The 2024 Beginner’s Roadmap to IT Certifications: Start Your Journey

IT Certifications for beginners
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Computers and other networked devices have become an integral part of both personal and professional life, with their influence reaching every aspect of our daily routines. Having the ability to set up, configure, troubleshoot, and repair networked devices is incredibly valuable in today’s workforce. Skilled IT professionals play a crucial role in powering information technology.  In this post, I will explore the world of IT certifications, specifically for beginners. My goal is to provide you with the necessary knowledge and guidance to confidently jumpstart your career. Prepare yourself for a journey that will open up countless possibilities as we delve into the ten best IT certifications for beginners. Also, I’ll share invaluable knowledge gained from years of expertise and personal experiences in the industry.

Key Takeaways: 

  • IT certifications are highly valuable assets that validate your skills and significantly enhance your career prospects.
  • Discover the certifications that best match your interests and career goals.
  • Explore free certification options to overcome financial barriers.
  • Combine certifications with practical experience to develop a comprehensive skill set.
  • Embrace the incredible opportunity for personal growth and embark on a transformative journey through IT certifications.

Before I delve into the top ten IT certifications for beginners that are currently available, let’s first address the fundamental question: What exactly is an “IT certification” and why does it hold such significance?

What are IT Certifications for Beginners?

An IT certification is a valuable qualification that demonstrates your expertise in a specific area of information technology (IT). Passing an exam that evaluates your abilities is usually required to obtain a certification. There are alternative paths to securing a job in the IT industry, beyond just relying on certifications. Nevertheless, obtaining the appropriate certification can greatly enhance your professional path. If you’re seeking a structured approach to acquiring new skills and obtaining a recognized credential, a certification is a highly recommended choice.

Understanding the Magic of IT Certifications for Beginners

IT certifications play a crucial role in propelling career growth in the rapidly changing world of technology. They confirm your expertise, enhance your credibility, and provide access to promising career opportunities. I distinctly remember the blend of anticipation and apprehension I felt when I began my certification journey. I couldn’t contain my excitement as I proudly showcased my certified badge. The surge of confidence that washed over me was indescribable. Embrace the incredible potential of certifications to ignite your passion and propel you toward a future filled with success.

IT certifications not only boost your technical skills but also promote personal development. They cultivate a strong work ethic, unwavering determination, and a thirst for ongoing knowledge. Embrace the ups and downs, relish the satisfaction of overcoming obstacles, and savor the personal development that comes from your certification pursuits. Keep in mind that the true value lies not only in reaching your destination but also in the profound changes that occur along the way.

Certifications provide a solid foundation, but it’s a real-world experience that truly connects theory with practice. As I delved into the industry, I faced obstacles that no amount of certification could truly equip me to handle. Nevertheless, the expertise and skills obtained through certifications provided me with a strong foundation to handle intricate situations and adjust to the ever-changing IT environment. Embrace internships, side projects, and any opportunity to gain practical experience alongside your certification journey. These experiences will greatly enhance your skills and knowledge as you progress in your certification journey.

Are IT Certifications Worth it?

Obtaining a certification can offer valuable advantages such as enhanced job performance and a heightened edge in the competitive job market. Having an IT certification on your resume can provide hiring managers with a quick and effective way to assess your abilities. In addition, certifications are associated with higher incomes. IT professionals who obtained a new certification experienced a significant boost in their salary, with an average increase of $13,000.

Best IT Certifications for Beginners

As you set out on your path to establishing a thriving career in the information technology space, it is crucial to navigate through the vast array of IT certifications that are at your disposal. Let’s dive into the top ten IT certifications for beginners. We’ll give you a closer look at the value, relevance, and potential career opportunities associated with each certification. Let’s explore and uncover the certifications that will set the stage for your future achievements.

#1. CompTIA A+ Certification: 

The CompTIA A+ certification serves as the foundation for countless ambitious individuals pursuing a career in IT. This course provides a comprehensive understanding of computer hardware, software, and troubleshooting. Obtaining this certification showcases your expertise in computer repair, operating systems, and networking, establishing a strong base for a range of entry-level IT positions.

