A common question asked by individuals interested in embarking on an IT career is – do I need to obtain certifications first? In general, working with a recruiter should be the first step toward an IT career – they can help advise you on what certifications may be required for your desired career path. But if you’re just wondering which certifications are in-demand today. Here are a few IT certifications to keep in mind and have on your radar screen as you begin your journey to an IT career.

DoD 8570

DoD 8570 is the baseline certification requirement for working on IT systems. If you are interested in embarking on a defense or intelligence community IT career, it behooves you to obtain a DoD 8570 certification even before you begin your job search. Network + and CCNA Security are the two most common certifications used for DoD 8570 compliance, but a variety of certifications are accepted depending on the program you’re interested in working on.

Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)

The CCNA is a Cisco associate-level certification. While CCNA used to be a stand-alone certification, Cisco now offers a CCNA certification focused in a variety of IT disciplines from cloud to to routing and switching to data center operations.

Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

While many certifications are offered by vendors of specific technologies, the CISSP is a vendor-neutral credential. It’s a broad certification that demonstrates security credentials. Obtaining the CISSP can be a great certification if you’re looking to launch from an engineering career into security management.

AWS Certified Solutions Architect

There are associate and professional certifications in Amazon Web Services. The prevalence of this certification represents the growth in AWS as a cloud provider within government.

Project Management Professional (PMP)

The PMP is another non-vendor or technology specific certification. Why would it appear on a list of IT certifications? The PMP certification is frequently obtained by IT professionals moving into IT management careers. Program managers with a technical background are always in demand. The PMP ensures you don’t just understand how the technology works, but the processes behind managing both technologies and teams to achieve success.

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Lindy Kyzer is the editor of ClearanceJobs.com. She loves the NISPPAC, social media, and the U.S. military. Have a conference, tip, or story idea to share? Email lindy.kyzer@clearancejobs.com. Interested in writing for ClearanceJobs.com? Learn more here.