Slideshow The 15 highest paying IT credentials for 2016

  • July 12 2016, 4:00am EDT

Top Salaries for IT Certifications

Data- and security-related certifications help demonstrate proficiency in specific types of technology, and having a key certification can pay handsomely. According to the new report, “15 Top-Paying Certifications for 2016” from Global Knowledge, here are the ones that will earn you top dollar, or cost you the most if you’re the one paying for specialized expertise. The certifications are listed in order based on average salary of survey respondents.

1. AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate = $125,871

Amazon Web Services’ baseline certification— AWS Certified Solutions Architect -Associate—debuted in mid-2013 and is intended for individuals with experience designing distributed applications and systems on the AWS platform. “The AWS Certified Solutions Architect-Associate certification exam addresses a range of topics, including designing on AWS, selecting the appropriate AWS services for your situation, ingress and egress of data to and from the AWS, estimating AWS costs and identifying cost-control measures,” Global Knowledge explained.

Content Continues Below

2. Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC) = $122,954

The nonprofit group ISACA offers and manages the CRISC certification. “Designed for IT professionals, project managers and others whose job it is to identify and manage risks to IT and the business through appropriate information systems (IS) controls, the CRISC certification covers the entire lifecycle, from design to implementation to ongoing maintenance. It measures two primary areas: risk and IS controls,” Global Knowledge explains.

3. Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) = $122,291

ISACA also created the CISM certification. It’s aimed at management more than the IT professional and focuses on security strategy and assessing the systems and policies, rather than the person who actually implements those policies. “More than 27,000 people have been certified since its introduction in 2002, of which 23,220 are currently certified, making this a highly sought-after area with a relatively small supply of certified individuals,” Global Knowledge says.

4. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) = $121,923

Offered by the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC)2, CISSP is designed to provide vendor-neutral security expertise similar to the certifications that ISACA offers. Launched in 1994, CISSP consists of an exam based around eight areas in computer security, including security and risk management, communications and network security, software development security, asset security, security engineering, identity and access management, security assessment and testing, and security operations.

Content Continues Below

5. Project Management Professional (PMP) = $116,094

This certification is business-related instead of technical-related—the PMP certification was created and is administered by the Project Management Institute and is the most recognized project management certification available. There are more than 658,000 PMPs worldwide. “The PMP certification exam tests five areas relating to the lifecycle of a project: initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing,” Global Knowledge says.

6. Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) = $113,320

CISA certification is ISACA’s oldest, dating back to 1978, with more than 115,000 certified since its inception, and about two-thirds of those are still certified. “CISA certification requires at least five years of experience in IS auditing, control or security, in addition to passing an exam that is only offered three times per year. Maintaining CISA certification means earning continuing education credits each year,” Global Knowledge explains.

7. Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) Routing and Switching = $112,858

“CCIE Routing and Switching is one of the highest-level certifications available,” Global Knowledge notes. As such, CCIE Routing and Switching is the highest-paying Cisco certification on the list. There are other CCIE tracks—collaboration, data center, security, service provider and wireless—and all command similar pay advantages.

Content Continues Below

8. Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Data Center = $107,045

Although associate-level Cisco certifications have been around for a while, the data center certification track that includes CCNA, CCNP and CCIE levels were introduced in 2012. “The track is aimed at data center technologies, such as networking (especially with Nexus physical and virtual switches), storage (especially converged storage involving Fibre Chanel over Ethernet [FCoE] and standard network traffic on the same network infrastructure and cards), compute (primarily around Cisco’s UCS technologies), virtualization and various network services, such as global and local load balancing,” Global Knowledge writes.

9. Cisco Certified Design Professional (CCDP) = $105,008

CCDP is a professional-level Cisco certification, which is a level between the entry-level associate tracks and the expert level. Professional-level certification tracks show a greater depth and specialization in certain topics than the associate-level. “CCDP certification is designed for senior-level architects who want to design more advanced network topologies and services,” Global Knowledge writes. “There are three exams required for this certification—two are focused on implementation (routing and switching) and one on architecting.”

10. Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) = $103,297

The International Council of E-Commerce Consultants (EC-Council) created and manages CEH certification, which is aimed at security officers and auditors, site administrators, and others responsible for network and data security. The exam is designed to test a candidate’s abilities to prod for holes, weaknesses and vulnerabilities in a company’s network defenses, using techniques and methods that hackers employ.

Content Continues Below

11. Six Sigma Green Belt = $102,594

Six Sigma is a process of analyzing defects—that is, anything outside a customer’s specifications—in a production/manufacturing process, with a goal of no more than 3.4 defects per million ‘opportunities’ or chances for a defect to occur. Unlike most of the other certifications on this list, Six Sigma Green Belt is not IT-specific.

12. Citrix Certified Professional – Virtualization (CCP-V) = $102,138

CCP-V is a newer certification from Citrix that replaced Citrix Certified Enterprise Engineer (CCEE) certification, which was retired in late 2014. “Focused on XenDesktop 7, CCP-V requires that candidates have already earned Citrix Certified Associate-Virtualization (CCA-V) certification. CCA-V certification covers the basics of managing, maintaining, monitoring and troubleshooting, while CCP-V certifies that candidates can deploy applications and virtual desktops using a variety of Citrix technologies,” Global Knowledge explains.

13. Cisco Certified Networking Professional (CCNP) Security = $101,414

“The fourth Cisco-related certification and the sixth security-related certification on this year’s list is CCNP Security,” Global Knowledge says. “Achieving CCNP Security certification requires that you have achieved CCNA Security or any CCIE and that you pass four security implementation exams covering secure access, edge network security, secure mobility and threat control,” Global Knowledge says.

Content Continues Below

14. ITIL v3 Foundation = $99,869

ITIL was created by England’s government in the 1980s to standardize IT management. “It is a set of best practices for aligning the services IT provides with the needs of the organization. It is broad-based, covering everything from availability and capacity management to change and incident management, in addition to application and IT operations management,” Global Knowledge explains.

15. VMware Certified Professional 5 – Data Center Virtualization (VCP5-DCV) = $99,334

This is VMware’s oldest and former entry-level certification. As VMware’s product portfolio has grown over the last several years, it decided that a single certification was not sufficient. “VMware Certified Associate (VCA) is the entry-level certification, and several VCP tracks exist, enabling VCPs to specialize.