Looking back at the first year’s impact of the Google IT Support Professional Certificate

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Looking back at the first year’s impact of the Google IT Support Professional Certificate

By Leah Belsky, Senior Vice President of Enterprise, Coursera

Technology is changing the world of work, transforming industries, jobs, and the skills that go with them. In today’s economy, open roles often indicate a lack of skilled talent to fill those positions. The IT industry is facing this challenge, with more than 215,000 open IT support roles in the U.S. alone, according to Burning Glass Technologies. That demand isn’t going to slow — the field is projected to grow an additional 10 percent by 2028.

Filling these critical roles starts with enabling anyone, anywhere to acquire IT skills. That is why, in January 2018, Google launched the Google IT Support Professional Certificate on Coursera and today we’re excited to release the results of the impact it has had thus far. The certificate is designed to prepare learners for an entry-level job in IT support in under six months and requires no prior IT experience or degree. Learners also have the opportunity to share their resumes with around 40 top employers, including Walmart, Ricoh, GE Digital, and Google, upon completion of the program.

Though only a short time has passed since launching, the Google IT Support Professional Certificate has quickly become one of the most sought after credentials on the Coursera platform. In the U.S., more than 50,000 learners enrolled in the first year alone. 

What is most inspiring to me, however, is the positive impact the certificate has had on so many people’s lives — from launching successful careers to sparking newfound passions. To measure these learner outcomes, our data science team partnered with Google to produce the Google IT Support Professional Certificate Impact Report. The results are based on data from two optional surveys collected between January 2018 and March 2019. These are some of our key findings: 

The vast majority of learners report positive career outcomes. 84 percent of learners said the program resulted in some positive impact on their careers within six months, such as enhancing skills for a current role, improving their ability to find a new job, getting a raise, or even starting a new business. 

The program attracts learners of diverse backgrounds. The program has reached historically underrepresented learners in technology, with 60 percent identifying as female, Black, Latino, or veteran. And since the program has no prerequisites, it’s accessible for learners of all educational and professional experience levels. 57 percent of learners enrolled don’t have a four-year college degree and 38 percent are in the lowest income tertile, meaning they earn less than $30,000 annually. 

Completion rates are higher when tied to career outcomes. Completion rates for the IT Support Professional Certificate program were 2.5 times higher than completion rates of comparable content on Coursera. One possible explanation is that motivation to complete programs is higher when content is tied to direct career outcomes.

Beyond these tangible results, what sticks with me are the learner stories. Take Chelsea Rucker for example. In early 2018, Chelsea was facing one of the most difficult times in her life while living with her young daughters in a homeless shelter for three months. After taking a job as an office manager at Goodwill, she learned she could earn the Google IT Support Professional Certificate through the organization, where she enrolled and received a scholarship funded by Google.org. Today, Chelsea is a technician at Google’s data center in Clarksville, TN – nearly tripling her previous salary and making a sustainable living to support her daughters. Chelsea’s story is just one of many illustrating the program’s transformational impact.

Now it’s time to build on this impact. At Coursera we’re working to build additional career pathways so that anyone, anywhere can access the skills necessary to succeed in today’s economy. 
View the full report and learn more about Professional Certificates on Coursera.