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13 Highest Paying IT Certifications in 2021

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If you want to pursue a career in information technology, then you may want to do some research on the highest paying IT certifications. Not only do these credentials help you stand out from the competition, they provide an easy and efficient way to advance in the field.

They’re also affordable and don’t take too long to obtain. In fact, you can complete most programs in just a matter of weeks. Even more exciting is that some of them can even lead to bigger paychecks. Read on below to learn more about the top-paying certifications in information technology.


What are IT Certifications and How Can They Advance My Career?

IT certifications can help validate your skills and experience in a specific area. As the industry continues to expand, distinguishing yourself from other applicants will only become more critical.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), we can expect over 667,000 new jobs to hit the market each year through 2030 for individuals working in computer and information technology.

Interested in joining the information technology industry? Check out these 7 tips on how to get into IT!

Learning new skills or earning a certificate can also influence your bottom line. According to the Global Knowledge IT Skills and Salary report, becoming certified can lead to upwards of $12,000 more a year. The report also suggests that careers in cloud computing are associated with top-paying salaries.

Today, 87% of individuals working in information technology possess at least one industry certification, and 69% are already planning their next one. Check out the list below for more information on how to join their ranks.

Note: Salary information comes from data collected from the 3,700 U.S. participants in the Global Knowledge 2021 IT Skills and Salary Survey.

13 Highest-Paying IT Certifications

Google Certified Professional Data Engineer

it professionals to benefit from certification programs

The Google Certified Professional Data Engineer is associated with the highest paying salary in IT on this list. Individuals who sit for this exam typically go on to pursue opportunities as cloud architects.

Responsibilities include collecting, transforming, and publishing data to make data-driven decisions for the business. Professionals must be able to design, build, operationalize, secure, and monitor data processing systems. A heavy emphasis falls on security and compliance, scalability, and reliability.

Test takers don’t need any prerequisites to sit for the certification exam, but Google recommends at least three years of industry experience before testing.

Estimated Salary: $171,749

Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect

highest-paying IT certifications

The Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect is another professional-level certification issued by the Google Cloud Platform (GCP). It remains one of the highest-paying certifications available.

The credential validates your ability to work with Google Cloud technology by designing, developing, and managing scalable business solutions within the platform. A GCP professional cloud architect must analyze and optimize technical and business processes and ensure all solutions and operations function reliably.

Test takers don’t need any prerequisites to sit for the exam, but the company recommends at least three years of industry experience before signing up.

Estimated Salary: 169,029

AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate

AWS certified solutions architect

The AWS Certified Solutions Architect proves workers can design and deploy scalable systems on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform. Individuals who create cloud infrastructures, reference architectures, and deploy systems and applications are well suited for the credential.

Test takers must have at least one year of experience providing and implementing AWS solutions.

Estimated Salary: $159,033

CRISC – Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control

crisc certification

As more businesses move online, demands for risk management solutions continue to rise. The CRISC certificate demonstrates an ability to identify, evaluate and manage IT risk. Certificate holders should also plan and implement control measures and communicate to other individuals inside their organizations about IT concerns.

The majority of recipients end up working as security managers or directors, though there is also a large percentage working as security engineers, analysts, and security architects.

The exam covers four different domains:

  • IT Risk Identification
  • IT Risk Assessment
  • Risk Response and Mitigation
  • Risk Control, Monitoring, and Reporting

Individuals must have a minimum of three years of cumulative and relative work experience in at least two of the four CRISC domains to sit for the exam.

Estimated Salary: $151,853

CISSP – Certified Information Systems Security Professional

CISSP certification

Individuals should only pursue the CISSP certification after five years of IT experience. The credential is commonly compared to earning a master’s degree in IT security. Recipients have proven continuous professional development and the ability to design, implement and manage cybersecurity programs effectively.

The exam covers eight domains in information security:

  • Security and Risk Management
  • Asset Security
  • Security Architecture and Engineering
  • Communication and Network Security
  • Identity and Access Management (IAM)
  • Security Assessment and Testing
  • Security Operations
  • Software Development Security

Estimated Salary: $151,853

CISM – Certified Information Security Manager

Certified Information Security Manager

The Certified Information Security Manager from ISACA is an essential credential for anyone running for a position in IT leadership. The CISM certification validates one’s knowledge of information security governance and program development.

