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Skills demand: What are the most in demand IT Qualifications?

CIPHR - HR trends 2022

The @Skillsoft annual Top-Paying IT Certifications list provides a glimpse into today’s IT career paths and the most sought-after qualifications. 

Nearly all IT leaders agree that certified staff add value to their organisations, with most saying in excess of around £25,000 a year. And when you consider the monetary costs of preparing for and sitting the exam, the payback is quite substantive, especially how those returns show up for the organisation. 

Most often, leaders notice an uptick in productivity as those employees who earn certifications feel energised and more engaged at work. But certifications make a difference in other ways too. Shorter resolution times, projects move faster, deployments are smoother, and employee retention edges up as well. This is all according to recent findings from Skillsoft’s annual IT Skills and Salary survey, which has collected data about certifications and their value to individuals and organisations for nearly two decades.  

This year, Skillsoft examined the reported salaries of individuals around the world to find the highest-paying certifications in the IT industry. This list is the result of thousands of IT professionals graciously participating in the survey, which is distributed to IT professionals worldwide by primarily by Skillsoft, but also its partners like Google Cloud, Microsoft, ISACA, Nutanix, and CompTIA. 

The cumulative results are fascinating insights into the value of skills and certifications. In this year’s list, you’ll see similar trends to past years. Certifications with a focus on cybersecurity or cloud computing tend to earn IT professionals’ higher salaries in part due to the sustained demand for these skills. Cybersecurity, in particular, continues to grow in importance to individuals and organisations as threats become more prevalent and severe — which also helps to drive up salaries for those with skills to combat them. 

However, it’s important to remember salaries are the culmination of several factors, including the ability to apply your skills at work, job role, continuous professional development, tenure, and hard work. What’s more, this list also provides a snapshot of the average certification holder, including the average number of certifications held, the most popular cross-certification, if they are in management, and their average age. 

The highest paying certifications in EMEA

In this year’s survey, more than 1,600* people who live in Europe and the Middle East completed the IT Skills and Salary survey, ranking these certifications as the highest paying across the region. Many have graced this list in the past, with fluctuation in rank, but also a few that made the list for the first time. 

CertificationAverage Salary
Google Cloud Certified – Professional Cloud Security Engineer £141,083 
Google Cloud Certified – Professional Cloud Developer £126,728 
Google Cloud Certified – Professional Cloud Architect £114,916 
Google Cloud Certified – Professional Data Engineer £111,192 
CISSP – Certified Information Systems Security Professional £105,259 
AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional £100,578 
CRISC – Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control £93,810 
AWS Certified SAP on AWS – Specialty £89,654 
Google Cloud Certified – Associate Cloud Engineer £85,023 
Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Engineer Associate £83,324 
AWS Certified Database – Specialty £80,706 
CISM – Certified Information Security Manager £79,864 
AWS Certified Developer – Associate £79,667 
Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate £79,572 
Microsoft Certified: DevOps Engineer Expert £75,646 
CISA – Certified Information Systems Auditor £75,403 
AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate £75,065 
Microsoft Certified: Azure DevOps Engineer Expert £72,986 
AWS Certified Data Analytics – Specialty £71,745 
Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert £70,760 

Greg Fuller, Senior Director, Tech & Dev at Skillsoft: 

“Cloud and cybersecurity certifications remain longstanding perennial favourites. What’s interesting is the rise in importance and value of Google Cloud’s certifications. As Google’s Cloud Platform gains momentum and the overall reliance on and maturation of cloud evolves, cloud professionals are increasingly necessary for all organisations. 

Looking at IT talent and skills as a whole, demand far outweighs supply right now. And, with the current AI wave, we’ll likely see IT salaries surge even higher next year. Earning certifications is a win-win scenario for talent and organisations alike, with the former able to increase their value and proficiency and the latter seeing improved quality of work, increased engagement, and faster performance across their IT workforce. On both ends, investment in professional development is an investment in future success.” 

 An in-depth look at the top five highest-grossing certifications

1. Google Cloud Certified – Professional Cloud Security Engineer

Average annual salary:£141,083 

Google Cloud’s Professional Cloud Security Engineer certification has ranked highly in the past. Last year, it ranked seventh with an average annual salary of £80,739. This year, it’s the highest-paying certification in the field. Developments in cloud — particularly the reliance on and maturation of the technology — have led many in the industry to entrust providers like Google with their data. For reasons like these, cloud security engineers have grown increasingly necessary for organisations of all sizes.    

The Professional Cloud Security Engineer certification is designed for IT professionals who specialise in security and have experience working with Google Cloud Platform (GCP). This certification validates an individual’s expertise in designing and implementing secure infrastructure on GCP, managing access and identity, ensuring data protection, and managing compliance.   

To earn the Professional Cloud Security Engineer certification, candidates must pass a single exam, which covers a range of topics, including designing and implementing a secure infrastructure on GCP, implementing security policies and controls, managing access and identity, ensuring data protection, managing compliance, and responding to security incidents. The Professional Cloud Security Engineer certification is ideal for security engineers, security consultants, and IT professionals who want to enhance their skills in cloud security and work with GCP. With the increasing demand for cloud security professionals, this certification can help individuals stand out in the job market and advance their careers. 

2. Google Cloud Certified – Professional Cloud Developer

Average annual salary: £126,728 

Despite not making the list last year, The Google Cloud Certified – Professional Cloud Developer certification is the second-highest paying certification of 2023. The certification showcases expertise in designing, building, and managing robust, scalable applications with Google Cloud technologies. It confirms the ability to leverage Google Cloud for application development. The certification exam assesses building and designing Google Cloud solutions, managing application data, optimising performance, and ensuring security and compliance. 

3. Google Cloud Certified – Professional Cloud Architect

Average annual salary: £114,916 

Google Cloud’s Professional Cloud Architect certification has climbed to third place from fifteenth in 2022. This certification validates the holder’s proficiency in crafting, managing, and implementing secure, scalable, and reliable cloud solutions using Google Cloud technologies. It signifies an individual’s understanding of Google Cloud’s infrastructure and services, enabling them to devise and optimise cloud architectures that are efficient, cost-effective, and resilient. Google recommends professionals have at least three years of experience before sitting the exam, with at least one designing and managing solutions in Google Cloud.  

4. Google Cloud Certified – Professional Data Engineer

Average annual salary: £111,192 

Google Cloud’s Professional Data Engineer certification has historically earned IT professionals high salaries, and there are even fewer exceptions to this rule today. Roles like data engineers, scientists and specialists continue to grow in demand as data and its application become far more critical to how virtually everyone makes decisions. This certification validates an individual’s capability to construct and manage effective data processing systems using the Google Cloud Platform. It affirms their ability to create secure, scalable, and reliable data solutions. In this way, organisations stand to gain substantially by employing those who’ve earned this certification, as they bring specialised expertise in handling and analysing vast datasets. Their skills in developing data processing systems can help organisations enhance operational efficiency, make data-driven decisions, and drive innovation. 

5. CISSP – Certified Information Systems Security Professional

Average annual salary: £105,259 

ISC2’s Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) has been a consistently popular and well-regarded certification in the field, leading to high salaries reflected on this list for years. From 2022 to this year, the reported annual earnings stayed consistent. Last year, professionals reported an average annual salary of £97,009. 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: Security and Risk Management, Asset Security, Security Architecture and Engineering, Communication and Network Security, Identity and Access Management (IAM), Security Assessment and Testing, Security Operations and 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.

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