Whether you're choosing a language-specific or platform-oriented credential, it's worth looking at our top five programming certs for IT pros, freshly updated for 2016.
MCSD: Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer
Within each credential you'll find various specialties that focus on specific job roles or target specificapplication types. There are a lot of options to choose from in this program, which currently includes five different MCSD credentials, including Windows Store Apps, Web Applications, SharePoint Applications, Azure Solutions Architect and Application Lifecycle Management.
If you're a current MCSD holder and want to maintain your credential, you need to recertify every two years by passing a special recertification exam. This exam focuses on material covered in the certification exam you took to originally achieve the cert, but with some updates for new products and technologies. It's not a simple task, though -- you should give yourself at least 12 months to prepare.
Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) For Developers
Our focus here is on the Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) for Developers credentials, which zero in on Adobe's development platforms and tools such as LiveCycle, Flex and ColdFusion. The ACEs certify experienced developer's abilities to build and maintain applications based on Adobe tools, platforms and application programming interfaces (APIs).
Despite Adobe's occasionally unwanted attention for the Flash-vs-HTML5 controversy and the various platform security issues, Adobe certified professionals -- especially those with developer credentials -- remain in high demand. For developers looking to get into Web-based gaming, media or other higher-end Web application areas, Adobe expertise remains a good skillset to cultivate.
(ISC)2 Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional (CSSLP)
Like all (ISC)2 certifications, the CSSLP is a vendor-neutral credential that is relevant to many different programming and development projects. Aimed at software developers, QA testers and the like, the CSSLP recognizes competency in securing applications throughout the software development lifecycle. The exam covers all phases of the lifecycle, including secure software concepts, requirements, design, implementation/coding and testing. Candidates should also be up to speed on software acceptance, deployment, operations, maintenance and disposal, along with supply chain and software acquisition.
Interestingly enough, the CSSLP was the first (ISC)2 exam to be offered through the Pearson VUE testing centers, instead of occasional pencil-and-paper testing at various scheduled and proctored testing sites globally. As such, this cert has done a lot to bring (ISC)2 into the 21st century, cert-wise. According to (ISC)2, the CSSLP is the only credential that currently emphasizes building security into the software development lifecycle phases and inclusion of best practices.
Google Apps For Business Certified Deployment Specialist (CDS)
As a colossus of the Web world, and an emerging giant in mobile computing, Google commands considerable attention and respect in today's marketplace. The company also expends a great deal of effort to support and encourage developers, and covers a broad range of platforms and APIs to supply them with tools and access to its platforms and environments.
The current Google Apps exam covers technical fundamentals, Gmail, Postini and Google Apps at many levels, including configuration and migration, mobile deployment and access, API basics, and planning, managing and troubleshooting Google Apps deployments.
C And C++ Certifications
The programming languages C and C++ have been around for years, making their debut in the 1960s to 1970s (C) and the 1980s to 1990s (C++). Although nearly every college and university in the U.S. offers a C/C++ programming course, the C++ Institute and Pearson VUE decided to carve a niche in the certification landscape by offering the world's first international C/C++ certifications.
Candidates can choose the C or the C++ path, and move up the cert ladder from associate to professional to senior. Of the six potential certifications, three are currently available:
- CLA: C Programming Language Certified Associate
- CPA: C++ Certified Associate Programmer
- CPP: C++ Certified Professional Programmer
The remaining exams are on the horizon with the CLP: C Certified Professional Programmer scheduled for release in December 2015. Both the CLS: C Certified Senior Programmer and CPS: C++ Certified Senior Programmers are targeted for release in 2016.
C++ Institute certifications are good for life, because, well, the languages haven't changed much over the years. But that doesn't mean there isn't high demand for these skills. And a C/C++ certification is a perfect stepping stone to many platform- and vendor-specific certs, such as the MCSD.