Monday, 25 February 2013

Top 5 Certifications to Start Your IT Career in 2013


Thinking of getting into IT? Here’s a list of the top five certifications that we think are the most effective way of entering the IT world. Once you have completed one of these, you can start your IT career, gain experience and gain higher certifications that will land you that powerful salary:

The A+ certification is considered a benchmark and stepping stone for people who want to enter the IT World. The Comptia A+ certification is the industry standard for computer support technicians. You’ll gain the skills and knowledge in installation, preventative maintenance, networking, security and troubleshooting. It is part of the certification track for corporations such as Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Cisco and Novell, and has become a requirement for their engineers. There are almost a million IT professionals worldwide who have certified in A+ since the program’s beginning in 1993. CompTIA also offers its popular Network+ certification which you can gain with the A+ in just 7 days. You'll gain the skills and knowledge necessary to configure and operate a variety of networking products. Combined, the A+ and Network+ certifications are backed by major computer hardware and software vendors, distributors, resellers and publications. According to, the average salary for a A+ professional is £23,500 and for a Network+ professional is £23,250.

More than 95% of companies around the world use Microsoft products and technologies. Now's your chance to be a part of it. The MTA certification is the first stepping stone for all Microsoft certifications. The MTA is part of Microsoft’s new range of certifications which are very popular. Gaining this cert offers a stepping stone onto the more powerful and respected MCSA and MCSE certifications. This year will see many companies now looking for the updated Microsoft certs, which is why many MCITP aspirants are being directed to MCSA and MCSE. Learn more about the new Microsoft certs and the paths to take here: How to become a Microsoft Certified Professional.

In a Linux Jobs report, eight in ten recruiters said that hiring a Linux talent was a priority in 2012. The popularity for Linux has not stopped growing, and will continue to grow throughout  2013. This CompTIA course provides you with the basic hardware, software, and networking skills necessary to function in an entry-level Linux role. It also offers a stepping stone to the more powerful Linux certs such as the LPI level 2 and level 3According to, the average salary for a LPI professional is £25,000.

4. CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate)

CCNA is a great way to enter the IT industry. But requires dedicated training and some may find it hard if they are completely new to IT. You can first take the CCENT to get more familiar with the material. Cisco certifications are world renowned and respected. Having a CCNA shows that you have the ability to setup, troubleshoot, monitor, upgrade and maintain networking hardware based on Cisco equipment. Once you gain your certification, and some experience, you can move on to more advanced certifications like CCNPAccording to, the average salary for a CCNA professional is £38,500.

5. CompTIA Security+

The Security+ is one of the highest paying security certifications and again offered by the vendor neutral CompTIA. It's considered an important stepping stone for a career in IT security. It demonstrates that you have a strong knowledge of security concepts, cryptography, access control, and the tools and procedures to respond to security incidents. You’ll also learn about disaster recovery methods, risk management, and compliance and operational security. Once gained, You’ll then be able to anticipate and prevent cyber attacks, and effectively deal with security events. The Security+ cert is greatly recognised in the industry, many companies have it as a requirement including the U.S Department of Defense’s IT department. It's important to note that although this is considered an entry level cert for security, you must first have at least an A+ certification. to understand the core concepts. According to, the average salary for a Security+ professional is £60,000. If you want to find out more about the top IT security certifications, see our recent blog post here.

As you can see, CompTIA dominates the list as the best entry level certification provider. You can find out more about who CompTIA is in our recent blog post. 

Firebrand caught up with Terry Erdle, the Executive Vice President for CompTIA at the EMEA conference. He spoke to us about leveraging CompTIA programmes to educate and certify the IT workforce. Watch the full interview below where he talks about some of the new content and certifications coming out.

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Are there other IT certifications to consider?

If you think we missed one, let us know in the comment section below. It all depends on what sector of the industry you would like to enter. The further you go with your certifications, the more specific your skills will become. Good luck in starting your IT career in 2013.

About the Author:
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, IT training, IT certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the IT industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry.