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The highest-paying certification in the U.S. this year is the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional certification — with an average salary of $168,080. That’s 13% higher than the average salary of the top 15, most well-paying certifications — the average of which is $148,278. 

Today Skillsoft released its 15 Top-Paying IT Certifications based on its 2022 IT Skills & Salary Report. A certification must have at least 50 survey responses to ensure the data was statistically valid, and the certification exam must be currently available. Additionally, 65% of technical professionals who have earned one of the top 15 certifications also have a certification in cybersecurity. Skillsoft says 62% of all respondents earned certifications in the last year. 

Security, the most lucrative of certifications 

Getting into specifics, of the many certification types and focuses, security certifications are the most lucrative, with an average annual salary of $153,154. For cloud certifications, the average salary is $150,961. AWS certifications — despite having the top paying certification as mentioned above — are just a tad lower on average overall with the annual salary sitting around $149,371. It’s all good news for many technical professionals looking to grow their careers and capitalize on their certifications and experience to increase their incomes.  

Tech professionals with one or more certifications continue to see strong demand in the job market. For instance, LinkedIn’s job listings shows a combined 117,000 open cybersecurity jobs today seeking candidates who hold at least one of the four security certifications on the top 15 list below. There are also 88,200 open jobs on listed on the platform for candidates who hold at least one of the six cloud architect certifications below.  

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Cybersecurity and cloud certifications comprise 10 of the top 15 IT certifications of 2022, reflecting how in-demand these skills are in all organizations. Source: Skillsoft's 15 Top-Paying IT Certifications for 2022
Cybersecurity and cloud certifications comprise 10 of the top 15 IT certifications of 2022, reflecting how in-demand these skills are in all organizations. Source: Skillsoft’s 15 Top-Paying IT Certifications for 2022

From that list, here are some key insights for 2022:

The avg. salary across all 15 certs is $148,278 in 2022, up from 2021

The highest-paying cybersecurity certification in 2022 is paying an average salary of $168,080 for AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional expertise — which is far above the average salary of all five AWS certifications combined. The top five AWS certifications pay an average salary of $149,371. More than 14,000 open positions listed on LinkedIn today list one or more of the five AWS certifications as a requirement.  

Google certs are the best-paying 

The average salary of technical professionals with Google certifications averages $152,039 this year, leading all cloud platforms in pay. It leads with a $3,000 margin over AWS and $10,000 above Microsoft. In contrast, Amazon AWS certifications pay an average of $149,371, and Microsoft’s certifications pay $142,975. The GCP – Professional Cloud Architect is one of the most lucrative from a platform perspective, paying around $161,371, or 8.8% higher than the average salary of all certifications. 

“The increase in the importance of Google Cloud and multicloud certifications – not just AWS and Azure – speaks to the growing fraction of enterprises that now rely on more than one cloud computing platform,” said Michael Yoo, customer market leader at Skillsoft. “Sometimes, that’s driven by a desire for technical and commercial flexibility. Other times, it is a result of M&A activity.” 

85% of IT leaders in the U.S. say certified professionals add $10,000+ in economic value to their orgs 

What’s more? Skillsoft’s findings found that 21% actually say the value may be more than $30,000 with a certification. IT leaders cite higher productivity as the leading benefit of certified staff, but also note competitive advantage and turnover reduction.

Some high-paying certifications just missed the cut 

The four that did not make the top 15 list include the Certified Ethical Hacker (EC-Council), Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Fundamentals, Google Cloud – Professional Data Engineer and Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC) by ISACA. 

Google’s Cloud – The Professional Data Engineer certification was the highest paying certification in last year, but did not make the list this year, with a reported average salary of $171,749.

A changing economy and industry

“This year’s list is notable first by what topics continue to be hot – cloud foremost, supplemented by key certifications in cybersecurity and data,” Yoo said. “This is not surprising given how nearly every company in every industry of every size in every geography is relying on cloud computing to power their technology strategy.”.

Cloud, cybersecurity and platform certifications are also an excellent hedge against inflation and turbulent economic conditions, as employers need the expertise to keep IT operating and secure.

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