Local News


New tech career certificates could challenge traditional four-year degrees

Career certificate programs trend could work at UNLV
Posted at 5:22 AM, May 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-12 09:46:03-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Tech and digital jobs are exploding in the United States according to a Brookings Institute Report, and tech giants are expanding into the fields of education and training to develop a qualified workforce to meet the need.

Andrea Willis, Google Tools Expert, said there are more open positions than workers to fill them so Google has created the "Growth Google" platform including career certificate programs.

"Google is really thrilled to be launching three new Google career certificates in the high growth tech fields," she said.

The training programs funnel people into data analytics, product management, and user experience design which are fields boasting an average salary of $60,000.

Willis said the programs are relatively quick, completed between three and six months, cheaper than alternatives like vocational programs and traditional four-year degrees, and can be completed at the user's pace.

"You can go at your own pace. So, if you have a part-time job or you're a caretaker, or you have other responsibilities you can really decide how much time you want to allot," she said.

The emergence of these career-focused paths has brought with it the question, could they be a college killer?

Eileen McGarry, executive director of Career Services at UNLV, said not necessarily.

"The job market for tech talent is enormous," she said. "College degrees will be increasingly in demand, but certainly there are options for different tracks into different careers and professions."

McGarry said she sees the rise in career certificate programs as a trend that could work symbiotically with traditional institutions like UNLV.

She said job seekers could enter the fields with a certificate program and then pursue a more well-rounded education through a four-year degree or vice versa.

"We all agree we need an educated workforce," McGarry said. "So, we have to get more creative and have more fluid ways of continuing education."

Google acknowledged that certificate programs wouldn't mean anything if businesses didn't see value in them so they brought in a consortium of 130 businesses to help develop the three programs.

Several major U.S. companies have agreed to consider certificate recipients for hiring.