Google is expanding further into the world of professional certifications, issuing certs in three new areas: data analytics, project management, and user experience (UX) design. In addition, it’s also produced a new Associate Android Developer Certification for those interested in building a career around the mobile operating system.
These new professional certifications join Google’s IT Support certification that launched in 2018. All coursework is online, developed in conjunction with Coursera; Google claims that each certification will require under 10 hours of study per week.
The data analytics, project management, and user experience (UX) design certificates cost $39 per month (via subscription) on Coursera, which means the ultimate cost may hinge on how long it takes you to complete a course. The Associate Android Developer Certification is free, but the exam costs $149. Google funds certification scholarships through Grow with Google partners and Google.org grantees such as Merit America.
Each of the certifications covers the basics necessary to land an entry-level job. For instance, the data analytics certification covers data types and structures, how to use data to solve problems, data visualizations, and the R programming language. The project management certification, meanwhile, includes everything from estimating time and budgets to applying the Agile and Scrum frameworks.
The certifications are just one component of Google’s expanding, holistic approach to employment. The search-engine giant is also assembling an “employer consortium” of 130+ companies, including Verizon and SAP, that aims to hire entry-level workers with those Google certifications. Google itself is hiring for its apprenticeship program, with the aim of hiring hundreds of applicants over the next few years.
Google says it has two motivations for this current push. First, it feels it can assist the millions of people using its search engine to hunt for jobs amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Second, it hopes the certifications will encourage more people from all walks of life to start a learning journey and potentially apply for jobs, further diversifying the tech workforce.
“These certificates have already been successful in bringing in more talent from groups traditionally underrepresented in tech: 53 percent of graduates of the IT Support Certificate in the U.S. have been female, Black, Latino or veterans,” Google claimed in a blog posting. “And 82 percent of graduates overall say the program helped them advance their career within six months, including getting a raise, finding a new job, or starting a new business.”
Over the past several years, there’s been a considerable amount of debate over whether certifications actually help technologists land jobs. It’s an important question, because the amount of time and money needed to earn multiple certifications is considerable. This year’s Dice Salary Report found that just less than half of technologists (45 percent) had certifications, virtually unchanged from the year before. Of those who didn’t have certifications, some 51 percent said certs weren’t needed in their current role, while another 16 percent said that their employer wasn’t willing to pay for training and testing.
All that being said, employers in highly specialized arenas such as cybersecurity often consider certifications necessary. Having certs on your resume can also help you stand out when competing against a large pool of applicants for highly desirable roles such as data analyst or project manager. If you’re just starting out in tech, certifications are certainly worth considering—whether or not they actually come from Google.