The 5 Certifications You Need to Boost Your IT Career

IT certifications
Certifications for cyber security help IT professionals gain skills in a critically needed area of IT.

Top employers are always looking for knowledgeable IT professionals. IT certifications demonstrate valuable skills in a particular area. Becoming certified can help to boost salary offers, and increase the likelihood that you’ll be a good fit for a particular position. Here are some of the most valuable IT certifications for today’s in-demand careers.

1. CompTIA A+

This hardware/software certification enables IT professionals to install, configure and maintain networks for businesses and organizations. Companies including Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Cisco, and Novell have made CompTIA A+ part of their specific certification track because knowledge in this area is so valuable. Other companies require CompTIA A+ certification for their technician and help desk positions.

2. CASP

The CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner certification demonstrates advanced cyber security skills. Before you can become CASP certified, you need at least five years of experience as an IT professional. CASP certification tests not only IT security skills, but also critical thinking and judgment to enable professionals to come up with solutions to complex problems and environments. Companies like Motorola, Synaptek, and Apex ask for the CASP certification for positions like cyber security professional and network engineer.

3. CEH

The Certified Ethical Hacker credential is a vendor-neutral certification that demonstrates hacking skills that are used to help take down malicious hackers and prevent cyber attacks on organizations. Professionals must have two years of cyber security experience to pursue a CEH credential. Companies like Procter & Gamble, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Allstate are looking for certified ethical hackers as penetration testers and cyber security engineers.

IT certifications
Most companies have networks to store information and communicate within the company.

4. CISSP

The Certified Information Systems Security Professional credential prepares IT professionals to be responsible for managing an organization’s comprehensive information security program. This certification is particularly focused on larger organizations with complex IT environments, and it helps professionals work with management or C-suite members to keep information secure. Companies like Dell, Anthem, and government organizations like the City of Seattle use CISSP-certified individuals as IT security specialists and security analysts.

5. MCSA

The Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate is an entry-level certification that forms a foundation for other Microsoft certifications as well as demonstrating skills working with various Windows environments. Although Microsoft provides self-study opportunities through their website, taking a preparation course will ensure that you get enough practice and will help to identify areas of weakness where you may need additional skills development.

Companies like Intellisoft Technologies, IBM, and Valley Behavioral Health require MCSA certification for their systems administrator and IT systems/storage architect positions.

PC AGE offers preparation courses for these and many other popular IT certifications that will lead to a variety of IT careers. Preparation courses help IT professionals pass certification exams faster and with better scores, and provide more real-life preparation than self-study methods. Request information on what certification courses we offer.

Note: The company information provided for each certification above was obtained via the job site Indeed.com.

What Is the Linux+ Certification and Why Is It Valuable?

IT certifications
The Linux operating system is widely used in many products and applications.

The CompTIA Linux+ certification prepares IT professionals to work with servers and devices that use the Linux operating system. Linux is an open-source operating system that uses the same type of programming concepts, files, and commands as UNIX, which predates it. Linux operates everything from Google, Facebook, and your in-car GPS to Android smartphones and the smart devices (refrigerators, media centers, etc.) used in many homes today, while UNIX operates Mac computers and iPhones, along with many devices and systems used by businesses.

It stands to reason that knowing how to administer Linux systems would open up many opportunities in the IT field, since it is so widely used. Also, knowledge of Linux and how it operates also qualifies someone in many cases to administer UNIX systems as well, since they are so similar in how they work.

IT certifications
Linux runs the Android operating system for smartphones, among many others.

The Value of Linux+ Certification

The open source nature of Linux means that there are lots of different variations available, which makes the system fairly complex. Because of the complexity of Linux, many employers require certification to ensure that their new hires have a good working knowledge of Linux.

Certifications demonstrate that your skills are verified by an independent body, which gives employers confidence in your skill level beyond what could be demonstrated through the typical job interview process. Some employers that require Linux certification include Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Dell, and Xerox.

