There has been a proliferation of professional certifications and designations over the last couple of years in recognition of the high degree of specialization and particularly new digital opportunities that have arisen.
While many roles and industries require one or more specialized training or educational certificates, there are some that remain universally sought after and respected across basically all sectors of the economy.
Below are 5 professional certifications to keep in mind as you plan your professional future or your next professional move.
1. Accounting Certifications
Accounting certifications are universally useful across industries because quite literally every business needs an accountant. Accountants are responsible for keeping track of and ensuring the financial health of a company, 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. For this reason, accountants are always in demand, consistently command good salaries and feature stable and predictable career trajectories.
Accounting certifications are also often combined with other designations and are a great way to compound value if you already possess other technical knowledge. Accounting certifications are additionally valuable because they can be used in one’s own personal business and investment dealings and are of great use to anyone starting a business or evaluating investment opportunities across a variety of asset classes.
2. HR Certifications
Human resource management certifications will continue to be in high demand thanks to the expanded role and increased responsibilities of HR professionals during and after the pandemic. HR stepped up in a big way during 2020 in the midst of a wholesale shift to remote work, political and cultural revolution in society and the workplace and the current exodus of workers leaving companies en masse across industries.
HR, over the past year, has been an important stabilizing force for organizations that have been struggling with what to do about new work arrangements, recruitment and hiring, diversity and inclusion and how to make sure people are not left behind by digital transformation.
Popular HR certifications include the 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 the CompTIA Project+. All give project managers 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 wide range of occupations and professions also look favorably on project management certifications because they imply the candidate has a number of important soft skills–interdepartmental collaboration, negotiation, diplomacy–that are all crucial for success in leadership positions.
4. Supply Chain Management Certifications
Supply chain managers are responsible for overseeing the production or importation of raw materials for companies across industries. They track the materials as they are created, imported, combined, shaped and altered into new products. At the macro level, supply chain managers are responsible for ensuring a business always has enough supplies on hand to carry out its core operations and get products to market. They build and maintain relationships with other suppliers upstream and downstream from the company’s operations.
There are several highly regarded supply chain management certifications, including APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional Certification (CSCP), the APICS Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM), the APICS Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOR-P) Endorsement and the APICS Certified Logistics, Transportation and Distribution (CLTD).
5. IT Certifications
IT certifications are also universally applicable in the modern economy. Digital transformation is progressing so rapidly and creating so many potential new pitfalls and vulnerabilities that there are currently not enough IT professionals to go around. As companies continue to build out their digital infrastructure, more people work from home, and cybersecurity threats multiply, IT certifications will be increasingly called upon in a complex, uncertain and often dangerous digital world.
Some of the most respected IT certifications include the 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 have been a time of job transitions, skill shortages and upskilling, and workers throughout a wide range of industries seek to future-proof themselves against further labour marketing and economic disruptions.
There is also a healthy contingent of workers who are looking for career and role changes hoping to buttress their resume with new learning and technical skills that will put them in good stead in the midst of tremendous competition. Keep the above universal professional certifications in mind and be strategic about both new jobs and job security.