10 IT certifications paying the highest premiums today

IT certifications can boost your career, but it’s not always easy to tell which certifications hold the most value for your resume. Moreover, pay associated with any given cert fluctuates based on business interest and the supply of IT pros who hold it. To help gauge certification values, Foote Partners tracks premiums paid for popular IT certifications in its 2022 IT Skills and Certifications Pay Index report.

The cash value of IT certifications is less volatile than that of non-certified IT skills, according to David Foote, co-founder, chief analyst, and chief research officer at Foote Partners. But certifications tend to spike in value after they’re launched and level out as more people get certified.

Foote Partners has identified the following 10 certifications as gaining the most in pay premiums and market value, based on compensation data provided by more than 4,057 private- and public-sector employers in the US and Canada. Certification premium pay value is based on the percentage of base salary accounted for by a single certification, on average.

These certifications were ranked based off their above average pay premiums and gains in cash market value in the six months leading up to October 2022.

Whether you already have one of these certifications or are planning to earn one, there’s no better time to have one of these 10 IT certifications on your resume.

1. Certified Professional Scrum Product Owner (PSPO I)

The Certified Professional Scrum Product Owner certification validates your knowledge of the Scrum framework and ability to help bridge communication between the business strategy and agile product management to create quality products using Scrum. Certification candidates are encouraged, but not required, to attend the Professional Scrum Product Owner course offered by Scrum.org. The course focuses on three main areas of Scrum, including understanding and applying the scrum framework, developing people and teams, and manage products with agility. The curriculum includes a mix of hands-on activities that help students get a better understanding of how Product Owners work on Scrum Teams. To earn the certification, you’ll need to pass a 60-minute exam with 80 questions that are a mix of multiple choice, multiple answer, and true or false.

Pay premium (of base salary equivalent): 13%

Market value growth: 18%

Exam fee: $200

2. PMI Program Management Professional (PgMP)

The PMI Program Management Professional (PgMP) certification is designed for program managers to validate their skills and abilities managing development processes. The exam covers topics such as strategic program management, program lifecycle, benefits management, stakeholder management, and governance. To qualify for the exam, you’ll need at least a secondary degree, 48 months of project management experience or a PMP certification, and 84 months of program management experience within the past 15 years. Alternatively, you may qualify for the exam with a four-year degree, 48 months of project management experience or a PMP certification, and 48 months of program management experience within the past 15 years.

Pay premium: 12%

Market value growth: 20%

Exam fee: $800 for members; $1,000 for non-members

3. GIAC Certified Forensics Analyst (GCFA)

The GIAC Certified Forensics Analyst (GCFA) certification is designed for incident response team members, threat hunters, SOC analysts, experienced digital forensic analysts, information security professionals, federal agents and law enforcement professionals, and penetration testers. The exam covers topics including advance incidence response and digital forensics, memory forensics, timeline analysis, anti-forensics detection, threat hunting, and APT intrusion incident response.

Pay premium: 12%

Market value growth: 9%

Exam fee: $949

4. Information System Security Engineering Professional (ISSEP/CISSP)

The Information System Security Engineering Professional certification is offered by the International Information Security Certification Consortium (ISC) as a concentration certification under the CISSP certification scheme. It was developed by the ISC alongside the US National Security Agency to acknowledge “those who specialize in the practical application of systems engineering principles and processes to build secure systems.” It’s designed as a companion certification for CISSP holders to validate their knowledge as it applies to engineering. The certification is designed for senior systems engineers, information assurance systems engineers, information assurance offices, information assurance analysts, and senior security analysts.

Pay premium: 12%

Market value growth: 9%

Exam fee: $599

5. Okta Certified Developer

The Okta Certified Developer certification is designed for developers working with APIs and responsible for developing web applications. The certification validates your ability to build secure, seamless user experiences using Okta APIs and SKDs. Candidates for the exam should have a strong understanding of authentication and authorization standards, which includes OpenID Connect (OIDC) and OAuth. You should also have experience with configuring authorization with API Access Management and implementing Single Sign-On (SSO) with OIDC, among other topics. The online exam consists of two parts: Part one is a 60-minute exam that includes 45 discrete option multiple choice (DOMC) and part two is a 90-minute exam that consists of four performance-based hands on use cases.

Pay premium: 12%

Market value growth: 9%

Exam fee: $250

6. Okta Certified Professional

The Okta Certified Professional certification is the first level of a three-part certification scheme offered by Okta. The certification validates your skills and knowledge with identity and access management using Okta services. The level-one professional exam tests general familiarity with Okta technology and processes, covering topics such as simple directory integration, single-sign-on federation, and application provisioning. There are no prerequisites, but it’s recommended that you have hands-on experience “completing the day-to-day operational tasks to support users of the Okta service.”

Pay premium: 11%

Market value growth: 57%

Exam fee: $250

7. Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT)

The Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT) certification is offered by the ISACA to validate your ability to handle “the governance of an entire organization” and can also help prepare you for moving to a C-suite role if you aren’t already in an executive leadership position. The exam covers general knowledge of governance of enterprise IT, IT resources, benefits realization, and risk optimization. To qualify for the exam, you’ll need at least five years of experience in an advisory or oversight role supporting the governance of IT in the enterprise.

Pay premium: 11%

Market value growth: 38%

Exam fee: $575 for members; $760 for non-members

8. AWS Certified Security – Specialty

The AWS Certified Security certification is a specialty certification from Amazon that validates your expertise and ability with securing data and workloads in the AWS cloud. The exam is intended for those working in security roles with at least two years of hands-on experience securing AWS workloads. It’s recommended that candidates for the exam have at least five years of IT security experience designing and implementing security solutions. You’ll also need a strong working knowledge of AWS security services and features, shared responsibility model, security controls, cloud security threat models, patch management and security automation, disaster recovery controls, data-encryption methods, and more. To earn the certification, you will need to pass the AWS Certified Security Specialty exam, which consists of multiple choice and multiple response questions.

Pay premium: 11%

Market value growth: 22%

Exam fee: $300

9. Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK)

The Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge offered by the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) is a vendor-neutral certification that validates your skills and knowledge of cloud security. It’s designed for cybersecurity and security analysts, security and systems engineers, security and enterprise architects, CISOs, security consultants, compliance managers, and security administrators. The certification covers everything you need to know about developing cloud security programs that adhere to best practices and global standards. To earn your CSSK certification you’ll need to pass a 90-minute exam consisting of 60 multiple-choice questions.

Pay premium: 11%

Market value growth: 10%

Exam fee: $395

10. SAFe Certification

The SAFe Certification is aimed at those working with lean and agile environments that utilize the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe). SAFe certified professionals can help organizations adopt and scale lean and agile principles in the workplace, integrating the SAFe framework into the day-to-day workflow of the company. This certification validates your ability to support the successful lean and agile transformation of an organization and assess your overall knowledge of the SAFe framework. In order to earn your SAFe certification, you’ll need to take a course and complete several required exercises prior to passing the course exam.

Pay premium: 11%

Market value growth: 10%

Exam fee: $50

Careers, Certifications, IT Skills