Globalization has led to an improved economy and massive growth in India’s information technology (IT) market. During the past 20 years, India’s IT services sector has generated more than $200 billion (U.S.).
This IT boom has dovetailed with increased opportunities for skilled IT professionals. Compared to workers in other fields, IT pros consistently earn higher salaries. In fact, other than investment bankers and management professionals, IT and software engineering jobs are the highest-paying positions in India.
India’s IT sector has attracted many of the Industry’s top paying companies like Google, HP, IBM, Microsoft, Juniper, Amazon, and a host of others. These companies are willing to pay a handsome amount of money to candidates who possess the right mix of IT skills and knowledge.
One of the best ways to guarantee that a job candidate is qualified is for them to have a current certification from a respected third-party entity. Certifications offered by these entities are typically up-to-date in the latest technology and industry practices for specific domains, and offer an easy way to validate a candidate’s ability.
Below are some of the more popular and in-demand IT certifications for Indian companies, along with the latest salary ranges for those credentials. Keep in mind that this is a general range. Salaries can and do vary for a number of reasons, including time on the job, actual experience, location, and even by company.
CompTIA, the IT industry trade association, is a well-known and globally respected vendor-neutral certification body that provides industry-leading entry-level certifications in the domains of servers, networks, and security. Perhaps their most well-known cert is CompTIA A+, held by more than 1 million IT professionals worldwide. A+ provides sound foundational knowledge to IT newcomers. Certified individuals with little experience can expect an annual starting salary of 117k Rs. Those with more experience can earn up to 660k Rs.
CompTIA also offers the Server+ certification, which goes beyond what the A+ certification has to offer. Server+ covers the knowledge and skills needed to operate servers and storage systems. The topics include storage and disaster recovery systems, and server related technologies. Companies like HP, Intel and Microsoft actually use the Server+ certification as a prequalification test for their employees. A Server+ certified IT pro can expect to earn a salary from 160k to 680k Rs annually based on experience.
Two other hugely popular CompTIA certifications are Network+ and Security+. Network+ is an excellent entry-level certification for those looking to work with networks, and one can expect to receive a salary ranging from 339k to 421 Rs annually.
Security+ is of course popular for those working in security — the fastest growing IT domain worldwide. This is an excellent entry-level security cert. Security+ holders possess the skills and knowledge to secure networks and fight off hacking attacks. This certification is also approved by the U.S. Department of Defense to fulfill Directive 8570.01-M. Security+ professionals are in demand and can expect to earn anywhere from 456k to 1M Rs annually.
If you want a career in the networking field, then you must consider having one or two Cisco certifications under your belt. Cisco’s most popular certification, the CCNA, is well-known and widely respected as a cert that validates the holder’s skill in operating, configuring and troubleshooting routed and switched networks.
As a CCNA you can expect to earn between 125k to 1.8M Rs. For those who first want to pursue a more entry-level networking certification, there is Cisco’s CCENT. CCENTs are able to manage small networks and the cert is the first step towards a CCNA. The pay is lower, but it is a great way to break into the networking domain.
Although EC-Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) is an intermediate level certification, it remains one of the most recognizable and common security certifications. The CEH is a must have certification for IT pros who want a career as an ethical hacker. This hugely popular certification has a very wide salary range in India — anywhere from expect to earn 155k to 2M Rs per year. Obviously the amount of experience one has plays a big role in salary determination.
Software giant Microsoft also has a few great entry-level certifications on this list. The Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) is a popular server-based certification that is in high-demand in India and around the world. The MCSA is also a prerequisite for other higher-level Microsoft credentials like the MCSE. Average salaries for MCSA holders also range widely depending on experience from a low of 94k to a respectable 1.7M Rs annually.
If you are more comfortable starting with the basics, you can prove your skill and proficiency with Microsoft programs by earning a Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) credential. Certifications can be earned in Word, PowerPoint or Excel. You can also progress through varying degrees of proficiency from Microsoft Office Specialist to Microsoft Office Specialist Expert and Microsoft Office Specialist Master. As a Microsoft Office Specialist, one can expect to earn an annual salary between 240k to 725k Rs based on your level of proficiency.
If you are interested in business process management, AXELOS offers five levels of ITIL certification: Foundation, Practitioner, Intermediate, Expert, and Master. ITIL Foundation is the entry-level certification that provides a “general awareness of the key elements, concepts and terminology of the ITIL service lifecycle.”
With the growth in cloud services ($1.3 billion in 2016) Indian companies are keen to exploit this new technology and in urgent need of people with knowledge of ITIL. Foundation certification can provide you with the job you want, whether it be system or business analyst, business manager, or IT audit manager. Salary for an ITIL Foundation cert holder typically starts at 200k annually. Salaries rise commensurate with certification in higher ITIL levels to approximately 2M Rs per year for Master.
Get certified and get ahead
Whatever certification you decide to earn, the common thread is that having one or more credentials is a great way to a higher salary and more opportunity. Even earning a cert by itself can result in a pay raise. One recent survey showed that almost 35 percent of participants reported receiving a pay raise after passing their certification. Sometimes the pay rise can be substantial based on the employee’s experiences or by switching to a different employer.
If you are new to the IT field, carefully consider the certification that goes well with your skill set and career goals. Having the right certification is a solid step to a successful career. Choose wisely and, who knows, it may not be long before you too can demand six-figure salary because you have the right combination of certifications and career experience.