One benefit of CompTIA Linux+ certification is that passing the two exams required for this certification enables the IT professional to get two other certifications without any additional preparation or exams. The information is the same for those exams: the LPI (Linux Professional Institute) Level 1(LPIC-1) certification and the Novell SUSE Desktop Support Technician designation.

What Is Involved in the Certification Process?

Because the CompTIA Linux+ certification requires students to pass two exams, preparation can be intense. Preparing in a classroom setting allows students to collaborate and help each other study the material, as well as providing ample practice and help with areas of struggle and difficulty.

The certification can usually be achieved in less than a year, and with intensive coursework, that time can often be shortened to just weeks or months. Another advantage to taking preparation courses is that it forces the IT professional to set aside other responsibilities or activities to make time to study adequately, which increases the chances of passing the exam.

While the CompTIA Linux+ certification demonstrates knowledge about all of the basic concepts and tasks involved in Linux, advanced certifications are available as well for those who need them. Many employers consider the Linux+ certification adequate for positions in their companies and don’t require further certifications unless more specific knowledge is required for a particular position.

CompTIA—A Cut Above

There are several Linux certifications available, but only the CompTIA Linux+ certification offers other certifications when students pass its exam, and CompTIA has the finest reputation among employers for its certifications as well.

PC AGE offers comprehensive preparation courses for many of the most sought-after IT certifications including CompTIA Linux+. Contact us for more information about our programs and the certification preparation courses we offer.

6 Tech Certifications That Boost Your Earning Potential

IT certifications
IT certifications can help boost your income and benefit your career in other ways.

According to a Network World survey, earning an IT certification led to a new job or a raise in 50 to 60 percent of instances. Other sources like Monster.com and CIO have confirmed that a salary gap exists between the certified and those that lack IT certifications as well. Here are some tech certifications that will boost your earning potential.

1.  CompTIA A+

Although it is a common certification, the fact that it is vendor-neutral and shows that you know how to install, configure, protect, and troubleshoot software on a computer makes it a high-demand certification for many employers. The CompTIA A+ certification can help you command a higher salary as an IT technician or help desk support staff.

2. CompTIA Network+ 

This certification is similar to the previous one, but deals with entire networks rather than just individual computers. Most businesses with more than a handful of employees need a network to communicate and handle their IT needs, making network administrators and technicians an essential part of IT departments today.

3. Certified Information Systems Security Architecture Professional (CISSP)

Network and server security is an exploding field within IT, and there is a severe shortage of qualified security professionals that seems like it will only get worse. CISSP certification can even help IT security professionals earn a six figure salary and is required for most upper level IT security jobs, according to Network World.

4. Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)

Cisco certifications were rated most valuable by Network World study participants, and this basic Cisco certification can be a stepping stone to more advanced certifications that will be even more in demand for high-paying positions.

IT certifications
Your earning potential can skyrocket with the right IT certification.

5. Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE)

The CCIE certification is listed by multiple sites as a certification that can bring higher-paying job opportunities your way and boost your salary significantly. Monster.com reports that systems engineers with a CCIE certification could earn up to 27 percent more than their uncertified counterparts.

6. Microsoft Certified IT Professional or Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer

Microsoft certifications are generally desirable, and these two, in particular, have been known to boost salaries and generate promotions, so they are definitely worth the time they take to prepare for.

More than three-quarters of IT professionals surveyed by Network World said they thought IT certifications were valuable for increasing salaries and earning promotions. The best way to prepare for IT certifications is in the classroom, with an instructor who knows the exam and can guide you in what to study.

PC AGE offers preparation courses for many of the certifications listed here, with top-notch instruction that will not only help you pass certification exams but will also give you the skills you need to progress in your IT career. Contact us about our programs today.

How IT Professionals Use the VMware Certification

VMware certification
Knowing the ins and outs of virtualization can lead to VMware certification.

VMware certification is a popular certification for IT professionals who want to work in or manage virtual call centers and virtual data systems. VMware certification prepares professionals to fill a variety of positions around network administration and even positions in an engineering capacity.

