The demand for IT (information technology) professionals has steadily increased as technology has become more and more integrated into businesses. The emphasis on e-commerce has expanded this field and made IT jobs coveted positions.
Pursuing an IT certificate is a great investment as IT is a lucrative, growing field with a positive job outlook. An IT certificate can open up many opportunities, such as becoming a software developer, computer systems analyst, information security analyst or a network architect.
In addition to offering degrees in computer science, many institutions offer more specialized fields within information technology. Before you decide to pursue a career in IT, however, you should be sure to do some research to make sure you are choosing the right field.
Below you’ll find a list of the top 10 IT certificate programs. Before jumping in, let’s first explore this profession in greater detail.
Information Technology: The Basics
An IT professional works hard to ensure that a company is operating efficiently by managing all software and hardware. In short, an IT professional makes sure that a business is running smoothly.
Earning a certificate in IT is a great way to break into the field. Many businesses hire prospective employees with a bachelor’s or even an associate’s degree. However, if you’re interested in becoming a security analyst, software developer or software engineer at a Fortune 500 company you should consider pursuing a master’s degree at an accredited institution.
You’re probably wondering what positions are available in IT. Knowledge of IT opens the doors to a wide range of opportunities. Below are some of the hottest jobs in this growing field:
Data scientists analyze data and use their findings to provide insights to companies. Data scientists are known for their critical thinking, problem-solving and teamwork skills, as well as being detail-oriented. Additionally, a good data science will have a firm understanding of statistics, machine learning and data visualization. If you have an analytical mind, data science may be the perfect fit for you.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of data science is expected to grow by 16 percent over the next 10 years. This growth rate is higher than many other occupations. A full-time data scientist could earn an annual salary of up to $120,000. To pursue a position as a data scientist, you should have a Master’s Degree in Computer Science or a related field.
A software developer creates software, either for a desktop or mobile device. Software developers with a bachelor’s and master’s degree typically earn an annual salary of $105,000. The software development field is expected to see a growth of 21% over the next decade.
A sales engineer sells technology and scientific products and services to companies. In addition to possessing a working knowledge of tech, sales engineers should possess strong interpersonal skills and be able to communicate well with others.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this field is expected to grow by six percent within the next 10 years. A skilled sales engineer typically earns an average salary of $104,000.
Computer and Information Systems Managers
In addition to holding a bachelor’s degree, prospective computer and information systems managers are typically expected to enter the position with at least five years of prior work experience in IT. Usually held by seasoned professionals, this position typically yields a median salary of $150,000 per year.
What’s more, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that this position will grow by 11 percent over the next 10 years. Approximately 50,000 computer and information systems manager positions are predicted to open up each year.
How to Choose the Right Certification Program
Now that you’re familiar with IT and how a position in this field can advance your career, let’s learn more about how to develop IT skills through an online certification program. Many IT professionals earn their certification through online coding bootcamps. These are short, intensive programs that equip students with the practical, job-ready skills they need to succeed in tech jobs. They are a cheaper, faster alternative to attending a four-year college or university. Additionally, many programs offer career support for graduates.
Gaining foundational skills in IT through an online certification program is a great investment. Whether you’re a working professional seeking to change your career path or advance your career, an online IT program may be a great fit for you.
Many online programs are delivered asynchronously to provide students with the maximum amount of flexibility in their learning experience. Other programs allow students to choose either a synchronous or asynchronous format. These options are another important factor to consider when comparing programs. Additionally, many programs allow students to transfer credits they earned from a prior institution. This will accelerate the speed at which you complete your program.
Full-time programs typically last for 17 weeks, while part-time programs typically last for 34 weeks. Before choosing to enroll in one of these two options, it’s important to consider how much time you have to commit to a program. If you have a demanding workplace, a longer part-time program may be the best option for you.
While reviewing our top 10 best IT certificate programs list below, it’s important to consider the following factors that will play into your program decision:
- Full-time vs part-time
- Tuition cost and tuition reimbursement
- Mentorship opportunities
- Career services offered
- Success rate
- Future job opportunities
- Class size
- In-person, online or self-paced
Top 10 IT Certification Programs
This coding bootcamp operates asynchronously, allowing its online students to work at their own pace. It offers engineering and UX/UI online courses. Bloc also boasts a tuition reimbursement, granting a full tuition refund to students if they do not find work within 180 days of completing the program.
Codesmith focuses on equipping software engineers with the skills and knowledge they need to advance their tech careers. Tuition for this online bootcamp is typically covered by the professional’s employer.
An attractive feature of Codesmith’s program is that it offers a hiring program that guides its online students through the interview process, the building of a resume and networkinging skills. Codesmith has a tough admissions process, so check the website to make sure that you have what it takes to be accepted into this rigorous program.
DataCamp is known as the first online learning platform to offer data science courses. Since its creation, the program has taught more than 560,000 data scientists. If you’re an entry-level data scientist looking to ensure that it’s the right field for you, you can even enroll in DataCamp’s free beginners’ courses. Students enrolled in this program learn through short videos with hands-on exercises to apply their technical skills. Upon graduation, online learners will have completed more than nine million interactive exercises.
This self-paced program offers UX/UI design skills in either short, four-week courses or a 28-week UX Academy. Students enrolled in the UX Academy complete over 480 hours of coursework and work one-on-one with a mentor to develop their portfolio.
Designlab also offers career services to its students. The program also guarantees a tuition reimbursement to students who have not secured a job six months after graduation.
5. Lambda School
6. The Software Guild
The Software Guild offers a full-time, 12-week program and a part-time, 10- to 14-month part-time program. Its courses are focused on the most in-demand programming languages according to Fortune 500 companies. The Software Guild also offers an employer network including Target, Best Buy and Progressive.
Thinkful allows its students the opportunity to enroll in full-time or flexible, part-time course options. A few of Thinkful’s certification course offerings include software engineering, UX/UI design, data analytics, project management and digital marketing. An attractive feature of Thinkful is that it offers each of its students a seasoned mentor to help them with coursework. Students may be eligible for tuition reimbursement (dependent on the course).
RMOTR offers a four-month online evening program, perfect for working professionals seeking to advance their higher education while continuing to work. While students can enjoy a flexible learning platform, they still have the opportunity to interact with their teachers, classmates and mentors, similar to a traditional on-campus learning experience. While building their Python, web development or data science portfolio, students work on projects similar to those they would encounter in the real world.
9. Product School
The Product School is renowned as the world’s first technology business school. A few of its online programs include coding, data analytics, project management and product leadership, among others. All of the instructors at Product School are professional project managers employed by major tech companies like Snapchat, Google, PayPal, LinkedIn, Netflix, Facebook and Airbnb.
Ironhack’s recently-launched online program offers the unique feature of breakout rooms that give students one-on-one instruction with teachers. This mirrors the on-campus experience of office hours and is an attractive feature for students who prefer individualized support from professors. Ironhack provides the option of nine-week, full-time classes or 24-week, part-time classes in web development, data analytics and UX/UI design. All of Ironhack’s programs are designed with a balance of both theory and practice for optimal learning.
Information technology is a lucrative field that is only expected to grow, ensuring a future of job security. Gaining foundational IT skills through online certification is becoming increasingly more popular. Furthermore, many people prefer this online learning format over an education on-campus. Earning a certificate is especially well-suited for working professionals who are either seeking to change career paths or advance their career from home while continuing to work.