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7 cloud, IT and security certifications that will land you higher pay

While the benefits of cloud, security, project management and business analysis certifications for businesses are numerous—closing skills gaps, building scalable security solutions and retaining employees—they also allow individual employees to level up their career.

By giving employees a path to measurably grow in their careers, certifications provide a reliable path to more responsibility and higher pay. PCMag recently reported on the highest paying IT certifications; here are seven curated lists of courses specifically designed to help you confidently prepare for and pass each exam.

1. Google Cloud Certified Professional Cloud Architect (PCA)

Average salary: $176,000

The Google Cloud Certified Professional Cloud Architect is ideal for someone with several years of cloud computing experience who wants to work toward mastering the real-world job of cloud architect. This path will teach you data storage services, Google Kubernetes Engine, networking and VPCs, load balancing, debugging, deployment, security and more while preparing you for the Google Cloud PCA exam.

2. AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate

Average salary: $149,000

One of the most in-demand certifications today, this path aligns directly with the four domains of the certification exam: Designing resilient architectures, designing high-performing architectures, designing secure applications and architectures and designing cost-optimized architectures.

3. Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)

Average salary: $149,000

While the test and pre-requisites are weighty, becoming a CISM can land you wealth of highly-specific expertise designing security frameworks, managing risk and building the programs that manage and protect your company’s most valuable assets. If you have ambitions to engage in enterprise-level strategy and touch the business side as well as the technical side of security, this is the path for you.

4. Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC)

Average salary: $146,000

Want to learn how to identify IT risk, establish adequate security controls and evaluate and deploy risk response options? The CRISC path will prepare you for the ISACA CRISC exam, which can land you an average salary in information security second only to the CISM.

5. Project Management Professional (PMP)

Average salary: $144,000

As one of the most widely recognized and respected project management certifications, becoming a PMP is no quick feat; certification requires 35 hours of formal education and between 4,500 and 7,500 hours of project management experience (depending on whether you have a college degree). But becoming a PMP will equip you with the skills to manage integration, scope, resources, schedules, procurement and more.

6. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

Average salary: $141,000

CISSP is the highest ranked certification on the Pluralsight Technology Index, ranking No. 2 for security professionals. This path covers all eight domains of the ISC CISSP certification exam, including how to mitigate common system vulnerabilities, how to secure network architectures and how to conduct incident management and recovery according to best practices.

7. AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner

Average salary: $131,000

Unlike many of the other certifications mentioned here, AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner is not specific to any one technical role, instead serving as a foundational certification for AWS as a whole. Because it’s ideal for newer cloud professionals and covers fundamentals for cloud architecture and security, this is one of the more sought-after certifications today.


Do you feel the itch to get exam-ready? Start on the path to getting a higher-paying role, right now. Sign up for a free 10-day trial of Pluralsight.