VCP6-DCV preparation teaches students all the ins and outs of how to use vSphere 6, and candidates are expected to have six months experience with vSphere 6 before taking the VCP6-DCV certification exam. Other expected skills include a thorough understanding of DNS, routers, and connectivity for databases as well as storage using vSphere environments.

What Virtualization Accomplishes

Call center virtualization simply means that call center representatives may work from different geographical locations rather than in one place. Allowing employees to telecommute can cut facility costs; sick time is also cut since employees don’t need to stay home from a workplace to avoid spreading illnesses, and it is easier to work from home even when someone might not feel well.

Data virtualization occurs when data can be accessed and manipulated without being physically present or formatted in a certain way. Data virtualization often uses cloud storage and software that makes data easier to access. When a photo is uploaded to a website and can then be accessed from that website without going back to the original location, data virtualization is often being used.

Virtualization of call centers and data storage systems saves companies money and streamlines their operations, so IT professionals who can create, implement and manage virtual systems will be sought and valued by many companies. Having the VMware certification will open up more job opportunities for IT professionals and will help them to advance or command higher salaries at existing jobs.

VMware certification
Virtualization doesn’t have anything to do with virtual reality, but rather using resources and assets in various places as one holistic unit.

Jobs That Require VMware Knowledge

Advanced VMware certification was recently listed as one of 15 top IT skills that can earn a 6-figure salary in the field by Business Insider, and the VCP6-DCV is the first step to earning that advanced certification.

Some positions listed on Payscale for VMware certifications were Systems Administrators, IT Managers, Senior Systems Engineers, Networking Engineers, and Senior Networking Systems Engineer. Salaries for these positions ranged from $48,000 to nearly $130,000 per year, depending on prior experience and how advanced the position may be.

For many companies running sophisticated networks, administrators will need VMware skills to be able to understand and manage every aspect of the system. VMware certification shows employers that a candidate has the knowledge necessary to create, configure, update and maintain the company’s system as needed for the best possible outcome.

PC AGE offers courses designed to prepare students for various IT certifications, including VCP6-DCV. Certifications help students get better jobs and make better salaries in those jobs to build their IT careers and help them advance over time. Contact us for more information about courses and programs.

6 Ways IT Professionals Use the CompTIA Security+ Certification

IT certifications
The Security+ certification helps you protect company networks against hackers and others who may want to damage them.

The CompTIA Security+ certification is useful to those who want to build their IT careers and gain expertise in the field of network security or related IT specialties. Typically, IT professionals with at least two years of experience take the CompTIA Security+ exam to show that they have mastered the skills necessary to create, configure and maintain networks for businesses and organizations.

Here are some ways IT professionals can use the CompTIA Security+ certification in their careers.

1. To move into a leadership position.

Certified individuals have shown that they can manage networks. If they have also shown the necessary teamwork and collaboration skills as well as management-level leadership skills, it shouldn’t be difficult for those with certification to move into leadership positions as they become available.

2. To help their company or department get a U.S. government contract.

Security+ certification is U.S. government approved and meets all standards and regulations for government work, which will move the process forward when seeking government contracts with the Department of Defense or other sectors of government. Security+ certification will help your company beat out the competition and stand out from the crowd.

3. To earn more money.

Certifications boost salaries, since employers can be assured that you have the skills you say that you do and they can expect a certain level of expertise. Less training is required for those who have certifications like Security+, so companies can pay a higher salary with the money they save on training costs and time spent getting up to speed.

4. To earn more advanced or comprehensive certifications.

The Security+ certification is part of other certifications like those offered by Microsoft or other companies. Although there are many benefits to the certification in and of itself, it can also be a stepping stone to even greater qualification for a particular type of software or another area of IT expertise.

IT certifications

5. To get your foot in the door.

Even if you don’t have enough experience to be a team leader or project manager, the Security+ certification will give you a leg up in competitive entry level positions (like with famous name companies with lots of applicants) where you might not otherwise get a second look.

6. To help you live up to the hype.

Some might find it easy to sell themselves and get hiring managers to buy in and hire them for an IT position. With Security+ certification, you will have the skills to back up the hype so that you will never be just an empty suit (or polo shirt and khakis).

