US and Canada.

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5 New Programming Languages Developers Should Know About

Learning new programming languages is an essential part of career advancement for professional developers. Here, we look at five up-and-coming languages that are rapidly gaining traction.

New Programming Languages

The TIOBE Index lists the most popular programming languages among professional coders and developers. The top-ten holds no surprises: Java at number one, followed by C, C++, and Python. JavaScript is in eighth position. Learning any of the languages in the top ten is a safe bet if finding work and making money is your primary concern.

But there are many promising new programming languages making waves in the enterprise. They aren’t a sure thing, but learning one of these newer platforms might pay off in the future: they are in production use at smaller scales or they wouldn’t be on the list.

These languages may also expose you to new programming paradigms and broaden your overall understanding of programming, and mastering cutting-edge platforms can leave you well positioned as a thought-leader in a lucrative and under-served space. Most importantly, tackling a new language is always fun.

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Best Computer Jobs for the Future

Trying to determine your ideal IT career path? Want to know which computer jobs will be in the greatest demand, offer the highest salaries and best opportunities for advancement once you finish training? ITCareerFinder assembled this comparison of the decade’s hottest technology careers to serve as your guide. These 10 computer jobs will experience the fastest growth, pay salaries well above the national average, boast top employment rates, and offer a range of opportunities for promotion.

Best Computer Jobs

Compare the best computer jobs by employment projections, key growth factors, salary and more, then click the links of your favorite IT career paths for deep dive career profiles featuring skills and responsibilities, desirable certifications, wage analyses, education requirements, training & degree programs, local job openings, and tips from IT insiders.

Methodology used to discover this decade’s best computer jobs centered around a four-point weighted analysis of employment growth forecasts from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, IT salaries from Indeed.com, the ratio of job listings to qualified applicants on leading technology job boards, and potential for upward mobility based on interviews with technology and employment experts, as well as recent IT hiring trends.

Discover the 10 best computer jobs for the future:

  1. IT Security Specialist

    IT Security Specialist career growth

    IT Security Specialist Employment Projections | 2020 - 2030

    Key Growth Factors

    Security will remain a top concern for IT executives and hiring managers as the frequency, scope, and complexity of cyber attacks continues to escalate. Year after year, IT executives report actively seeking professionals with information security skills, but finding it difficult to locate good talent. This indicates an incredible opportunity for technology professionals to advance their cyber security skills and certifications. Computer security skills in the greatest demand include IT operations security, secure web and mobile application development, risk management, information assurance, network security, and cloud security.

  2. Mobile Application Developer

    best mobile app developer jobs

    Mobile App Developer Employment Projections | 2020 - 2030

    Key Growth Factors

    Mobile application development is one of the world's fastest growing occupations. As smart phones and tablets continue to change the way we communicate, do business, and access news & entertainment, the demand for new and innovative mobile apps is growing at an incredible speed. This increased demand translates to one of the largest IT skills gaps ever realized – there are simply more mobile application development job openings than skilled developers to fill them. Google's Android and Apple's iOS (iPhone, iPad & Apple Watch) platforms will continue to offer the most career opportunities for mobile developers - view this graph for a breakdown of mobile OS market share.

  3. Software Engineer

    Best Software Engineer Jobs

    Software Engineer Employment Projections | 2020 - 2030

    Key Growth Factors

    Workforce demand for software engineers will rise along with technological advancement and the growing ubiquity of software. For example, rapid adoption of cloud technologies is driving demand for applications software engineers who can build secure and scalable cloud programs. Likewise, as the proliferation of computer systems continues and software spreads into new industries and smart devices, the need to develop the computer systems that power these initiatives will create jobs for systems software engineers.

  4. Video Game Designer

    Best Video Game Designer Jobs

    Video Game Designer Employment Projections | 2020 - 2030

    Key Growth Factors

    The $140+ billion dollar gaming industry has more than tripled in size over the last decade. Beyond the booming market for PC and console games, the increased popularity, processing power, and graphics capabilities of mobile devices has unlocked a new world of job opportunities for video game designers, artists and programmers. Game designers with mobile development expertise will be especially sought after as smart phones and tablets continue to change how video games are played. Game designer employment will also benefit from emerging technologies and rising demand for augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) applications.

