I’ve spent a lot on a formal education at Ohio University. However, it seems to be my industry certifications from Microsoft and VMware that get noticed by recruiters and hiring managers. My certifications were obtained for just a few hundred dollars in examination fees. I was able to prepare for these exams using free materials from the vendor.
It’s always a great thing to have a respected vendor’s logo on your resume/LinkedIn profile. If you’re looking to kick-start your IT career, I highly recommend checking out the certifications that I’ve listed below. I selected each of them based on their low-exam cost and availability of free training materials.
- VMware Certified Associate – This exam/certification has four possible tracks. The tracks are: Data Center Virtualization, Cloud Management and Automation, Desktop and Mobility and Network Virtualization. Free online training is available for each of these tracks. The exams cost $120 to take.
- Microsoft Technology Associate – This exam/certification currently has three different tracks. The tracks are: Database, Developer and Infrastructure. Within each of these tracks are different exams you can take. For example, I took and passed the Windows Server Administration exam a few years ago and received a Microsoft Technology Associate certification. The Microsoft Virtual Academy has as lot of great material that can help prepare you for these exams. The exam itself costs $127 to take.
- Apple Certified Associate – Apple allows you to take this exam online for $65. They also provide free training materials.