The IT industry is an ever-changing beast. What is a big deal today, may be yesterday’s news as quickly as tomorrow. Because of this, the IT training industry is in constant demand as new versions and updates are regularly released. Selecting which types of training to pursue can be difficult; however, listed below are five of the top certifications that promise a high return on training investment.

1. Project Management Professional (PMP)

The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is a globally recognized certification provided through the Project Management Institute. The value comes not only from a demonstration of the principles and project management philosophies contained in the Guide to Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), but also from demonstrated experience in the project management field. Before applying to take the certification exam, each project manager must prove extensive experience and education hours.

Another component that adds to the value of a PMP certification is the short renewal time frame of three years. Any PMP holder will need to earn an additional 60 Professional Development Units (PDUs) per three year renewal cycle. This ensures each PMP holder keeps current with the project management standards as they are updated.

2. VMware Certified Professional – Data Center Virtualization (VCP-DCV)

The VMware Certified Professional – Data Center Virtualization (VCP-DCV) certification is an industry-recognized certification and is the original VMware certification. As VMware has expanded their product lines, they have added additional certifications. The VCP-DCV is the VMware certification that promises the highest return on investment. It is the ideal certification to show the ability to install, configure and manage VMware vSphere environments.

The value with the VCP-DCV certification lies with a VMware introduction course and standardized training that is required before taking the certification exam. All of those that are interested in sitting for the certification exam will also have demonstrated their familiarity with vSphere environments for at least six months.

3. Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

In light of recent hacker attacks on major retailers including Target and Michaels, cyber security has shifted to the forefront of many decision makers’ minds. One certification that has significantly increased in value is the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) from EC-Council. This training and certification essentially place the student into the mindset of a hacker. In order to outwit a hacker, the student must become a hacker.

As this course essentially teaches the skills necessary to be a hacker, all accredited training centers are required to confirm the student works for a legitimate company.

4. Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)

The Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) indicates that an individual is part of an elite rank that specializes in aligning business objectives with a company’s information security goals.

The value that is associated with a CISM is the complexity of the actual certification. Those interested in earning a CISM only have three opportunities a year to take the test. Certification also requires stringent experience requirements. In the ten years before taking the exam or the five years after passing the exam, the applicant must have five years of experience in the information security field and three years of management experience within the field.

5. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) is a vendor-neutral certification that shows expertise in a broad area of information security. It is said that 56% of the jobs in cyber security require a CISSP.

Like the CISM, the value associated with the CISSP involves the length of the certification process. Prospective CISSPs must have five or more years of experience in two or more of the areas that are tested by the certification exam. Once certified, there is also a three year renewal window where the CISSP holder must stay on top of industry updates with additional training and experience.

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