  5. Computer Systems Analyst

    Computer Systems Analyst career growth

    Computer Systems Analyst Employment Projections | 2020 - 2030

    Key Growth Factors

    As organizations continue to increase their reliance on technology, computer systems analysts will be needed to increase the efficiency of existing technologies and architect new systems. Health care is a key industry for systems analyst job growth, as aggressive government mandates and funding initiatives continue to drive increases in electronic medical record (EMR) adoption, electronic prescription services, and other health-centric software projects. The U.S. Department of Labor also predicts a 43% increase in systems analyst hiring at IT consulting firms, which translates to a huge amount of freelance and contract employment opportunities in this job role.

  6. Web Developer

    Best Web Developer Jobs

    Web Developer Employment Projections | 2020 - 2030

    Key Growth Factors

    Each year, a record number of businesses bring their offerings to the Internet. As the number of products and services online continues to grow, web developers and designers will enjoy increased job opportunities. Proliferation of social networks will boost demand for web developers as businesses look to engage a new generation of customers and spur a competitive advantage in this rapidly growing space. Responsive web design, user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) skills are a hot commodity in this position as displays must increasingly adapt to varying device sizes and types, e.g., smart watches.

  7. Health Information Technician

    Best Health Information Technician Jobs

    Health Information Technician Employment Proj. | 2020 - 2030

    Key Growth Factors

    Health care will produce more new computer jobs through 2025 than any other single industry. Aggressive government mandates and funding incentives for medical practices to adopt centralized electronic health records is driving unprecedented hiring of health information technicians trained and certified in these new technologies. Health information technicians may earn the lowest starting salary on this list, but the required education is the quickest (typically a 2-year degree program in Health IT), plus candidates learning now will be well-positioned for lucrative management positions as the health IT job market continues to mature.

  8. Technology Manager

    Best IT Manager Jobs

    Technology Manager Employment Projections | 2020 - 2030

    Key Growth Factors

    Job growth for information technology managers is directly tied to the growth rates of the IT workers they supervise. Record-breaking growth in a variety of technical jobs – including software development, project management, data analytics, and cloud computing – will continue through 2025 and beyond, in turn fueling strong demand for talented IT managers. Additional growth will be driven by increased focus on information security and the hiring of additional cyber security personnel.

  9. Database Administrator

    best DBA jobs

    Database Administrator Employment Projections | 2020 - 2030

    • 10-Year Growth Pct: 8% (as fast as avg.)†
    • 10-Year Growth Volume: 13,200 new jobs
    • Average Salary: $99,000
    • DBA Career Path ››
    Key Growth Factors

    Businesses are racking up impressive amounts of digital information, spurring the need for trained and certified DBAs to store, organize, analyze and secure this data. In addition, as more databases are connected to the Internet and cloud, data security will become increasingly vital and complex; database administrators and developers - especially those with information security skills - will be hired to protect corporate data from hackers and other cyber threat vectors.

  10. Network Administrator

    Network Administrator Job Growth

    Network Administrator Employment Projections | 2020 - 2030

    Key Growth Factors

    Demand for network administrators will rise as organizations invest in new computer systems and network technologies to increase productivity and gain a competitive advantage. The rapid adoption of mobile and smart devices and cloud computing means more organizations will use the Internet to conduct business online, translating to increased job opportunities for network professionals who can help businesses securely wield these emerging technologies.

Links Favored by Blog Readers:

The average ten-year growth rate for all occupations is 8% (bls.gov)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook • Indeed.com

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The Best Free Online Computer Courses

The Internet boasts a wealth of free computer training for those who know where to look. Here are some of the best free online courses available right now.

This article will be updated continually with the latest and greatest schools and courses.

Rankings are unbiased; ITCareerFinder receives no compensation from links to the best free online courses.

best free online computer courses

Nonprofit organizations, technology companies, and educational institutions provide free computer courses across all IT subjects and skill levels. Some do this to expose more people to their software or hardware, while others strive to make top-notch education more accessible. Regardless of the training provider’s mission, self-motivated learners can capitalize on this massive cache of free online computer training to grow their skill set, earn certifications to validate their expertise to prospective employers, and gain exposure to new IT careers.

