Top 16 Software Development Certification Programs [2023 Career Guide]

In today’s quickly evolving tech world, software development certifications are becoming more sought after as a way to showcase proficiency and reliability in the industry. With rising demand for accomplished professionals in this field and countless technological advances popping up every day, obtaining one of these credentials can give you an advantage when vying for career opportunities. Software development certifications can provide evidence of your skills and abilities, adding credibility to your professional portfolio. But more on that later. This article is aimed at providing a comprehensive overview of the cream-of-the-crop software development certification programs for 2023. For both new and seasoned software developers, this guide will explain why certifications are so important and help you make an informed decision on which one best suits your career aspirations.

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Now the part you’ve been waiting for — let’s get to our list!

The Top 16 Software Development Certification Programs

Here are 16 of the current top software development certification programs you should probably have on your radar in 2023. 

1. Certified Scrum Master (CSM)

Demonstrate your mastery of the Agile methodology and Scrum framework by earning a Certified Scrum Master (CSM) credential. Whether you’re working in software development, project management, product management or another related field, these highly sought after certifications are an invaluable asset for any professional’s resume.

An essential step to becoming a Certified Scrum Master is completing the 16-hour training course and passing the certification exam. This hands-on and interactive program enables learners to understand, practice, and apply the concepts of Scrum in realistic scenarios. The assessment then tests their knowledge on how this framework works as well as its core values.

2. AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate

The AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate is a prestigious certification for IT professionals who want to demonstrate their expertise in designing, deploying, and managing applications and infrastructure on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud platform. This esteemed credential is ideal for those in software development, operations and related professions.

Becoming an AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate requires you to pass a comprehensive exam testing your familiarity with the AWS platform. It takes about 130 minutes to complete and costs $150 to attempt. You’ll be tested on topics such as establishing systems that are scalable, dependable and capable of enduring faults, along with selecting proper AWS services for meeting specific application needs.

3. Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate

For professionals looking to demonstrate their expertise in development solutions on the Microsoft Azure platform, obtaining a Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate certification is an invaluable asset. This widely-acknowledged certification provides proof of proficiency for those who work in software engineering, IT operations and other related fields.

If you wish to acquire the Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate certification, it is mandatory that you successfully pass a rigorous exam assessing your proficiency and comprehension of the Azure platform. This evaluation covers multiple topics including building cloud applications, creating solutions for Azure storage, and constructing services on the Azure platform.

4. Oracle Certified Associate, Java SE 11 Developer

By earning the Oracle Certified Associate, Java SE 11 Developer certification, professionals can prove their expertise and knowledge in building Java applications. This prestigious credential is ideal for individuals who are employed in software development roles or IT operations departments – but it may also benefit those working closely with any related fields.

The Oracle Certified Associate, Java SE 11 Developer certification focuses on the fundamental concepts of Java programming, including the Java Standard Edition 11 (Java SE 11) platform, the Java language, and its libraries. The certification covers topics such as object-oriented programming, collections, concurrency, and functional programming. The exam for gaining this certification consists of 50 questions and takes 90 minutes to complete.

5. CompTIA A+

There is no better way for professionals in computer hardware and software technology to demonstrate their expertise than with the distinguished CompTIA A+ certification. This widely recognized credential has been designed specifically for those operating in IT support, technical assistance, or any other related fields. With this certificate, you can set yourself apart from your peers by showing employers how capable and qualified you are.

If you want to gain expertise in the fundamental aspects of computer hardware and software, then CompTIA A+ certification is a must. With this certificate, you will become adept at topics ranging from operating systems and security to mobile devices and networking. Plus, it also helps hone your skills in installation, configuration, troubleshooting as well as maintenance procedures for computers.

In order to become CompTIA A+ certified, it is essential for candidates to pass two exams which assess one’s knowledge of computer hardware and software. These tests encompass a diverse range of topics including PC components, cellular gadgets, network tools and safeguards. Obtaining this distinguished certification will demonstrate an individual’s exceptional proficiency in these areas. Each exam takes about 90 minutes to complete.

a woman in a red hoodie sits at a computer and writes lines of code.

6. Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)

The Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification is the gold standard for demonstrating one’s expertise in computer networking, and it ought to be a major asset for anyone pursuing roles such as network administrator or engineer. With these credentials, you can confidently show employers that you are an experienced professional with high-level knowledge in developing networks utilizing technology – proving your value to any organization.

