Top 10 Systems Engineer Certifications

This article provides an overview of the best certifications for systems engineers, including information about the requirements and benefits of each.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 15 min read

Certifications are important for a systems engineer in the job market because they provide evidence of the engineer’s knowledge and skills. Certifications demonstrate that an individual has achieved a certain level of competence and can be trusted to perform specific tasks. They also show employers that the engineer is committed to their profession, as they have taken the time to invest in additional training and education. With certifications, employers can quickly identify qualified candidates who are capable of meeting their needs. In addition, certifications give engineers access to a larger pool of job opportunities as many employers prefer to hire certified individuals over non-certified ones.

This article reviews some of the top certifications for Systems Engineers and explains how they can help further a systems engineer's career.

What are Systems Engineer Certifications?

Systems engineer certification is a credential that demonstrates an individual's ability to design, implement, and manage systems. It is designed to prove that an individual has the knowledge and experience necessary to successfully build and maintain complex IT systems. Systems engineer certification can be beneficial in many ways.

First, it can help individuals demonstrate their technical expertise, as most employers look for candidates with certifications when hiring for positions in the IT field. This type of certification also helps them stand out from other applicants who may not have the same qualifications. Additionally, having this certification can increase an individual’s earning potential as certified professionals typically receive higher salaries than non-certified ones.

Finally, with a systems engineer certification, individuals can stay up-to-date on the latest technologies and trends in the industry, which can enable them to advance their careers more quickly. For those looking to enter or progress within the field of systems engineering, obtaining a certification can provide them with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed.

Pro tip: When researching systems engineer certifications, be sure to look for those that are vendor-neutral and offer a broad range of topics. This will ensure you can apply the knowledge and skills you learn to multiple platforms and environments.

Related: What does a Systems Engineer do?

Top 10 Systems Engineer Certifications

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

1. Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE)

Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) is a certification program designed to help IT professionals demonstrate their expertise in designing and implementing solutions based on Microsoft technologies. It is intended for those who have experience working with Windows Server, client operating systems, networking, and security.

To get the MCSE certification, you must pass one or more exams that cover topics such as networking infrastructure, server administration, identity management, virtualization, cloud computing, and data management. The exams are offered by Microsoft and administered by Pearson VUE.

It typically takes about six months to complete the exams required for the MCSE certification. However, this timeline can vary depending on your experience level and how much time you devote to studying for the exams.

The cost of taking the exams varies depending on which ones you need to take in order to earn your MCSE certification. Each exam costs around $165 USD at the time of writing this answer. So if you need to take three exams to get certified, it would cost around $495 USD total.

In addition to passing the required exams, you must also have at least one year of experience working with Microsoft technologies in order to qualify for the MCSE certification.

2. CompTIA A+ Certification

CompTIA A+ is an industry-recognized certification that validates the skills and knowledge of entry-level IT professionals. It is a vendor-neutral certification that covers a wide range of topics, including hardware, networking, security, software troubleshooting and customer service.

The CompTIA A+ certification requires two exams: 220-1001 (Core 1) and 220-1002 (Core 2). The exams are 90 minutes long and contain a maximum of 90 questions each. To pass the exam, you must score at least 675 out of 900 points on each exam.

You can take the CompTIA A+ certification exams either online or in person at an approved testing center. The cost of the exams varies depending on your location; however, it typically costs around $200 for both exams.

In terms of preparation for the CompTIA A+ certification, there are many resources available to help you study for the exams. You can find online courses, practice tests, study guides and more to help you prepare for the exams. Additionally, many employers offer training programs or provide access to resources to help their employees prepare for the certifications.

Overall, it usually takes about three months to complete all the necessary steps required to get your CompTIA A+ certification. This includes studying for the exams as well as registering for and taking them.

3. Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)

Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) is a certification program developed by Cisco Systems to recognize the knowledge and skills of networking professionals. It validates an individual’s ability to install, configure, operate, and troubleshoot medium-size routed and switched networks.

To earn the CCNA certification, you must pass one exam that covers topics such as IP addressing, routing protocols, WAN technologies, network security, and more. The exam takes approximately 90 minutes to complete and consists of multiple-choice questions.

The cost of the CCNA exam varies depending on where you take it. The exam can be taken at any Pearson VUE or Prometric testing center around the world. The cost for the exam is usually between $150 and $300 USD.

