8 IT certifications ambitious career advancers should consider

8 Information technology certifications to consider for your career.

The information technology (IT) field has come a long way since the days of dial-up internet and floppy disks. Its upward trajectory has continued, and this exponential growth has led to increasing demand for IT professionals. It might feel like the perfect time to enhance your qualifications to land an in-demand IT job. But if you’re like many job seekers, earning a degree is simply not an option.

Enter, IT certifications. The tech industry has varying opinions about these fast-track options, but many acknowledge that not all of them are created equally. The right program can provide great opportunities to build your skill set and explore new career options.

If you’re looking to advance your IT status without committing to a degree, you’ll want to explore your IT certification choices. University of Massachusetts Global provides eight different course options that prepare you to obtain entry-level or continuing education credentials. Join us as we take a closer look at each of these IT certifications and the corresponding classes.

8 IT certifications that can help drive your career forward

1. CompTIA A+ Certification

CompTIA stands for the Computing Technology Industry Association — a nonprofit organization that offers a variety of IT education options. If you’re looking for an entry-level job in the IT field, University of Massachusetts Global’s CompTIA’s A+ certification can help you learn the basics of computer systems architecture, including the central processing unit (CPU), operating systems, memory and file management.

Jobs related to this certification:

  • Support specialist
  • Field service technician
  • Desktop analyst
  • Help desk support

2. Cisco CCNA Certification

Become an expert in digital communications building blocks — from the switches that connect devices to the routers that connect networks — by earning this Cisco certification. This four-course program starts with Introduction to Networks and focuses on identifying, navigating and maintaining Cisco routing and switching products. Though this certification is vendor-specific, Cisco products are so widely used that your career options will remain diverse.

Jobs related to this certification:

  • Network engineer
  • Network administrator
  • Systems consultant
  • Network technician
  • Server administrator

3. Data Science for Professionals Certificate

Have you ever felt like working with data scientists is like swimming in a sea of unknown acronyms? If you wish you could better understand the field and speak more competently with a data scientist, this IT certification is for you. Through this short, five-day certificate program, you can gain the knowledge and confidence to improve workflow, problem solve and understand your colleagues in a more meaningful way.

Jobs that could utilize this certification:

  • C-level — CEO, CTO, CIO and CISO
  • Application developer
  • Engineering business manager
  • Software architect, developer and programmer
  • Application architect
  • Security administrator

4. CompTIA Cloud+ Certification

Cloud computing has become a staple in our digitally saturated society. It allows us to host medical records and back up our smartphones.

With this CompTIA Cloud+ certification program, you’ll learn the skills needed to configure, manage, troubleshoot and protect information on the cloud for a variety of industries. Gaining these competencies is a great way to increase your value and pursue a career in data management.

Jobs related to this certification:

  • System administrator
  • Cloud developer
  • Cloud project manager
  • Cloud engineer
  • Business analyst in cloud computing

5. FCC Accelerated General Radio Operators License (GROL)

Boats and planes communicate via radio. And across the country, there are thousands of radio communication stations in need of people to keep their equipment and travel networks running smoothly.

The GROL prep course is ideal for someone who is working in the shipping or airline industry and wants to shift their career focus. You’ll examine radio communication laws, learn about high-tech equipment and become an expert in radio maintenance.

Jobs related to this certification:

  • Department of transportation supervisor
  • Avionic technician
  • Airline radio mechanic
  • Marine radio technician

6. Mastering Data Science

Data scientists use both business and IT principles to translate big data into usable information. But the field is not as unattainable as it might sound — and breaking into it definitely doesn’t require a complete overhaul of your education. In fact, you could call yourself a data scientist with the right certification.

Whether you come from a business or IT background, this data science program will teach you how to navigate machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Jobs related to this certification:

  • Data analyst
  • Data engineer
  • Data mining engineer
  • Big data architect
  • Machine data engineer


Want to work on the next big app? With the Microsoft Technology Associate Certification (MTA) course, you’ll learn about the fundamentals of mobile design and app development using HTML5 — a programming language that combines HTML, CSS and JavaScript. If you have experience with those languages, you’re already on your way to acing this course and, possibly, the corresponding exam. 

Jobs related to this certification:

  • Application developer
  • UI designer
  • Web developer
  • Quality assurance engineer
  • Front-end developer
  • Software engineer 

8. MTA Software Development

If you’re intrigued by the idea of creating and implementing software, the MTA Software Development exam prep course may be the perfect option for you. Through it, you’ll learn about building, testing and debugging software programs. A candidate for this certification would benefit from having previous experience with C# and Microsoft Visual Basics.

Jobs related to this certification:

  • Software developer
  • Software engineer
  • Software tester
  • Game programmer or developer

Amplify your future

There are so many ways to specialize in the IT field. Whether you want to analyze or protect data, there is an IT certification and corresponding program for you. Don’t wait for technology to keep evolving — become an active learner and start working toward your certification today.

Visit University of Massachusetts Global’s Certifications and Courses page to learn more about your options and how to get started.

If you’re hungry to stay up to date on topics relevant to the IT and data science industries, be sure to check out the webinars and workshops hosted by UMass Global's School of Extended Education.

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