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Basic Certifications that everyone in IT should obtain regardless of their specialty

CompTIA A+ Core 1

The Eight Basic IT Specialties

The Eight Basic IT Specialties

Remembering that IT is short for “Information Technology” helps us to remember that all IT is about the flow of information. IT is a combination of software, hardware, cloud services, and networking equipment all working together in a secure manner.


After getting a good solid base of fundamental understanding you will begin to see what specialties look most interesting to you and what you naturally excel at.

There are eight basic specialties that you can pursue in IT. Each comes with its own set of challenges and will appeal to different people.

  • Information Security

  • Network and Cloud Technologies

  • Hardware, Services and Infrastructure

  • IT Management and Strategy

  • Storage and Data

  • Web and Mobile

  • Software Development

  • Technical Instruction

Download the PDF roadmap to your first certifications

certification roadmap cover

Start your career in IT rapidly using our certification roadmap.

Plan your journey to success using our certification roadmap. You can narrow down the career you want in IT and study for the credentials that you need to land the job of your dreams.

The IT Certification Path

Your path forward will learn into one of the 8 specialties. Learn more about each of them.

Information Security

Information security includes a wide range of jobs titles including Ethical Hacker, Cyber Security Analyst, Penetration Tester, and System Administrator. These jobs can consulting based or offer full-time employment and will appeal to people who like to set up projects and knock them out.

You will find openings in this field across all sizes of organizations and anywhere in the world.

Network and Cloud Technologies

Network Administrators, Data Center Technicians, Networking Engineers, Cloud Solutions Architects and more are jobs you can find when you specialize in Network and Cloud technologies. You will often find yourself specializing in a specific brand of technology. The CCNP certification will give you specialist knowledge with Cisco hardware, and Amazon’s AWS has a whole slew of certificates for helping you work with cloud networking technologies.

Finding a job in Network and Cloud Technologies begins with the Netowrk+ certification.

Hardware Services and Infrastructure

Servers and workstations, both local and in the cloud, are the core of this specialty. This can lend itself towards System Administration jobs, IT Help Desk, Managed Service Provider, or Computer Repair.

Many jobs posts for these positions require only an A+ certification. Additionally, this field is great for those with exceptional communication skills.

IT Management and Strategy

No field is complete without managers. People in this position will need a strong understanding of every area of IT while being able to manage others. These people often find themselves working as Chief Technical Officers (CTO) or as Project Managers. They often pick up the Project+ certification to complement their IT knowledge.

Good managers are near impossible to come by. If you fit the bill, you will be in high demand.

Storage and Data

Database Administrators, Backup Managers, Data Center Technicians, and more can benefit from traveling down this specialty. With current trends, you will likely find yourself focusing on cloud technology such as Google’s Cloud Platform, Amazon’s Web Services, or Microsoft’s Azure.

These jobs require a strong understanding of both how data flows and how data is stored so you will spend time learning networking, database management, and hardware.

Web and Mobile

This field is dramatically different from everything else discussed thus far. Web and mobile are almost completely development-related. Though a basic understanding of wireless networking sure helps. There is a large crossover between web and mobile development because several languages such as JavaScript are portable between both environments.

People who work in this field are more often called developers than IT professionals. In fact, software development and IT are often considered completely different fields.

Software Development

The primary differentiation between a software developer and a web and mobile developer is the languages and hardware they are developing for. Software developers usually work in Desktop and Server environments. Web and mobile are working with mobile devices or web technologies.

Software development is a HUGE industry in and of itself and is rarely gets the attention it deserves. Those who enjoy programming are usually very excited by their ability to CREATE.

Programming jobs can range all across the board. You can work a standard day job as a developer in many industries. Many more developers find themselves working as consultants or small businesses creating software for others or themselves to resell.


Like Software development, training is really a world unto itself. Training is a fabulous career for those who get excited by helping others succeed. Teachers have a unique skill of breaking down complex ideas into bite-sized chunks and explaining concepts to people in an easy-to-understand manner.

Training is on fire these days as there is just too much to know. A mastery of even a single subject matter will give you a leg up on others also looking to switch into this career. So it is best to work in the industry before switching to a role in training.

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