Top 10 Software Engineer Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top software engineer certifications available, including requirements and benefits.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Updated 16 min read

Certifications are important for software engineers in the job market because they demonstrate a certain level of knowledge and expertise in the field. They can also help software engineers stand out from other applicants, as employers often find certifications to be valuable when assessing potential hires. Additionally, certifications can provide recognition and credibility, which can lead to increased job opportunities and higher salaries. Certifications also serve as evidence that an engineer has taken the initiative to learn new skills and stay up-to-date with industry trends.

This article reviews the top certifications for Software Engineers and explains how they can help to advance a software engineer's career.

What are Software Engineer Certifications?

Software engineer certification is the process of obtaining a professional qualification from an educational institution or professional association that validates a software engineer’s knowledge and experience in the field. This certification is typically achieved by completing a series of tests, assessments and/or exams that assess a software engineer’s knowledge and skills.

Software engineer certification can be beneficial to both employers and software engineers in many ways. For employers, it helps to ensure that the software engineers they hire have the necessary qualifications and experience to perform their job duties successfully. It also demonstrates their commitment to providing quality services. For software engineers, having a certification can help them differentiate themselves from other applicants in the job market, as well as give them an edge over those who do not possess one. It can also provide them with recognition for their expertise and hard work. Furthermore, having a software engineer certification may open up more opportunities for career advancement and higher salaries.

Pro Tip: Before investing in a software engineer certification, research the company or institution offering the certification and make sure it is accredited and respected in the industry. Also, make sure that the certification is relevant to your career goals and will help you advance professionally.

Related: What does a Software Engineer do?

Top 10 Software Engineer Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Software Engineers today.

1. Certified Software Development Professional (CSDP)

Certified Software Development Professional (CSDP) is a professional certification program offered by the International Association of Software Architects (IASA). It is designed to recognize software development professionals who demonstrate a high level of knowledge and experience in software architecture, design and development.

The CSDP certification typically takes around two years to complete. The program consists of three levels: Core, Advanced and Expert. At each level, applicants must pass an exam that covers topics such as software architecture, design principles, programming languages and technologies, project management, system analysis and design, database design and implementation, security principles and more.

To become certified at any level of the CSDP program, applicants must first become members of IASA. Membership fees vary depending on the type of membership chosen. After becoming a member, applicants can then register for the exams at their desired level. Exam fees also vary depending on the level chosen.

Once all requirements have been met and exams have been passed successfully, applicants will receive their CSDP certification from IASA. This certification is valid for five years before needing to be renewed.

2. Certified Software Quality Analyst (CSQA)

Certified Software Quality Analyst (CSQA) is a professional certification program offered by the American Society for Quality (ASQ). The CSQA certification is designed to provide software professionals with a comprehensive understanding of software quality assurance and testing. It is designed to help software professionals develop their skills in areas such as requirements analysis, test planning, test design, test execution, and defect management.

The CSQA certification requires passing an exam that covers topics such as software process management, quality assurance principles, risk management, and software testing techniques. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions and is administered online. Candidates must have at least three years of experience in software quality assurance or testing in order to be eligible for the exam.

The cost of the CSQA certification exam varies depending on where it is taken. In the United States, the fee for taking the exam is $395 USD. In other countries, the fee may vary. Additionally, there are some additional costs associated with taking the exam such as travel and lodging expenses if applicable.

To get certified as a CSQA professional typically takes about two months from start to finish. This includes studying for the exam and completing any necessary paperwork or application processes required by ASQ before taking the exam.

3. Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)

Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) is a professional certification offered by the Scrum Alliance to individuals who have completed a two-day training course, passed an exam and agreed to abide by the organization’s Code of Conduct. The CSM certification is designed to show employers that an individual has a deep understanding of the Scrum framework and can help teams achieve success with it.

It typically takes two days to complete the CSM training course. This includes instruction on Agile and Scrum principles, roles, events, artifacts and rules. Upon successful completion of the course, participants will be required to take an online exam which consists of 50 multiple-choice questions. To pass the exam, participants must score at least 74%.

To get Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) certification, you must first attend a two-day training course offered by one of the approved providers listed on the Scrum Alliance website. After completing your training, you will need to take an online exam which consists of 50 multiple-choice questions. Once you have successfully passed your exam, you will need to agree to abide by the organization’s Code of Conduct in order to receive your certification.

