Google offers up IT support certificates

The search engine giant has launched the Google IT Support Professional Certificate online program to prepare people for roles in IT support.

Google has launched an education program aimed at preparing people with no prior experience for roles in IT support.

The Google IT Support Professional Certificate is an online program hosted on Coursera, and forms part of the company's Grow with Google initiative, which is focused on helping people get the skills they need to find a job.

In a blog post, the search engine giant said that with no previous experience, beginning learners can become entry-level job-ready in eight to 12 months.

"I helped hire Google's IT staff for several years when I led our internal IT support program; it was often challenging to find qualified candidates. But I knew that candidates didn't need traditional four-year college degrees to be qualified -- and also found that IT was very teachable," wrote blog author and product lead Natalie Van Kleef Conley.

Citing results from job search site Burning Glass, Van Kleef Conley said there are currently 150,000 open IT support jobs in the United States with an average starting salary of $52,000.

Google said it is using the training implemented in-house as the basis of its new program.

The course has over 64 hours of video lessons, comprising hands-on labs and other interactive assessments, developed by Google. The certificate program introduces people to troubleshooting and customer service, networking, operating systems, system administration, automation, and security, labelled by Van Kleef Conley as "all the fundamentals of IT support".

"Throughout the program, people will hear directly from Googlers whose own foundation in IT support served as a jumping-off point for their careers," she explained.

Once training is complete, certificate holders can opt in to share their information directly with employers such as Bank of America, Walmart, Sprint, GE Digital, PNC Bank, Infosys, TEKsystems, UPMC, and Google.

Google is also subsidising the cost of the certificate on Coursera to $49 per month and providing financial support to more than 10,000 course-takers in the US. Need-based scholarships, funded by Google.org grants, will also be offered through non-profits focused on underrepresented communities, and full financial assistance is also available to those who qualify, the blog explained.

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