Seven Certifications That Can Help You Get Ahead In Your Field

Published on: July 10, 2023

One of the best ways to achieve your career goals is through higher education. Unfortunately, with so many options available, it can be confusing to figure out what would be the best course of action. These days students have easy access to online degree programs, certification courses, and certificates, all of which are useful in their own ways. If you are unsure which would be the most beneficial for your chosen career path, then take a look at the following certifications that can help you to get ahead in your field.

What Are The Differences Between A Certificate and Certification?

Even though many people tend to use the terms interchangeably, there is a big difference between certificates and certifications. While both can help to enhance your resume and aid in advancing your career, it is important to know what it is that separates them.


Certificates are basically academic credentials awarded by academic institutions for the successful completion of specific coursework. The admission requirements are typically much lower than degree programs, and certificates can also be earned much quicker.

**Pros:** Certificates tend to be more affordable than other learning programs and can be useful for expanding your knowledge of new fields without having to invest in an advanced degree. They can be helpful for both newcomers and experienced professionals and can serve as a gateway to a degree.

**Cons:** Certificates are often seen as less valuable than degrees by employers, and some jobs require certification, so they cannot be done with just a certificate.


Certifications are awarded by third-party organizations that set industry standards and serve as proof that students have mastered the industry knowledge required to work in a particular field.

**Pros:** Certification can lead to higher-paying jobs as well as better professional development opportunities.

**Cons:** There are typically additional ongoing requirements for a student to retain their certification. These can include additional payments or the need to be recertified after a period of time.

What Are The Differences Between Certification and A License

In addition to certificates and certifications, some professions require a license. Like certification, a license requires students to meet certain standards and is typically awarded after demonstrating their competency and passing an exam. Licenses tend to be awarded by a governmental licensing agency and provide students with the legal authority to work in an occupation. The biggest difference between certifications and licenses is that licenses are legally required by the government for certain occupations, while certifications are not. Examples of jobs that require a license include nurses, teachers, and lawyers.

What Are Some of The Most Popular Certifications?

Cloud Architect Certifications

Cloud computing continues to grow in popularity, which makes certification in this field a sought-after quality by employers. Working in this field involves making use of cloud technology and managing, monitoring, and maintaining cloud systems. Popular cloud architect certifications include AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate, Microsoft Azure Administrator Associate, Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect, AWS Certified Developer - Associate, and AWS Certified SysOps Administrator.


Along with an increase in companies making use of the cloud, there has been a growing need for cybersecurity experts to help safeguard their data. It is their job to monitor, detect, investigate, analyze, and respond to any security events that could be a threat. Popular cybersecurity certifications include Certified Information Systems Security Professional, Certified Cloud Security Professional, Certified Ethical Hacker, and Certified Information Systems Auditor.

Software Developer

Every computerized product we use runs on some type of software, which means there’s no shortage of jobs for software developers. Developers who want a competitive advantage can opt for certifications such as Google Professional Cloud Developer, CIW Web Development Professional, Certified Scrum Developer, Microsoft Certified Developer - Associate, and (ISC)2 Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Profesional.

Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning have gone from being buzzwords to revolutionizing a lot of industries. As technology continues to grow and evolve, the need for certified professionals in the field will also increase. Popular certifications in AI and ML include Certified Machine Learning Professional, Certified Artificial Intelligence Professional, AWS Certified Machine Learning - Speciality, Certified Machine Learning Engineer, and Certified Artificial Intelligence Engineer.

Project Management

Project management is important for every industry to ensure that projects can be completed on time and within budget. A good project manager can help to clearly define the project objectives and make sure that it is aligned with the goals of the organization. Popular project management certifications include Project Management Professional, Certified Associate in Project Management, Certified Project Management Practitioner, and Professional in Project Management.


Advertising and marketing is a competitive field where experience and certification can help you get the edge over the competition. These days a lot of marketing is done via digital channels such as websites, mobile devices, and social media platforms. In addition, certification options in this field tend to focus on specific tools. Popular advertising certification options include Meta Marketing Science Professional Certification, OMCP Digital Marketing Certification, Google Ads Search Professional, Google Ads Video Profesional, and Microsoft Advertising Certified Profesional.

Business Management

Every business needs leaders who are able to plan, organize, control, and direct the activities needed to achieve its goals and objectives. Business managers are the people who have the skills to fulfill these roles and help drive the success of the company. Popular business management certifications include CBAP - Certified Business Analysis and CCBA - Capability in Business Analysis.


While many careers benefit or even require certification, there are also plenty of others where a degree is sufficient. It is, however, important to know what the differences are between certificates and certification to avoid disappointment. Earning a degree or certification does not have to be mutually exclusive either. Many degree programs offer students the opportunity to get their certification too after completion. For many careers, this is one of the best ways to take it to the next level.

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