To grow the IT talent pool, the Google IT Support Professional Certificate launched Monday on Coursera. The training program offers six courses to prepare individuals for entry-level IT positions, including skills in automation, security, system administration and tech fundamentals.
The courses include hands-on labs, quizzes, soft skills training and widgets, all designed by Googlers specializing in IT support, for the "Grow with Google" initiative.
Google will offer financial aid in the form of 10,000 scholarships available to learners in the U.S. in 2018. Each course requires eight to 10 hours of work per week and runs from six to seven weeks long, coming in at $49 a month, according to Google.
Trading some daily Netflix for one hour of IT training could end up paying huge dividends.
IT support positions are expected to grow 10% over the next eight years, according to the Google, but supply has a ways to go to meet demand.
Tech companies are prone to lambaste the shortage of IT talent, but training courses often focus on higher-level technical knowledge. Last year saw the introduction of two major online AI courses from Google and Andrew Ng, but introductory classes were less publicized.
But an increased emphasis on entry-level IT knowledge is critical for the coming decade. Automation is set to displace or relocate many workers in repetitive or low-skilled jobs as the rise of technology across sectors of business increases demand for tech workers.
Women and millennials may be the key to closing the jobs gap, but more bridges between non-technical workers and the technical world are needed.
Offering low-cost options to learn IT skills is an investment in the future workforce. Companies such as Google that offer learning platforms and open-source tools will especially benefit as new tech workers become familiar and fluent in their systems and platforms over those of competitors.