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February 2012: Be Certain

(February 24, 2012) - THE DICE REPORT

There are very few certainties in tech contracting. It isn't just another way of approaching a technology career. It's more akin to starting a small business and that means taking risks, marketing, financial management and more.

One aspect of marketing that tech consultants appear to value is certifications. Forty percent of tech consultants said obtaining a certification helped them land a new gig, which is about 10 percentage points higher than their colleagues working in traditional roles.

To potential clients, certifications can inspire confidence that contractors are qualified to contribute, manage or lead various projects. So which certifications are notable for landing a new job?

Project Management Professional (PMP) made the top 10 and it's the most frequently desired certification on Dice, with nearly 2,200 requests in job postings on any given day, up nine percent year/year. Project management is a lucrative role, with an average annual salary of about $104,000, add PMP and average salaries jump to nearly $120,000.

A company's network is its lifeblood - Cisco Certified Network Associates demonstrate their ability to administer medium-sized routed and switched networks (1,200 job postings, up 21% yr/yr), while entry-level network technicians have found CompTIA's Network+ certification helpful in job hunting.

Seasoned information security professionals are eligible for the Certified Information Systems Security Professionals (CISSP) certification which is recognized, along with Security+ by the Department of Defense which requires contractors with privileged access to federal computer networks to obtain specific certifications. This is one factor driving the high level of tech professionals (53%) who have at least one certification and are based in Washington D.C.

ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) experience and expertise is becoming more vital. Service deliverability is essential and those with ITIL credentials can command a sixfigure salary - nearly $110,000 - in addition to expanding their job options.

It's important to remember that not all certifications create the opportunity for a new job or a fatter paycheck, so tech professionals have to be certain that the investment is worth it.

Alice Hill

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