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Which Certs Are Best for Getting Started Down the IT Trail?

For those just getting started in IT, aptly named "entry-level" certification provide a great foundation. Here’s a list of some entry-level certs that can help anyone build marketable IT skills and knowledge.

The right entry-level cert can get you on the fast track to a career in IT.I’m riffing on a nice blog post from Greg Stuart at here. He wrote a July 12 item titled Top 5 Entry-Level IT Certifications to Help You Build Your IT Skills, Improve Your Career.


Because I regularly survey the whole IT cert landscape from stem to stern, it got me to thinking about where to start, depending on what you want to learn. And that, dear readers, is the nature of the riff here.


Greg’s Picks Are Rock Solid!


As I completely expected, CompTIA’s “Big Three” start off his list, namely A+, Network+, and Security+. He goes on with the Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT) and finishes up with a surprising choice (to me, at least): the VMware Certified Associate 6 – Data Center Virtualization (VCA6-DCV).


I won’t quibble with any of these choices, because all of them are solid, entry-level certifications. It is interesting, however, to see a couple of vendor specific items show up in Greg's Top 5.


For the record, these five cover (or contribute to) entry-level skills and knowledge development in the areas of computer hardware/bench technician, networking, information security (aka cybersecurity), and virtualization. But gosh, there are lots of other areas to consider, so here goes ...


Ed Goes Bonkers Picking Other Entry-Level Certs, Mostly By Technical Focus at Work


For a truly entry-level item, consider the CompTIA IT Fundamentals cert (ITF) as a good place to start figuring out what IT is all about, and whether or not there’s a potential fit for a career in the field.


Those interested in data science have lots of options to choose from, but they could do worse than the Microsoft Professional Program’s course lineup for data science and/or Big Data.


In the field of disaster recovery and business continuity, DRI International’s Associate Business Continuity Professional (ABCP) is a great place to start. Disaster recover and business continuity is an increasingly important and interesting IT specialty area.


For people who’d like to get their heads into cloud computing, CompTIA’s Cloud+ is one nice place to start. For some other ideas, see Tripwire’s April, 2017 story The Top 5 Vendor-Neutral Cloud Security Certifications.


If you’re interested in datacenter stuff, you may (or may not) be surprised to learn that Schneider Electric’s Data Center Certified Associate (DCCA) is a terrific, vendor-neutral, entry-level cert for people interested in learning how to design, construct, and manage data centers.