What Are Major Online Certifications for Technical Careers?

Many professionals working in areas such as networking, database management, server management and computer infrastructure design choose to obtain certification in their area of expertise. Cisco and Microsoft offer the most common types of technical career certification.

Two Major Types of Online Certification for Technical Careers

Cisco and Microsoft offer online training courses that prepare candidates for certification. Employers seek out certified applicants because certification demonstrates years of experience in a specific information technology or database career field. Prospective enrollees should ensure that the online program they are considering is an authorized training partner of either Cisco or Microsoft.

Important Facts About Computer Systems Administrators

Median Salary (2014)$75,790
Job Outlook8% from 2014-2024
Required EducationBachelor's degree in a field related to computer or information science
Key SkillsAnalytical, communication, computer, multitasking, and problem-solving

Source: United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Cisco Career Certifications

Cisco offers technical career certification in seven areas of information technology. Areas include voice, wireless, service provider, security and routing and switching. In addition to these areas, there are also five certification levels: entry, associate, expert, professional and architect. The architect certification is the highest that can be earned, while the entry-level certification is the lowest and signifies basic knowledge in a specific area of information technology. There are many private Cisco training schools - such as Fast Lane and New Horizons - where prospective students can enroll in a Cisco technical career certification program.

Microsoft Career Certifications

Microsoft offers technical career certification for information technology professionals and developers. Many technical schools and community colleges offer preparatory programs to train students for certification.

Its certifications are organized around categories like desktop, applications, database, developer and server. Within those groups are specific levels of certification. For example, the Microsoft website indicated in January 2014 that developers could earn either the Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) or Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) certifications, while those interested in server certification had options for MTA, Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MSCA) and Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) certification.

Factors to Consider

Those considering earning either Cisco or Microsoft certification should know that the certification options available could change frequently as new technology becomes available. As a result, both Cisco and Microsoft have retired some of their certifications in the past. Those interested in keeping their certifications current may find it necessary to complete an entirely new certification program if an older certification is moved to legacy status.

The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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