Is the future of conventional degrees at risk?

Is the future of conventional degrees at risk?
  • June 4, 2024
  • 327

How useful will traditional degrees be in the coming years? How is the qualification trend for jobs changing in recent times?

Google made a big announcement in previous years that could change the future of jobs and higher education. Google is offering a select few professional courses that will help job seekers land jobs. This may seem like a common thing, but it is alarming for today's education system, especially higher education institutions and universities.

Why is this? Firstly, let's discuss its background.

It has long been debated in the world that universities do not adequately equip students with the real-world skills required for practical life, and even after many years of education, students do not get jobs in real life.

"College degrees are out of reach for many Americans, and you don't need a college diploma to be financially secure," says Kent Walker, senior vice president of global affairs at Google. From education to jobs, there is a need for training solutions that are accessible to people.

In order to enable people to pursue careers in IT support without a college degree, Wakarmazid believes that the new Google Career Certificates expand upon the company's current offerings.  Since its launch in 2018, the Google IT certificate program has grown to become the most popular degree on Coursera, according to him, with thousands of graduates finding new employment and earning more money.

These courses, which we have named Google Career Certificates, teach basic skills that help job seekers find employment quickly. However, rather than taking several years to complete like a traditional university degree, these courses last around 6 months.

What Walker says here is very interesting, and most important, that "for our own job at Google, we will treat these new career certificates as equivalent to a four-year degree for the relevant job."

On the other hand, the CEO of a well-known company, Stefan Kazeriel, says, I have hired many programmers during my career. What matters to me is not whether someone has a computer science degree or not. What matters is how well they can think and how well they can code. In fact, none of the top 20 fastest-rising skills in the company's latest skills index require a degree.

This is also reinforced by the fact that freelancers are increasingly emerging in today's job market. Many companies are interested in adopting this new concept. Glassdoor, a popular jobs website, has listed 15 more companies whose jobs no longer require a degree. These include Apple, IBM, and companies like Google that are also involved.

Interestingly, the six-month course costs less than US$300—the amount many university students spend on textbooks in just one semester. In addition, Google said it will provide 100,000 scholarships to the needy for new programs. Google claims that their courses, which will cost a fraction of a traditional university education, will prepare students to immediately find work in career fields with high pay and great growth opportunities. No degree or previous experience is required to take the course.

Each course is designed and taught by Google employees working in relevant fields. After completing a program, Google also promises job search assistance. The company says participants "can share their information directly with Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Intel, Bank of America, Hulu, and Google itself for jobs in these fields." It will provide hundreds of apprenticeship opportunities to participants who complete it.

The gist of this whole debate is that Google may not disrupt the model of higher education overnight, but it has certainly raised alarm bells for universities. It's true that there are some degrees, including midwifery, dentistry, engineering, and law, that cannot be replaced by a short 6-month course; many companies will prefer those with a longer, traditional degree. These certificates are for everyone, and it's hard to say how much the rest of the world will be interested in adopting the concept. But it has definitely been a big step in the world of education. For the first time, universities and colleges will be realizing that they have a competitor like Google in front of them.

It remains to be seen how higher education institutions react to Google's certifications in the coming years and whether they will make any effort to adopt them, but it's becoming clear that the future of jobs is not in degrees. Rather, it will be subject to skills, and no organization in the world will be able to escape its effects.

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