What You Need to Know About Google Career Certificates

May 3, 2021


Jeffrey L. Katz


If you’re interested in a new job in some of the fastest-growing technology sectors, Google Career Certificates can provide some of the skills you’ll need. Google’s online learning programs now cover user-experience design, project management and data analytics – and include an Android development certification course. These are in addition to the IT support program that Google has offered since 2018. They are relatively inexpensive and do not require a degree or experience to enroll. Obtaining any of the certificates gives you access to interview tips and connections to more than 140 companies working with Google.

The company chose fields that can be taught well online, are in high demand, are well-paying and can be assessed for mastery, says Lisa Gevelber, vice president of Grow with Google. Courses are designed and taught by Google employees, in consultation with companies seeking to fill technology jobs. Google says there are more than 1 million open positions in these fields, with an average starting salary of $69,000.

Why Obtain a Google Career Certificate and Who Is It For?

The certificate programs are an option for someone interested in finding a technology job or improving their skills for a current role. Google designed these programs to target a wide audience; it says 59% of those who’ve enrolled in the IT support program don’t have a four-year degree. Compare that with 27% of the general population on Coursera, where the IT support program is offered.

But there are also benefits for those with a four-year degree. “What we’re offering is really complementary,” Gevelber says, “even for folks who have a college degree.”

Some analysts believe education and learning skills are part of lifelong career enhancement. As businesses and workplaces evolve, relying on an old degree isn’t always enough. “I don’t think one-and-done is the world of work anymore,” says Julia Panke Makela, associate director for assessment and research at the career center at the University of Illinois.

Overview of the Google Career Certificate Courses

The Google Career Certificate courses generally take three to six months to complete. Users set their own pace, so the time it takes to finish varies. The certificates for IT support, IT automation, UX design, data analytics and project management are offered on Coursera for $39 a month each. So a six-month course is $234. Scholarships are available. There is no charge for the Associate Android Developer Certification training. However, the certification exam costs $149 per attempt. The courses are taught by Google employees.

Google’s approach uses “gamified learning” by providing an interactive approach to covering the material, says Julia Pollak, a labor economist with ZipRecruiter. “It is a much better online learning experience than a classroom lecture via Zoom,” she says.

Google Project Management Professional Certificate

The Google Project Management Professional Certificate is for those who want to plan, organize and run projects. This includes such jobs as project manager, program manager, scrum master and project analyst. Skills include estimating time and budgets, managing stakeholders, and identifying and managing risks.

While professional certification is not required for project managers, it can demonstrate your knowledge in the field. Those who complete the certificate qualify to receive credit toward credentials like the Project Management Institute’s Certified Associate in Project Management certification, at a lower price.

Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate

Google’s Data Analytics certificate provides training for those who want to process and analyze data to help make business decisions. It focuses on skills for entry-level roles, such as associate data analyst, junior data scientist, data technician and marketing analyst.

Course content includes using data to solve problems and data storytelling with visualizations. Participants use spreadsheets, SQL and Tableau.

Google UX Design Professional Certificate

The Google UX Design Professional Certificate provides preparation to be a user experience designer, user interface designer and visual designer. Skills include developing personas, user stories and user journey maps; conducting usability studies; creating prototypes; and testing and iterating on designs. The program includes hands-on projects, peer reviews and discussion forums.

Google IT Support Professional Certificate

The Google IT Support Professional Certificate is designed for those interested in problem-solving to help computers and networks run smoothly. It can prepare you for jobs as database administrator, systems analyst and help desk technician. This introductory-level IT certificate is designed for those with no relevant experience.

Topics include troubleshooting, system administration and security. The program is also available in Spanish and Portuguese. Learn more about the Google IT Support Professional Certificate.

Google IT Automation With Python Professional Certificate

The Google IT Automation With Python Professional Certificate is essentially an advanced level to its IT support certificate. It's designed for those already familiar with basic IT concepts. The course deals with such topics as Python programming, IT automation and setting up your developer environment.

The program is also available in Spanish and Portuguese. It’s recommended that you have Python installed on your machine. For some courses, you’ll need a computer where you can install Git.

Associate Android Developer Certification

The Associate Android Developer Certification is separate from the Google Career Certificates and is not offered on Coursera. It consists of two parts: the course materials and the certification exam. Taking the course is free. The Associate Android Developer Certification exam, designed to test the skills of an entry-level Android developer, costs $149 per exam attempt, though pricing may vary based on your country.

The Android Basics in Kotlin training covers the essentials of developing, testing and debugging Android apps in the Kotlin programming language. It is designed for people with no programming experience and goes over Kotlin basics, layouts, navigation and connecting to the internet.

