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The field of IT can be lucrative, it’s no secret. Which certifications are proven to help job seekers make the most money? What skills are putting people toward the top of the salary brackets?

Getting a job in the IT field, whether that means leveling-up on your current career or shifting directions entirely, is a worthwhile goal for a variety of reasons. The work is rewarding, the opportunities are great, and the challenge is enough to keep the brightest minds engaged.

There’s one more well-known benefit to a career in the IT field: the money. It’s no secret that IT is a lucrative field for many, and that a shift to this industry can mean bigger paychecks to go along with a more rewarding career path.

It’s certainly not the only, or even the most important factor necessarily, but salaries matter, that much is indisputable. Let’s look at IT certifications that can be the most lucrative, from right out the gate to looking at the long haul.

Top IT Certifications

The CISSP certification by ISC (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) provides information security professionals with not just an objective measure of competence, but a globally recognized level of achievement. This credential is ideal for mid- and senior-level managers who are working toward or have already attained positions as CISO’s, CSO’s or Senior Security Engineers. CISSP involves a test that is based on eight areas in computer security, such as security and risk management, communications and network security, software development security, asset security, security engineering, identity and access management, security assessment and testing, and security operations.

Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) Routing and Switching is a highly desirable certification and is one of the highest level certifications available. Only one level higher exists, the Cisco Certified Architect. The CCIE Routing and Switching is one of the highest paying Cisco certifications available. Unlike many other certifications at this level, there are no formal prerequisites in terms of training or certification; just pass a written exam, as well as a hands-on, in-person lab. Some topics covered include security, VPNs, and infrastructure knowledge such as Quality of Service, Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, and Simple Network Management Protocol.

Interested in putting your hacker-esque skills to use for good? Check out a Certified Ethical Hacker certification from the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants (EC-Council). It’s aimed at security officers, site administrators, auditors, and others who work in systems and data security. This certification proves you’re equipped to assess a system for holes, weaknesses and vulnerabilities while also providing insight into remediation and improvements. Topics covered include hacking wireless networks and mobile platforms, cryptology, firewalls, honeypots, malware, and much more. These professionals are also in high demand, and as such can expect to be well compensated.

Security+ by CompTIA is a certification that, while perhaps not as high on this list, can still help professionals to possibly bring in a pretty penny. These professionals validate knowledge of communication security, infrastructure security, cryptography, operational security, and general security concepts. This certification is a well-respected, well-known and vendor-neutral one, and holders are recognized as having not only advanced technical skills but also broad expertise in related security disciplines.

No salary is guaranteed but advancing your education with a certification, no matter what it is, is always a smart career move. But these certifications in particular – while certainly no walk in the park – can potentially position you to be a top earner.

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