It's here! No, not winter, the 2006 Certification Magazine results are in. Last year I wrote a similar article regarding these results, and the top spots were all 'System Administration' certifications. This year it is quite a bit different, the sought after CCIE has actually fallen from the top 5, to number 6 on the list of 'Top Certifications'.

One of the things that Certification Magazine chose to make prominent this year, is the number of people who did not receive any certifications during the last year. While over 80% of people who participated in this survey, stated they would add a certification in the next year, over 60% had not added a certification in 2006. Personally, I fall into this category. From buying a new house, and work, the certification track this year got pushed to the back burner. Another one of the things they bring up, is that the cost spent on certifications by those that did take the effort to get them was generally less than $500. Between study materials, training courses, and exams, this is very cheap. It would seem that because less people went out to get certifications this year, the resources used to get them dropped in price. This allows others that may not have had the financial resources in previous years, to step up and get certified.

Contrary to last year, the top 10 certifications this year only contained a handful of system administration titles. It would appear, that Security is taking over as the leader in IT Certifications for the year. Without further delay, lets take a look at the top 10 IT Certifications rated by the 2006 Certification Magazine Survey:

1. CISSP-ISSAP (Information Systems Security Architecture Professional)

2. BCSM (Brocade Certified SAN Manager)

3. BCSD (Brocade Certified SAN Designer)

4. CISM (ISACA Certified Information Security Manager)

5. CISSP-ISSMP (Information Systems Security Management Professional)

6. CCIE (Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert)

7. Oracle DBA OCM

8. CISA (ISACA Certified Information Systems Auditor)

9. BCFP (Brocade Certified Fabric Professional)

10. Sun Certified Web Component Developer for Java

As you can see from this list, not a single System Administration certification made the top 10. This doesn't mean that they aren’t still in demand, but the market is currently looking to security specialists.

The most surprising part of this survey wasn't included last year. This year, they compared the salary of people who held these certifications, to those with no certification, and only college education. The results were really surprising. Since my field is System Administration, I'll stick with that for now. The "Average" RHCE, would make more per year, than a non-certificated Doctorate in the IT Field. Keep in mind, the top certifications, could make as much as double the salary of the same RHCE, or triple the amount of an employee with a B.A/B.S. degree. This alone should be reason enough for anyone to seek the certification that suits their field, but the bragging rights are a nice perk.

This new survey just proves that in the IT world, things can change very quickly. Last year it went from System Administration to this year to Security. Have a good year, and keep those Certifications comming!


Sigh, another pointless study from another pointless magazine.

So you have a few hundred respondents worldwide, all of whom are either HR people from companies addicted to certifications or possibly individuals addicted to them.
Not representative of the IT industry as a whole.

If it were you'd have MCSD, MSCE, SCJA, and SCJP right on the top, and probably some Linux and Unix certs as well.