Google Career Certificate FAQs

How Do You Prepare for a Certificate Course?

Google says no degree or experience is required to enroll in these certificate courses. One of the purposes, Gevelber says, is to “remove college degrees from being a barrier to entry.”

How Long Does It Take to Get the Certificate?

Google says its career certificate courses generally take between three and six months to complete. It estimates that learners will devote about 10 weeks to each course. Users set their own pace, so the time it takes to finish varies.

Is a Google Career Certificate Worth It?

One of the benefits of a Google certificate is the access to potential employers. Google plays up its connection with a consortium of more than 140 companies, including Bayer, Verizon, Accenture, Deloitte, Anthem, SAP, Zennify and SiriusXM. Pollak says the collaboration encourages rapid feedback between course participants and employers. “They have such a clear employment focus right from the start,” she says.

As for its worth, the cost of the courses and availability of scholarships provide a low barrier to entry. That, coupled with no requirement for knowledge or experience, opens these fields to a wide group of consumers. It should encourage more people to see their education as part of a continuum, Makela says. “Lifelong learning and continuing to adapt and pick up new skills – like learning a new programming language – is the way of the future,” she says.

Are These Skills in Demand and What’s the Career Outlook?

The jobs you can get with these skills are generally in very high demand and should be for the foreseeable future.

Pollak says those who complete a course earn a digital badge that is integrated with Credly and can be pulled directly into the job seeker’s online job search profiles. “Completing an online certificate shows an employer that you are self-motivated, resourceful, have a genuine interest in the topic and have some level of proficiency,” she says.

Still, Google offers no guarantee of employment. And completing a course does not make you an expert, Pollak cautions. “You can’t just go from having no skills to taking a six-month course in data analytics and then present yourself on your resume as a data analyst.”

Computer support specialists will remain an in-demand job as organizations upgrade outdated hardware, software and network equipment and require more experienced, knowledgeable professionals to help users. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 8% employment growth for computer support specialists between 2019 and 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. An estimated 67,300 jobs should open up during that time in this field.

Data analysts fall into several job categories that the BLS tracks. Among them are operations research analyst, market research analyst and data scientist, which are all expected to grow much faster than average in the next 10 years.

Demand for web developers and UX designers will be driven by the continued popularity of mobile devices, according to the BLS. Developers and designers will have to create sites and interfaces that work on a variety of device screen sizes. The growth of e-commerce will also lead to more jobs, it says. As a result, the BLS projects employment in the job category that includes web developers and UX designers will grow 8% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. That would add 14,000 more jobs to this field during that time.

Software developers are employed in a range of industries, including computer systems design, manufacturing and finance. The BLS projects 22% employment growth in the field between 2019 and 2029, which is much higher than the average for all occupations. About 316,000 additional jobs are expected to be added in that time. The BLS attributes that in part to new applications on smartphones and tablets, as well as increased software needs by health and medical insurance and reinsurance carriers.

Every industry that has projects has project managers, who keep an eye on scope to limit distractions, make decisions and lead everyone involved in the project. A report commissioned for the Project Management Institute by the Anderson Economic Group studied 11 countries and estimated a 33% increase in the field from 2017 to 2027. In the U.S. alone, it estimated an increase of 213,974 jobs in that time. The report says that health care would be responsible for the largest percentage increase in project-oriented jobs among sectors analyzed in the U.S.

Will a Certificate Help Me Get a Job?

Only the online IT support course has been around long enough to establish a track record. Gevelber says of the roughly 50,000 people who’ve completed the program since it began in 2018, 82% reported a positive career outcome, whether it be a new job, a promotion or a raise.

Still, recruiters caution consumers that these courses are not a quick fix. “If you have been having a hard time getting interviews because you lack experience or a degree, these certificates will not guarantee an interview,” says Jim Johnson, a senior vice president for the technology division of staffing agency Robert Half. “But we have found that hiring managers appreciate the initiative candidates have taken to turn a ‘no,’ or ‘not yet’ into an opportunity for improvement.”

Google says certificate holders gain access to interview tips and mock interview sessions, in addition to connecting to its consortium of partner businesses. Gevelber says those with a UX design certificate, for instance, get help in preparing for a job interview, including building rapport with the interviewer.

Several analysts say the most important aspect of completing one of these courses is how to talk about it afterward. “The certificate can be very helpful,” Makela says. “But the reason it's helpful is you can put together this story (about) why you’re a great candidate for the job.”

Original article by 

Jeffrey L. Katz

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