Certificated information security managers have demonstrated their ability to manage, design, and assess information security and associated systems across businesses.

Want to learn more about computer technician training? Find out all there is to know in our original guide.

The cybersecurity certification covers the following four domains:

  • Information Security Governance
  • Information Risk Management
  • Information Security Program Development and Management
  • Information Security Incident Management

The certificate requires at least five years total of paid, relevant work experience in two or more of the CISSP domains. Those without this level of experience can still take the exam but will have to wait up to six years to obtain the required experience.

Estimated Salary: 149,246

PMP – Project Management Professional

project management professional

The PMP certification signals experience and expertise in project management, and it remains one of the most highly regarded project management certifications available. Certificate holders have demonstrated an ability to define, organize and manage projects from start to finish.

According to the Project management Institute, candidates must have a four-year degree, three years of relevant work experience, and 35 hours of project management education or a CAPM Certification. Those without a four-year degree can still sit for the exam, though they require five years of work experience to do so.

Estimated Salary: 148,906

CISA – Certified Information Systems Auditor

Man fixing computer

A CISA Certified Information Systems Auditor must audit, control, monitor, and assess an organization’s information technology and business systems. The entry-level certificate has been around since 1978, making it one of the oldest credentials on this list.

Becoming CISA certified is an excellent option for entry to mid-level IT professionals looking to advance in their careers. The credential demonstrates an ability to plan, execute, and report on audit engagements with risk in mind.

The CISA exam consists of the following five domains:

  • Auditing Information Systems
  • Governance and Management of IT
  • Information Systems Acquisition, Development, and Implementation
  • Information Systems Operation, Maintenance, and Service Management
  • Protection of Information Assets

According to the Global Knowledge survey, 100% of applicants already hold cybersecurity-related certifications before taking the exam.

Estimated Salary: 134,460

VCP-DVC – VMware Certified Professional – Data Center Virtualization 2020

VCP-DVC - VMware Certified Professional - Data Center Virtualization 2020

This is one of the most valuable certifications for IT professionals assisting organizations with the transition to a digital environment, improving experiences, or streamlining operations.

VMware certifications validate an individual’s experience implementing, managing, and troubleshooting vSphere infrastructure. It also demonstrates the ability to provide businesses with a powerful, flexible, and secure foundation as they transition to the Cloud.

To sit for this certification exam, individuals must attend at least one course offered by an authorized training provider or reseller. Candidates should also have at least six months of relevant experience working with the latest version of vSphere, VMware’s server virtualization software.

Estimated Salary: $132,947

Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate

Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate

All candidates for this Azure Administrator Associate Certification should have at least six months of experience implementing, managing, and monitoring the Microsoft Azure environment for their organization.

Additional responsibilities include keeping an eye on identity, governance, storage, computing, and virtual networks in a cloud environment. Individuals must also adjust resources effectively and maintain a core understanding of each area across the entire IT service lifecycle.

Because this is one of Microsoft’s role-based certifications, the credential is largely aligned with jobs and promotions. Candidates must pass the AZ-104: Microsoft Azure Administrator exam before pursuing this accreditation.

Estimated Salary: $121,420

CCNP – Cisco Certified Network Professional

CCNP certification

This IT certification is provided by the Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) Enterprise and requires deep knowledge and understanding of Cisco technologies used in modern networks.

Interested in computer networking and architecture? Discover the 10 Best CCNA Online Training Courses today!

The credential remains especially appealing for network engineers and administrators who collaborate with specialists on advanced security, voice, wireless, and video solutions.

To receive their certification, candidates must sit for two exams – a core exam and a concentration exam within the technology area.

Estimated Salary: $118,911

CCA-V – Citrix Certified Associate- Virtualization

CCA-V - Citrix Certified Associate- Virtualization

IT operators and administrators working with Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops can earn this certificate to demonstrate they have the technical skills needed to install, configure, and manage a highly available environment based on this program.

Test takers should also be familiar with cloud connectors, StoreFront, the Citrix Workspace app, and other applications associated with the Citrix Cloud.

To achieve this certification, candidates must first pass the 1Y0-204: Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops 7 Administration exam.

