10 TOP-PAYING IT CERTIFICATIONS

January 18, 2023 | What's Hot | 13 min read

IN THIS ARTICLE:

  • CISSP – Certified Information Systems Security Professional
  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional
  • CISM – Certified Information Security Manager
  • AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate
  • Google Cloud – Professional Cloud Security Engineer
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Scientist Associate
  • PRINCE2 Foundation
  • Google Cloud – Cloud Digital Leader
  • Google Cloud – Professional Data Engineer
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Database Administrator Associate

Recruiting and retaining top talent in the IT industry has become increasingly tough amid a rapidly changing labor market and higher competition for skilled, certified professionals.

As the skills gap continues to impact businesses in critical areas like cloud, data science and cybersecurity, organizations seek out those professionals with reputable credentials that validate their experience and capability. In turn, these certified professionals tend to enjoy more leverage in the marketplace because they’ve earned certifications recognized as trustworthy affirmations of their skills.

The certifications listed here are among those in IT that earn professionals the highest salaries reported in the industry. This list is the result of thousands of IT professionals graciously participating in Skillsoft’s annual IT Skills and Salary survey. The survey is distributed to IT professionals worldwide by Skillsoft, technology providers and vendors, certification bodies, and individuals.

The cumulative results are fascinating insights into the value of skills and certifications. This year in EMEA, 2,552 professionals took the survey. That’s how we’ve arrived at this list.

Read the full report with all insights and comprehensive findings in the 2022 IT Skills and Salary Report.

Below, you’ll find 10 of the highest paying certifications in EMEA. In this year’s list, you’ll see a trend similar to last year, with continued emphasis on cloud and cybersecurity certifications — likely due to the sustained demand for professionals with these skills.

“This year’s list is notable first by what topics continue to be hot this year – cloud foremost, supplemented by a couple of key certifications in cybersecurity and data,” says Michael Yoo, Customer Market Leader - T&D at Skillsoft. “Not surprising, given how nearly every company in every industry of every size in every geography is relying upon cloud computing to power their technology strategy.”

While the data shows these certifications have higher salaries associated with them, it’s important to remember salaries are the culmination of several factors, including the ability to apply your certified skills at work, job role, continuous professional development, tenure, and hard work. Furthermore, it’s good to keep in mind that salaries can largely depend on where you work in EMEA. In the 2022 IT Skills & Salary Report, you can find which countries lead in salary.

The list also provides a snapshot of the typical person holding a certification, including the average number of certifications held, the most popular cross-certification, if they hold cybersecurity-related certifications, if they are in management, and their average age. In order for certifications to make the list, they must have had at least 40 responses in the survey. See more on our methodology at the very end of this blog.

#1 CISSP – Certified Information Systems Security Professional

$104,863

While last year this certification ranked second, this year the CISSP ranks first in the list of top-paying IT certifications – with a 10% gain in salary. It’s no surprise information security ranks high, as cybersecurity professionals are high in-demand and (ISC)2’s certifications are known as the gold standard in the industry worldwide.

Earning the CISSP certification has been compared to earning a master’s degree in IT security, as it proves professionals have what it takes to effectively design, implement, and manage a cybersecurity program.

The CISSP exam is based around eight domains in information security:

  1. Security and Risk Management
  2. Asset Security
  3. Security Architecture and Engineering
  4. Communication and Network Security
  5. Identity and Access Management (IAM)
  6. Security Assessment and Testing
  7. Security Operations
  8. Software Development Security

To achieve this certification, candidates also need at least five years of paid, relevant work experience in two or more of the CISSP domains.

If you lack the necessary experience, you can still take the certification exam and become an Associate of (ISC)2 if you pass. Then, you’ll have up to six years to obtain the required experience to earn your CISSP.


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#2 AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional

$100,719

Cloud computing skills are in demand – 43% of IT decision makers are investing in cloud computing and 29% report cloud computing is one of the hardest areas to fill positions.

Second on the list is the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional. This AWS certification proves you have advanced knowledge of AWS solutions and the skills to solve complex problems, optimize security, save costs, improve performance and automate manual processes.

