It’s no secret that IT powers the world today. If you have the skills to set up, configure, troubleshoot and repair networked devices these are considered to be some of the most valuable skills a person can have who is looking to enter or even re-enter the workspace. This is because skilled IT professionals power information technology.
Entry level positions such as IT Helpdesk or IT Support have average salaries of between £18,000 – £25,000 with experience you can go onto earn £40,000+ so there’s an obvious incentive to get started.
You may have heard that entry-level IT certifications are a good way to start down an IT career path. But what exactly does that mean?
Before we discuss the best entry-level and beginner IT certifications available today, let’s address that basic question: What is this “IT certification” that everyone is talking about, and why is it so important?
What is an IT certification – And Should I Get One?
An IT certification is a credential that confirms a candidate’s IT skills in a given area. Certification has become crucial to getting a job in the lucrative, rewarding and in-demand field of IT.
In the not too distant past there were two primary pathways to an IT career. The first was teaching yourself. When there were relatively few computer users, having the self-taught ability to fix a computer or configure a network could get you in the door at a company, or even enable you to start a business. The second method was to undertake a university degree.
Today however, IT certification has grown popular as there are certain limitations these earlier methods now have.
Employers nowadays expect that IT staff can demonstrate that their skills are in keeping with the industry standards. Being completely self-taught is increasingly impractical because of this and also the fact that the more central workplace IT has become, the more there is to know.
Of course university degrees are great for some, they can focus more on tech theory than practical, hands-on skill building. They may also prevent you from entering the job force quickly, since they can last multiple years. Which is considered a huge drawback.
Certifications are skills-focused, demonstrating to employers that IT pros know what they are doing. So, if you want a career in the IT field, IT certifications are absolutely worth getting and whats more is that they are regularly updated to keep up with the industry standards.
The following are some of the best IT certifications for starting a career.
The Best Entry-Level IT Certifications Worth Pursuing
For more than 20 years, CompTIA A+ has been the industry standard for beginning an IT career. CompTIA A+ remains one of the most important endorsements of ability and work ethic that an aspiring IT pro can earn, in a field that is constantly changing and evolving.
As with all CompTIA certifications, A+ is vendor neutral. Rather than training you on how to manage or configure a particular vendor’s products, it sets you up to master all of the technologies you are likely to encounter in an entry-level IT position.
The certification objectives are created and kept current by a team of subject matter experts (SMEs) from across the IT profession, who make sure that candidates are tested on the skills currently in demand throughout the IT workforce.
In the past few years, enterprise technology has changed at regularly. Because of that, the CompTIA A+ exam has evolved to validate new business-critical skills like:
- Facilitating work-from-home setups
- Understanding cloud-based storage
- Mobile device configuration and management
- Managing IoT technology
If you earn a CompTIA A+ certification, you will understand these concepts clearly and be able to confidently put them to use.
The CompTIA IT Fundamentals (ITF+) certification is for absolute beginners. It is unique in that it confirms your status as an educated end user. You might wonder, why would someone pursue a pre-professional certification like CompTIA ITF+?
Most people can use computers to complete basic tasks. But there is a big difference between making a device work and understanding how to use it. CompTIA ITF+ confirms that a candidate has mastered the simplest but most crucial elements of today’s computing landscape. Certification holders can answer basic questions like:
- How do you connect to the internet?
- What are the most commonly used apps and what are they for?
- Is a given online practice you are engaging in secure?
CompTIA ITF+ is a great certification option for younger students who want to dig just below the surface and get comfortable with earning certifications. It is also good for older people returning to the workforce who have not had much exposure to technology but see promise in the field.
Microsoft’s certifications are tailored to the skills required for particular job roles (though they still train on the use of Microsoft products within the context of each role).
The Microsoft Fundamentals certifications validate skills at the entry level for a number of positions. There are eight Fundamentals certifications in total. Each professional track specifies a combination of these eight certifications that, when earned, validate entry-level competence for that role.
IT pros looking to move up the job ladder can also avail themselves of higher-level Microsoft Associate and Expert certifications.
How do you get an IT Certification?
In order to earn an IT certification, you have to take and pass one or more exams. This exam verifies your mastery of a particular skill set. Certification exams can be challenging.
There are many courses and training resources available to help you get ready for certification exams, however, we will explore exactly how we at Newto prepare you for a newe career (one with great success might we add)
Self-study Training Options – A Three Part Process
For those who are more comfortable with self study, but would still like help preparing for their exams, CompTIA offers the CertMaster suite of eLearning solutions.
There are a few different CompTIA CertMaster solutions, and each allows for a different type of self-guided study that can be of great benefit depending on your skill level and learning needs:
- CompTIA CertMaster Learn: Learn at your own pace with interactive lessons and videos
- CompTIA CertMaster Labs: Get hands-on practice using real software applications in a virtual environment
- CompTIA CertMaster Practice: Test your knowledge and find out if you’re ready for your exam
Once you start earning IT certifications, you will find that their benefits do not end at landing an entry-level job. At every rung on the job ladder, certifications can help you improve your skills and increase your pay. We will explore this in more detail in our next blog post.
If you are interested in starting an IT career as an IT Technician or an IT Support agent; please do not hesitate to get in touch with our team of Course and Career Advisors and let us guide you through the best options for your career aspirations.