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  1. Boosting pay certainly isn't the only reason to consider earning a certification, but it's near the top of the list for many IT pros, so we checked out the stats on what project managers earn. The most critical factors affecting salaries earned by project managers are education and experience, but salary studies indicate that professional certification can add an extra boost. Here's what we uncovered:PayScale.com According to PayScale.com, a partner of GoCertify which collects salary data from IT professionals, the median salary for an IT project manager is $82,451 ($100,636 for IT Directors). Add in a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, and the figure jumps to $88,414 ($121,776 for IT Directors). Although we did not explore every factor, such as years of experience or geographical location, you are welcome to do so yourself through the salary chart on our PMP page. Foote Partners 2011 IT Skills & Certification Pay Index Foote Partners, LLC, has been in the business of tracking premiums paid for IT skills and certifications since 1999. Every 3 months they survey over 2,000 private and public sector employers in the United States and Canada and calculate premiums ,employers pay to individuals who hold particular IT skills and/or certifications, regardless of actual job title. The premium is calculated as a percent of base pay, although it may be given through another route, such as a cash bonus.
  2. The value of certifications are always a debatable subject among IT professionals. Value aside, the cost prohibitive nature of certifications often keeps people from even trying to acquire them. Other certifications may require outrageous fees and travel to faraway locations, but the Linux Professional Institute’s LPIC-1 exam cost only $160, and the exam can be taken at a Pearson VUE or Prometric Testing Center. These testing centers are world, located in all continents and major metropolitan areas. LPI has a wealth of informative information on their website. Procedure for taking exams Detailed Objectives and Sample questions for the LPIC-1 exam And if thats not enough there are many free resources out there, here are just a few: Wikibook on the LPI Certification IBM LPI exam prep O’Riley’s LPI Certification in a Nutshell, Second Edition A Practice Test Part 1 Part 2 Free LPI Training Manuals There are also several companies who offer exam prep materials at a cost: TestKing Apex Web Media Actual Tests The free resources are recommended as they cover just about everything. With these resources anyone can study for the LPI LPIC-1 exam and then take the exam for $160. In todays rough job market this could be the thing that gets a foot in the door where a resume without might not.So, why wait, go get the LPIC-1 now!
  3. Certifications in a virtual realm would not likely be of any help to an IT professional. However, actual certifications in virtual machines would be, as virtualization has branched out from a once predominantly tech support tool to web and application development, server management, and even cloud computing. VMware has long been the leader in this industry, and they offer the following three certifications: VMware Certified Professional (VCP) The VCP is the base certification for VMware. The core competencies for this class are to install, manage, and deploy a VMware system. Unless you are already a VCP or have other certified VMware trainings, you will need to take one of 3 five-day courses before you can take the VCP exam.VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX) The VCDX is the highest level certification. Once you have a VCP certification, you can then request a review of your VMware knowledge and experience. If you qualify, you will then be permitted to take both an Administration and a Design exam. Passing those exams then allows you to prepare and submit an implementation plan, at which you will defend during a later interview. If you can jump through all these hoops (without falling), VMware will bestow upon you this certification. VMware Certified Advanced Professional (VCAP) The newest of VMware’s certifications, VCAP is designed to be an intermediate level certification. The certification process of the VCDX is thorough, and the VCAP was created to fill the void of the VMware professionals that were not quite ready to attempt a VCDX certification, but certainly have the experience and training far above that of which is required for the VCP. A VCAP offers either an Administration or Design test, and your certification will reflect your specialty based on which of these tests you choose to take and pass.
  4. IT departments naturally normalize the technology infrastructure to exclusivelyutilize a vendor’s product line. The certification you chose will reflect that choice. In a Microsoft shop, an employee will seek Microsoft certification. If the shop focuses primarily on Cisco installations, then, a Cisco certification will be sought. Clearly, choosing a vendor-specific certification will benefit you when the business is aligned with that vendor’s product; however, vendor-neutral certifications, that focus on a technology and not a product will put you at a true advantage at your current position and in the future. And for those people looking for employment, a vendor-neutral certification keeps your skills broad enough to fit the technical needs of many industries. In its outlook for 2010, CertMag quoted Fred Weiller of Learning@Cisco as saying, it matters how quickly you can react to different situations. Fewer people with broader knowledge can act faster.” Choosing a vendor-neutral certification means that you have more reusable knowledge that is not relegated to a specific company’s product. Vendor-neutral certifications are based on industry and international standards that not only means that the knowledge can be leveraged in more scenarios, but also that the acquired knowledge does not age into obsolescence as quickly as a vendor-specific certification. Vendor-provided certifications have also been known to evangelize their technology to the point of bias. Vendor-neutrality disabuses the certification process from certain marketing encroachments. You can search on GoCertify for vendor-neutral certifications. Consider the various certifications from CompTIA, Brainbench, or Certification Partners. An information technology professional should never merely constrain his or her certifications to main technology vendor that their employer or industry uses, but should complement vendor-specific certifications with ones that are vendor-neutral. Having both makes you a more flexible IT professional who is able to adapt to the changing market-place. With the recent and predicted growth of IT in many diverse industries, being more well-rounded is invaluable.
  5. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) continue to be a rapidly growing industry worldwide. The opportunities for properly educated, experienced, and trained GIS expert are vast, and thus make this field of study very appealing for both the newbies and veterans of the information technology industry. Esri, a leader in the GIS marketplace, supplies the software and support for various GIS functions and data. As Esri's product line and popularity continue to increase, Esri has added yet another value to their offerings: certifications. Obtaining one of these certifications may be the boost that lands you that next big GIS contract or job opportunity. In parallel with their various products, Esri's certifications range from the use of their base software ArcGIS, development on their ArcGIS software, and management of their server and client software. An interesting aspect of these certifications is that they are available in two levels: Associate and Professional. As the titles suggest, the Professional level certification proves that your knowledge of the particular certification topic is advanced, while the Associate level shows competence and basic ability in the topic area. Many of these certifications are still "in development", and registration for the certifications does not open until January 17, 2011. If interested, basic descriptions of all the certifications are available on Esri's website here. The move for Esri to supply certifications is one that more software providers should take. Supplying methods for certification improve a company's product at little to zero cost. Any costs incurred developing a curriculum is offset by testing/certification fees. Esri can make sure that those who will be using their products have a method from which to learn the proper use and practices to maximize value from Esri software. These official training avenues are likely to lower support costs for Esri while rising productivity for customers. It's hard to find any negatives in this scenario.
  6. Government jobs are perhaps not looking completely secure right now; talk of a government shutdown isn’t encouraging, after all. But government workers (and candidates) can increase their value by holding a security clearance, and a recent study identified the connections between security clearances and certifications. Evan Lesser, the founder and managing director of ClearanceJobs.com, wrote in an official report, “Certifications help security cleared candidates demonstrate their skill in a particular technology. Interestingly, more than one-third (38%) said not only did their certification make them a contender, it helped them land a new job.” So ClearanceJobs.com and Dice.com set out to see what certifications technology professionals with some sort of security clearance tend to hold. The number one answer was CompTIA’s Security+ certification, logically enough. About 21 percent of security-cleared professionals participating in the survey held it. Then A+ and Network+ landed the number two and number three spots, scoring responses of about 10 percent each. Next came Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Project Management Professional (PMP), and Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE). Finally, there was Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP), and Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA). IT pros should perhaps see what they can do to get these certifications before seeking government jobs.