A candidate will need two or more years of experience in designing and deploying cloud architecture on AWS. And, according to AWS, candidates should have the following:

  • Familiarity with AWS CLI, AWS APIs, AWS CloudFormation templates, the AWS Billing Console, and more
  • Serve as a subject matter expert on enterprise, architectural design and determine cloud application requirements
  • Comfort designing hybrid architectures, using a continuous deployment process


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#3 CISM – Certified Information Security Manager

$97,304

ISACA’s Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) certification has made appearances on this list several times. In the years that followed, it’s kept a presence on the top-paying list at varying positions.

CISM sustains its presence this year for good reason. Cybersecurity continues to remain a top priority for organizations who must protect sensitive data from ceaseless threat actors. This certification signals to organizations and industry peers that a professional can lead security teams and efforts effectively.

CISM validates the ability to manage, design and assess an enterprise’s information security. It proves expertise in these domains: information security governance, information security risk management, information security program, and incident management.

To earn this certification, professionals must first have five years of professional work experience in the required domains before they can sit the exam, which costs $575 USD for ISACA members and $760 USD for non-members.


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#4 AWS Certified Sysops Administrator – Associate

$87,541

As mentioned earlier, cloud computing skills are in demand. This associate certification is a fantastic starting point for your AWS cloud computing career.

The AWS Certified SysOps administrator – associate certification shows that you have the skills to implement cloud initiatives and you know how to deploy, manage, and operate workloads on AWS.

To pass for the exam, the candidate needs to have the knowledge to pass the written tests and the skills to build solutions in exam labs. Prior experience in cloud computing is highly recommended for this AWS certification.


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#5 Google Cloud – Professional Cloud Security Engineer

$87,351

With the increasing demand of cloud computing, it’s no surprise to find the cloud security engineer on this list. This role is critical for organizations using Google Cloud solutions, because the Cloud Security Engineer designs, develops and managers a secure infrastructure needed for today’s business processes and operations.

The candidate is required to have expertise on cloud security, identity and access management, defining structure and policies, using Google technologies to provide data protection and collecting and analyzing Google Cloud platform logs. It is recommended to have at least one year experience in using google Cloud solutions as well as three years of industry experience. Achieving this certifications shows the candidate’s expertise in the Google Cloud Platform and cloud security.


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#6 Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Scientist Associate

$84,040

In today’s digital world using incredible amounts of data, data scientists have become key in achieving business goals. Data science is among the top five areas IT decision makers are investing in next year, showing how great of an opportunity it is for professionals seeking a career in this field.

This certification demonstrates a professional’s ability to design and prepare machine learning solutions and workloads on Azure, as well as exploring, preparing and deploying data models.

To earn this certification, individuals must pass the DP-100 exam. It’s recommended that professionals having experience with Azure before attempting this exam.


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#7 Prince 2 Foundation

$83,279

With more than one million certified professionals globally, PRINCE2 is an internationally recognized project management method that’s scalable and can be used for any project.

To ensure any project’s success, PRINCE2 was developed according to the principles, themes and processes that professionals use to effectively manage projects.

The PRINCE2 Foundation certification measures the candidate’s knowledge of the PRINCE2 method so that the candidate is able to work in a project management team.

It’s meant for those who either are or plan to become a project manager, as well as those who support the delivery of projects. The Foundation certification is a prerequisite for the Practitioner certification.


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#8 Google Cloud - Cloud Digital Leader

$83,116

The Cloud Digital Leader (CDL) certification was released in 2021 as a foundational-level certification that validates a professional’s knowledge of the Google Cloud Platform, its services, and capabilities in supporting an organization’s cloud initiatives. It may also benefit those in a business-facing role, who work collaboratively with technical professionals, or those who work with multiple cloud providers and must understand the services of each.

To earn this certification, professionals must familiarize themselves with these areas:

  • Digital transformation with Google Cloud
  • Infrastructure and application modernization
  • Innovating with data and Google Cloud
  • Google Cloud security and operations

The exam costs $99 and gives professionals 90 minutes to complete the questions. There are no prerequisites for this exam.


