Helpful IT Skills & Certifications

Helpful Skills and Certifications
While you’re building your professional résumé you can continue to work on developing hard IT skills (IQ) and soft skills (EQ) to provide more tools in your professional career tool-kit.
Soft Skills (IQ):
  • Leadership Skills
  • Strong work ethic
  • Positive Attitude
  • Good Communication Skills
  • Time Management Abilities
  • Problem-Solving Skills
  • Teamwork
  • Self-Confidence
  • Ability to Accept and Learn from Criticism (feedback on projects and or work place related tasks)
  • Flexibility / Adaptability
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Creativity
  • Thinking Out of the Box
Hard IT Skills (IQ):

Operating Systems & Database Management:

  • Windows, UNIX and Linux operating systems
  • MySQL/SQLlite environments

Programming & Coding:

  • C, C++, C# and Java
  • Python, Ruby, PHP, Perl and/or shell
  • Assembly language & disassemblers
  • Regular Expression (regex) skills
  • Linux/MAC Bash shell scripting


  • System/network configuration
  • TCP/IP, computer networking, routing and switching
  • Network protocols and packet analysis tools
  • Firewall and intrusion detection/prevention protocols
  • Packet Shaper, Load Balancer and Proxy Server knowledge
  • VPNs


Many security professionals enter the cybersecurity industry post specializing in a specific area of interest. For example:

  • Cisco networks
  • Cloud computing
  • Wireless
  • Database modeling
  • Open source applications
  • Cryptography
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Mobile
Helpful Non-Security IT Certifications:

Before you invest to heavily into security-focused certifications, research the following IT credentials. Many of these certifications have acronyms associated with them that you will see on LinkedIn profiles of security professionals. This is not a complete list of all the available certifications. Ask around or visit security message boards to decide which ones are worth investing in for your career.

Helpful Non-Security IT Certifications:

Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Routing And Switching

A “go-to” certification for entry-level network engineers and specialists working with Cisco routers and network systems. CCNA certificate holders have proven their ability to install, configure, operate and troubleshoot medium-size routed and switched networks.

This qualification is on par with CCNA Security, which emphasizes core security technologies, confidentiality, the availability of data/devices and competency in the technologies that Cisco uses in its security structure. Experienced Cisco engineers can aim for the higher level Professional and Expert levels.

CompTIA A+ 

CompTIA A+ is one of the most common baseline certifications for IT professionals, especially IT support specialists and technicians. The exams cover the maintenance of PCs, mobile devices, laptops, operating systems and printers.

A+ is required for Dell, Lenovo and Intel service technicians and recognized by the U.S. Department of Defense. Many folks follow it up with Network+ and Security+.

CompTIA Network+

The second in CompTIA’s trinity of qualifications (which includes A+ and Security+). Network+ is an ISO-17024 compliant certification that tests a professional’s knowledge of data networks. This includes building, installing, operating, maintaining and protecting networking systems.

Network+ fulfills U.S. DoD Directive 8570.01-M and is of the largest held certifications globally. It’s often recommended for network administrators, technicians and installers.

Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) Foundation

ITIL certifications focus on ITIL best practices. Foundation is the basic level and the ITIL credential most frequently seen on job requirements.

The exam tests candidates in key elements, concepts and terminology used in the ITIL service lifecycle, including the links between lifecycle stages, the processes used and their contribution to service management practices. If your company is using ITIL processes to handle their services to internal/external customers, then Foundation is worth considering.

Project Management Professional (PMP)

PMP is aimed at mid-level project managers. Candidates without a bachelor’s degree must have at least five years of project management experience (7,500 hours leading and directing projects); bachelor’s degree holders must have at least three years (4,500 hours leading and directing projects).

Successful PMP holders have demonstrated they have the experience, education and competency to handle project teams. It’s not a “must-have” by any means, but it can certainly help you zip through the résumé screening process and proceed into discussions about salary.

Red Hat Certified Architect (RHCA)

Interested in becoming a Linux expert? Take a look at RHCA, probably the most challenging qualification in the Red Hat certification program. To attain RHCA status, Red Hat Certified Engineers (RHCEs) must pass at least 5 exams and demonstrate their skills in performance-based tasks. Beginners should consider the RHCAS and the CompTIA Linux+ certification.