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Five "Must-Have" IT Certifications

When you become certified in a specific technology product or skill set, you demonstrate to potential employers that you have direct qualifications for jobs within their IT organization. Employers evaluate these milestones or tech benchmarks to whittle down the field of job applicants. You may also complete several IT certifications to seek advancements at your current job or to apply for a better-paying one. Some employers will expect you to continually add certifications to remain with the company.

Here are five, must-have certifications for competing in the IT professions:

CompTIA A+
This is the basic certification for people entering the IT field. CompTIA A+ benchmarks an IT technician's ability to install, configure, diagnose, and maintain networks. It's a must for would-be IT technicians. The certification path consists of two tests.

CompTIA Network +
CompTIA Network+ might be the second-most-completed certification following the A+. This vendor-neutral certification recognizes a technician's skills and is critical in illustrating to employers that you can install, configure, and trouble-shoot networking hardware and services.

Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP)
The MCP program is a comprehensive series of exams and multiple certifications that benchmark your skills as a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS), Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD), Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP), or Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA).

Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD)
The Microsoft Certified Professional Developer certification is for web developers who want to demonstrate comprehensive skills for building interactive, database-powered Web applications on ASP.NET 2.0. To earn the MCPD, first complete requirements for the MCTS .NET Framework 2.0 Web Applications certification.

SUN Certified Java Programmer (SCJP)
Sun Certified Professional (SCP) verifies that you have completed skills training in the Java programming language and Solaris Operating System. The SCJP 5 exam tests knowledge of the Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition (J2SE technology).

These popular certifications are in current demand throughout the IT workplace. You may need to work towards one or more of them early in your career.

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