This article originally appeared in Pluralsight. For IT pros looking to get into employments, you might want to consider these eight certifications, which have been reported as the most common ones among existing IT employees and contractors around the world. Check these out:

CompTIA Security+
CompTIA’s Security+ certification is a brand-neutral security certification aimed at people with at least two years of IT administration experience, preferably with some amount of security responsibility. The people who have achieved this certification are expected to have a moderate security skill set and should be able to perform actions like identifying risk and risk mitigation, provide infrastructure security guidance, and be able to manage application, operational and information security for a group or organization. CompTIA is typically quite good at offering specifics on which skills exams cover, and for the Security+ certification, it provides 10 pages of exam objectives; don’t let this overwhelm you until you have read through them completely. The Security+ certification is ANSI accredited and isISO 17024 compliant. The newest version of the Security+ certification is completed through the passing of the SY0-301 exam.

CompTIA A+. The CompTIA A+ certification is considered one of the best certifications for people just entering into the IT administration field. It offers a base level of objectives that should be known by all network administrators and has been targeted at this entry-level tier. The A+ certification is ANSI accredited and is ISO 17024 compliant. The A+ is composed of two separate exams; the first focuses primarily on hardware (PC, networking, laptop, printers, etc.) and the second focuses on concepts (operating system, security, mobile devices and troubleshooting). The newest versions of the exams are 220-801 and 220-802.

CompTIA Network+. CompTIA’s Network+ is another one that is focused on those starting in the IT field (similar to the A+). Obviously, the focus of the Network+ certification is networking and how the various devices connect together and communicate. It’s also ANSI accredited and ISO 17024 compliant. The certification curriculum itself covers a wide number of topics including networking concepts, network installation and configuration, network media and topologies, network management and network security. The Network+ is composed of a single exam; the newest version of this exam is N10-005.

Project Management Professional (PMP). The PMP is a project management certification that is offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). It rigorously tests the project management knowledge, experience and skills to complete projects successfully. The PMP certification is ANSI accredited and is ISO 17024 compliant. The process (application and certification) of obtaining a PMP is a bit lengthy and thorough. Initially the candidate must possess either:

A secondary degree (high school, associates degree or equivalent) along with five years of unique non-overlapping professional project management experience (with at least 7,500 hours of leading and/or directing projects over the last eight years) OR A four-year degree (bachelor’s degree or equivalent) along with three years of non-overlapping professional project management experience (with at least 4,500 hours of leaning and/or directing projects over the last eight years) AND 35 contact hours of formal project management education Once these have requirements have been satisfied the application process can begin with includes an audit of submitted experience and a multiple choice exam.

Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). The CISSP is focused on those individuals who will “define the architecture, design, management and/or controls that assure the security of business environments.” The CISSP certification is ANSI accredited and is ISO 17024 compliant. It measures competence in 10 defined domains of security knowledge including:

– Access control
– Telecommunications and network security
– Information security governance and risk management
– Software development security
– Cryptography, security architecture and design
– Operations security, business continuity and disaster recovery planning
– Legal, regulations,iInvestigations and compliance
– Physical (environmental) security

To earn the CISSP, the candidate is required to have at five years of experience in two of these domains (or four years of experience in at least two domains with a degree waiver, ISC2 approved four-year degree), pass a computer-based training (CBT) exam and have a professional endorsement from a current ISC2 certified professional.

Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL). The ITIL is a structure of best practices for IT service management that is used by many organizations, and is also endorsed by many governments. The qualifications earned by the certification are based on the level of knowledge that a candidate has of standardized ITIL practices, principles and methods. Every candidate must start at the ITIL V3 Foundation level and work their way up. The requirements for both training and examination depend on the specific level of the certification.

Cisco Certified Network Associate – Routing and Switching (CCNA R&S).
For years the CCNA – R&S was referred to as just CCNA (with the R&S assumed); this has changed with the latest iteration of the CCNA that has just recent been introduced (in April 2013). But as before the CCNA R&S is focused on a basic level of networking and Cisco network competence, including many of the different technologies and equipment that will be seen by those entering the Cisco networking world.

The CCNA R&S certification is ANSI accredited and is ISO 17024 compliant. Now candidates have the option to take either a single (CCNA R&S – 200-120) or a split two exams (100-101 ICND1 and 200-101 ICND2) to get the CCNA R&S.

MCITP (retired) / MCSE. The MCITP is the last of the eight certifications covered. This certification has since been retired (for new candidates) and has been replaced my Microsoft with another round of names. The most direct replacement for the MCITP is the new Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE). (Yes, this use to be Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer.) Many of Microsoft’s specific certifications are ANSI and ISO 17024 accredited, and have specific recertification exams to maintain ANSI accredited credentials for those that require it. As of this writing, there are eight different roadmaps that can be followed to become an MCSE depending on the focus:

Server Infrastructure, Desktop Infrastructure, Private Cloud, Data Platform, Business Intelligence, Messaging, Communication and SharePoint.

The DOD’s Information Assurance Workforce.
The US Department of Defense or DOD’s Information Assurance (IA) workforce functions within the DOD to support the DOD Global Information Grid (GIG). For those not familiar with what an IA workforce is, a more common term for this in the corporate world is Information Security (basically the mitigation of risk throughout the whole system). Per the DOD Information Assurance Workforce Improvement Program (IA WIP) [document (DOD 8570.01-M)], “The DOD IA Workforce includes, but is not limited to, all individuals performing any of the IA functions described in this Manual.”

CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP). Although not part of the top eight covered above, the CASP should be covered because it has recently gained DOD acceptance. The CASP is intended as a next step for those individuals who already possess the Security+ certification. The CASP certification is ANSI accredited and is ISO 17024 compliant and is for candidates with 10 years of IT administration experience including at least five years of IT security experience. The CASP can be achieved by passing the CAS-001 exam.

When you own these certifications, your future employers will quickly acknowledge your experience and skill sets aren’t merely reflected your theory capability but also your hands-on experience as well.

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