The CCNA certification teaches IT professionals the fundamentals of computer networking, ranging from routing and switching to security, wireless technologies, and data center technology. By becoming certified in this field, you’ll learn how to efficiently configure Cisco routers and switches for optimal performance; set up secure protocols; as well as design highly-functional wireless networks.

7. Salesforce Certified Platform Developer I

Professionals seeking to showcase their proficiency and expertise in designing custom applications for the Salesforce platform should pursue obtaining the Salesforce Certified Platform Developer I certification. Whether you work in software development, IT operations, or any related field – this well-respected certification will give your career a boost.

The Salesforce Certified Platform Developer I credential concentrates on the essential elements of the Salesforce platform – such as Apex, Visualforce and Salesforce Lightning. It details topics ranging from designing custom objects and fields to developing custom controllers & extensions with business logic programmed in Apex code. As a result, you’ll have an excellent comprehension of how to create robust solutions for your customers using this powerful technology.

8. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

Security professionals everywhere recognize the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification as a sign of expertise and knowledge in the field. Those who work with information security, cybersecurity, or any other affiliated area can show their skill set off by taking this comprehensive exam.

The CISSP certification focuses on the fundamental concepts of information security, including security management practices, security architecture and design, and security controls and technologies. The certification covers topics such as access control, network security, cryptography, and risk management.

9. Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE)

The RHCE certification is designed for professionals looking to demonstrate their skills in Linux administration. This widely-recognized credential covers an array of topics such as setting up networks, configuring and managing system storage, and deploying server services. By obtaining RHCE certification, you’ll demonstrate your mastery of Red Hat Enterprise Linux as well as be able to help organizations modernize their IT infrastructure.

The RHCE exam tests a candidate’s knowledge of open source technologies, such as configuring network services and security. It also evaluates a candidate’s ability to recognize problems with the operating system and provide solutions. RHCE is an ideal certification for professionals wanting to show off their expertise in system administration.

10. Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA)

The CKA certification is perfect for DevOps professionals and system administrators who want to show their proficiency with Kubernetes. This cloud-native containerization platform enables the orchestration of containerized applications through Kubernetes clusters, allowing organizations to easily create and scale highly available services in the cloud.

The CKA exam covers a range of topics related to Kubernetes such as deploying applications, managing resources, and configuring networking. It evaluates a candidate’s knowledge of Kubernetes architecture, container networking, and storage orchestration. As such, obtaining the CKA credential is a great way to prove your Kubernetes proficiency and show off your skills as a cloud-native specialist. It currently costs $395 to take the exam for certification.

two women software developers sitting next to each other and reviewing code

11. Project Management Professional (PMP)

The PMP certification is a widely-recognized credential for individuals working in project management. The program covers topics such as cost estimation, risk management, quality control, and project scheduling. It requires candidates to demonstrate their knowledge of the principles of Project Management (PM) as well as how they can be applied to the planning and execution of projects.

By obtaining PMP certification, you’ll show employers that you have the skills and knowledge necessary to manage projects effectively. It is available at a cost of $405 as a member of PMI and includes the official PMP exam guide as well as an online practice exam.

12. Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT)

The CGEIT certification is perfect for professionals looking to prove their expertise in IT governance. This comprehensive program covers topics such as risk management, compliance, and strategic alignment. It is designed for IT professionals who are responsible for implementing strategies that ensure the correct use of technology in an organization. 

The CGEIT exam evaluates a candidate’s knowledge of IT governance, including best practices and compliance issues. Candidates must demonstrate their understanding of IT governance frameworks and how to apply them in various situations. Obtaining this certification can help you prove your IT governance skills and stand out among other qualified candidates. The exam pricing currently starts at $575.

13. Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

The CEH certification is designed for professionals wanting to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in ethical hacking. This comprehensive program covers topics such as network security, system hacking, and web application security. It is designed to equip candidates with the tools necessary to identify security weaknesses in a system and provide solutions for mitigating risk.

The CEH exam covers a range of topics related to ethical hacking, including system architecture, cryptography, and malware analysis. Candidates must demonstrate their understanding of common attack vectors and ethical hacking techniques. Passing the exam is a great way to show employers that you are qualified to perform security assessments and identify potential vulnerabilities.

14. Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)

The CCSP certification is perfect for professionals looking to demonstrate their expertise in cloud security. This comprehensive program covers topics such as data security, risk management, and cloud architecture. It is designed to equip candidates with the tools necessary to protect data in the cloud and ensure that organizations are compliant with industry-specific regulations.

The CCSP exam evaluates a candidate’s knowledge of cloud security principles and protocols, including encryption techniques, identity management, and cloud compliance. Candidates must demonstrate their understanding of cloud security best practices and how to implement them in various environments. 

15.  Certified DevOps Engineer (CDE)

The Certified DevOps Engineer (CDE) certification is designed for professionals wanting to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in DevOps engineering. This comprehensive program covers topics such as cloud deployment, automation, and continuous integration. It is designed to equip candidates with the tools necessary to streamline development processes and ensure that organizations are able to deliver applications faster.

The CDE exam assesses your familiarity with DevOps principles, including automation tools, DevOps culture, and cloud security. To pass, you’ll need to show that you understand modern development processes and how to put them to work in a practical way. The exam currently costs $400.

a professional with long hair sits at a computer and types

16. Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

The CISA certification is perfect for professionals looking to demonstrate their expertise in information systems auditing. This comprehensive program covers topics such as risk management, systems analysis, and IT audit control. It is designed to equip candidates with the tools necessary to conduct internal audits and ensure that organizations are compliant with industry-specific regulations.

Are you thinking of taking the CISA exam? This certification gauges your knowledge in information systems auditing, security controls and data management. Showcase that you’ve got a good grasp on how to execute these top-notch practices across various scenarios by getting this credential – it’s sure to give you an edge over other competent applicants.

Advantages of Obtaining a Software Development Certification

Having a software development certification can open many doors for professionals in the tech industry. Let’s take a look at some of the most notable benefits now.

  • Improved Career Opportunities: By obtaining a certification, you are displaying your dedication to your profession and expertise level – this will open the doors of plenty of new job opportunities.
  • Increased Earning Potential: Investing in a certification program can prove to be an invaluable asset when it comes to boosting your salary and expanding your compensation package. Higher qualifications often lead to better pay, so pursuing certifications could result in greater financial stability and success.
  • Enhanced Skill Sets and Knowledge: Obtaining a certification requires a significant investment of time and effort, which can lead to a deeper understanding of the subject matter and an improvement in your skills.
  • Improved Credibility and Reputation: Acquiring internationally accepted certifications can help you gain the trust of your peers and employers, while further distinguishing yourself from other competitors vying for similar positions.

And that’s just scratching the surface.

Next, we’ll discuss a bit about how to choose the right certification program for you.

How to Choose the Right Certification Program

When choosing a certification program, it’s important to consider your career goals, the relevance of the certification to your current role, the time and cost involved, and the reputation of the certification body. Let’s discuss each of these a bit more now:

  • What Are Your Career Goals?: What do you want to achieve in your career? Choose a certification program that aligns with your goals and can help you reach them.
  • How Much Does the Certification Apply to Your Current Role?: To optimize your skills and expertise, select a certification program that is related to the software development tasks you are currently performing. Doing so will broaden your knowledge base while helping you stay up-to-date on the most modern technologies in this field.
  • What is the Time and Cost Involved?: With both your budget and calendar in mind, carefully consider the cost and time commitments required for certification when selecting a program.
  • What is the Reputation of the Certifying Program?: If you are shopping around for a certification program, it is essential to do your due diligence and select one offered by a reputable organization that has recognition in the field.

Investing in an appropriate credential will help you move forward with your career goals, and so it’s essential to dedicate the effort into researching various certification programs that can meet those objectives. Taking a careful look at each one before selecting your program of choice is crucial for ensuring success down the road.

Will You Pursue a Software Development Certification?

Securing a software development certification is an invaluable investment that provides immeasurable career benefits such as improved job prospects, higher salary potential, and enhanced skills. While it may be expensive and consume considerable time commitment, the long-term rewards are well worth it.

When you’re deciding to pursue a program, think about your career aspirations and select a certification that fits in with them. Consider not just your personal budget but also the time and cost associated with obtaining the certification from a well-respected organization.

There’s no denying with the right certification, you can take your career to the next level and achieve your goals in the fast-paced software development industry. It’s up to you to decide if it’s the right decision for you.  Good luck!