Set your business up for success with these new, and gold-standard, certs.

December 25, 2017

5 Min Read


Kurt Marko

**Editor’s Note: Can’t get enough about certifications? Read this column on top 10 cloud certifications for partners.**

By Kurt Marko for Channel Partners

With the IT environment more dynamic and tumultuous than ever, it’s tough to know where to spend your valuable staff time and limited training budget. Of course, some credentials are timeless: Cisco certifications like CCNA and CISSP are required for many positions, while Microsoft shops look for MCSEs to design and operate their systems. These certs remain popular since they’ve held their value by continuing to adapt to changing technology. In fact, a recent Global Knowledge salary survey of IT professionals found that 36 percent have a Microsoft certification, followed by Cisco at 31 percent and various security certifications at 26 percent.

However, these certifications cover only a tiny slice of today’s IT landscape. Or, maybe you already have plenty of CCNAs and MCSEs on staff and are looking to expand into a new technology practice area. Here’s a look at 17 new, highly sought-after areas where the right training could help land you a new consulting business while rewarding top staffers with valuable knowledge.

Be sure to read our list of 20 top in-demand IT certifications, published in June 2019, for the latest important skills the industry is demanding.

First, let’s look at the current MVP certifications based on market demand, reflected in compensation. According to the salary survey, the top six are:

Look to the Clouds

Citrix and VMware-certified professionals will be in demand as customers continue to transform internal infrastructures into private clouds and extend workloads to public services like AWS and Azure in a hybrid or multi-cloud design. Likewise, although cloud services themselves aren’t new, as IaaS and PaaS usage expand, cloud certifications, like the AWS solutions architect listed above, will be increasingly valuable. Both Microsoft and Google have similar programs, so partners aspiring to enter the cloud business should look at the following new certifications:

  1. Google Certified Professional — Cloud Architect (design, build and manage systems and applications on GCP)

  2. Google Certified Professional — Data Engineer (design and build data processing systems and create machine learning models)

  3. MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure (Windows Server and Microsoft Azure)

  4. MCSE: Data Management and Analytics (both on-premises and cloud-based Microsoft data products)

  5. MCSD: App Builder is intended for those interested in the future of web and mobile app development.

Partners who service IBM shops, or with existing services built on IBM technology, should investigate its new cloud and Watson certifications including:

Follow the Data

Cybersecurity and cloud certifications are hot because companies can’t …

… find enough qualified talent to fill positions, but they’re not the only areas your, and customer, IT hiring managers are struggling with. Finding qualified people in these three areas is a challenge; consider “growing your own” by getting staff trained up with these relevant certifications:

Analytics and big data:

Enterprise architecture:

Wireless networking:

  1. Besides the Cisco CCNA, there are other certifications for wireless: CWDP (design), CWNA (network administration), CWSP (security)

Emerging Technologies

Those thinking about the long term should look to technologies that promise to be most disruptive to business and society, especially AI and its subsets (machine learning, deep learning) and data science. According to LinkedIn’s 2017 U.S. Emerging Jobs Report, “It may come as no surprise that technology-centric roles stole the show among emerging jobs in the United States, but the prevalence of machine learning and data-science roles and skills indicate a shift in the types of technology we can expect to be using in the near future, as well as what professionals should be preparing themselves for.”

Machine learning, particularly neural network-based deep learning, is still primarily the stuff of academia, and while those are no substitute for academic training like Stanford’s Machine Learning course on Coursera, we did find a few relevant certifications including:

These courses, along with the big data and analytics certifications, cover many data-science skills. Other areas of focus include data mining and programming languages like Python and R that are used to build data-analysis models.

Amid all of the technical education, don’t neglect valuable business skills including effective collaboration, presentation, negotiation, leadership and coaching/mentorship. These are always worth reinforcing, even if it means reading a few self-help books or volunteering to present at company or industry events.

Here’s to an edifying, profitable and intellectually stimulating 2018.

**Editor’s Note: Can’t get enough about certifications? Read this column on top 10 cloud certifications for partners.**

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