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15 Most In-Demand IT Certifications Of 2021: Robert Half

Mark Haranas

From Cisco and AWS to security and cloud, here are the 15 most wanted IT certifications in America in 2021.


The 15 IT Certifications In 2021 You Need To Know About

The top IT certifications in America are enabling professionals to capture six-figure salary jobs with the need for skilled technology professionals spiking during the COVID-19 pandemic era.

The 15 most in-demand IT certifications today revolve around vendors like AWS, Cisco and Microsoft as well as key skillsets in markets such as cloud, data privacy and security, according to the new 2021 IT Salary Report from Robert Half Technology. Salaries for workers who hold these 15 IT certifications the Robert Half Technology report may be 5 percent to 10 percent higher than those without similar certifications.

Higher unemployment and upskilling in the workforce due to digital transformation acceleration stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic is expanding the IT candidate pool, according Robert Half’s report. Having the highest demanded IT certifications in the market validates a person’s expertise and can set them apart from the crowed.

CRN breaks down the 15 most sought-after IT certifications in America in 2021.

AWS Certified Solutions Architect -- Professional

With continuous new releases, the public cloud kingpin offers a slew of AWS certifications. However, the AWS Certified Solutions Architect -- Professional certification is for solutions architects, solution design engineers, and technical professionals who want to design applications and systems on AWS. The certification is one of the most in-demand cloud computing certifications in the market today.

The AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional certification validates a person’s ability to design and deploy dynamically scalable, highly available, fault-tolerant and reliable applications on AWS. People gain expertise in migrating complex, multi-tier applications on AWS as well as design and deploy enterprise sales operations on Amazon.

Certified Cloud Security Professional

A Certified Cloud Security Professional recognizes IT and information security leaders who have expert skills too apply best practices to cloud security architecture, design, operations and service orchestration. Becoming a Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) proves that you are on the forefront of cloud security.

The CCSP is a global credential that represents the highest standard for cloud security expertise. It was co-created by the International Information System Security Certification Consortium (ISC)² and the Cloud Security Alliance. This IT certification demonstrates a person’s knowledge and skill to design, manage and secure data, applications and IT infrastructure in the cloud.

Certified Data Privacy Solutions Engineer

With the explosion of data being created faster than ever before, becoming a Certified Data Privacy Solutions Engineer opens a world of opportunity. Owing this certification shows you understand the ever-increasing complexity of data security and privacy. The Certified Data Privacy Solutions Engineer (CDPSE) is the first experienced-based technical certification of its kind offered through the ISACA.

CDPSE assesses a data analyst or data scientist’s ability to manage the data lifecycle and advise technologists on privacy compliance and best data practices. The certification enables data scientists and privacy technologists with a common language and data science methodologies to improve the end user experience while preserving privacy and retaining trust.

Certified Data Professional

The Certified Data Professional certification is offered at various levels with opportunities in many positions. A Certified Data Professional (CDP) can specialize and certify in many areas including business analytics, data warehousing, data governance, data integration and interoperability, information management or enterprise data architectures.

More than half of CDP certified holders have at least 10 years of industry experience. People can obtain a Certified Data Professional certification from the Institute for Certification of Computing Professionals.

Certified Ethical Hacker

The Certified Ethical Hacker program certifies individuals in the specific network security discipline of Ethical Hacking from a vendor-neutral perspective. The Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) is a U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) approved baseline certification.

The CEH fortifies the application knowledge of security officers, auditors, security professionals, site administrators, and anyone who is concerned about the integrity of the network infrastructure. A CEH is a skilled professional who understands and knows how to look for the weaknesses and vulnerabilities in target systems and uses the same knowledge and tools as a malicious hacker. The certification is offered through the EC-Council.

Certified Information Security Manager

As demand for highly skilled cybersecurity management continues across the globe, the Certified Information Security Manager certification is the global accepted standard. The Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) is a management-focused certification that enables people to understand business and know how to manage and adapt technology to their company and industry.

Holding a CISM demonstrates a deep understanding of the relationship between information security programs and broader business goals and objectives. Earning a CISM is considered a great way to pave the path from security technologist to security manager.

Certified Information Systems Security Professional 

Earning a Certified Information Systems Security Professional certification proves top level expertise to effectively design, engineer and manage the overall security posture of any organization. The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) has been compared to a master’s degree in IT security.

