Certifications are an effective way to learn new skills, achieve higher daily rates, and land the top clients – but with thousands on the market, which ones should IT contractors aim to achieve in 2018?
Using insider training industry knowledge from Firebrand Training and daily-rate data from our partners at ITJobsWatch, we’ve identified the top 5 certifications IT contractors should target this year.
EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
The UK’s largest companies are devoting more resources than ever to cyber security and the demand for qualified security professionals is on the rise.
Contractors with the skills necessary to secure businesses against hacks – which could result in upwards of six-figure costs and irreparable brand damage – are highly valuable to organisations of all sizes. Support businesses with their cyber security with the hands-on skills built by the Certified Ethical Hacker certification from EC-Council.
This unique qualification teaches IT security professionals how to use real hacking tools and techniques. The CEH isn’t aimed at cybercriminals; by learning how to think like a hacker, you’ll be better able to support businesses in defending against them.
Skills taught through the CEH are crucial to businesses concerned about their cyber security and contractors that hold the certification earn a healthy average daily rate of £500. Plus, the hands-on skills taught during the CEH will complement other certifications, like the CISSP or the Cisco CCNA.
GDPR Practitioner Certification
Data protection law will undergo massive changes when the EU General Data Protection Regulation is introduced on 25th May 2018. However, less than half of organisations have a plan in place to meet the new requirements mandated by GDPR, a recent SAS survey revealed.
Businesses scrambling to comply with the regulation will turn to qualified contractors to provide oversight on the GDPR compliance projects that must be completed before the legislation becomes law.
Contractors can prove their ability to support organisations in meeting the exact requirements of GDPR by achieving a GDPR certification. It’s worth noting that, while GDPR does not specify official certifications, a number of large certification organisations, like PECB, do exist to certify and benchmark knowledge through GDPR training and courses.
GDPR projects won’t cease after the legislation’s introduction in May and maintaining a high level of data security will be an ongoing priority for every business. Skilled contractors that can prove their data protection knowledge will be invaluable in 2018.
Businesses are aggressively competing for top security talent and 45% of organisations are currently experiencing a problematic shortage of cybersecurity skills.
Given the recent spate of high-profile hacks, IT security contractors will find no shortage of clients, but to be considered for the best opportunities, you’ll need to stand out.
To prove you’re among the security elite, (ISC)2’s CISSP certification is well worth achieving in 2018. You’ll build and prove knowledge of the eight CISSP domains, covering risk management, network security, access management and security testing.
The CISSP is widely known as the gold-standard IT security certification and qualified contractors earn an average daily rate of £513. The CISSP is so well-regarded, it’s even undertaken by the police tackling cybercrime.
(ISC)2 Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)
As organisations move their infrastructure and services to the cloud, professionals that can bridge the gap between cloud technology and IT security are increasingly sought-after.
This certification will prove your expert knowledge of cloud application, platform and data infrastructure security. You’ll also have the opportunity to validate knowledge of compliance, privacy and legality – highly relevant expertise for GDPR’s introduction in May 2018.
Despite increasing numbers of businesses migrating to the cloud, security remains the greatest concern. That may be why daily rates rose by 10% in 2017 to £525 for CCSP certified professionals.
PRINCE2 Foundation & Practitioner
Demand for skilled project managers is overwhelming and 15.7 million new project management roles will be required globally by 2020. What’s more, demand is set to be highest in countries like the UK with project-intensive sectors.
The go-to certification for project management professionals worldwide is the PRINCE2. Providing a common language and structure for projects, knowledge of the PRINCE2 is essential for contractors working in organisations that have adopted this popular methodology.
In addition to helping contractors integrate within organisations, the PRINCE2 provides a non-proprietary and best-practice based approach – useful techniques for contractors regardless of industry, vertical or expertise. If you’re involved in projects, you’ll benefit from PRINCE2 certification.
The certification is split into two levels, Foundation and Practitioner, and was recently updated in response to feedback from industry experts.
AXELOS, the vendor behind the certification, has also built a complementary PRINCE2 Agile certification, which builds on PRINCE2’s concepts with an emphasis on agile concepts.
Whether you’re focused on project management, or simply need to work within PRINCE2 organisations, this certification is one to add to your CV / resume this year.