If you’re wondering about your next career move, how about a new qualification that you can pay very little for and complete in just months?
How about something that big-name companies have pledged to recognise with as much kudos as a full degree? A certification where 82% of learners report a “positive career outcome,” such as a new job, within six months?
In this article, we discuss how these courses work, and what you can expect from them. We also help you to work out whether they’re a good fit for YOU.
- The Basics
- Are Google Professional Certificates Worth It?
- How Long Does It Take to Complete Coursera Professional Certificates?
- What Certificates are Available?
- Some Things to Check Out Before You Go
As always, we will start at the beginning:
What Are Google Professional Certificates?
Google Professional Certificates are training courses designed to prepare students for entry-level positions in high-growth tech jobs. They span technical support, data analytics, project management, automation and design.
The courses are delivered by online training platform, Coursera, a company that also offers other similar certifications from big names like IBM and Facebook.
Each program is made up of a series of modules that students can study online at their own pace. Each course is designed and taught by experts in the field.
What is Coursera?
Coursera is an online training company that specialises in working with well-known colleges and top firms. The company works in partnership with Google to deliver the professional certification training.
Are Google Professional Certificates Worth It?
Google Professional Certificates are 100% online, relatively cheap and fast to complete, and actually carry a fair amount of industry weight. They are certainly worth it for people keen to begin a career in IT.
Google has publicly stated that it will consider the certificates as equivalent to a four-year college degree, when recruiting for related roles. Completing one of these programs genuinely could give your tech career a head start.
Will a Google Professional Certificate Guarantee You a Job?
Nothing can ever GUARANTEE a job, but Google has certainly set things in place to help those who complete their certifications to find work.
The Google Employer Consortium gives certificate graduates access to an exclusive job platform with over 130 top US companies, all committed to considering course graduates for entry-level jobs.
When Google says that they have enlisted top US companies into their Employer Consortium they are not kidding (as you can see from the graphic below). Still, it is worth bearing in mind that this exclusive job platform is only available to those in the US at the time of writing.
How Long Does It Take to Complete Coursera Professional Certificates?
According to Google and Coursera, the certificate programs each take around 6 months to complete at a pace of around 10 hours per week.
The flexible schedule means that you can take longer if needed and also that you can finish much faster.
Coursera’s pricing model is based on a monthly subscription. As the Google courses are self-paced, there’s not an exact price for each. If you study hard and complete a course quickly, you could pay less the somebody taking their time.
Realistically, completing a single Google Professional Certificate course should cost you less than $300.
Compare that to the price of a full degree, and you can see how attractive these programs are!
In the US and Canada, the fee for subscribing to a course is typically $39 per month. This may vary based on your local currency.
An alternative is to sign up to Coursera Plus (see our Coursera review here). This gives you access to over 3000 Coursera courses, including all the Google certifications. You can complete as many as you like, at your own pace, for $59/month or $399 per year.
As we’ve established, the faster you complete a Google Career Certificate the less it will cost you. If you take advantage of the 7-day full access free trial that Coursera offers, and have the time and ability to push hard, you could conceivably finish the program in half the time and for half the cost.
Is Financial Aid Available for Google Professional Certificate Programs?
Google has funded 100,000 scholarships through its partners and grantees.
If you don’t land a scholarship you can still apply for financial aid from Coursera. You simply need to click the “Financial aid available” link to the right of the “Enroll” button and fill out an application form.
What Certificates are Available?
Google has been offering certificates in IT Support and Automation for several years. In 2021, it added to the range with three new programs.
Here’s a breakdown of what’s currently on offer:
This is definitely Google’s flagship course. Over half a million students have already enrolled, and over 80,000 reviewers have given the course an average rating of 4.8 stars.
Don’t let the number of students enrolled put you off. Remember that Google created this certificate in order to try and close the skills gap and enable employers to find the qualified IT Support staff they so desperately need.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment in this sector to grow much faster than average and puts the average salary in the $50,000 range.
Designed to teach you all of the skills required to succeed in an entry-level IT job, the program is made up of five individual courses. You will learn everything from customer service to computer assembly to encryption algorithms.
No prior degree or experience is required. This certificates aims to have you hitting the ground running in IT support, and it includes hundreds of practice-based assessments.
Despite being the most advanced certificate on offer, no prior experience is required in order to take the course. Still, it will probably take you a little longer to complete.
This course is best suited to aspiring IT professionals who want to learn to program with Python.
Since Python is one of the most in-demand coding languages right now, adding this skill to your resume will definitely help to boost your career opportunities.
Data Analysis is a rapidly growing field. The mountains of data being collected every day mean nothing without it.
The certificate is designed to immerse you in the daily practices and processes used by junior or associate data analysts, so that you are job-ready when you finish the program.
You will learn problem solving, critical thinking, data cleaning, data ethics, and data visualization. This certification is spread out across eight individual courses.
If problem solving is your thing then you might want to consider the Google certificate in Project Management.
The videos, assessments, and hands-on activities in this program will help you turn that natural talent for organisation into a highly sought after skill.
The six modules will take you from project planning and initiation through to the principles behind Agile project management and culminate with a look at project management in the real world.
User Experience (UX) is becoming more and more important for businesses. Consumers want technology that is intuitive and works seamlessly. This means a growing demand for professionals who can identify pain points and help design solutions.
An added bonus of this highly interactive course is that you will end up with a professional UX portfolio which includes three end-to-end projects.
If you are interested in starting a career in technology, the Google Professional Certificates are well worth considering. Not that long ago, this sort of training from a major vendor would have cost many thousands.
If the Google Employer Consortium lives up to its promise, these certifications are placed to give traditional colleges a serious run for their money.
In a world that moves with ever-increasing speed and where practical knowledge and results are king, these programs really do offer a fantastic opportunity for those starting out or wanting to switch to a career in tech. Your job search WILL be easier with one or more of these qualifications under your belt.
If we were to point out one downside of this program, it’s that the employer support for those who qualify is most prevalent in the US. We hope to see this expand further.
If you have any interest in a tech career, these certificates should be on your radar and could well help you get your first entry-level position. Be sure to also check out the other options from Coursera, which include certifications from IBM and Facebook.
Some Things to Check Out Before You Go
- You can read our in-depth review of the Coursera platform here.
- If you are considering going freelance, take a look at our own Freelance Kickstarter course.
- For those who are finding it hard to set aside money to invest in themselves, there are online course out there that cost nothing at all. Here we have some free and cheap training suggestions.
Founder of HomeWorkingClub.com – Ben has worked freelance for nearly 20 years. As well as being a freelance writer and blogger, he is also a technical consultant with Microsoft and Apple certifications. He loves supporting new home workers but is prone to outbursts of bluntness and realism.