The necessity of professional certifications is a topic of debate, with many software developers dismissing their relevance in securing a job. However, in a competitive job market, anything that can provide an edge or help you stand out as a candidate is worth considering.

For those early in their careers or looking to pivot, obtaining certification can offer validation of your skills before you have accumulated significant experience. Professional certifications also demonstrate a commitment to continuous learning and staying current with the latest technologies and best practices—an essential trait for any software developer.

Additionally, while the assessments for certifications may incur costs, the educational materials are often free. This allows you to build up your industry-ready skillset and find alternative ways to showcase your abilities to potential employers.

1. AWS Certified Developer

AWS’s dominance in the cloud marketplace means that expertise in its services is often a job requirement. For instance, this cloud data architect position at Adesso seeks candidates with proven technology expertise in AWS, ideally supported by manufacturer certifications or project experience.

Becoming an AWS Certified Developer has no formal prerequisites, but AWS suggests having at least one year of experience with applications built on its platform before attempting the certification. The certification process includes a 130-minute exam costing €138. Successfully passing this exam demonstrates certified knowledge of AWS architecture best practices, user support, web development and deployment, debugging, and software lifecycle management.

2. Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals

Microsoft’s Azure is the second-largest cloud service provider globally, following AWS. For those new to the field and looking to establish a career with Azure, obtaining an Azure Fundamentals certification is highly recommended. This certification proves to potential employers that you have a solid grasp of Azure’s basic architecture and serves as a stepping stone for more advanced Azure certifications from Microsoft.

For instance, a Microsoft developer position in Rennes highlights that possessing at least one Microsoft certification is advantageous for candidates.

The Azure Fundamentals exam takes approximately 45 minutes to complete and costs €99 or less, depending on your location. Additionally, developers should be aware that Microsoft’s specialty certifications are subject to expiration and must be renewed periodically.

3. Oracle Certified Professional: Java SE Developer

Nearly one-third of developers worldwide utilize Java, and for good reason: it is a highly popular platform for enterprise development. If your experience has been confined to Java SE 8 or an older version, obtaining certification in SE 11 or 17 will show employers that you are current with the latest advancements. For instance, this Java developer position at CGI lists Java 11 as a key technology requirement.

The certification exams for Java SE 11 or SE 17 developers last 90 minutes, include 50 multiple-choice questions, and cost €228. While there are no prerequisites for these exams, having hands-on experience with Java is strongly recommended.

4. Salesforce Platform Developer

Salesforce has consistently led the CRM market, holding nearly 25% of the market share. For those aiming to achieve the Salesforce Platform Developer I certification, having prior development experience and familiarity with Lightning, Salesforce’s app development platform, is advisable.

The certification exam lasts up to 105 minutes, features 60 multiple-choice questions, and costs $200 (€185). Additionally, maintaining Salesforce certifications necessitates the completion of annual maintenance modules.

5. Certified Scrum Developer

The Scrum Alliance, a non-profit organization, offers training and certification in Agile development. Becoming a Certified Scrum Developer (CSD) focuses more on demonstrating your soft skills and ability to function within an Agile team rather than just your technical prowess.

This certification can be a valuable step for developers looking to enhance their skills in team leadership and management. Currently, there are numerous scrum master positions available in the Netherlands, such as at JEX software agency in Rotterdam, IT consultancy Capgemini in Eindhoven, and Utrecht University.

To obtain the CSD certification, you need to complete at least 14 hours of training followed by an evaluation. Course costs vary, and the certification is valid for two years, with an option to renew for a fee.

6. Certified Software Development Professional

This professional software development certification is offered by IEEE, an organization dedicated to promoting professional growth. The certification exam, taken online, consists of 160 questions covering software requirements, design, construction, and testing, and has a duration of three hours.

While not mandatory, it is recommended that candidates have at least two years of higher education in computer science or a related field, along with two additional years of professional experience. The exam fee is up to $485 (€448), with discounts available for students and IEEE members.

The cost and experience requirements make this certification more exclusive, but it is highly regarded due to IEEE’s reputation. According to IEEE, their certifications are recognized as hiring benchmarks by major companies like Siemens, IBM, and Oracle.

7. Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional

Issued by (ISC)², a professional organization dedicated to the training and development of cybersecurity professionals, the CSSLP certification targets software developers aiming to elevate their security expertise. This certification emphasizes skills in authentication, authorization, and auditing, requiring candidates to have four years of professional experience in software development to qualify.

The four-hour exam costs €555 and includes 175 multiple-choice questions. Accreditation is especially critical in the cybersecurity field, and the CSSLP certification, recognized by the US Department of Defense, underscores the importance of formal credentials in this sector.