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Updated Apr 11, 2024

Best Programming Certifications for 2024

Talented programmers are always in demand. Strengthen your resume with top programming certifications.

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Written By: Jeremy BenderBusiness Operations Insider and Senior Writer
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This guide was reviewed by a Business News Daily editor to ensure it provides comprehensive and accurate information to aid your buying decision.

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There’s no denying that software runs the world, and underpinning all excellent software is well-written code. Programming skills are considered among the most in-demand career skills in today’s IT environment, so it makes sense to hone and sharpen your programming expertise. 

Today’s computer programming certifications are as much about development platforms and environments as specific programming languages. The best programming certifications include an interesting mix of language-focused or language-specific credentials – like C/C++ certifications – and platform or operating system-oriented credentials like Microsoft’s Azure Developer Associate certification or CompTIA’s Linux+ certification. 

Read on for the best programming, platform and operating system certifications of the year. 

Best programming and platform certifications 

Programming and platform-specific certifications demonstrate a baseline of knowledge. These certifications are typically highly technical and showcase applied knowledge. 

These programs are vendor or programming language-specific, making the right certification extremely useful for the right job. Even for jobs not using a language or platform with which you are certified, holding a related certification demonstrates a certain aptitude and willingness to learn that can help individuals succeed in any role. 

Some of our favorite certifications here include: 

Did You Know?Did you know
When hiring for a new business, owners and managers tend to outsource programming needs, making programming a valuable freelance skill.

Best Linux certifications

More than 20 years after Linus Torvalds developed Linux, the operating system remains a force in the computing industry. While Linux is not widely used on desktops, it is extraordinarily strong on the web server side, where it enjoys a market share of 45 percent, according to WTechs.

Information technology (IT) professionals invest considerable time learning about server computing for everything from installation, configuration, maintenance and virtualization to application support and security. This also means that many IT professionals are working with and around Linux operating systems daily, often alongside Windows and various UNIX OS brands as well.

Some of the best certifications include: 

The LPIC and Linux+ exams are great ways to demonstrate broad knowledge of the Linux system without having to specialize in a specific Linux distribution. This is a good pathway for either professions starting off in Linux or those who wish to maintain a wider knowledge base.

Best Microsoft certifications

Microsoft is best known for its Windows operating systems and Office software. But the company has a much broader product portfolio that includes online services (Bing, MSN, advertising), servers, gaming (Xbox 360), and hardware (tablets, PCs, keyboards and mice). The company also has a sizable certification program that turns out qualified administrators and technicians to support its system and application products.

Achieving IT certifications through the Microsoft Certification Program shows a person’s competence in a specific IT role, and it can result in all kinds of work-related and personal benefits. For example, studies show that IT certifications increase the chances of landing a job (or getting a promotion). Some of our favorite Microsoft certifications are: 

Going beyond: Additional programming certifications to consider

Many other certification programs can help further the careers and professional development of IT professionals who work as programmers. Here are a few certs and resources to consider:

  • Adobe Experience Cloud certification: The Adobe Experience Cloud certification didn’t make the leaderboard, but it’s still a credential worth pursuing.
  • Vendor-neutral certifications: It also makes sense to investigate the plethora of vendor-neutral certification programs available for those who work with specific programming languages or development platforms, particularly those that are open source. For example, consider the Zend Framework and Zend PHP, Ruby on Rails, and the Ruby Association’s Certified Ruby Programmer Examination.
  • Programmer training organizations: You can also find offerings from providers like ExpertRating. These and similar organizations offer programmer training and testing on dozens to hundreds of topics, including mobile applications development, Android and iOS, and web programming.
  • Vendor-specific certification programs: Additionally, a careful examination of vendor-specific certification programs with broad developer footprints – such as BMC, IBM, SAS, Oracle (Java programming, OCA, OCP, OCM, OCE and more), Teradata and Amazon’s AWS – can also open doors for developers and provide ongoing job or contract opportunities. 
Consider vendor-specific certification programs like SAS certifications and Oracle certifications, and take advantage of free AWS online training resources.

Choosing the right certification

Pursuing the best IT certifications, including programming certs, is an excellent career advancement asset that validates your skills and knowledge. 

Those interested in programming certifications have no shortage of choices, so choose carefully and wisely. IT professionals should carefully determine the technologies used in their work environments and consider the roles they may want to pursue in the future.  

1. Consider your goals.

Before even thinking about which certification program you want to choose, it’s important to consider your goals. Are you angling for a specific job opportunity? Do you want to deepen your expertise in a particular language? Are you interested in learning a new skill? Answering questions like these will help you better understand which program might be best for you.

2. Think about the future.

When investing in your own education and skill development, you want to be sure the investment will pay off. Think about the current landscape in programming, and ask yourself which skills are likely to be valuable well into the future and which may soon be obsolete. Technology is rapidly evolving and the relevance of your skill set is of top importance, so try to spend time earning certifications with staying power.

3. Ask your network.

Plenty of your colleagues are likely to have gone through certification programs, or they’re aware of desirable certifications in your field. Ask them about their experiences or what types of credentials they’d want to see. Feedback from your professional network can be a powerful way to find out which certifications are most highly sought after amongst programmers and employers.

4. Vet the program.

While you can count on the list above, it’s important to do your due diligence and vet every program you’re considering before signing up. Look into the track record of the program and organization you’re considering. How well do people who hold this certification do in their career? Are there any complaints from others who went through the program before? If you find any red flags, you may want to look elsewhere.

Improve your programming skills and further your career

Programming is a highly in-demand skill and will be well into the future. Those who succeed in programming careers are those who continually learn and evolve along with technology. So, periodically learning new skills and strengthening old ones, while earning the certifications to demonstrate your expertise, can never hurt. The certification programs above are a great place to start, whether you’re just beginning your career in programming or growing it to the next level.

Mary Kyle contributed to this article.

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Written By: Jeremy BenderBusiness Operations Insider and Senior Writer
Jeremy Bender is an experienced writer, researcher, reporter, and editor with a decade of experience in the digital media and private intelligence industries. He previously reported on geopolitics and cybersecurity for Business Insider's Military & Defense vertical, before becoming the vertical's editor. More recently, Jeremy has worked as a threat intelligence editor at the Business Risk Intelligence company Flashpoint and as a security intelligence writer at NTT Security, where he covered topics such as ongoing cyber attack campaigns and critical threat intelligence.
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