Certifications in Computer Information Systems

The growing trajectory of technology in business heightens demand for professionals with expertise in computer information systems. Specialized computer information systems (CIS) professionals can sharpen skills, stand out amongst the competition and potentially raise the bar on salary by obtaining CIS certifications. Those same certifications can launch a career for those new to the field. While some CIS certifications require a bachelor’s degree in CIS and professional experience, others are open to aspiring CIS professionals.


The Associate Computing Professional (ACP) is available to new CIS professionals or recent college graduates. To obtain the ACP, prospects must complete the ISP exam and one other language or specialty exam. Certified professionals must maintain ongoing professional development to remain certified.

Project Management Professional (PMP®) verifies expertise in project management, assessing five general project phases: launch, plan, execute, monitor and close. Regardless of industry, candidates must complete 35 hours of PMP training. Candidates with a bachelor’s degree or higher must have 4,500 hours of experience; those who have less than a bachelor’s degree supplement with 7,500 hours project management experience. Certified professionals complete ongoing professional development requirements.

Certifications Requiring CIS Degree or Related Experience

Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

Candidates must have a minimum of five years professional experience, or substitute with a degree and work experience. Certified professionals must also comply with the Code of Professional Ethics and pursue continuous professional education.

CISA certification ranks in the Global Knowledge’s 2017 IT Skills and Salary Survey list for best-paying jobs, and gauges ability to assess systems for areas of vulnerability and effectively suggest an approach to mitigate through control, process and policy – while ensuring compliance with IT and business standards. Candidates are typically audit and security professionals.

Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC)

Topping the Global Knowledge list this year, the CRISC awards professionals who identify and solve risks through Information Systems (IS) controls. Launched in 2010, this certification assesses professionals from inception to action through maintenance. CRISC requires at least three years of experience in at least half the areas covered and requires professional education credits to maintain certification.

Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

The CISSP certificate enhances security professionals, and candidates looking to move into the field can earn an associate credential while pursuing work experience. Prospects must have five years’ experience, or they can knock one year off the requirements with a bachelor’s degree. In addition to passing the exam, candidates must present an endorsement of their professional experience and complete an audit. CISSP credited professionals must also comply with a code of ethics.

CISSP verifies expertise in protecting entities from attack through information security programs.

Vendor-Specific Certifications

Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE)

This certification offers an array of options; for example, the Server Infrastructure credential which requires neither a degree nor work experience, and instead requires the candidate to pass five exams (earning another credential, the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate MCSA along the way) and renewing certification every three years to maintain.

Of note: the MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification replaced the previous MCSE – Server Infrastructure certification effective March 31, 2017. Also within MCSE certification: Mobility, Productivity, Data Management and Analytics.

Certified individuals address challenges with innovation, building solutions across Microsoft platforms, including server and desktop infrastructure, private cloud, apps and devices, data platforms, communication technologies, and SharePoint.

Cisco Certified Networking Professional (CCNP) Routing & Switching

Cisco’s certification verifies candidates can fix networking problems, install and configure networks, identify problems and manage networks. While there are no requirements around experience, content is aimed at those with at least a year of networking experience.

For the past 15 years, Cisco certification in some similar form has appeared on the Global Knowledge list, demonstrating the ongoing need for this expertise.

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