PC AGE offers courses that prepare students to take the rigorous Security+ and other certification exams by teaching them hands-on and practical skills as well as background knowledge needed to use those skills. Contact us to see how you can benefit from our programs.

CompTIA Security+ Certification: What You Need to Know

Networking certifications
Certified network security professionals are in great demand at many companies.

Certifications in different computer skill areas can help IT professionals get better jobs by showing that they have mastered those skills well enough to be considered proficient in that area. CompTIA Security+ Certification is one of several foundational certifications that demonstrates knowledge in the field of security concepts and tools, as well as the ability to react to security incidents and apply the required remediation procedures. Security+ can also be used toward more comprehensive specializations like Microsoft’s MCSA or in Cyber Security.

Security+ certification covers topics related to internet and network security, including the following:

–Cryptography. This topic centers around encryption and how it can make computer networks more secure. Both writing codes and breaking them are explored, and protocols for encryption as well as mistakes that can be made are both covered as well.

–Access control. These systems are important for computer and network security because they prevent people from accessing private information that could be used maliciously. Identification, authentication, authorization and accountability are all covered as well as the use of various access points and methods.

–Disaster recovery. Part of keeping a network or computer secure is having a plan for how to maintain security when disaster strikes. The Security+ certification helps students think through disaster recovery planning for computer networks. Virus protection, vulnerability assessment, patches, and host configurations are all considerations that come into play when disaster happens.

–Risk management. Sure, the system you designed is functioning well in the current environment, but risk management involves considering what steps should be taken to protect the system in the event of a disaster or other crisis. Planning for problems before they occur is a smart way to approach any situation, including crisis or disaster.

Networking certifications
IT security professionals are often called upon to keep corporate networks secure.

Security+ Certification Benefits

Having your Security+ certification means that you have been exposed to best practices in IT security. You have learned the essential principles of IT security and can now apply them to situations you come across in your job or situation.

CompTIA recommends but does not require two years of work experience in networking with an emphasis on security. Security+ certification is required for many Department of Defense and other government contracts, and companies like Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Motorola, Symantec, and General Mills all employ CompTIA Security+ certified staff.

Preparing for CompTIA Security+ certification is best accomplished through hands-on practice and real world experiences very similar to what you will experience when you enter the work force. PC AGE courses that help to prepare students for certification exams are taught by certified instructors, so they are uniquely qualified to prepare students for the exams.

Coursework includes practical skills and experience as well as test prep questions and practice tests. Job placement is also available when coursework is completed. CompTIA Security+ certification is internationally recognized, and certified professionals work in over 147 countries all over the world.

Learn more about PC AGE’s programs and courses. Request information about courses that prepare you for certifications like Security+ and others that open doors to more advanced positions in the IT field.

7 Ways You’ll Use Your CompTIA Network+ Certification at Work


Understanding the workings of computer networks helps in many different IT jobs.

The CompTIA Network+ certification prepares IT professionals to create and maintain company networks that sustain critical company infrastructure. Without a well-designed network, companies can’t accomplish necessary tasks like communicating with clients and running software applications.

Of course, CompTIA Network+ certification is necessary for positions like Network Administrator and Network Support Specialist, but this certification is useful to IT professionals in many other ways as well.

1. Learning to analyze problems and troubleshoot.

A big part of many IT jobs is learning how systems work and being able to solve problems that inevitably arise. CompTIA Network+ certification teaches IT professionals the skills they need to figure out problems and troubleshoot solutions — skills that can be applied to any IT position.

2. Having a broader knowledge base.

Even if you aren’t working directly with networks, having knowledge about them can help you in many IT jobs. Integration of systems can work more smoothly when everyone knows something about all the moving parts and how they work.

3. Opportunities for advancement.

Having CompTIA Network + certification will help you advance from an entry level to a more senior position. Certification ensures your employer that you have mastered a variety of skills related to networks and that you are adequately prepared to handle even the hardest tasks and situations.


Knowing your way around a server can be a benefit in most IT positions.

