Cisco, Microsoft certifications increase high-tech salaries

PMP credentials also boost salaries and employment opportunities, IT job site finds

For high-tech workers, it pays to be certified, according to research conducted by Dice Learning that shows 10 IT certifications stand out for delivering higher salaries.

"Not all certifications are created equal in terms of paycheck impact. While nearly half of all technology professionals have at least one certification, a minority attributed pay increases to certification," said Evan Lesser, director of Dice Learning, which offers technical training and information about certifications and career advancement, in a statement. "When you combine in-demand skill sets and proven salary impact, specific certifications become valuable to individual technology professionals."

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Five ways to get affordable IT certification skills

Dice Learning used responses from some 17,000 high-tech professionals to determine which technical skills and IT certifications deliver more compensation and helped workers command higher salaries. For instance, IT pros certified as a Project Management Professional could demand more pay on the job and unemployed workers might find more open positions. According to Dice Learning, there are currently 1,400 available jobs on with PMP certification listed as a requirement.

"It's a particularly important job today, when companies are beginning to resurrect projects they'd shelved during the downturn, but want them completed as cost-efficiently and quickly as possible," according to a Dice Learning press release.

Other certifications helping IT pros increase their compensation are vendor specific. Microsoft Certified Systems Engineers (MCSE), Microsoft Certified Professionals (MCP) and Microsoft Certified Systems Administrators (MCSA) all landed on the list, showing that high-tech workers who can prove they are adept at Microsoft systems and associated skills will be in demand. For instance, has 1,000 jobs listing a MSCE as a requirement.

"Sought by systems engineers, technical support engineers, systems analysts, network analysts and technical consultants, the MCSE is for professionals who spend their time maintaining the basic platforms on which so much business is conducted," Dice Learning states.

IT professionals trained as Cisco Certified Network Associates (CCNA) are also seeing bigger paychecks, according to this research. Having the "ability to install, configure, run and troubleshoot medium-sized routed and switched networks" is paying off for CCNAs, who by getting this IT certification also prove they can handle security and wireless technologies as well as a number of network protocols. lists more than 650 available job opportunities requesting CCNA skills.

The Network + certification also landed on Dice Learning's list, which covers managing, maintaining, troubleshooting, installing and configuring basic network infrastructure. Offered by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), the Network + certification is also often included in programs by vendors such as Microsoft, Cisco, Novell and HP. The A + certification, also from CompTIA, is often associated with technical support professionals and shows an IT pro can install networks and conduct preventative maintenance, as well as secure and troubleshoot networks.

Security certifications such as Security + from CompTIA and Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) also deliver higher pay, according to Dice Learning, which states "security is a growing concern for businesses around the world." For CISSP holders, currently lists 750 open positions.

Process skills could also mean more money, according to this research. ITIL certifications show IT professionals have studied the best practices and can apply them to an employer's IT service management efforts.

"The three-tier ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library) certification demonstrates the expertise of professionals in tech management. Public and private organizations use the ITIL as a compendium of IT operational best practices," according to Dice Learning.

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Read more about infrastructure management in Network World's Infrastructure Management section.

This story, "Cisco, Microsoft certifications increase high-tech salaries" was originally published by Network World.

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