We know digital skills are crucial to finding employment today, and even more so if one strives to make a good living. In fact, since the beginning of the last decade, more than 60% of jobs need either high-level or medium-level digital skills. While COVID-19 has caused a bump in unemployment, people are keen on learning new-age skills.
In today’s economy, even though higher education is appealing, for most people, it can be expensive and takes a long time (typically 3-5 years of college time) to learn the appropriate expertise. What if via learning-based online tools, people can acquire advanced skills quickly? To make way for such a scenario, Google is planning on introducing special career certificates that can support people in advancing their careers and even kickstart their tech careers to find well-paying jobs.
Kent Walker, SVP of Global Affairs for Google wrote in a blog that people shouldn’t need a college diploma to have economic security. “We need new, accessible job-training solutions—from enhanced vocational programs to online education—to help America recover and rebuild,” he wrote.
The new Google Career Certificates is developed on Google’s existing programs to generate pathways into IT Support careers for people without college degrees. With this, people can acquire job-ready skills to commence or advance careers in high-demand fields like data analyst, project manager, UX Designer, IT Support Specialist. According to Google, these certificates also connect learners to top national employers who are hiring for relevant job roles.
He further wrote that college degrees are out of reach for many Americans, and needs new, accessible job-training solutions—from enhanced vocational programs to online education—to help America recover and rebuild. Ken Walker wrote about Yves Cooper, who previously worked as a van driver and later took the IT support certificate program. Within five days of finishing the program, he was given a role as an IT helpdesk technician at a nonprofit in Washington, D.C.
Grow With Google Initiative
The recent introduction of certificates come under the “The Grow with Google Career Certificates” education initiative. With this Initiative, the company will assist people in getting the abilities they require to get a job or build their business. There are hundreds of apprenticeship opportunities at Google for people finishing these career certificate programs to provide real on-the-job training.
Plus, there are 100,000 need-based scholarships, funded by Google, to complete any of these career certificates. Google has also partnered with more than 100 community colleges to help with the registration and teaching assistance for the courses.
“We will fund 100,000 need-based scholarships, and at Google, we will hold our new career certificates as the equivalent of a four-year degree for relevant roles. We’re also committing $10 million in job training Google.org grants for communities across America, working with partners like YWCA, NPower and JFF,” wrote Walker.
The programs will be taught by the company’s employees who work in the specific field of data analytics, project management and UX experience, and IT Support. It is to be noted these career certificates are different from Google Cloud certifications, which focus on developing advanced expertise for professionals that use Google Cloud technology products.
What Are The Various Certificates?
Let’s take a look at which career certificates Google has developed. Google only has the course descriptions available at the moment, and the company has given a release date. The announcement is primarily targeted to American workers, but it is expected that later will be expanded worldwide.
Data Analyst: With a median salary of $66,000 as per Burning Glass, the data analyst role has been included as part of career certificates. Google says that the certificate for data analysts can help them with the confidence and expertise in navigating the data lifecycle utilising tools and platforms to process, analyse and visualise to get insights from datasets. Such insights are essential for business managers to make effective decisions.
Project Manager: The next in the list is the job role of a project manager, which commands the median salary of $93,000 as per Burning Glass. Project managers are high in demand today, and Google seems to meet the demand for this high paying job with a six-month career certificate. According to Google, this certificate is centred on the fundamentals of traditional project management and also provides training in agile project management.
UX Designers: According to Google, this certificate guides learners with the foundations of UX design and research, creating low-fidelity designs and wireframes, designing high-fidelity prototypes, and testing. UX designers (median annual income, $75,000) help make technology products simpler and more pleasant to use by building interfaces to deliver a great user experience.
IT Support Specialist: Finally, one of the most popular certificates from Google is the IT support specialist which includes learning the function of troubleshooting and problem solving for IT systems, and producing great customer service in the process. IT support specialists help maintain everything from networking to operating systems, and system administration to security across organisations.
Google has been running this professional certificate for a while on Coursera, benefitting professionals with finding a new job, receiving a pay raise, or commencing a new business.
Launched in 2018, the Google IT Certificate program has grown to be one of the most well-known certificates on Coursera. Google said that thousands of people have got new jobs and raised their earnings after completing the course.
Why This Is Important
Google has specified that the certificates are a pathway to jobs because the tech giant will directly connect Certificate completers with top employers in respective countries. The certificates are designed for learners to become job-ready for high demands and well-paid job roles with median annual pay over $50,000.
Google’s certificate courses can be finished in a period of six months. The best part is that Google has hinted that they will be treated as equivalent four-year college degrees by Google.
Because it is entirely developed by Google, it can be a game-changer for those looking to switch fields or advance their careers further. Not just that, Google has announced that it will provide grants scholarships to deserving learners. All the resources related to courses and specific jobs will be hosted on Coursera.
Just like other career certificates, Google says there is no degree or prior experience required. In fact, 61% of learners enrolled do not hold a four-year degree. This certificate could be a perfect launchpad to a career in IT. The certificate courses are not provided for free. In terms of fees, for its current IT support program, an average student takes about three to six months to finish the certificate program which entails a cost of $49 per month.
The importance of short term certificates is that they train people on practical skills in the short term instead of a traditional college education. Such skills and certifications can play a crucial role in reselling and continuous learning needed in the tech sector.
Such certificates are not only beneficial in acquiring niche skills, but they are also much more affordable than traditional university degrees. Plus, the curriculum can be revised every year based on the demands of hands-on job work, something which colleges don’t do.
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Vishal Chawla is a senior tech journalist at Analytics India Magazine and writes about AI, data analytics, cybersecurity, cloud computing, and blockchain. Vishal also hosts AIM's video podcast called Simulated Reality- featuring tech leaders, AI experts, and innovative startups of India.