Software Engineer working on a project to develop skills

Which certifications pay the most? That’s a crucial question for a huge number of technologists—especially given the time and resources necessary to earn the multiple certifications that some jobs require.

Skillsoft recently surveyed 2,557 professionals about their earnings and certifications, and used that data to compile a list of the “top-paying” IT certifications for 2022. There are some caveats here: salary is ultimately determined by a variety of factors, including other skills, specific job role, years in the industry, and more. On top of that, those surveyed often held multiple certifications—their compensation didn’t hinge on the possession of a specific cert.

With all that in mind, here are 15 tech certifications associated with strong salaries. As you can see (and might expect), the cloud dominates, along with project management:

“This year’s list is notable first by what topics continue to be hot—cloud foremost, supplemented by key certifications in cybersecurity and data,” said Michael Yoo, Customer Market Leader—Tech & Dev, Skillsoft. “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. Project management is a longstanding perennial favorite, which is similarly universal in need and applicability.

As more businesses run their operations via multiple clouds, the need for multi-cloud certifications is on the rise. “Sometimes, that’s driven by a desire to have technical and commercial flexibility. Other times, it is a result of M&A activity,” Yoo added.

As clouds become more complex, the number of AWS and Azure certifications have proliferated—for example, there are currently 11 AWS certifications on offer, from foundational certs to specialty topics such as security, data analytics, and machine learning. Some of these cloud-related certifications are quite advanced, and will require a considerable amount of knowledge, so it’s a good thing that the associated salaries are often high. During the job interview process, hiring managers will almost certainly test your cloud-related technical skills, so whether or not you choose to pursue a certification, it’s always important to keep your skills up-to-date.  

Earning project management certifications such as PMP, CAPM, and CPMP is also hard work, and can require a combination of training, knowledge, and hands-on experience. While a certification isn’t necessarily required for many management-related jobs, having a certification like PMP can assure hiring managers and recruiters that you have the necessary skills to successfully manage projects to completion—and that can help you stand out in a crowded hiring environment.