10 Certifications That Can Boost Your Salary

You Developed New Skills but Haven't Earned a Raise
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In a competitive job market and with increasing layoffs — especially in the tech sector — every differentiator can make a huge impact. One way to go about this is getting a professional certification, which can not only expand or refresh certain skills and make you stand out but also, in many cases, boost your salary as well.

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Often, employees who are highly skilled and interested in in-demand roles command large salary premiums, and employers want to know that they’re putting their money in the right place, said Paul Lewis, chief customer officer at job search engine Adzuna.

“Certifications can give HR teams and hiring managers that reassurance,” he said.

Another advantage for candidates with certifications is that it also demonstrates their proactive attitude toward learning and driving for excellence, which are top soft skills that employers look for when hiring, Lewis added.

Here are some of the top certifications that can help you boost your salary.

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Salesforce Certified Development Lifecycle and Deployment

According to Simplilearn, this certification enables you to learn and master the concepts of being a Salesforce administrator and app builder.

According to Glassdoor, Salesforce jobs are increasing 1.5 times faster than similar roles, and there were more than 300,000 Salesforce jobs available. Also, employees with these jobs can earn an annual average salary of $87,000 and up to $160,000, Simplilearn added.

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Professional Certificate Program in Data Science

Simplilearn notes that this certification features masterclasses by Purdue faculty and IBM experts and includes exclusive hackathons and Ask Me Anything sessions by IBM.

Digital Marketing

HubSpot is one company that offers a free digital marketing certification course, which is geared for marketing managers looking to upskill their digital marketing expertise, content marketers looking to broaden their skillset or students looking for an introduction to digital marketing.

For example, this will teach how to optimize websites for search engines, create a non-paid strategy to build and grow a following and create an ad strategy to amplify your business message to a targeted audience.

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Project Management Professional (PMP)

The Project Management Institute’s (PMI) PMP certification “proves you have the ability to lead projects for any organization and in any industry,” according to its website.

Data Engineering

The IBM Data Engineering Professional Certification will teach the skills you need “to design, deploy and manage structured and unstructured data and gain experience with key tools through hands-on projects,” according to a description of the certification. It is for “anyone who wants to develop job-ready skills, tools and a portfolio for an entry-level data engineer position.”

Machine Learning

Coursera offers this certification with courses by Stanford University and DeepLearning.ai.

It has three courses around “foundational AI concepts through an intuitive visual approach, and introduces the code needed to implement the algorithms and the underlying math,” according to the description.

Human Resources

 The SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP certifications are “recognized and valued by employers across the globe in all industries as the premiere human resources certifications,” according to SHRM.org.

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According to SHRM, those who earn the SHRM Certification report earning salaries 14% to 15% higher than their peers.

Advanced Certified ScrumMaster Certification

Scrum is “a lightweight framework that helps people, teams and organizations generate value through adaptive solutions for complex problems” and is “the most widely used and popular agile framework,” according to the Scrum Alliance.

CNBC reported that this certification is highly in demand, particularly in the tech sector, and can qualify candidates for positions that pay an average of $135,000.

Financial Risk Manager (FRM) Certification

FRMs are constantly in demand by the world’s leading companies and banks, according to the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP), and these certifications are awarded “only to professionals who demonstrate the knowledge and ability to anticipate, respond and adapt to critical risk issues.” According to GARP, it is considered to be the equivalent of a U.S. master’s degree.

Python Certification

According to the Python Institute, this Certified Entry-Level Python Programmer certification measures the candidate’s ability to accomplish coding tasks related to the essentials of programming in the Python language.

The institute says: “Becoming PCEP certified ensures that the individual is acquainted with the most essential means provided by Python 3 to enable them to start their own studies at an intermediate level and to continue their professional development.”

Why and When You Should Get a Certification

So, in which cases might a certification be particularly helpful?

If You’re Returning to Work After a Break

Certifications can certainly give you an edge over your competition and also result in the ability to negotiate a higher salary, said Runa Knapp, co-founder and chief business development officer at FoundHer.

Knapp said her company recently placed a candidate who had been out of work for seven years but had earned recent Salesforce certifications. She “secured a job at a global company and beat out the competition,” Knapp said.

If You Work in Certain Industries

In industries such as technology and data science, technologies are evolving rapidly and workers need to constantly be upskilling to stay on top of the latest trends, Adzuna’s Lewis said.

“For example, listing a computer science college degree from 10 years ago on your resume doesn’t give an employer assurance that you can use the latest tech today,” Lewis said. “However, certifications can fill that gap.”

Recent Graduates

Knapp said experience often trumps the certifications someone might hold, but “if two candidates are on the same playing field … but one holds a specialized and relevant certification, the latter may be able to fetch a higher starting salary.”

Career Changers

Joshua Eisen, managing partner of Morningside Evaluations, explained that hiring managers might consider certificates from career changers differently than they consider those from people staying put in their careers.

“A career changer might rely more on certificates to demonstrate that they possess the skills and knowledge required in their new careers,” Eisen said.

Meanwhile, people looking to stay put will use certificates to show employers that they are at the top of their professions or in some way distinguished within their fields.

“For example,” Eisen said, “the career changer should tout a certificate of a new professional qualification while someone staying in their career should emphasize that they are current with trends in the industry or [have] an award for excellence in their performance.”

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.
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