It typically takes about six months to prepare for the CCNA exam if you are already familiar with networking concepts. If you are new to networking then it may take longer than six months to get ready for the exam. You can use online resources such as Cisco Learning Network or other training providers to help you prepare for the exam.

4. Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA)

Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA) is a certification program offered by Red Hat, Inc., a leader in open source software and services. It is designed to validate the skills of system administrators who are responsible for the day-to-day management of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) systems. The RHCSA certification is an industry-recognized credential that demonstrates proficiency in administering RHEL systems.

The RHCSA exam typically takes 2 hours and 30 minutes to complete. To get certified, you must pass a single exam, EX200: Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA). This exam tests your knowledge and skills related to core system administration tasks such as setting up users, configuring storage devices, managing security settings, and troubleshooting common issues.

The cost of the RHCSA exam varies depending on where you take it. In the United States, it typically costs around $400 USD. You can also purchase practice exams or training materials from third-party vendors if you want extra preparation before taking the official exam.

5. VMware Certified Professional (VCP)

VMware Certified Professional (VCP) is a certification offered by VMware, which recognizes IT professionals who have the skills and knowledge to install, configure, manage and troubleshoot a VMware vSphere environment. The VCP certification is designed for IT professionals who work with virtualization technologies in their daily jobs.

The VCP certification requires candidates to attend an authorized training course and pass an associated exam. The training course typically takes three to five days depending on the level of experience of the student. After completing the training course, candidates must then pass the VMware Certified Professional (VCP) exam, which consists of multiple-choice questions and hands-on lab exercises.

To become certified as a VCP, you must first purchase an authorization code from VMware for $225 USD. This code will allow you to register for the required training course and take the associated exam. Once you have completed both steps successfully, you will be awarded your VCP certification.

The total cost of becoming a VCP depends on several factors such as travel expenses and additional study materials purchased for preparation for the exam. Generally speaking, it can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $2,500 USD to become a VCP.

6. Amazon Web Services (AWS) Certified Solutions Architect – Associate

Amazon Web Services (AWS) Certified Solutions Architect – Associate is a certification program that validates an individual’s technical skills and knowledge in designing, deploying, and operating applications and infrastructure on the AWS platform. This certification is designed for professionals who are responsible for designing, deploying, and managing applications on the AWS platform. It is one of the most sought-after certifications in cloud computing.

To get this certification, you must pass two exams: AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate Exam and AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional Exam. The Associate exam focuses on core concepts such as networking, storage, compute, database services, security, monitoring, automation, and application lifecycle management. The Professional exam focuses on more advanced topics such as architecture design principles and best practices.

The time it takes to get this certification depends on your experience level and how much time you have available to study for the exams. Generally speaking, it can take anywhere from 3-6 months to prepare for both exams if you dedicate yourself to studying full-time. If you are only able to study part-time or have limited experience with AWS then it may take longer.

To get started with preparing for the exams there are several resources available online including free training courses from Amazon Web Services (AWS), practice tests from third-party providers such as Whizlabs or A Cloud Guru, books from publishers such as O’Reilly Media or Manning Publications Co., and other online resources such as blogs or discussion forums.

The cost of getting this certification varies depending on which resources you use to prepare for the exams but generally speaking it can range from $100-$500 USD depending on which materials you choose to purchase.

7. ITIL Foundation Certification

ITIL Foundation Certification is an entry-level certification that provides an understanding of the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) and how it can be used to improve service management. ITIL is a set of best practices for managing IT services, including processes, functions, and roles. It is based on a lifecycle approach to service management, which includes five stages: Service Strategy, Service Design, Service Transition, Service Operation, and Continual Service Improvement.

The ITIL Foundation Certification exam typically takes between 1-2 hours to complete and consists of 40 multiple choice questions. To pass the exam you must answer at least 26 questions correctly (65%). Passing the exam will earn you the title of “ITIL Foundation Certified”.

To get your ITIL Foundation Certification you must first take an accredited training course from an approved training provider. The course will cover all aspects of the ITIL framework and prepare you for the exam. After completing the course you can register for the exam with AXELOS or PeopleCert (the two organizations responsible for administering the exams).

The cost of getting your ITIL Foundation Certification varies depending on where you take your training course. Generally speaking, courses range from $500-$1,000 USD. The cost of taking the exam itself is usually around $250 USD.

8. Oracle Database Certification

Oracle Database Certification is an industry-recognized credential that validates a person's expertise in the Oracle Database. It is designed to validate a person’s skills and knowledge of the Oracle Database and its related technologies.

