IBM has been an industry leader in information technology since the beginning of personal computers. Our guide to IBM Certifications: Jobs, Training, & Exams is designed to walk you through some of the different opportunities available with IBM.  It’s natural that they have a unique set of training programs, opportunities, and certifications for those who want to have a deeper knowledge with one of the original sources of IT.  Roughly speaking, IBM offers over 200 certifications and exams in 11 broad categories. Our hope is to prime you on what IBM offers and some of the popular courses that can help you become more competitive in the world of Information Technology.

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Why go through IBM?

IBM, as we mentioned earlier, is one of the oldest tech companies around. In an industry where old means overs two decades, IBM has been operating since 1911. Because of the vast amount of contribution to computer science over the last century and the sheer amount of influence they have had, they have a huge impact on the IT world. IBM has instant brand recognition for sales, brand loyalty, and world-class cutting edge solutions to today’s tech problems. On top of a long legacy and massive market shares, IBM professionals are in high demand. Try browsing any job website such as Monster or Indeed.com and you are bound to find a need for IBM trained professionals.

Whether it’s for higher wages, to be more competitive in the market, or the satisfaction and confidence to be amazing at your job, IBM certifications are designed to push you further and faster in your career. Exams such as the C5050-380 (Cloud Platform Solution V2) show employers that you are certified and capable of the skills that deserve high wages and responsibilities. Currently IBM offers 11 categories of certifications but that doesn’t mean they go light on the offerings. There are over 200 certifications offered covering everything from Analytics to the legendary Watson Super Computer. The picture below shows the 11 certification categories that are offered by IBM.

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IBM offers these courses to help familiarize IT professionals with specific IBM systems and solutions in order to become proficient and better at all things IBM related. For those who are outside of the IBM eco-system, all the technical terms can be a bit mystifying, but basically these certifications are geared toured those that support, sell, or implement IBM products and solutions.

What’s the testing process look like?

Like many other tech certifications, taking exams for IBM is done through the testing provider Pearson Vue. The website Pearsonvue.com offers online registration for exams and a comprehensive list of all the IBM pathways available. Typically testing involves driving to a testing center where a proctored test is being given. Normally an exam will last anywhere from 1-3 hours and include 25-150 questions relating to a specific subject and certification. Most certifications can be acquired in under two exams but some of the more advanced and unique certs require up to five exams. Studying is a must as the technology changes regularly but basic IBM practice exams can be found here.

Sometimes you can find promotional IBM certifications. As strange as that sounds, testing can be expensive and the IBM testing community has offered some high-quality free options. Recently conferences such as InterConnect 2017 have been offering free exams for a weekend or span of time.

Due to the sheer amount of certifications, having an exhaustive guide is near impossible so we will highlight some common exams that make you a huge boon in the tech world.

Picking a cert you love to get a job you love

Picking a category can be challenging, especially when the categories are as broad as Cognitive Solutions and Watson IoT. It’s a fantastic problem to have though! There are literally hundreds of paths IBM allows you to take but there is little reason to be intimidated, these paths often lead to great jobs and opportunities. Since there is so much variety in what is offered, finding an acceptable certification is as simple as looking at what work you are passionate about and pursuing a related path.

One of the neat things about IBM certifications is that the process is relatively straight-forward and often involves a single exam for a certification. The technical requirements are no slouch though, it may take a lot of work and effort to pass an exam, but since IBM requires fewer exams with a vast array of options, IBM allows you to tailor make your career path. Be forewarned, technical knowledge is necessary though as just picking a certification will require some level of proficiency with technologies and industry terms.

Some categories are also significantly larger than others. For instance IBM Analytics and IBM Cloud together currently offer over 170 certifications. We wouldn’t offer an IBM Certifications: Jobs, Training, & Exams guide though if we couldn’t illuminate the IBM testing eco system a little bit.

IBM offers both a wide-range of certifications for beginners and advanced professionals. They also offer separate mastery certs for those business professionals who have extensive knowledge and years of experience in a particular field.

Certifications that make employers throw themselves at you

There is a certification for everybody nestled amidst the IBM database but these certs are some of the best options for starting work with IBM solutions and products,

IBM Certified Solution Architect – Cloud Platform Solution V2:

Cloud set-ups are quickly become the norm today and the demand has been rising steadily for the last decade. IBM offers a premium certification on designing, implementing, and architecting cloud platforms. This certification is designed for a CSA to be able to finish cloud related tasks with minimal input and supervision. The C5050-380 exam tests this proficiency and can be taken with without meeting any pre-requisites as well.

IBM certified solution advisor – DevOps V1:

DevOps isn’t actually a program so much as a philosophy, similar to learning Agile. In many modern day working environments, collaboration and efficiency is an art in itself. The DevOps 1 exam C5050-300 is designed to test how you can share and teach the underlying concepts of DevOps development to stakeholders. Basically, as a philosophy DevOps can revolutionize the workflow of an office but they need advocates to share the concepts, train, and advise. For the tech minded person who loves team exercises and teaching workflow, this is a stellar career choice!

IBM Certified Solution Advisor – Cloud Reference Architecture V5:

While we have been transitioning to Cloud computing as an industry, there are still many who don’t understand the purpose and need for the Cloud. The C5050-287 exam is designed for people who can explain the perks of using IBM for Cloud based solutions and help clients realize the benefits of this system. Similar to a brand evangelist, the CSA Cloud Reference Architect can walk into a business and show them why they should convert to the IBM eco-system. This Cert is great for those in sales but also getting a foot in the door with an upper-level tech concept.

There is something unique about these three certifications as well. All of them were offered for free at the recent InterConnect 2017 conference. IBM seeks to help mobilize an army of tech savvy IT workers and has done a great job of offering free alternatives for those learning to grow in knowledge and skill.

I’m certified, but how the heck do I find a job?

Before diving into a cert and making the commitment to study and spend hundreds on tests, you need to know what a cert can really do for you. Since IBM professionals are in high demand, finding a job stateside is not really that challenging. IBM though takes it a step further and offers a member site that allows those with certs to create a profile and advertise themselves. This means that the gamut of people who will encounter your certification level online will they themselves be looking for a highly proficient worker who specializes in IBM systems. It’s similar to LinkedIn but purely for IBM professionals. Finding a high-quality job is quite easy though as the demand for IBM qualified professionals is HUGE these days.

Picking a cert is impossible! How can I make the process easy?

Informational videos can be found about the process on the IBM YouTube channel,  that walk you through all the aspects of certification with IBM as well. They do a fantastic job of walking you through the process of selecting an IBM certification, the value in getting a badge, and what options are offered through IBM.

And now you are a step closer to your dream job

Thank you for joining us for our guide on IBM Certifications: Jobs, Training, and Exams. Hopefully you learned something new and if this guide has helped you make the decision to pursue certification with IBM, please like, share, and comment as well! We want to know how you feel! As always, check back for more tech guides and good luck in pursuing your dreams!