The cost for Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) certification varies depending on where you take your training course and if there are any discounts available at that time. Generally speaking, it can range anywhere from $500-$1500 USD for the full two-day program including all materials and exams fees.

4. Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD)

Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) is a certification program offered by Microsoft that validates an individual’s expertise in developing solutions using Microsoft technologies. The MCSD certification is designed for experienced software developers who have a deep understanding of the Microsoft platform and can develop applications using Visual Studio, .NET Framework, Windows Azure, and other related technologies.

To obtain the MCSD certification, an individual must pass four exams: two core exams and two elective exams. The core exams cover topics such as Windows Store Apps, Web Applications, SharePoint Applications, and Azure Solutions Architecture. The elective exams focus on specific areas of development such as Windows 8 App Development or Developing ASP.NET MVC Web Applications.

The cost of each exam varies depending on the region but typically ranges from $150 to $200 per exam. It typically takes between 6-12 months to prepare for all four exams and obtain the MCSD certification. To get started with the process, individuals should review the official Microsoft Certification website for more information about the requirements and available resources to help them prepare for each exam.

5. Oracle Certified Professional, Java SE Programmer (OCPJP)

Oracle Certified Professional, Java SE Programmer (OCPJP) is a certification program for professional Java developers. It is administered by Oracle and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated a high level of proficiency in developing applications using the Java programming language. The OCPJP certification requires individuals to demonstrate their knowledge of core Java language features, object-oriented programming principles, and the use of APIs to develop robust applications.

The OCPJP certification process consists of two exams: the Oracle Certified Associate (OCA) exam and the Oracle Certified Professional (OCP) exam. The OCA exam tests an individual's knowledge of basic concepts such as data types, variables, operators, and control structures. The OCP exam tests an individual's ability to apply these concepts to create more complex applications.

It typically takes between 6 months to 1 year to prepare for the OCPJP certification depending on an individual's experience level. To get certified, individuals must pass both exams with a score of 75% or higher.

The cost for taking both exams is $245 USD each ($490 USD total).

6. CompTIA A+ Certification

CompTIA A+ certification is an industry-leading credential for IT professionals that validates their skills in hardware, software, networking, security, and troubleshooting. It is the most recognized certification for entry-level technicians and is considered a must-have for any IT professional looking to advance their career.

The CompTIA A+ exam consists of two parts: Core 1 (220-1001) and Core 2 (220-1002). Each part requires passing a 90 minute multiple choice exam with a minimum score of 750 on a scale of 100-900. The exams cover topics such as installation and configuration of PCs, laptops, mobile devices, operating systems, printers and more.

It typically takes 4–6 months to prepare for the CompTIA A+ exam depending on your experience level. To get certified you will need to purchase an exam voucher from CompTIA or one of its authorized partners and then schedule your exam at a Pearson VUE testing center.

The cost of the CompTIA A+ certification varies depending on where you purchase your voucher from but generally ranges from $219 – $299 USD per exam.

7. AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate

AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate is a certification program designed to help individuals develop the skills and knowledge necessary to design, deploy and manage applications on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform. It is one of the most sought-after certifications in cloud computing today. The certification validates an individual’s ability to design and deploy secure, reliable, cost-effective, and scalable solutions on AWS.

It typically takes about 3 months of studying and practice to prepare for the exam. To get certified you must pass the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate exam. The exam consists of multiple choice questions that test your knowledge of AWS services, architecture best practices, security measures, and other related topics. The exam costs $150 USD.

To prepare for the exam you should study official AWS documentation as well as third-party resources such as books and online courses. You should also practice hands-on with AWS services by setting up your own environment or using free trial accounts provided by AWS.

8. Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)

Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) is a certification offered by Cisco Systems that validates an individual’s knowledge and skills in networking. It is the entry-level certification for those looking to break into the world of networking. The CCNA certification covers topics such as routing and switching, network security, wireless networks, and more.

It typically takes around 6-12 months to prepare for the CCNA exam depending on your experience level. To get certified, you will need to pass the 200-301 CCNA exam which consists of 90 minutes and 60-70 questions.

The cost of the CCNA exam varies depending on where you take it. Generally, it costs around $300 USD to take the exam at a testing center or online through Pearson VUE. Additionally, there are some prep materials available for purchase that can help you prepare for the exam.

9. Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE)

Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) is a certification program offered by Red Hat, Inc., the world’s leading provider of open source software. The RHCE certification is designed to demonstrate an individual’s ability to configure, deploy, manage, and troubleshoot Red Hat Enterprise Linux systems in an enterprise environment.