The certification provides cybersecurity enablement around asset security, organizational structure, security and risk management, operations, identity and access management, as well as security architecture and engineering. The CISSP is offered through (ISC)².

Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert

The Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert certification has been one of the most popular and in-demand certifications for networking on a global basis for years. Holding a Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) proves deep technical understanding of networking and can solve some of the most technically challenging network tasks.

The CCIE validates end-to-end IT lifecycle skills from playing and design to operating and optimization. The expert Cisco certifications are offered in six different networking areas including data center, enterprise infrastructure, enterprise wireless, security, service provider and collaboration. A CCEI is the highest level of certification available from the longtime global networking market share leader.

Cisco Certified Network Associate

The Cisco Certified Network Associate certification offers comprehensive associate-level training and certification focused on the solutions and technologies needed to implement and administer a broad range of modern networking and IT infrastructure. Cisco’s Certified Network Associate (CCNA) covers network areas around IP services, IP connectivity, security and networking fundamentals, automation and programmability, as well as network access.

CCNA certificates are valid for three years, and renewal requires certification holders to register for and pass the same or higher-level Cisco recertification exams every three years.

Cisco Certified Network Professional

After earning Cisco’s CCNA, the next level is the Cisco Certified Network Professional Enterprise. The Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) Enterprise certification replaced the company’s former CCNP Routing and Switching certification in 2020.

The CCNP proves expertise in enterprise infrastructure including virtualization, network assurance, security and automation. The exams for CCNP focus on emerging and industry specific topics such as SD-WAN, wireless and automation.

With Cisco CCNP, CCNA and CCIE all making Robert Half Technology’s 2021 top IT certifications list, the global network market share leader has more in-demand certifications than any other vendor.

Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect Expert

The software superstar and public cloud giant has two certifications that made Robert Half Technology’s 2021 top IT certifications list, including the Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect Expert. The certification provides the skills to design a variety of solutions that run on Azure with expertise in compute, network, storage and security.

The Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect Expert is for cloud professionals tasked with advising stakeholders and building reliable cloud solutions for the organization. The Azure certification is for people with advanced experience and knowledge of IT operations, including virtualization, business continuity, disaster recovery, data platform, budgeting, and governance.

Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate/Expert 

The Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) certifications are designed for entry-level workers to demonstrate proficiency in Microsoft products, roles and knowledge areas. The MCSA certifications serve as prerequisites for many Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) certifications, intended for more experienced IT workers.

Microsoft provides several MCSA certifications in areas such as Office 365, Windows 10, Windows Server, database development, web applications and many Microsoft services.

It is key to note that Microsoft said will be retiring both the MCSA and MCSE on Jan. 31, 2021 and focus instead on role-based training and certifications.

Oracle Database Certifications

Oracle University provides users with free access to an extensive library of materials for Oracle Cloud Infrastructure and Oracle Autonomous Database. There are many Oracle Database certifications such as MySQL and backup and recovery, including the MySQL Database Administration and Database Developer certifications.

The MySQL Database Administration certification is for professionals seeking to increase a company’s performance, integrating business process and managing data. Oracle’s database courses in database design and SQL and PL/SQL programming focus on data organization, management and use.

Project Management Professional

The Project Management Institute launched a new Project Management Professional certification this month focusing on three new domains: people, process and business environment.

The people section emphasizes the skills and activities associated with effectively leading a project team. The process portion reinforces the technical aspects of managing a project, while the business environment highlights the connection between projects and an organization’s strategy. The PMP is based around content that spans the value delivery spectrum including predictive, agile and hybrid approaches.

Salesforce Certified Development Lifecycle and Deployment Designer

The Salesforce Certified Development Lifecycle and Deployment Designer credential is designed for professionals who have the requisite skills and experience at managing Lightning Platform development and deployment activities, and effectively communicating technical solutions to business and technical stakeholders.

The Salesforce certification provides experience analyzing the environment and requirements to design an appropriate governance framework, and to manage the development and deployment lifecycle on the Lightning Platform. The certification is designed for professionals responsible for assessing a company’s IT environment and requirements, followed by implementing management solutions on the Salesforce platform.

Learn More: Managed Security
Mark Haranas

Mark Haranas is an assistant news editor and longtime journalist now covering cloud, multicloud, software, SaaS and channel partners at CRN. He speaks with world-renown CEOs and IT experts as well as covering breaking news and live events while also managing several CRN reporters. He can be reached at

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