It’s always in your best interest to assess your particular skill sets, certifications, and salary in order to advance in your career. To that end, here is a list of the 2014 top-paying and most in-demand certifications. The information itself was derived from a nationwide survey (Global Knowledge and Penton) based on company type, years of experience, and location.

• Project Management Professional (PMP)

PMP certification is the most widely recognized certification available today relative to project management. There are literally more than 500,000 active PMPs worldwide in 193 countries.The exam for PMP certification tests five key areas in relation to a project’s lifecycle and each phase: initiate, plan, execute, monitor, control, and close. PMP certification is geared towards running virtually any type of project, and is not categorized into sub types such as IT, construction, and manufacturing.
*Average Salary: $108,525

• Six Sigma Green Belt

Six Sigma is a method of evaluating defects (something beyond a client’s specifications) within a manufacturing (production) process, along with an objective of less than 3.4 defects per million ‘chances’ or opportunities for the defect to happen. The basic premise is to gauge defects, evaluate why they happened, and then proceed to fix the problem and repeat. There is a method for improving current methods and a somewhat modified version for innovative processes or substantial changes. Motorola stepped up and lead the way in the 80s, and several companies since then continue to follow their example in order to improve overall quality.Six Sigma certification in not owned by an actual organization. Therefore, the particular skills and mastery levels vary based on which certifying company or organization is used. However, the entry level is generally Green Belt and the road leads to Black Belt along with Master Black Belt. Champions are wholly responsible for the projects of Six Sigma throughout the total organization and answer to senior management.
*Average Salary: $109,165

Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

Another well-paying certification is for IS auditors. CISA dates back as far as 1978 with greater than 106,000 certified people since its launch. CISA certification will require a minimum of five years of IS auditing experience, control, or security as well as passing the exam that’s only offered to participants three times throughout the year.CISA certification is typically achieved by those individuals whose primary job responsibilities include monitoring, auditing, controlling, and/or evaluating IT business systems. It essentially tests the participant’s capability to guarantee compliance with certain standards, manage vulnerabilities, and propose updates, processes, and controls to a corporation’s policies to ensure sound compliance with conventional business and IT standards.

*Average Salary: $112,040

Certified Information Security Manager

ISACA, a non-profit organization, developed CISM certification. It targets management rather than an IT professional and concentrates on security techniques and evaluating policies and systems in place more so than it actually focuses on the individual who literally incorporates those said policies using a specific vendor’s platform.

Over 23,000 individuals have achieved certification since it first launched in 2002, which makes it a highly preferred area with a fairly small supply of certified people. Also, individuals can only take the exam three times per year in one of nearly 240 different locations, which can make completing the exam somewhat more difficult than several other certification exams. It additionally requires a minimum of five years experience in IS, with three of those as an active security manager. The fundamental requirements for CISM certification require effort and a number of years planning.
*Average Salary: $114,844

Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC)

ISACA offers individuals CRISC certification in much the same way that CompTIA effectively manages Network+ and A+ certifications.

CRISC certification is created for project managers, IT professionals, and others whose responsibility it is to recognize and manage key risks via the proper IS (Information Systems) controls, covering the complete lifecycle, from the initial design to incorporation to continued maintenance. It assesses two main areas: IS controls and risk. Much like the IS control lifecycle, the area of risk spans across everything from identification and evaluation of the scope and probability of a certain risk to monitoring for it as well as responding to it if and when it ever occurs.

In order to obtain CRISC certification, an individual must have a minimum of three years experience in at least three of five specific areas that the CRISC certification entails and pass the exam that’s only available twice per year. It’s not a typical case where someone can simply take a class and then get certified. Obtaining CRISC certification requires years of planning and a determined effort.
*Average Salary: $118,253

If you want to enhance your level of expertise in addition to your salary, consider implementing at least one of these certifications. Evaluate your current level of skills to determine if a related management skill or comparable skill can assist you in progressing you to the next level in your career.



View also: Top IT Security Certifications

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