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#9 Google Cloud – Professional Data Engineer

$82,810

Data-driven decision making is made possible by data engineers who can transform terabytes of data to valuable, comprehensive insights. Earning this certification requires several years of professional experience, some of which should be with Google Cloud specifically. A data engineer must know how to build and management data processing systems.


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#10 Microsoft Certified: Azure Database Administrator Associate

$82,224

This certification shows the practical skills and experience to implement and manage the operational aspects of cloud-native and hybrid data platform solutions built with Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft Azure Data Services.

For this certification, candidates should have a thorough grasp of the concepts covered in the Microsoft Azure Data Fundamentals course and exam.


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Certifications That Just Missed the Cut

ITIL PRACTIONER

$94,428

The ITIL Practitioner is an expired ITIL®v3 certification that shows a professional’s advanced, practical skills in guiding businesses to adopt and adapt the ITIL framework for meeting business goals. It has now been replaced with ITIL® 4, which is designed to help IT professionals support organisations in their digital business operations and helps them stay flexible in a changing and complex market. By considering the impact of technology on business and how the framework integrates with Agile, DevOp and supports digital transformation (AXELOS), ITIL® 4 is a great certification for any business and IT professional.

Unsure which ITIL® certification is right for your next step? There are five levels within the certification scheme. Click here to learn more and find the course that’s right for you.


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Cisco Certified Design Associate Exam

$91,429

While the Cisco Certified Design Associate no longer exists, its equivalent the CCNA tests the candidates ability to install, configure, and operate a small to medium-sized network. On top of that, the CCNA exam also tests your knowledge in network fundamentals, network access, IP connectivity, IP services, security fundamentals, and automation and programmability.

While experience with Cisco is recommended, there are no prerequisites for this exam. If you’re interested in a career in networking solutions, the CCNA and DevOps Associate certifications are great certifications to demonstrate skill and will support career development.

CISA – Certified Information Systems Auditor

$81,365

System auditors are invaluable to companies looking to stay compliant in today’s digital age. This security certification demonstrates your knowledge and skills in information security and IT auditing, as well as building and implementing privacy solutions. In order to earn this certification, professionals must have knowledge and experience with these the five domains:

  • Information systems auditing process;
  • Governance and management of IT;
  • Information Systems Acquisition Development and Implementation;
  • Information Systems Operations and Business Resilience;
  • Protection of Information Assets.

Candidates for the CISA certification are expected to have a minimum of five years experience in professional information systems auditing.

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More Findings From the It Skills and Salary Survey

This list is compiled of a subset of data from the 2022 IT Skills and Salary survey. Globally, the total response count exceeds 7,900 responses. This data focuses only on those respondents whose residence is in EMEA.

  • The average salary of the 2,552 EMEA respondents is $67,711. Microsoft certifications are the most widely held by those in EMEA, with the most common credential being the Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals.
  • More than half (59%) of IT professionals say the nature of their training in the last 12 months was certification focused, while the main reason for training was to prepare their organizations for a new technology, product migration or deployment. Despite this, roughly one-third say their management doesn’t see the value in training — which is cited as a leading inhibitor to training.
  • Most (56%) IT professionals in EMEA say the quality of their work improved after earning a certification, while more than one-third say they’re more engaged at work and perform their duties faster. Some reported promotions, raises or new jobs too.
  • Training offered most by companies are online third-party training (72%) and live instructor-led training, either class room or virtual, provided by an outside training provider (67%)

How We Built the List

This EMEA list of the top-paying certifications is based on survey responses from the Skillsoft 2022 IT Skills and Salary Survey conducted May 2022 to August 2022. The survey asks respondents about their current jobs and experience, certifications and salaries, and more. Respondents encounter multiple choice and multi-select, open-ended, rank choice, and other types of questions while taking the survey.

The survey is distributed to IT professionals around the world by technology providers, certification bodies and Skillsoft, among others. 2,552 IT professionals in EMEA participated.

To qualify for our list, a certification must have at least 40 EMEA survey responses to be considered. Then, we consider relevance, demand, and certification requirements. Salaries are not normalized for cost-of-living or location (e.g., Finland vs. Portugal).

Learn even more about IT certifications in our latest report, the 2022 IT Skills & Salary Report.