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Advanced skills and certifications for IT analysts

July 03, 2024
Team of IT analysts looks over and discusses data.

If you're a tech-savvy person with an interest in solving big-picture business challenges, a role as an IT analyst could deliver a lot of opportunities with the right education. Information technology systems empower the entire global market, so your range of career paths as an IT analyst is incredibly diverse, covering every sector from private to public and across all industries and fields.

To gain a competitive advantage as a candidate for these specialized IT analyst roles you'll want a degree in information science, computing, or the like, to provide you with a foundation of technical skills, complemented with IT certifications or graduate level specialization in your desired niche.

Core advanced skills for IT analysts

IT analysts play a pivotal role in organizations leveraging data to guide strategic decisions, streamline processes, and enhance system efficiencies. To excel in this critical role, professionals must cultivate a robust skill set that blends technology solutions and business analysis. Both information technology and business strategy are ever-changing and demand continuous skill development and professional growth. While becoming a specialized analyst requires additional unique knowledge, skills and abilities, some common skills needed for any IT analyst's day-to-day job performance include:

  • Critical thinking and communication: Soft skills that are necessary for most professionals are crucial for analysts working on complex interdepartmental projects
  • Data analysis and interpretation: Skills in managing databases and presenting data through visualization tools for clear, impactful reporting
  • Cybersecurity skills: Essential skills for protecting data and networks, including threat detection and response
  • Project management: Expertise in leading projects from inception to completion, ensuring they meet deadlines, budgets, and goals
  • Advanced programming skills: Proficiency in programming languages such as Python, SQL, and Java to develop and optimize applications
  • Cloud computing: Knowledge in deploying and managing applications in the cloud for scalable computing resources

Top certifications for IT analysts

Professional certifications validate an analyst's expertise and commitment to the field, differentiate them in a competitive job market, and often lead to career advancement and higher salary potential. Information technology certifications keep professionals up-to-date with industry trends, methodologies, and best practices, ensuring they remain invaluable assets to their organizations.

Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

The CISSP is the certification for security analysts who want to lead an organization’s information security program. This certification is meant for professionals working in a role such as security systems analysts, auditors, cybersecurity architects, or network architects. The certification exam covers security and risk management, asset security, security architecture and engineering, communication and network security, identity and access management, security assessment and testing, security operations and software development security.1


According to the ISC2 website, CISSP candidates must have a minimum of five years cumulative, full-time experience in two or more of the eight domains of the current CISSP Exam Outline (the topics covered in the exam, mentioned previously). Earning a post-secondary degree (bachelors or masters) in computer science, IT or related fields may satisfy up to one year of the required experience or an additional certification may satisfy up to one year of the required experience. Part-time work and internships may also count towards the experience requirement.

ISC2 also provides the opportunity for professionals who don't yet meet 5 years of experience requirement to gain status as an "Associate of ISC2" by passing the exam and completing their remaining years of experience.

Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

Earning the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) certification is a strategic move for professionals seeking to establish or advance their careers in IT audit, control, and security. This certification, offered by ISACA, is globally recognized as a gold standard for IT audit professionals and validates their skills and commitment to a code of professional ethics. Further, being a certified member of CISA gives you access to networking opportunities that could be helpful in job searching and resourcing.3


To become CISA certified, an individual must:

  • Pass the certification exam
  • Pay a $50 application processing fee
  • Submit application to demonstrate 5 years of IS audit, control, assurance or security work experience
  • Agree to adhere to the Code of Professional Ethics
  • Agree to adhere to the Continuing Professional Education Policy
  • Comply with the Information Systems Auditing Standards

Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

Learning ethical hacking is essential for identifying vulnerabilities, enhancing security measures, meeting compliance, and offering career growth. It empowers professionals to protect against cyber threats and foster trust in digital ecosystems. Certified Ethical Hacker training, deployed by the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants, also known as EC-Council is perfect for any IT analyst in cybersecurity including cybersecurity auditors, cyber defense analysts, vulnerability assessors, and more.5


Those interested in CEH certification can qualify for the exam in two ways:

  • Attend official training administered by an authorized training center or at a college or university that is an official EC-Council Academia Partner.
  • Complete an eligibility application to skip training and take the exam.

Regardless of the path chosen, applicants are required to have 2 years of IT security analyst experience.

Project Management Professional (PMP)

An IT analyst might seek Project Management Professional (PMP) certification to sharpen organizational and leadership skills, ensuring efficient project delivery within scope, time, and budget constraints. It elevates their role, enhances collaboration across teams, and improves their ability to manage complex projects, leading to better job opportunities and career advancement.