When I earned my CompTIA A+ certification, it provided me with new opportunities in technical support and allowed me to gain practical experience in solving real-world IT issues. If you’re looking for a more detailed explanation I recommend you to watch this video below:

#2. Cisco CCNA Certification: 

If you’re looking to expand your networking skills, the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification is widely respected. It provides you with the expertise and skills necessary to create, set up, and resolve issues with networks. Upon completing this certification, you will be equipped to excel in positions such as network administrator, network engineer, or technical support specialist.

#3. Microsoft Certified Azure Fundamentals:

With the ever-evolving world of IT, the Microsoft Certified Azure Fundamentals certification has become incredibly popular due to the growing influence of cloud computing. This course provides a comprehensive overview of Azure cloud services, covering essential concepts and showcasing your knowledge of cloud computing models, security, and compliance. This certification is crucial for individuals who are looking to build a career in cloud administration, cloud consulting, or solutions architecture.

Obtaining your Microsoft Certified Azure Fundamentals certification will broaden your understanding of cloud technologies, empowering you to design scalable and secure solutions on the Azure platform. It provided access to new opportunities within companies that have adopted cloud computing.

#4. AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner: 

The AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner certification is tailored for individuals who possess a fundamental grasp of AWS cloud services. It confirms your understanding of AWS architectural principles, cloud concepts, security, and pricing models. This certification is perfect for individuals who are new to the world of cloud computing. It will equip you with the necessary skills to excel in positions such as cloud support associate or cloud consultant.

#5. CompTIA Network+ Certification:

The CompTIA Network+ certification is a widely recognized credential that emphasizes networking technologies and concepts. It includes a range of topics including network infrastructure, network operations, network security, and troubleshooting. This certification is widely respected and equips individuals for roles such as network administrator, network technician, or help desk technician.

Acquiring CompTIA Network+ certification will provide you with a deep understanding of networking principles and protocols. It will provide you with the necessary skills to design, manage, and troubleshoot networks, making you a valuable asset in various IT roles.

Free IT Certifications for Beginners

Starting a career in information technology should not be limited by financial constraints. Let’s dive into the world of free IT certifications for beginners and discover how they can help break down barriers. These certifications, provided by prestigious organizations, offer you a chance to gain valuable skills and jumpstart your IT journey without any financial burden. Let’s explore these certifications and uncover the vast amount of knowledge they provide.

#1. Google IT Support Professional Certificate: 

The IT Support Professional Certificate, developed by Google, provides you with the necessary skills to pursue a career in technical support. The program includes a comprehensive range of topics, including troubleshooting, customer service, networking, and operating systems. By completing this certification, you will showcase your expertise in delivering technical assistance, which can lead to exciting opportunities in positions such as help desk technician or IT support specialist.

If you’re looking for a more detailed explanation I recommend you to watch this video below:

#2. Microsoft Learn: 

Microsoft Learn provides a wide range of free IT certifications in different domains, giving you access to a wealth of valuable resources. Discover a wide range of certifications that perfectly match your interests and career aspirations, covering everything from Azure fundamentals to Microsoft 365. These certifications demonstrate your proficiency in Microsoft technologies and open up opportunities in roles such as system administrator, cloud engineer, or data analyst.

People have successfully completed multiple free certifications through Microsoft Learn, such as Azure Fundamentals and Microsoft 365 Fundamentals. These certifications have greatly expanded their knowledge and significantly bolstered their resume, ultimately leading to the successful acquisition of positions.

#3. AWS Free Training: 

Discover the vast array of free training resources and certifications offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS) to effortlessly navigate the ever-evolving realm of cloud computing. With a wide range of courses available, AWS Free Training provides ample opportunities to enhance your cloud expertise and gain validation in areas such as AI and machine learning. These certifications open up exciting cloud architecture, DevOps, and data engineering opportunities.

#4. Cisco Networking Academy: 

Cisco Networking Academy provides a wide array of free online courses that encompass various networking subjects. These courses offer a comprehensive understanding of networking essentials, routing and switching, cybersecurity, and other essential subjects. Completing these courses will equip you with valuable knowledge and help you prepare for Cisco certifications. This will allow you to pursue exciting roles in network administration, cybersecurity, or systems engineering.

