Types of Computer Certifications

By Mitch Mitchell

Updated September 15, 2017

Getting a computer certification could mean the difference between being a basic IT person, a specialist or even going into business for yourself. Most computer certifications concern the various computer networks on which companies build their databases.


Four certifications are based on the Microsoft Server platform. The first two are geared toward Microsoft Windows 2000 Server and Windows Server 2003 and have been the standard exams for a very long time. Those certifications are the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) certification and the Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification. The MCSE is the most requested certification in the United States.

The latest two Microsoft certifications are the MCITP, or Microsoft Certified IT Professional certification, and the MCTS, or Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist. Both of these pertain to Windows Server 2008.


The Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) certification is important because it indicates proficiency in setting up medium-to-large networks that include security and wireless networking. This includes not only maintaining networks but also building them. There is a series of three exams that must be passed to earn the certification. It is the most common certification for IT professionals to get from Cisco.

Cisco has four other certifications, each one based on the level of accreditation. Two are below the CCNP: those two are the CCENT (entry level) and the CCNA (associate level). Two others are above the CCNP: those two are the CCIE (expert level) and the highest, the CCA (associate).


Apple has multiple certifications, but only two major certifications. Those are the Apple Certified Trainer for IT (ACT) and the Apple Certified Macintosh Technician (ACMT). Each one of these goes deeper into the Apple technology, going beyond server technology into things such as editing sound and images, directory services and train-the-trainer programs.


Linux has multiple certifications for those companies that have decided to go open source rather than deal with the traditional operating system technology. There are four programs that have their own certifications regarding Linux systems. Those programs are Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA, Linux Professional Institute (LPI), Novell and Red Hat.

These certifications also teach a liberal amount of Microsoft server technology, since open source and Microsoft are the most integrated systems of today. The best-known of all the certifications is the Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE), which is administered by Red Hat.

Other Certifications

There are many other independent certifications that offer across the board education on most of the operating systems mentioned above, though not in as great a detail for any one of them. Two of the most common of the independents are the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and the Project Management Professional (PMP) certifications.

The most important thing in getting a computer certification is making sure you get it through an accredited program.