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Google Certifications- A Game changer?

Google Certifications- A Game changer_
Welcome to another episode of Humans of EdTech. And in this particular episode, we are going to have a look at a news that came sometime last week. And which can be of some interest to all of you guys who are here, who are interested in EdTech. So, this particular article, which is "Google's plan to disrupt the college degree is absolute genius". 

Now, this particular page on the Google website has been live for the last, I think, about six to eight months, if I’m not mistaken. You can go back and have a look at some of the reviews of their google IT certification as early as Jan this year. So this particular product from Google or this particular page from Google and these particular certifications from Google are not something new.

But they're essentially promised now that they are coming with three new additional certificates. The title of the article looks very positive and bullish. But I think the writer over here has given a fairly balanced treatment, he's kind of knows or listen to both voices about this particular thing. So what they're essentially doing is that they have identified a few fields, specifically, you know, few degrees in high paying, high growth jobs, and how people can get them without attending the universities. And you can complete some of these certifications in anywhere between three to six months. 

And what Google being Google what they have typically done is that they have also, tied up with the industry partners, the employers over here. And these employers, there is some sort of, I believe, from whatever I can understand a soft buying, that they are part of this particular programme and they will have access to a dashboard where everyone who goes to these certifications these guys will essentially have access to those candidates. I'm sure this product is going to be first launched in the US before I think it goes anywhere. I think the rest of Article speaks about whether you will have people of particular caliber depth, and whether it will be industry ready, so on and so forth.
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My Take

I am not going to give a read through this article and then help you understand, but I will present a perspective of what this could be, you know, what this could really mean. So, just quickly moving on to Google’s page, this is the page and, this is a particular thing. Introducing new Google career certificates and coming soon data analyst, project manager and then the UX designer that we have over here.


Now, a few things that we typically understand about the US market is there is something we call as the student debt problem. What is the student debt problem and it’s not really like a documented problem, but what is the student debt issue that is typically discussed in the media. 


I’m sure there is enough coverage on that, and I’ll possibly include some video or article which you can refer to really understand more of that. But in a couple of sentences, what it typically means is that once a student enters the college system in the US to go through it, is fairly expensive, even by their local standards. And when the student essentially graduates or even doesn’t graduate, he graduates with a loan, he graduates with a debt. Some of the ways the companies in the US have taken this problem head on is essentially the income share agreements. 


So that’s essentially how some of these things have been handled at this point of time. This initiative from Google, especially the skills that have come over here, I think are very, very refreshing like a data analyst, project manager and the UX designer. With the help of Coursera, they have launched at least five certifications at a time. 


I can only find two of them at this point in time. But let’s say that there are two of these certifications. And I think for the same field, which is the IT support there are multiple other competing certifications, which are very well established over a period of time. The objective is not just to understand whether how good these certifications are, or if you prefer something else or anything of that sort. But let me just come back and tackle the larger question over here. Is this truly, really something you know, amazingly disruptive, is it something that is, you know, going to make that next big difference? So, here are, you know, the thoughts. So I think this product is going to be launched first in the US, so I would first answer it from the US perspective though I have a limited perspective over here. And will answer then from an Indian perspective or I think I have a fairly first-hand opinionated perspective. 


From a US perspective, I think this product is going to be very interesting, is going to be lapped up by certain sections because I think it is three to six months. So, it will definitely handle a particular problem in clear monetary tangible terms and this can evolve as a clear alternative to boot camps. We will all need to wait and see the programmes that do comes out, what is the depth of treatment, the curriculum, the material, whether it is specific to a particular vendor or whether it is generic in nature, where all the on boarded empanelled industry partners eventually do become interested in it, you know, people who graduate from these programmes remains to be seen.


Secondly, a lot of these things are essentially applied skills that people need to do things. And in absence of a mentor, how some of these things are going to happen. Again, remains to be seen. So we’ll need to kind of check some of these things out.