The certification process typically takes around 3-4 months to complete, depending on how much time you are able to dedicate to studying for the exams. To get certified, you must first pass two exams: the Oracle Database 12c Administrator Certified Associate (OCA) exam and the Oracle Database 12c Administrator Certified Professional (OCP) exam. Both exams require a minimum score of 70% to pass.

The cost of getting Oracle Database Certification varies depending on which country you are taking the exam in, but typically ranges from $150-$250 per exam.

9. CompTIA Security+ Certification

CompTIA Security+ is an internationally recognized certification that validates the knowledge and skills of IT professionals in the field of security. It is designed to demonstrate competency in system security, network infrastructure, cryptography, access control, authentication, external attack prevention and organizational security.

The CompTIA Security+ exam consists of 90 multiple-choice questions and takes up to 90 minutes to complete. To earn the certification, candidates must pass the exam with a score of 750 out of 900 points or higher.

To get CompTIA Security+, you must first register for the exam with CompTIA and pay the associated fee. The cost varies depending on where you take the exam but typically ranges from $250-$300 USD. After passing the exam, you will receive your certificate within two weeks.

In addition to passing the exam, candidates must also meet certain criteria such as having at least two years of experience in IT administration with a focus on security or completing a course approved by CompTIA. Once these criteria are met, they can apply for their Security+ certification through CompTIA’s website.

10. Microsoft Azure Fundamentals

Microsoft Azure Fundamentals is a free certification offered by Microsoft to help individuals gain an understanding of the core concepts and technologies used in Microsoft Azure. It provides a basic overview of the cloud computing platform, its services, and how they work together.

The certification exam includes topics such as understanding cloud concepts, core Azure services, security, privacy, compliance and trust. It also covers pricing models and support options. The exam takes approximately 90 minutes to complete and consists of 40-60 questions.

To get the Microsoft Azure Fundamentals certification, you must first register for the exam on the Microsoft Learning website. Once registered, you will receive an email confirming your registration with instructions on how to access the exam. You can then take the exam at any time that is convenient for you.

The cost of taking the Microsoft Azure Fundamentals exam is $99 USD. After passing the exam, you will receive a digital certificate from Microsoft that confirms your achievement.

Do You Really Need a Systems Engineer Certificate?

The answer to this question depends on the individual person, their career goals, and their current level of experience. For those just starting out in the field of systems engineering, a certificate can provide an entry point into the industry and open up opportunities for further development. It also demonstrates a commitment to learning and provides evidence that the person has taken the time and effort to gain knowledge in the field.

For those with more experience, a systems engineer certificate may not be necessary. However, it can still be useful as a way to demonstrate advanced knowledge in specific areas or technical skills that are currently in demand. Additionally, if you plan on pursuing higher-level positions or working with certain employers, having a certificate could give you an edge over other candidates who don’t have one.

Ultimately, whether or not you need a systems engineer certificate depends on your individual situation and career goals. If you feel like it would benefit your career path or provide additional opportunities for advancement, then it may be worth investing in one.

Related: Systems Engineer Resume Examples

FAQs About Systems Engineer Certifications

1. What are the Benefits of a Systems Engineer Certification?

Answer: A systems engineer certification demonstrates your expertise in designing, developing and maintaining IT systems. It also provides you with greater job security and higher salaries, as it proves to employers that you have the necessary skills to manage complex IT systems.

2. What is the Difference Between a Systems Engineer and a Network Engineer?

Answer: The main difference between a systems engineer and a network engineer is that a systems engineer focuses on designing, developing and maintaining IT systems, whereas a network engineer focuses on connecting different networks together, such as local area networks (LANs) or wide area networks (WANs).

3. What is the Average Salary for Systems Engineers?

Answer: According to PayScale, the average salary for system engineers ranges from $60,000 - $108,000 per year depending on experience and certifications held.

4. How Can I Prepare for Systems Engineer Certifications?

Answer: Preparing for systems engineer certifications requires studying up on relevant topics such as networking, database management and system design. Additionally, taking practice exams can help build your confidence when taking the actual exam.

5. Are There Different Levels of Systems Engineer Certifications?

Answer: Yes, there are different levels of certifications available depending on your experience level. Entry-level certifications are typically provided by vendors such as Microsoft or Cisco while more advanced certifications focus on specific areas like cloud computing or security protocols.

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