COVID-19 Update

Google Career Certificates Are the Latest Example of Focus on Skills Over Degrees

Shift by large tech companies to thinking about employee skills rather than their prowess in the classroom is an important development.

Leave a Comment
Google Career Certificates Are the Latest Example of Focus on Skills Over Degrees

Google is taking steps to replace a four-year college degree with six-month certificate programs that teach candidates how to perform in-demand jobs.

These courses, which the company is calling Google Career Certificates, “teach foundational skills that can help job-seekers immediately find employment,” according to a recent Inc report.

“College degrees are out of reach for many Americans, and you shouldn’t need a college diploma to have economic security,” writes Kent Walker, senior VP of global affairs at Google in the company announcement.

“We need new, accessible job-training solutions—from enhanced vocational programs to online education—to help America recover and rebuild,” he said, noting the certificates as good as a college degree in Google’s eyes.

“In our own hiring, we will now treat these new career certificates as the equivalent of a four-year degree for related roles,” Walker tweeted in introducing the Google Career Certificates.

Google didn’t say exactly how much the new courses would cost but noted the company will fund 100,000 needs-based scholarships to support the Google Career Certificates program.

Google claims their courses, which would cost a fraction of a traditional university education, prepare students to immediately find work in high-paying, high-growth career fields.

The three new programs Google is offering, together with the median annual wage for each position (as quoted by Google), are:

  • Project manager ($93,000)
  • Data analyst ($66,000)
  • UX designer ($75,000)

Here’s more from the Inc report:

Google claims the programs “equip participants with the essential skills they need to get a job,” with “no degree or prior experience required to take the courses.” Each course is designed and taught by Google employees who are working in the respective fields.

“The new Google Career Certificates build on our existing programs to create pathways into IT support careers for people without college degrees,” Walker explains.

After completion of a program, Google promises support in the job search as well. The company says participants can “opt in to share [their] information directly with top employers hiring for jobs in these fields.”

Additionally, Google says it will offer hundreds of apprenticeship opportunities to participants who have completed the course. And beginning this fall, the company will offer its IT support certificate in career and technical education high schools throughout the U.S.

Google joins Apple, IBM and other companies in its increasing focus on the skills of its employees over the degrees they possess and that’s an important shift in the hiring dynamic, especially in AV and IT, where high school grads are more interested in starting their careers than going to college.

The big test, of course, will be how the overall marketplace responds to candidates who complete the Google Career Certificates program but don’t go to college. If this can become the new standard in some professions, it could be a benefit for both the employers and the job candidates.

CoronaVirus Update