To compile our list of the best free computer courses, we looked at numerous factors including relevance of curriculum, ease of accessibility, course quality, and provider reputation. We also endeavored to represent the top training options across multiple categories and skill levels.

In no particular order, here are our favorite online training providers and their best free computing courses:

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Xamarin vs. React Native vs. Flutter: Pros & Cons

Software developer, Md Akhtar Hossain, compares 3 of the leading cross-platform mobile development frameworks: Xamarin, React Native & Flutter. His analysis features an in-depth look at pros and cons, industry trends, major adopters, and training options for each tool.

cross platform mobile development frameworks

Xamarin, React Native, and Flutter are some of the best frameworks out there for cross-platform mobile application development. These tools save you a lot of time as they let you build apps for multiple mobile operating systems - such as Android and iOS - using just one codebase. Obviously, you need to make some additional adjustments for each platform, but these frameworks let you reuse code to a great extent for cross-platform development, drastically increasing your efficiency and ROI.

But which one of these 3 tools is the right fit for you? This post will provide a concise breakdown of these popular mobile app development frameworks to help you choose.

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20 Things I've Learned from 20 Years in IT

Veteran systems administrator and project manager, Scott Matteson, shares tips and insights from his 2+ decades in the IT field.

IT Career Tips Advice

Working in the field of Information Technology means more than fixing computers or troubleshooting email issues. Thriving in this career requires you to sort out an intricate tangle of problems, priorities and people on a daily basis. Keeping your technical skills relevant and up-to-date is always a challenge, but one that’s well within reach if you train on the job, enjoy learning new things, and keep your thumb on the pulse of the tech community.

However, it’s harder to figure out how to deal with “back end” tasks like juggling priorities, managing stress and developing positive working relationships with peers, customers and managers. In fact, handling interpersonal relationships can be more challenging (and rewarding) than managing the tech itself – and it’s essential since the technology goes hand in hand with the people who use it.

IT roles are changing; support may be located remotely, systems might be off site, and some jobs will disappear entirely. However, there will always be pain points, pressure and personalities in the field. I've worked in the IT space since 1994, primarily in the realm of support and implementation. Along the way I've made a few observations with accompanying advice which I want to share with you. Many of these apply to my role as the “go-to” guy who can get things running, but I think they are universally relevant to any role where you're seen as a resource or a decision-maker on which other people depend to do their jobs.

So without further ado, here are 20 things I've learned in my 20 years in IT:

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Top Paying Technology Jobs in 2022

ITCareerFinder analyzes wages and hiring data to identify the highest paying information technology jobs.

This article will be updated annually with the latest tech jobs and salaries. Current year: 2022.

Best Paying Tech Jobs

Pay may not be everything, but it’s very important. How important? According to a workforce study by Indeed, 93% of tech workers cite pay and benefits as the most important factor when considering a new job.

What’s more, in a rapidly changing field like information technology, workers often need to reach into their own pockets to acquire new skills and maintain their marketability. In other words, to make money in tech, you need money to invest in professional development.

To help you maximize your income potential, here is a look at 12 of the highest paying technology jobs, why they are so valuable to employers, and what you need to land a position.

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Famous Female Computer Scientists

ITCareerFinder highlights some of the most popular and accomplished women in computer science.

binary computer code

Women account for only 19% of computer science graduates in the US, according to the latest data from the National Center of Education Statistics. This disparity is confirmed by an extensive study from the Allen Institute for AI which place the rate of male to female computer scientists at 4:1.

Despite representing a small percentage of the CS workforce, female computer scientists have made some revolutionary contributions to the field. These achievements are made doubly special because women have historically had far less access to education and employment.

This page will spotlight the great women of computer science and outline some of their key accomplishments.

Here are the 5 most famous female computer scientists:

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Online Tech Schools

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SNHU provides affordable, online degree programs that are recognized by employers, certifying bodies, and higher learning institutions nationwide.

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Take your IT career to the next level with online certificates and degrees from Purdue University Global, an accredited, public, non-profit leader in higher education.

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IT Boot Camps

Gain the skills to pursue sought-after IT careers in just 24 weeks. Available boot camp topics include Coding, Cybersecurity, UI/UX Design & Data Analytics.

These technical boot camps from top universities are offered as a combination of self-paced online content and live, instructor-led virtual classes.