Google yesterday announced that it was putting out three new certificate programs in UX (user experience), data analytics and project management and while they sound complex, you do not need any formal degree to sing up for these new programs.
Google says these programs will be taught to those interested by Google employees after which a certificate is issued upon completion. The program range anytime between three and six months. Google is partnering with Coursera (an online learning platform) to deliver the actual lectures so if you are already Coursera user or any other online learning platform for that matter, this shouldn’t be difficult to sign up to.
Google’s vice president Lisa Gevelber who is also the head of Grow with Google and Google for Startups says “This is not revenue-generating for Google. There’s a small cost from the Coursera platform itself — the current pricing is $49 a month — but we want to ensure that anyone who wants to have this opportunity, can have it.”
To show its commitment to getting people to learn, Google says it will provide 100,000 scholarships to individuals who are enrolled in any of the certificate programs. To this end, they will make $10m available to YWCA, NPower and JFF which are non-profits themselves.
On the program website, Google take this a step further by providing some info on how much an average worker in any of the programs earns in the industry and to them, the three programs are competitive areas in the tech industry. For example, they say the median wage for project managers is $93,000 while for UX designers is about $75,000 per annum.
While this is not a new initiative by Google, we can at least agree that this announcement is on a bigger scale compared to what they announced two years ago and the Coronavirus pandemic has made it even more popular as more people seek online learning as opposed to being in physical campuses. There is also the issue of affordability as college fees continue to skyrocket even as more people grapple with the new economic realities of automation. The Google VP says “While college degrees have tons of value, they are not accessible to everyone, we believe that the absence of a college degree should not be a barrier to economic stability.”
There is also the issue of diversity in the workplace which has been a problem and in light of recent civil unrests, it has become imperative for tech companies to diversify their workforce. The three organisations that get the $10m Google is providing represent women groups, veterans and other minorities which are the very group of people Google may be targeting. To this Lisa Gevelber says “When we first built the IT certificate, we built it for our own use, “We wanted to diversify our own workforce and we knew to do that we needed to create an on-ramp for underrepresented and ‘non-traditional applicants.’ We thought a certificate would be a way to accomplish that goal, and it did.”