Analysts interested in PMP certification may apply according to the criteria below:

If you have a four-year college degree:

  • 36 months of experience leading projects within the past eight years
  • 35 hours of project management education/training or CAPM® certification

If you have a high school or secondary school diploma:

  • 60 months of experience leading projects within the past eight years
  • 35 hours of project management education/training or CAPM® certification

Amazon Web Services (AWS) Certified Solutions Architect

An IT analyst seeking Amazon Web Services (AWS) Certified Solutions Architect certification aims to demonstrate expertise in designing scalable, high-performing solutions on AWS. It validates their ability to architect and deploy secure applications, making them invaluable for cloud projects, enhancing their marketability, and opening doors to advanced career opportunities in the thriving cloud computing sector.


AWS recommends individuals interested in the solutions architect certificate program have:

  • Familiarity with AWS CLI, AWS APIs, AWS CloudFormation templates, the AWS Billing Console, the AWS Management Console, a scripting language, and Windows and Linux environments
  • Ability to provide best practice guidance on the architectural design across multiple applications and projects of the enterprise as well as an ability to map business objectives to application/architecture requirements
  • Ability to evaluate cloud application requirements and make architectural recommendations for implementation, deployment, and provisioning applications on AWS
  • Ability to design a hybrid architecture using key AWS technologies (e.g., VPN, AWS Direct Connect) as well as a continuous integration and deployment process

Google Cloud Professional Data Engineer

Earning the Google Cloud Professional Data Engineer certification enables IT analysts to showcase their proficiency in designing, building, operationalizing, securing, and monitoring data processing systems on Google Cloud. It signifies their expertise in leveraging Google Cloud technologies, driving data-driven decision making, and positions them as an asset in the growing field of cloud-based data solutions.8


This certificate program

  • Recommended 3+ years of industry experience including 1+ years designing and managing solutions using Google Cloud
  • $200 registration fee

Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP®)

The CBAP certification is ideal for IT analysts who intend to follow a career path to executive roles and want to have evidence of their business analyst acumen along with their skills working with computer systems.9


The CBAP certificate program requires candidates:

  • Complete a minimum of 7,500 hours of Business Analysis Work experience in the last 10 years

    • Within this experience, a minimum of 900 hours completed in 4 of the 6 BABOK® Guide Knowledge Areas, for a total of at least 3,600 of the required 7,500 total
  • 35+ hours of professional development in the last 4 years
  • Two references
  • Agree to Code of Conduct and Terms and Conditions
  • Pass the exam

How to choose the right certification

When choosing a certification, it's important to align your selection with career goals, industry demands, and personal interests. Certifications can significantly impact your career, enhance your skillset and boost your credibility within your professional community.

Here are some tips for researching and selecting the most beneficial certifications:

  • Identify Your Career Goals: Clearly define where you want your career to head and how a certification can help you get there.
  • Analyze Industry Trends: Look into the most sought-after certifications in your industry to stay competitive and relevant.
  • Seek Recommendations: Consult with mentors, colleagues, and industry forums to gather insights on beneficial certifications.
  • Consider Practical Application: Choose certifications that offer practical skills you can apply in your current or desired job role.
  • Evaluate Time and Investment: Consider the cost, both in terms of time and money, and balance it against the potential ROI in your career development.
  • Check Accreditation: Ensure the certification is recognized and accredited by reputable organizations within your field.

Aligning certifications with these factors not only enhances professional development but also ensures that the effort you invest significantly contributes to your career advancement.

Specialize your role with Marquette

Whichever IT analyst certification you may choose, obtaining the right educational foundation is essential for developing and evolving your skills into specialized expertise and preparing you for success at the highest professional level. Achieving an advanced degree in information technology will place you at the front of the line, prepared to lead in an exciting and cutting-edge field. A top-ranking program like the Online M.S. in Computing from Marquette University will help you specialize in your role, fine-tune your skills, and become a leader who will Be the Difference.

Our 100% Online IT master’s program offers four distinct program pathways, designed to meet the needs of everyone from beginners to tech-savvy professionals:

If you're ready for an exciting future as a specialized IT analyst and leader, Marquette offers the perfect choice for developing your innovative IT mindset, evolving your leading-edge skillsets and setting you up for long-term professional success.

Talk to an admissions outreach advisor to learn more.