4. Ability to work with different software and network types.

The CompTIA Network+ certification is not specific to Microsoft, Cisco, HP, or other software applications. Certification means that you will be able to work with several different software applications and network types easily, and will be able to adapt better to changes the company wants to implement.

5. Compliance know-how needed for government contracts.

CompTIA Network+ certification is in full compliance with Department of Defense and other federal requirements, which makes you an advantage for many companies who may be interested in obtaining government contracts.

6. International knowledge and expertise.

Network+ certification is international, so you will be prepared to deal with the IT needs of international clients and other business interests world-wide. Business is increasingly global in nature, and having certification that provides knowledge of international IT practices will give you and your company many advantages in the global marketplace.

7. Credibility in team collaborations.

Working together on a team is an important part of most IT positions today. It’s essential that the team you work with regards your contributions positively and that your credibility is recognized by others on the team. CompTIA Network+ certification will ensure team members that you have a high level of skills to use in accomplishing objectives.

The CompTIA Network+ certification exam is challenging, and preparation for the exam can be difficult and time consuming. PC AGE provides preparation for this and other certifications as part of your coursework so that you will be adequately prepared to pass the exam and achieve certification. Contact us for more information about our IT programs.

A Guide to the CompTIA Network+ Certification

IT coursesCertifications are important for many IT positions because they ensure that specific skills necessary for a given position are mastered. CompTIA Network+ certification shows that students have learned skills for design, configuration, installation, and troubleshooting of business networks used by many companies today.

With a CompTIA Network+ certification, IT professionals will be qualified for positions like network technician, network administrator, or network support specialist. Certification means that students can pass a rigorous test designed to show knowledge about a variety of network types and protocols. Most students attend courses to prepare them for the CompTIA Network+ certification test.

About the CompTIA Network+ Certification

According to the CompTIA website, there are many advantages to getting CompTIA Network+ certified. The certification is not tied to any specific vendor and is internationally recognized, which means you are qualified to work on networks anywhere in the world, across various sectors. The average annual salary of a CompTIA Network+ certified IT professional is $74,000.

Additionally, the CompTIA Network+ certification is compliant with all government regulations and approved by the Department of Defense. If you want to work for the government as an IT network professional, you will likely be required to have this certification.

IT courses
Many businesses have extensive networks that must be created and maintained in good working order.

Why Employers Look for Certification

Without certification, employers don’t know whether IT professionals have the skills they claim to have, and if they are truly qualified to do the job that needs to be done. IT professionals can’t get by on people skills or finesse — they need to know how to perform the tasks that will build, maintain and protect a network. Certification serves as valuable proof for employers that potential hires have reached proficiency in the skills required for the position.

Many employers spend considerable amounts of money to find, hire and onboard new employees, and they don’t really want to go through this process with someone who can’t get the job done. Furthermore, they have contracts to fulfill and other business objectives to meet, which they can’t do if their network isn’t in good functioning order. Hiring a network specialist that can’t do the job will cost a company in more ways than one.

Because of the high stakes many companies place on the proper functioning of their network, they are more likely to hire someone who has the CompTIA Network+ certification and has already shown that they possess the skills required to create and maintain a network. It just makes good business sense.

PC AGE offers IT courses to prepare students for the CompTIA Network+ certification and other related certifications. Our rigorous program teaches important skills and provides hands-on experiences for a well-rounded training regimen. Request information about PC AGE’s top notch programs today!

8 Essential Things to Know about the MCSA Certification

MCSA certification
Microsoft is a major provider of business solutions worldwide.

The Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) is a credential that shows a graduate’s ability to design and implement systems built around Windows Desktop operating systems and Windows Server System software. Those with MCSA certification have the capability to assess the business requirements for these systems and to both create and maintain them. Here are some more things you should know about MCSA certification.

1. Microsoft has a large part of business/non-profit IT market share. 80% of the Fortune 500 is on the Microsoft Cloud and more than 350 million devices (business and personal) are running Windows 10. Their products have been downloaded over 340 million times. MCSA certification gives you credibility to build systems around these products for business customers and non-profit organizations.

