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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. Of course, a big paycheck is certainly not the only, or even the most important factor when choosing a career path, but salaries DO matter, that much is indisputable. Let’s look at the top IT certifications that can help qualify you for positions with the most earning potential.

CISSP Certification  

The CISSP certification by ISC (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) provides information security professionals with not only an objective measure of competence but also 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 CISOs, CSOs or Senior Security Engineers.

CISSP involves a test based on eight core areas; 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. While salaries vary throughout the country, holders of the CISSP certification can expect to earn in the $120,000+ range.

Cisco Certification

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, often paying $110,000 and up.

Unlike many other certifications at this level, there are no formal prerequisites for the test; just pass a written exam, and 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.

Certified Ethical Hacker

Interested in putting your hacking 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 make more than $100,000.

 Security+ by CompTIA

Security+ by CompTIA is a certification that, while perhaps not as high on this list, can still help professionals bring in an average of $80,000 or more. These professionals validate knowledge of communication security, infrastructure security, cryptography, operational security, and general security concepts. This certification is well-respected, well-known and vendor-neutral, and holders are recognized as having advanced technical skills and vast expertise in related security disciplines.

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 position you to be a top earner.

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