Considering a career in IT but don’t know where to start? When you’re first looking to get certified, it’s easy to become overwhelmed, especially with the number of resources out there for aspiring IT professionals. This is why today, we’re going to provide you with some much-needed clarity. We’ll be taking a look at some of the most in-demand IT certifications for 2021. These courses open up a myriad of jobs when completed, so all you need to do is decide which of them looks the most appealing for your lifestyle. Let’s dig in!
Why are IT certifications popular?
IT is a popular career path and is expected to see solid growth over the next five years. The digital sector is already worth £400 million a day to the UK economy and its growth is almost 6x larger than that of the UK economy as a whole. A quick search on leading recruitment sites also brings up thousands of roles that are in demand across the UK for the IT sector and it’s also pretty Pandemic-proof as we’ve seen over the last year.
A career in IT also presents the opportunity to have a better work-life balance. Post-pandemic, we’ve seen how with a little push, how many of us can actually work from home (or anywhere) as long as there’s a stable internet connection and access to a decent laptop.
Many IT roles can be done remotely. Take a look at any leading computer/laptop supplier for a quick example. If you reach out to live chat support, you can usually give IT workers remote access to your computer so they can go through it and fix problems.
So, if you love to travel and have dreamed of working abroad, a career in IT provides you with a gateway to work remotely all the time. Similarly, if you have young children, the ability to work from home allows you to cut back on childcare costs which nowadays can eat up a good chunk of your wage.
Which are the best IT certifications?
So with all the above in mind, are there some certifications that are better than others? The answer is not particularly and your choice in IT certification should really depend on your personal interests and preferences. If you select a course that you already have a personal interest in, it’ll help you to remain engaged, especially if you’re studying from home.
Having said that, if you’re new to IT, you ideally want to start with the CompTIA Fundamentals. Once you have some work experience under your belt, you can then look at specialising further and taking an additional certification to help hone your skills. Below, we’ll go through some of the most popular IT certifications this year.
The CompTIA Fundamentals certification is ideal for everyone looking to get into the world of IT and is the perfect starting point because it covers all the basics from start to finish. One of the great things about this course is that it also comes with the option to add a practical element to it which will give you real-life on the job experience.
The course is made up of six parts; Software, Hardware, Security, Networking, Basic IT Literacy and finally a Course Review at the end. Students learn everything from operating the myriad of software systems to basic security threats and comparing and contrasting cellular wireless and wired data connections.
In total, the course has about 13 hours of content to get through. This course is one of seven that are included on many programmes and bundles. A bundle and programme option can take most people 8-12 weeks depending on commitments. Once completed, you can hop on the IT career ladder and explore more specific roles that might interest you.
CompTIA A+ is one of the most popular IT certifications in the world with 1 million people already certified.
It’s split up into two core units. Core One covers mobile devices, networking, hardware, virtualisation and cloud computing and hardware and network troubleshooting. You can only move on to Core Two once you’ve completed Core One and this section includes operation systems, security, software troubleshooting and operational procedures.
This course is also perfect for beginners as there are no previous experience or prior courses required to join this. It serves as the perfect stepping stone after completing CompTIA Fundamentals and is a little more intense taking around 38 hours to complete.
Once you’re finished in this course, you can expect a starting salary of between £18,000 to £25,000 depending on the role you take.
The CompTIA Network+ course is designed for those of you who have a little more experience in the field and/or have completed previous courses. Although this isn’t a pre-requisite, we think it may be more beneficial if you’ve nailed the basics first.
The course covers everything you need to know about network architecture, operations and security and has 5 main course modules; Network Concepts, Infrastructure, Network Operation, Network Security and Network Troubleshooting and Tools.
The course takes 26 hours and upon completion, the course is aimed for people that would like to get into jobs such as a Network Field Technician (£26,000), IT Support Analyst (£26,000), System Engineer (£41,000) and more.
Finally, CompTIA Security+ is one of the most in-demand certifications this year, and it’s easy to see why. Reports suggest that cybercrime like data breaches can cost companies as much as $3.86 million, so businesses need IT professionals with security skills to act as the first line of defence against such attacks.
This security course covers six core topics; Threats, Attacks, and Vulnerabilities, Technologies and Tools, Architecture and Design, Identity and Access Management, Risk Management and Cryptography and PKI.
It takes 21 hours to complete and after finishing this course it will form one of the building blocks to allow you to go into job roles such as a Network Administrator (£31,000), Security Engineer (£46,000), or Security Specialist (£51,000).
Note: Salaries are average taken from Glassdoor
We hope that this post has provided you with some foundational knowledge that you need to aid your decision-making process. Choosing an IT course can be a difficult decision sometimes but by selecting an IT certification that’s in demand, you’ll not only validate your skills and demonstrate your commitment to potential employers, but you’ll also be positioning yourself ideally for future job roles that will no-doubt be created as we advance technologically.