2. MCSA certification is a prerequisite to MCSE Expert-level certifications. MCSE stands for Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert, and it is the globally recognized standard for IT professionals.

3. There are many certifications under the MCSA umbrella, including Windows 10, Windows Server 2012, SQL 2016, Office 365, and Linux on Azure. These certifications cover various Microsoft products within the line and can show that you know how to service and put together a variety with different business functions.

4. Most larger businesses with the money to hire IT staff will want administrators with the knowledge necessary to handle complex systems with multiple moving parts. The MCSA certification will show that you have passed a hands-on exam that showcases your abilities to give them what they need.

5. MCSA is an updated certification that used to be the Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator certification. The updated certification concentrates on designing and building technology solutions, while the older certification was focused on a particular position (systems administrator) with a more limited scope.

MCSA certification
The Microsoft Cloud is used by many businesses and networks.

6. There are no prerequisites to MCSA certification. Preparation for these certifications is often part of a school’s IT coursework. There are two to three exams required for the MCSA certification paths available to students.

7. Some of the jobs a MCSA-certified IT professional can get include systems administrator, computer network specialist, network administrator, technical support specialist, database developer or cloud application administrator. Many of these jobs in larger companies entail supervising entry level workers and employees as they navigate the company systems and infrastructure.

8. Free online courses are also available for students who can be disciplined enough to self-prepare, or as additional preparation, but this is difficult for most students to do on their own. PC AGE’s courses and programs prepare students for MCSA Server 2012 and other certifications so they are ready for these difficult exams and have the best possible chance of success. Contact us to learn about our programs including preparation for MCSA certification and many others.

Everything You Need to Know about CompTIA A+ Certification

If you’re ready to get started as an IT professional, the CompTIA A+ certification can help you build a strong foundation for a successful career. As someone new to the IT world, you may have heard of the A+ certification but might not fully understand its benefits. Take a moment to find out more about CompTIA A+ certification, and why you should join the over 260,000 people who have already acquired this valuable designation.


Obtaining the A+ certification is one of the smartest moves you can make in your new IT career.

Defining Terms: What Is the A+ Certification?

The A+ certification is sponsored through CompTIA, an industry trade association. It demonstrates that the individual possessing the certification meets all the qualifications required for entry-level IT and PC support positions. Abilities confirmed through the A+ certification include, but are not limited to:

  • Diagnostics
  • Installation
  • Configuration
  • Basic networking
  • Preventative maintenance


Know the ins and outs of networking before setting foot in your office on your first day.

Certification options are available to help you tailor the perfect learning scenarios for the areas in which you are looking to develop and excel. The A+ certification is also a great foundation to build upon with increasing your knowledge of your specialty — and for career advancement and the potential for salary bonuses.

The Pluses of the A+ Certification

The A+ certification is valuable for many reasons as an up and coming IT professional. Major IT corporations such as Microsoft include the A+ certification as part of the training track for a career within the company. There are even companies (like Ricoh) that make the acquisition of the A+ certification a mandatory part of their certification process for employees.

The value of the A+ certification also comes from the knowledge gained — an understanding of the interworkings of computer and network technology, along with the strategies to troubleshoot and mitigate any issues. As an IT job seeker looking to break into a career as a computer support professional, this certification is the best way to get your foot in the door and show you have a solid foundation to accomplish tasks required.


The A+ certification shows that you can be the glue that holds a company’s network together.

In addition, having the A+ certification on your resume can help separate you from other potential candidates for the position you desire. If you are up against another applicant who has comparable industry experience, yet you possess the A+ certification, you have an upper hand. This certification demonstrates to your potential employer that you have the skills needed to jump head first into the proverbial computer support pool.

If you are interested in beginning a satisfying career as a PC technician, IT technician, enterprise technician or help desk support professional, the A+ certification is most certainly for you. Employers will know that when they hire you they are gaining an employee with strong knowledge and skills. To find out even more about CompTIA A+ certification, as well as several other valuable certifications for your IT career, request information today!