Google’s New Certification that is Better than a Degree

Author: Dr. Ibraheem Dooba.

As Google starts accepting professional career certificates as equivalent to degrees in introductory data analyst jobs, other companies are following their example. On 13 July 2020, Kent Walker, Google Senior Vice President (SVP) Global Affairs tweeted: “A new suite of Google Career Certificates will help Americans get qualifications in high-paying, high-growth job fields – no college degree required. In our own hiring, we will now treat these new career certificates as the equivalent of a four-year degree for related jobs.”

This is huge. Why is Google taking this drastic step? The Google CEO said that every employee would need to retool in the next few years. So it is the culture of the company now. This means that any degree you hold wouldn’t be enough to sustain you in a job without you going for further training. One of the immediately needed expertise by companies is data analytics expertise; once described as the sexiest job in the world by Eric Siegel in his book, “Predictive Analytics: The Power to Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie, Or Die”. Indeed, the Economist magazine said that the biggest assets of companies are their data (singular, datum).

And in the past few years, Google has been very energetic in preparing the employees for the future. One such solution is the Google Data Analytics Professional Certification offered completely online in collaboration with Coursera. This prepares you to be a junior data analyst. It may be entry-level, but the yearly salary for a junior data analyst is $64,000 or N30 million or N2.5 million per month. That is not bad, is it?

This is the reason why it may be better than a degree. For example, which degree promises to give you N2.5 million per month? More importantly, which degree gets Google to commit to helping you get a job? Google has a database of 130 other companies. These companies have given Google their quotas on the number of data analysts they need. Completing this program puts you in the database of those that are job-ready.

What is a professional certificate?

In case you’re wondering about a six-month professional certificate that is equivalent to a degree, this is what Coursera wrote about it: “Whether you’re looking to start a new career, or change your current one, Professional Certificates on Coursera help you become job-ready. Learn at your own pace, whenever and wherever it’s most convenient for you.”

Following are five things I want to tell you about this program so that individuals, schools and governments can take maximum benefit.

One, employability. As stated above, when you have successfully graduated, Google puts your name in the database of entry-level data analysts. From this database, about 130 companies, including Google, would pick their employees. It is said that the companies have quotas to fill for the positions.

Two, accessibility. Almost everyone can do it. There are no prerequisites and no degrees required. For those who have a background in data analytics, you can skip some courses but you must do the exams for them. As someone who has been a chief data scientist, I’ve registered myself and was given the option of testing out. Which means I could skip the first course if I passed with 80% and above. I took the test and passed it with 97.5%. So I was cleared to move ahead. But I decided to start from scratch.

Below, I tell you how individuals, schools and governments can approach it. This program is relatively new. Google released it this year around March 2021.

Three, the cost is negligible. Cousera charges $39 per month. That is about N20,000 a month. You have eight courses to complete in six months. Meaning, you pay N120,000 in six months. Which isn’t bad for a program that gets you job-ready. But it gets better. You can only pay N40,000 for everything. How? If you follow my advice, you can complete it in two months so that you pay the N20,000 monthly twice only. Some experts actually believe you can do it in one month. But that is extreme. That would presuppose that you have a background in the more technical areas such as SQL, R, spreadsheets, Tableau and so forth.

But completing in two months is doable. A scholarship is also available. But the difficult hoops you have to jump through is enough for me to pay my way. For example, you have to apply for the courses individually and it may take weeks before you’re approved. That means you have to apply for the eight courses in the certification one after the other.

Four, Google helps you to prepare for interviews. In the program, you are going to be prepared not only for interviews but also for how to write your resume.

Here’s the promise from the horse’s mouth:
“In addition to expert-led training and hands-on project designed to prepare you for a job, you will get access to interview tips, mock interviews and resume building workshops, career coaching sessions and more. You will also be able to connect with over 130 U.S. employers who are searching for candidates who have completed a Google Career Certificate.”

Five, I’m confident that even SS3 students can do it. So schools can register their students; and by the time they graduate, they can start a job without a degree. But I still encourage students to get degrees; because even in the US, those with degrees still have an edge when it comes to technical jobs.

As for state or local governments, I think they should register 1,000 students each. Why? Two reasons. One, to make a big impact, you should go all out. Two, there’s a grim statistic when it comes to online education. Only 10% of students complete online programs. This applies to governments since they can’t force the students to complete. So if you registered 1,000, at least you would have 100 data analysts who are ready to work anywhere in the world and send money back home to energize your economy.

Our secondary schools don’t have this problem. When they register their students, they can get 100% of them to complete it just like any other subject in the school.

If you want more information, I created a Facebook page yesterday where those who register can ask questions, contribute ideas, support one another and mingle. To join, search the name of the group on Facebook: “Prof Brainy Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate.”

– Dr. Ibraheem Dooba

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