Let me just quickly shift focus to India geography. So I think certifications are typically in the Indian geography though I’m not making a blanket statement over here, but I think are lapped up, the mindset can be that a certificate is a certificate, it won’t harm you, it will only help you. A lot of employers which is again the fact of life that they look at some of these certifications as a checkbox, it may not result in you getting shortlisted but at least they will know that this person has attempted something that is industry grade. I think the pricing for the Indian market would be very aggressive for some of these things. So I think it is going to be very well lapped up. 


Google, I think will again go with a very strong distribution partner like Coursera, which is very well entrenched in the Indian campus segment. So the reach for some of these programmes would be absolutely instant. So yeah, I think I definitely foresee a lot of students on the campuses and even working professionals lapping up some of these degrees and picking up some of these skills and I’m sure now what I definitely know I think another perspective I want to bring over here is if we just look at some of these specific skills, let’s look at say a data analyst or programmer you know, project manager or even a UX designer.



A Checklist

So, here is what you know, I know for a fact, after having interacted with lots of them. Lots of industry partners, employers, hiring managers in the Indian context. There is like a mini checklist that I want to put forth in front of you and the checklist is:

  • People want those people in their organizations who are able to do things end to end. Employers want people in their organizations who are able to do things end to end. If it’s a data analyst kind of a role, they want someone to own the entire data science pipeline, right from data cleaning, wrangling model, building optimizations, possibly also deploying it. I’m not sure on the web, but at least integrating it with the live application. If that’s the case over here, you don’t need to be specialized everywhere but you need to be able to handle the whole thing end to end.
  • Given the demographic dividend in the Indian market, the depth of skills that you need to have at least one specific thing what we typically like to call as one ‘superpower’. That is something that the Indian recruiter absolutely looks for, they want you to be specialized in one specific thing that, you know, okay, you know, all of these things. So, let’s again, go back to the data analysts kind of role, are you really good with a specific algorithm, and a lot of recruiters do speak about wanting to, you know, no, or having depth in a specific algorithm. You know, very, very in a specific way, it can be very small, but they need to have the depth. 

Well, the next thing is I think people need practitioners. So I think whether this particular degree does bring out a practitioner and people will need to remain waiting and see. But I think having an applied skill in place people need to practice. And I’m sure they’re going to put together some really strong material, I’ve checked myself a lot of different services, material on machine learning and data sciences that Google has produced in the past that is really good. So I hope I think they do carry the quality over here. 


But I think ensuring the last mile execution from a student perspective that they actually do it and they put together the right kind of projects in front of the employers and make the transition happen. That is something that remains to be seen. And, yeah, so I would say that there are three key things that any employer is going to look at. And whether these certifications are going to produce that kind of a transition, whether there is going to be a behavioural, you know, product that comes along with it, which enforces some of these things and makes some of these things happen that essentially remains to be seen.


So, you know, that’s essentially the point that I wanted to quickly make over here. I think this is a step in the right direction. Whether it is as sensational as the article claims, whether it is going to disrupt the or in the college segment or whether it is going to replace the college segment, from a US perspective, or from an India perspective. I genuinely have doubts, to be honest.


But I believe I’m personally a Google fan. I have essentially taken benefit of a lot of the paid and free products for a very long time. And I think what they want to build up over here and present to the market is going to be very, very potent, very, very useful and I’m very sure about that. So it all remains to be seen how this thing essentially comes out? Whether it is read, I have my gist to summarize everything in one single sentence, I think this is a step in the right direction, whether it is going to disrupt the Indian market, education market in the short term, I have my doubts. But I trust Google’s capability to iterate their products if they choose to go deeper into something.


So, yeah, that’s pretty much it about this particular thing. Thanks so much for patiently listening. And stay tuned to more of these episodes on the Humans of EdTech. Subscribe the channel, and I’ll see you soon. Thank you so much. Bye

Photo by Julia M Cameron from Pexels