Want to go to school with Google? The tech company announced new online certificate programs. The programs may become the way of the educational future. They are designed to teach skills in fields like Data Analytics, User Experience (UX) Design, and Project Management—with no experience or college degree required.
The company says a skills gap was created as more digital jobs became available. There weren’t enough people qualified to fill positions Google needed.
The “Grow with Google” courses are meant to offer a track to entry-level tech jobs, even for those who can’t afford or don’t want a four-year degree. According to Inc., Google decided that each new certificate had to provide a path to a high-demand, well-paying job, be in a field in which the company had expertise, and be taught online.
Online course provider Coursera furnishes the certificates once a student completes a full study. Most students will finish a course in about six months or less. At $39 per month, the average enrollee could qualify for a job-producing certificate for less than $240.
Google isn’t the only company offering its own specialized training. For example, coding bootcamps prepare students for web development jobs in a matter of months. WORLD News Group, which produces WORLDteen, offers one- to two-week journalism intensives for early- and mid-career adults through its WORLD Journalism Institute. Many of WORLD’s hires previously went through this training.
Some analysts think that this approach will significantly change the way people view higher education. Many people go to college thinking it will help them get a well-paying job. But often students take on significant debt to pay for that education. A variety of online certificate programs could become the means for willing workers to increase their earning potential without incurring a debt burden.
But will employers hire people with these certificates? Kent Walker is Senior Vice President for Global Affairs at Google. He says that when hiring, Google will treat a certificate as the equivalent of a four-year degree. And Google has collected a group of employers committed to considering program graduates for hire. Some, though, warn that a six-month program may not be enough preparation for a real job.
Still, jobseekers considering either a short certificate program or a four-year degree must remember: Don’t neglect your own hard work. Neither a degree nor a certificate guarantees a job on its own. Proverbs 14:23 tells us, “In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.”