Google has launched its own certification for web developers, and will focus on mobile development in its curriculum.
While noting that the curriculum isn’t limited to the mobile web (“don’t worry, the skills demonstrated in this exam can be used on the desktop and across all browsers”), Google’s Mobile Web Specialist Certification leans into mobile development as a means to stimulate growth for the web as a whole. “Based on a thorough analysis of the market, this new certification highlights developers who have in-demand skills as mobile web developers,” writes Sarah Clark, Google Program Manager of Web Developer Training.
Unlike many Google services, this one isn’t free. A study guide comes at no charge, but the exam costs $99 U.S. (or 6,500 INR for residents of India). Google doesn’t say the program is limited to those two geographies, but discussing the two currencies specifically is a bit strange.
The actual exam is online, open-book, and timed (you have four hours to complete it). Those who take it will have three attempts to pass, and are asked to take a 10-minute exit interview. The interview is designed to let you explain your answers (or lack thereof). Upon completion, you will receive a badge that Google says is ideal for social media profiles (just in case a recruiter stumbles on your social media profile, we guess).
Google’s program is untested, so we can’t say whether or not it will make a difference to potential hiring managers. To date, Google has chosen to partner with Udacity for much of its official coursework. While this program obviously deviates from that previous course, we’d have to question if it’s really worth it. If we’re comparing a $99 certification to a MOOC course costing hundreds or (potentially) thousands of dollars, we’d have to assume Google’s certification is a light touch.
Positioned for the “competent mobile web developer” who has attained knowledge via “a combination of education, self-study, and job experience,” there’s still a question of why that particular web developer would need this certification. Aside from a badge, Google hasn’t convinced us anyone should fork over cash for its certification.