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One year ago, I’ve written a post about the the top IT certifications, and one source was the  The Hardest IT Certifications to Get with a list of the most difficult certifications.

Now this list has been updated to the 2013 with several confirm, but also with new positions:

  1. Cisco Certified Architect – CCAr (same position) – Only 10-15 people achieved the Cisco Certified Architect title.
  2. Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA) Windows Server: Directory (“new” entry, that replace MCA on SQL Server, but could be considered a generic MCA) – Only 4 people have the Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA) Windows Server: Directory certification.
  3. ITIL v3 Master (new position) – At this moment only 33 people successfully finished the certification process.
  4. GIAC Security Expert (GSE) (new position) – Only around 60 people right now have the GSE certification.
  5. Oracle Certified Master (OCM) DBA 11g (previously was 3°) –  The OCM DBA exam is a real nightmare, but the certification itself has many benefits on the job market.
  6. Offensive Security Certified Expert (OSCE) (new) – It’s one of the coolest certifications to achieve.
  7. VMware Certified Design Expert – Datacenter Virtualization (VCDX) (previously was 6°) – Only 105-115 people hold the VCDX certification. Most of them work for VMware.
  8. Red Hat Certified Architect (RHCA) (previously was 4°) – This is the hardest Linux certifications to get in the world. Exams require from you a lot of skills and a lot of money.

Considerations are quite the same of last year: those certifications are maybe too much elective (and some are really too much expensive) and are not directly related to the salary or the job opportunity (although probably with one this you will have more opportunity and also a better salary).

For other lists see also: Mid-year check-in: Top 5 2013 IT certifications.


Virtualization, Cloud and Storage Architect. Tech Field delegate. VMUG IT Co-Founder and board member. VMware VMTN Moderator and vExpert 2010-20 and vExpert Pro. Dell TechCenter Rockstar 2014-15. Microsoft MVP 2014-16. Veeam Vanguard 2015-19. Nutanix NTC 2014-20. Several certifications including: VCDX-DCV, VCP-DCV/DT/Cloud, VCAP-DCA/DCD/CIA/CID/DTA/DTD, MCSA, MCSE, MCITP, CCA, NPP.