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The 10 highest paid certifications in the USA, the average salary of the certificates

26 mayo, 2021

The debate on if the certifications “they are worth something It is arduous and endless in the technical community, but it is clear that for companies they have a lot of value, both for the knowledge they indicate about the professional, and for the business certifications they allow.

Today I want to share a curious list from Global Knowledge, a company dedicated to training and certification in all types of technologies, of the 10 highest paid certifications in the USA.

Top 10 highest paid certifications

It’s important pointing that we are talking about a labor market very different from Spanish, where a technician has practically impossible to reach that level of salaries. But, on the other hand, it is possible to access training and certification in our country; and, saving the distances, you can get a better retribution by having them.

PMP: Project Management Professional – $ 105,750 The world’s most prestigious certification for project managers. It is a difficult certification to obtain where not only must you pass the extensive and rigorous exam, but you also have to demonstrate training and successful experience in project management.

It is in high demand and widely recognized, even in our country, although it is still quite far from the world of development. A new trend is bringing PMP closer to management “Agile”Of computer projects.

CISSP: Certified Information Systems Security Professional – $ 103,299 An ANSI and ISO accredited security certification, aimed at IT professionals who have responsibilities for information security policies and procedures. It is, possibly, the most important certification in its field of action; often being an essential requirement to be able to work in US government programs with military security.

I do not know if in Spain it has that importance, or not even if there is a counterpart for the EU.

MCSD: Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer – $ 97,849 This is not really a certification, but a set of certifications. That they understand the different knowledge necessary to be able to tackle software development projects, within the Microsoft ecosystem. Thus, this certification can be obtained in three different ways: Windows Store Applications, Web Applications and ALM (Application Life Cycle).

The professional candidate for this certification must be able to design and build software applications.

MCDBA: Microsoft Certified Database Administrator – $ 95,950 As the name suggests, this Microsoft certification indicates that the professional is an expert in the design, installation, configuration, maintenance and administration of SQL Server database systems.

This certification is no longer obtainable and has been replaced by two different new ones; the first oriented to the data platform itself, and the other to BI (Business Intelligence) or data exploitation.

Possibly in Spain the same certification is more important, but from Oracle.

CCDA®: Cisco Certified Design Associate – $ 94,799 All Cisco certifications have a recognized value since, possibly, they are the most recommended certifications among Spanish professionals and the one that produces the most confidence.

It is aimed at network engineers, technicians, and support professionals (the lifelong network administrator, whoops), who demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the fundamentals and design of Cisco communication networks.

Validating that the professional has the necessary knowledge to design a switched network, the routing of the infrastructures and the services that comprise a LAN, WAN, etc.

MCAD: Microsoft Certified Application Developer – $ 93,349 This is the old development certification in the Microsoft ecosystem, which has been replaced by the MCSD: Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer, which I have described above.

Like her, the professional certifies their knowledge in the design, configuration and development of desktop and Web applications with tools and in Microsoft environments.

VCP-DV: VMware Certified Professional Datacenter Virtualization – $ 92,400 A labor demand on the rise is that of specialized professionals with virtualization systems. Therefore, the VmWare certification indicates that you have completed an official course and that you have sufficient knowledge to successfully install, deploy, scale and manage VMware vSphere environments.

Strong competitors are emerging from this certification in Cloud Computing knowledge certifications.

CNE: Certified Novell Engineer – $ 91,350 One of the most important certifications for IT professionals, which recognizes advanced knowledge of networks and solutions to communication problems. A certified professional should be able to perform Novell network planning, installation, configuration, and administration.

ITIL v3 Foundation – $ 90,900 The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITILv3) is a fundamental process that seeks quality in the management of IT services. To do this, it uses a series of documented processes that cover the entire service life cycle.

The ITIL Expert level certification is aimed at those who are interested in demonstrating a higher level of knowledge of ITIL version 3; mainly service project managers.

In Spain there are multiple projects where the project managers must be ITIL certified in order to carry them out.

CCA: Citrix Certified Administrator – Citrix XenServer 6 – $ 90,850 This certification validates the professional’s knowledge in any of the 11 Ctirix products. Thus, you are expected to be able to install, configure, manage, troubleshoot, and maintain XenServer 6.0 Enterprise servers and Provisioning Services 6.0 in enterprise environments.

The list of certifications and median salary continues on the Global Knowledge site to describe the top 15 highest-paid certifications, which, like the previous one from Citrix, go further into the technical realm.


I find the presence of so many Microsoft certifications very striking, since in Spain they are quite widespread – within the general refusal of professionals to obtain them – but always highly criticized (especially by those who do not have them).

I think the certification here too PMP opens the doors to a higher level of remuneration, and a specific project management market one step beyond the technical Project Manager (almost team leader), closer to the commercial management or the project office.

The order in Spain is very different, and certifications, I think, have more weight in IT professionals than in development professionals.

It is very striking the abysmal jump in salaries compared to our current job market in Spain; taking into account that, in addition, we are receiving very high pressure to reduce salaries to sustain the exorbitant profit of the large “meat” consulting firms.

In short, as an excellent Java programmer told me a few years ago: “Certifications are useful, since when faced with two equal CVs, they make a difference”.

More information | Global Knowledge