Google Offers 8-month IT Support Professional Certificate Program
Working with MOOC resource and delivery platform Coursera, Google has quietly introduced an 8-to-12 month certificate program that aims to train up entry level IT support personnel. It's called the IT Support Professional Certificate, and it's available right now.
Google is also teaming up with over 25 community colleges in 7 states around the USA to offer the program through their local facilities and training networks. Cost is minimal, too: materials are free for a 7-day trial, and then cost $49 a month for access until the program is completed.
Google says completion time should be eight months for a person willing to invest 8-to-10 hours per week on perusing course materials, and completing course assignments, labs, and tests/quizzes. This is a pretty awesome deal for people seeking a quick pathway to work in entry-level IT support positions.
As one Google executive observes on the overview video available at the afore-linked program page, "You don't need a four-year computer science degree to find a full-time job as an IT support professional."
The story that brought this program back to my attention appeared in a Texas-focused community newspaper called Community Impact (we get a paper version in our mailbox here in Round Rock, Texas, twice a month). That story is titled "Google to bring IT certification program to Lone Star College campuses."
Dated July 19, by staff writer Cheval Price, it recounts how this program will be on the curriculum for this fall (the 2018-2019 academic year) at Lone Star College's Houston-area campuses in CY-FAIR (online), Kingwood, Montgomery, North Harris, Tomball, and University Park locations. As the system's associate vice chancellor, Linda Head, says in the story the new program is "meant to help students become more marketable as they look for careers post-graduation or while attending college."
What's really interesting about the offering is the statement that the program "will be available this fall and will be expanded to an associate degree program in the spring 2019 semester" (emphasis mine). I believe this portends a possible wave of such degrees at the current community colleges that are participating in the Google program.
Because there is a large and vibrant educational marketplace in the United States, if Google's program does well for these early adopters, I also believe it could become a "thing" at community colleges all over the country.
Given that, as of February 2017, there were 1,462 community colleges in the United States (1,047 public and 415 private), that means wide and easy access for interested would-be IT support professionals nationwide. Thus, I have to see this as a powerful force for first-time workforce entrants looking to start a career.
It's also a great option for those in need of retraining. Whether a given individual is planning to make a career switch, or simply seeking alternate employment after losing a job in a different industry or workplace, Google's training could be a lifesaver.