I have personally benefited from Cisco Networking Academy’s free courses, specifically their CCNA Routing and Switching curriculum. It enhanced my knowledge of networking and equipped me for the Cisco CCNA certification exam. Here is a video I recommend you watch below:

#5. IBM Skills: 

IBM Skills provides a wide range of complimentary online courses and certifications that concentrate on cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and cybersecurity. These certifications equip you with the essential skills to navigate the digital landscape and make valuable contributions to innovative projects. By gaining proficiency in these fields, you open up opportunities to explore professions in data science, cybersecurity, or cloud architecture.

I saw firsthand the powerful effects of IBM Skills certifications when a friend of mine successfully completed the free IBM Data Science Professional Certificate. By obtaining this certification, they not only improved their data analytics skills but also successfully landed a data scientist role at a prominent tech company.

Steps to Obtain an IT Certification

Obtaining an IT certification typically involves selecting a certification, diligently preparing for the exam, and successfully passing it. If you’re considering pursuing a certification, here are the steps you should follow:

  • Choose a certification. Choose a certification that aligns with your interests and meets your specific needs. If you’re unsure about where to begin, it can be helpful to review job descriptions for roles that catch your interest. Pay attention to the certifications that are frequently mentioned in these descriptions.
  • Get ready for the exam. Getting ready for the exam involves fulfilling all necessary prerequisites, setting a date for the exam, making the required payment, and dedicating time to study. You have the option of studying independently or enrolling in a test preparation course.
  • Complete the exam. You have the option to either take the certification exam online or in person. It’s crucial to double-check all the requirements a day or two before the exam to ensure that you have all the necessary items, such as a valid ID.

If you’re looking for a more detailed explanation I recommend you to watch this video below:

Can I get an IT job with just a certification?

Yes! It is indeed possible to land an IT job with just a certification. Although having a college degree or relevant work experience can be beneficial, certifications are highly valued in the IT industry. 

What is the first IT course I should take?

CompTIA A+ CompTIA A+ is highly regarded as a valuable certificate for those seeking a comprehensive introduction to IT at the entry level. Individuals who complete the certification exams will gain the necessary skills to effectively address common problems in networking, operating systems, security, and mobile devices.

What is the first step in getting IT certification?

These steps will help IT candidates know how to get IT certifications. The first step is evaluating what you know and don’t know. Then, decide on IT certification, prepare for the exam, register and schedule it, and take it with practice tests along the way, or professional coaching/training courses if necessary.

Can I get an IT certificate without a degree?

Yes! It is indeed possible to acquire IT certifications without the need for a formal college degree. IT certifications are usually centered around a specific set of skills and knowledge, and most certification programs don’t have rigid educational prerequisites.

Are Google IT certificates worth IT?

Yes. Obtaining a Google Career Certificate can greatly enhance your prospects by demonstrating your commitment to professional growth. This is particularly valuable when seeking a promotion or considering a career change.

Are Google certs free?

Google Career Certificates cost $49 per month on Coursera after an initial 7-day free trial period. All Google Career Certificates are completely self-paced. 

How do I choose an IT certification?

Picking a certification that fits your needs depends on what technical skills you’re trying to build and what you plan to accomplish with them.

IT Certifications for Beginners Checklist

Here’s a checklist on how to obtain IT certifications for beginners:

  • Identify your career goals
  • Research certification options
  • Start with entry-level certifications
  • Create a study plan
  • Gather study materials
  • Take online courses or training
  • Hands-on practice
  • Join study groups or forums
  • Practice with sample exams
  • Schedule the exam
  • Review and revise
  • Take the exam
  • Celebrate and update your resume
  • Continuous learning

Remember, the journey to obtaining IT certifications requires dedication, consistent effort, and a commitment to ongoing learning. This checklist should help you navigate the process as a beginner.

Conclusion

As we wrap up this exciting exploration of IT certifications for beginners, I pose a question: Are you ready to harness the power of certifications and embark on a journey that will shape your IT future? Embrace the countless opportunities that lie ahead, equip yourself with valuable knowledge, and watch as your certifications unlock the door to your full potential. Embark on the journey to success and seize the opportunity that lies ahead. The path to success awaits—now it’s up to you to take the first step.

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