The RHCE certification is valid for three years from the date of completion. To become certified as an RHCE, individuals must pass a series of exams that cover topics such as system installation, configuration and maintenance; network services; storage management; security administration; virtualization; and scripting.

To obtain the RHCE certification, individuals must first complete a training course offered by Red Hat or one of its authorized training partners. The cost of the course varies depending on the provider and location but typically ranges from $2,000-$3,500 USD. After completing the training course, individuals must then successfully pass two exams: EX200 (Red Hat Certified System Administrator) and EX300 (Red Hat Certified Engineer). The cost for both exams is $400 USD each.

Once all requirements have been met and all exams passed successfully, individuals will receive their RHCE certification from Red Hat.

10. Google Cloud Platform Fundamentals: Core Infrastructure

Google Cloud Platform Fundamentals: Core Infrastructure is a comprehensive set of cloud-based services that provide the foundation for building and managing applications on Google Cloud Platform. It includes the core components of Compute, Storage, Networking, and Security.

Compute: Compute provides access to virtual machines (VMs) and other resources such as containers, Kubernetes clusters, and serverless computing. It also provides access to managed services such as BigQuery and Cloud Functions.

Storage: Storage provides persistent storage for data in the form of block storage (e.g., persistent disks), object storage (e.g., buckets), file storage (e.g., Cloud Filestore), and database solutions (e.g., Cloud SQL).

Networking: Networking provides network connectivity for applications running on Google Cloud Platform via Virtual Private Clouds (VPCs) or through public internet connections with load balancing and DNS services.

Security: Security provides identity management, authentication, authorization, logging and monitoring capabilities to help protect applications from malicious activity or unauthorized access.

Getting started with Google Cloud Platform Fundamentals: Core Infrastructure typically takes just a few minutes to set up an account and start using the services available in the platform. The cost depends on the type of service you use but generally starts at around $0/month depending on usage levels.

Do You Really Need a Software Engineer Certificate?

The answer to this question depends on your individual goals and objectives. If you are looking to become a software engineer or increase your chances of landing a job in the engineering field, then a software engineer certificate may be beneficial. A certificate will demonstrate your knowledge and proficiency in specific areas of software engineering, such as programming languages, database systems, web development technologies, and more.

Having a certificate can also give you an edge over other applicants when applying for jobs or internships in the industry. Employers often look for candidates who have taken the initiative to gain formal training in their area of expertise. Furthermore, having a certificate can help you stand out from other applicants who might not have any formal qualifications related to software engineering.

On the other hand, some employers may not place much value on certificates if they feel that your level of experience and knowledge is sufficient for the job. In this case, having a certificate may not necessarily help you get the position but could still be beneficial in terms of demonstrating your commitment to learning about software engineering and keeping up with new developments in the field.

Ultimately, whether or not you need a software engineer certificate depends on what your career goals are and how they align with current industry standards. If it is important for you to demonstrate mastery of certain topics related to software engineering or if it could give you an advantage when applying for jobs or internships, then obtaining a certification might be worth considering.

Related: Software Engineer Resume Examples

FAQs About Software Engineer Certifications

1. What is a software engineer certification?

Answer: A software engineer certification is a credential that demonstrates advanced proficiency in the design, development, and maintenance of software systems. It typically requires passing an exam administered by an accredited organization such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) or the International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB).

2. What are the benefits of becoming certified as a software engineer?

Answer: Becoming certified as a software engineer can provide numerous benefits, including increased credibility and recognition within the industry, improved job prospects and salary potential, and greater confidence in one’s abilities. It can also open up opportunities for career advancement and networking with other professionals.

3. How long does it take to become certified as a software engineer?

Answer: The amount of time required to become certified depends on the specific certification program chosen. Generally speaking, most programs require an individual to complete coursework or training before taking an exam to obtain their certification. The length of this process may range from several weeks to several months depending on the program chosen.

4. Are there any prerequisites for obtaining a software engineering certification?

Answer: Yes, many software engineering certifications have certain prerequisites that must be met before taking the exam such as having prior experience in coding or completing specific courses related to software engineering. It is important to research each certification program thoroughly before beginning the process of obtaining one.

5. Is it necessary for me to renew my software engineering certification?

Answer: Yes, many certifications require individuals to periodically renew their credentials in order to maintain them. This usually involves completing additional coursework or passing another exam every few years in order to stay up-to-date on best practices within the field of software engineering.

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