In recognition of the high degree of specialization and in particular the new digital opportunities that have arisen, there have been a multitude of professional certifications and designations in recent years.
While many positions and industries require one or more specialized training courses or educational certificates, there are some that are universally sought after and respected in virtually all sectors of the economy.
Below are 5 professional certifications to consider when planning your future career or your next professional step.
1. Accounting Certificates
Accounting certifications are universally useful across industries as literally every business needs an accountant. Accountants are responsible for tracking and ensuring a company’s financial health, preparing and analyzing a company’s financial records, managing and analyzing data, ensuring regulatory compliance, and preparing financial statements for annual general meetings and tax purposes. Because of this, accountants are always in demand, consistently earn good salaries, and have stable and predictable career paths.
Accounting certifications are also often combined with other designations and are a great way to add value if you already have other technical skills. Accounting certifications are also valuable because they can be used in one’s personal business and investment dealings and are of great benefit to anyone starting a business or evaluating investment opportunities across a variety of asset classes.
2. HR certifications
Thanks to the expanded role and increased responsibilities of HR professionals during and after the pandemic, people management certifications remain in high demand. Human resources has evolved significantly in 2020 amid a major shift towards remote work, a political and cultural revolution in society and the workplace, and the current brain drain leaving companies en masse across all industries.
HR has been a key stabilizing force over the past year for companies struggling with what to do about new work arrangements, recruiting and hiring, diversity and inclusion, and how to ensure people aren’t left stranded by digital transformation be left behind.
Popular HR certifications include Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP), Professional in Human Resources (PHR), Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), United International Business Schools (UIBS), and Senior SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP).
3. Project Management Certifications
Project management certifications include the gold standard PMP and a long list of others – Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM), Master Project Manager (MPM), Certified Project Manager (IAPM), and CompTIA Project+. All provide project managers with the skills and theoretical knowledge they need to plan and execute projects across industries, including the use of new digital tools and automation technologies.
Employers in a variety of occupations also look favorably on project management certifications, as they imply that the candidate possesses a set of important soft skills — cross-departmental collaboration, negotiation, diplomacy — all of which are critical to success in managerial roles.
4. Supply Chain Management Certifications
Supply chain managers are responsible for overseeing the production or import of raw materials for companies across all industries. You track materials as they are created, imported, combined, formed, and transformed into new products. At the macro level, supply chain managers are responsible for ensuring that a company always has enough inventory to run its core operations and bring products to market. You will establish and maintain relationships with other suppliers upstream and downstream of the company’s operations.
There are several highly respected supply chain management certifications, including APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional Certification (CSCP), APICS Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM), APICS Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOR-P) Endorsement, and APICS Certified Logistics, Transportation, and Distribution (CLTD).
5. IT certifications
IT certifications are also universally applicable in the modern economy. Digital transformation is happening so fast and creating so many potential new pitfalls and vulnerabilities that there are currently not enough IT pros to circumvent them. As organizations continue to expand their digital infrastructure, more people work from home, and cybersecurity threats multiply, IT certifications will become increasingly necessary in a complex, uncertain, and often dangerous digital world.
Some of the most respected IT certifications are AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional, Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP), Certified Data Privacy Solutions Engineer (CDPSE), Certified Data Professional (CDP), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), and Certified Information Security Manager ( CISM).
The pandemic and its aftermath has been a time of job rotation, skill shortages and upskilling, and workers across a variety of industries are trying to future-proof themselves against further labor market changes and economic disruption.
There’s also a healthy contingent of workers looking for career and role changes hoping to bolster their resume with new learning and technical skills that will benefit them amidst tremendous competition. Keep the universal professional certifications above in mind and be strategic about both new jobs and job security.