Even though the economy is still down in many industries, IT is one of the industries that has not been affected at all. It fact, it has continued to grow. 2013 has been no exception. There are many excellent careers for a person to choose from if they have an interest in getting into IT. Here are the top five IT certifications for 2013, based on Google trends, research and expert opinion.

1. MCSE: Private Cloud

Average salary: $63,000

Salary range: $53,000 – $104,000

If you have taken a look inside any IT departments during the past year, you are well aware that “cloud” is a popular word among people in the IT industry. This popular Microsoft expert certification has been completely reinvented for the cloud. The Private Cloud certification has grown to be just as popular as the CCP cloud and CompTIA certifications in only six months. A demand for IT professionals with a certain set of skills has risen because of the popularity of cloud computing. These professionals must be able to create private cloud computing solutions by utilizing regular technology platforms. The MCITP program will be discontinued by Microsoft in 2014. People interested in this certification should now become MCSE’s. Therefore, 2013 is an ideal time to get MCSE certified to get a head start on those who will be converting in 2014.

2. PMP (Project Management Professional)

Average salary range: $81,000

Salary range: $62,000 – $95,000

Project management will never become outdated. It is a foundational skill that is constantly evolving as new tecnologies are introduced. A firm knowledge of project management allows people to effectively reduce costs, manage time, budget and plan. A large number of companies are downsizing and trying to become more efficient. This will make IT professionals with project management skills in high demand. It will also make their resumes more attractive.

3. MCSA (Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate)

Salary range: $53,000 – $114,000

Average salary: $63,000

In 2012, Microsoft revealed the latest group of certifications. This caused a large increase in their popularity. Earning one of these certifications will give a person the foundation they need to start a lucrative career. It will provide the basic IT know-how and prepare the student for higher Microsoft certifications. Some of the most popular from this grouping are:

MCSA: SharePoint 2013

MCSA: Windows 8

MCSA: SQL Server 2012

MCSA: Windows 2012 Server

4. CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional)

Average salary: $82,000

Salary range: $63,000 – $109,000

It is necessary for companies to protect their networks, data and systems. Therefore, information security architects are highly sought after. There has been a large shift to using cloud systems to store data. This means that security experts will play an important role in making sure that these systems are kept secure. The CISSP certification provides the highest average salary of all the certifications mentioned here.

5. VCP (VMware Certified Professional)

Average salary: $67,000

Salary range: $57,000 – $82,000

The creation of virtual computing platforms is known as virtualization. This is used as a way to lower infrastructure costs and increase scalability in computing environments that are hardware-intensive. VMware is the industry leader in virtual certifications and virtualization software. Their certifications are constantly increasing in value because VMware is reaching the height of their popularity.