This is part one of a 3 part series on the best certifications for IT newcomers, mid-level admins and Sr. level engineers.

The hard part about being a newcomer in IT is just that: You’re new. Most newbies have little to zero experience but desperately want to snag some. Of course, most hiring managers will only consider candidates who have experience. So, how do you even get your foot in the door? Certifications. It’s that simple. If you are new to IT, or really want to break into it but can’t find a good way to do so, certifications are the best place to start.
You ask, “What does that even tell the interviewer? How does that translate to any kind of experience?” In short, it doesn’t translate to a whole lot of experience, but what it does show is that you have a brain and are willing to do what it takes to learn a certain technology. When you get a certification, the vendor is basically saying, “John Doe is technically competent with the ins and outs of our technology, and here’s a certificate to prove it.”

Now before all of you veterans jump all over me for that, there are some people out there that are simply “paper” certified, which means they studied and memorized a test dump or cheated their way through a certification test. Those people carry certifications but don’t necessarily know the technologies they are certified in. On the other hand, there are guys/gals out there who take the time to study and learn about the technology, get some sort of simulated or actual hands-on experience and then take the exam and pass; these people are the real deal.

OK, so I’ve convinced you that you need certifications to gain an edge when landing an IT job as a newcomer, now what? Well, I’ve laid out what I think are the top five IT certifications for newcomers. I hate to say “beginners” because we all have had some level of experience with some form of technology, and you aren’t looking for a job in IT if you don’t already love technology, so the proper term is “newcomer.” At any rate, here are the top five certs on my newcomers list:

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Greg W Stuart
Greg is the owner and editor of He's been a VMware vExpert every year since 2011. Greg enjoys spending time with his wife and 3 kids. He works as a Sr. Consultant at VMware and resides in Northern Virginia, 15 minutes west of Washington DC.

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