The “Google IT Support Professional Certificate” is a program developed by Google and hosted on Coursera. It is designed to introduce learners to the fundamentals of IT support. The course provides a comprehensive overview of topics like troubleshooting, customer service, networking, operating systems, system administration, and security — all crucial areas in IT support. The certificate is intended to provide learners with the foundational skills to start a job in IT support or similar roles.
Here’s what to consider when thinking about its value versus a college degree:
Depth and Breadth of Content: The Google IT Support Professional Certificate covers essential topics in IT support and is an excellent starting point for beginners. However, a typical college or university degree (like a Bachelor’s in Information Technology or Computer Science) would offer a broader and deeper education, spanning several semesters or years, with a more extensive array of topics.
Recognition: The Google certificate is recognized by some employers as a valuable introduction to IT support. Some companies even partnered with Google for the program and consider it when hiring for certain roles. However, a college degree is still more widely recognized in various industries and often serves as a baseline educational requirement for many jobs.
Career Progression: The Google certificate may help you land an entry-level IT support role. But for advanced positions, especially those in management or specialized technical roles, a college degree or even higher education might be preferred or required by employers.
Cost and Duration: The Google certificate program is much shorter and less expensive than a traditional college degree. If time and cost are significant factors for you, this program might be a better fit. However, financial aid, scholarships, and other support can sometimes make college more affordable.
Complementary, not a Replacement: The certificate should not be seen as a direct replacement for a college degree. Instead, it’s a complementary offering. Some people might start with the Google certificate to get an entry-level job and then pursue a degree part-time. Others might use the certificate to complement their existing education or experience.
However, it's essential to note a few caveats:
Local Job Market: The value of the certificate can vary based on the local job market. In some regions or companies, the certificate might be highly regarded, while in others, it might be less known or recognized.
Competition: As with any popular program, there can be many certificate holders vying for similar positions. It’s crucial to combine the certificate with other differentiators like networking, additional certifications, soft skills, and practical experience.
Not a Panacea: The certificate can open doors, but it’s not a guaranteed ticket to a job. Other factors like personal skills, interview performance, prior experience, and the overall state of the job market will also play a role.