Estimated Salary: $115,308

CompTIA Security+

CompTIA Security+

The CompTIA Sec+ Certification may be the most widely held certification among security professionals. Even cyber-adjacent professions can benefit from the information this certification provides.

This credential validates baseline skills necessary to perform core security functions throughout your IT career. Candidates will be tested on the following topics:

  • Network security
  • Compliance and operational security
  • Threats and vulnerabilities
  • Application, data, and host security
  • Access control and identity management
  • Cryptography

This is an entry-level certification and does not call for any prerequisites before sitting for the exam.

Estimated Salary: $110, 974

Other IT Certifications in High Demand

While they may not have made it onto the list of high-earning certifications provided by Global Knowledge, the following credentials validate in-demand skills and knowledge that can help you get far in the IT industry.

CompTIA A+

Alongside the CompTIA Network+ Certificate, this remains one of the most popular certifications held by IT professionals. The CompTIA A+ certificate is for “proven problem solvers.” That is to say, certificate holders can perform critical IT support tasks as they arise, from security to cloud to data management and more.

Candidates must pass two exams to receive their certification and must be able to perform the following tasks:

  • Demonstrate baseline security skills for IT support professionals
  • Configure device operating systems, like Windows, Mac, Chrome, OS, Linux, Android, and iOS, and administer client-based as well as cloud-based (SaaS) software
  • Troubleshoot, and problem solve core service and support challenges while applying best practices for documentation, change management, and scripting
  • Support basic IT infrastructure and networking
  • Configure and support PC, mobile, and IoT device hardware
  • Implement basic data backup and recovery methods and apply data storage and management best practices

AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner

The AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner certification demonstrates expertise in implementing cloud initiatives across Amazon Web Services.

Before sitting for the exam, candidates must undergo six months of experience with the AWS Cloud. They should also maintain a basic understanding of IT services and how to apply them to the AWS Cloud platform.

Some familiarity with core AWS services and use cases, billing and pricing models, security concepts is best. Knowing how the Cloud impacts your business is also beneficial.

CompTIA Network+

Like other certifications offered by the CompTIA organization, Network+ remains a widely held certification among IT professionals. The credential demonstrates a core understanding of basic IT infrastructure, from troubleshooting, configuring, and managing networks.

Unlike other certifications on this list, the CompTIA Network+ program prepares candidates to support networks on any platform. No prerequisites are required to sit for the exam, though candidates are encouraged to participate in some form of self-paced learning before the exam. Online training and custom labs are available through the official site.


If you are interested in pursuing a career in information technology, ICOHS College can help. We offer a range of programs to prepare each student for work as a systems administrator or network specialist. We also offer boot camps to help students achieve essential industry certifications and advance their careers. You may recognize them from the list above:

Scholarships and title IV funding are available to help students cover the cost of their education. Speak to one of our representatives at (858) 581-9460 or email us for more information on financial assistance. 

Career counseling is offered to all enrolled students. Even after graduation, students can access and enjoy our job placement assistance program. 

ICOHS College is accredited by the ACCET (Accrediting Council for Continuing Education, To learn more about ICOHS College accreditations and licenses, visit our accreditation page.


What are the best IT certifications for beginners?

The CompTIA trio are considered some of the best IT certifications for beginners. The bundle includes A+, Network+, and Security+. These exams require no prerequisite experience and are available to all entry-level professionals trying to advance in the field.

If you’re looking for more information on the CompTIA certifications, explore the IT Network Specialist program at ICOHS C college. Students will attain the necessary skills needed to pass each exam in the trio. You can also explore our bootcamp options for further instruction.

Are Google certifications valuable?

Google certifications are associated with the most well-paid positions in IT. The company will also accept these certifications instead of a four-year degree, a path that cuts down on the time and money it takes to break into the field.

The credential also provides career resources, including coaching sessions, mock interviews, and resume builder tools. Certificate holders also have access to the Google employer consortium to connect them with top employers.

Which AWS exam is the hardest?

The AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate certification is reportedly the most challenging exam offered.

The credential requires a minimum of one year of hands-on experience with AWS technology, familiarity with using the AWS Management Console, Command Line Interface, and a thorough understanding of the AWS Well-Architected Framework.

Other AWS certification exams considered difficult include the Solution Architect – Professional and DevOps Engineer – Professional.

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