Google and Coursera are announcing a new program aimed at those ready to break into information technology (IT).
The aptly named Google IT Support Professional Certificate spans 36 weeks. It features 64 hours of video, 176 assignments, and 26 interactive labs along with 31 coding assignments. Google and Coursera assume it will take roughly 10 hours per week, so you won’t have to quit your day job (yet).
Over those 36 weeks, students will progress through six distinct courses ranging from fundamentals through “Defense against the Digital Dark Arts.” Each course is roughly six weeks long.
The entire program has been designed by Google, and will be administered by Googlers. Coursera says Google’s hands-on labs are designed to mimic real-world scenarios you’ll encounter on the job. It also covers the real dark arts of an IT pro: soft skills. Yup, Google will even teach you how to be a nerd and speak to people who can’t turn a monitor on without getting a call from HR afterward.
In an interesting twist, Google is also providing financial assistance via Google.org. In 2018, at least 10,000 students in the United States will receive assistance via Goodwill, Per Scholas, Year Up, Student Veterans of America, and Upwardly Global. The aim is to recognize “underserved groups.” Those who wish to apply for financial assistance must do so by February 20.
As with any program, the aftermath is as critical as the curriculum. Luckily, IT pros are in high demand. A quick search via Dice for “IT Support” yields over 47,000 open jobs nationwide. Hundreds of jobs per-state (on average) is pretty good! Even Rhode Island has 116 openings.
And job growth for the segment is ahead of the curve. By 2026, The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says, IT specialist roles should increase by 10 percent, which is “faster than average.” (The BLS adds that over 835,000 “Computer Support Specialist” roles were available in 2016, paying an average of $52,160 per year.) Data tells us healthcare and financial technology are seeing a huge uptick for jobs in IT, while a separate study shows that tech pros at smaller firms are happier.
Coursera says the program will be offered for $49 per month, which the company assumes will cost students $400-600, depending on how quickly they advance through the certificate program. Of course, if you wanted to dedicate yourself to the work full time, it would be much cheaper.