Google and Coursera launch program to train IT support specialists
Today, the pair announced a new program to train IT support professionals — a course written by Googlers for the Coursera platform to teach and then test across six fundamental areas of customer support
After a big fundraise and subsequent reorganization last year at Coursera — which saw a change of CEO, as well as the departure of its COO, CFO, CMO and CPO (along with some 40 others) — the online education startup is today launching a new IT course with Google to underscore its message that the ship is still sailing as it passes 30 million users and 2,500 courses.
Today, the pair announced a new program to train IT support professionals — a course written by Googlers for the Coursera platform to teach and then test across six fundamental areas of customer support: troubleshooting and customer service, networking, operating systems, system administration, automation, and security. No prior IT experience is necessary.
The companies say they are filling a need in the tech world today. Coursera cites statistics that say that at the moment there are some 150,000 unfilled IT support jobs in the US alone.
The IT Support program — which is launching globally, but will offer courses initially only in English — has 64 hours of coursework in all, and students are expected to complete it eight to 12 months, at a cost of $49/month.
For some context, this is the typical price of a Coursera subscription, although in the case of this course, Google is subsidising it. On top of that, Google is also offering financial aid to 10,000 people, based on need, and also via a few charitable partnerships it’s forged to improve outreach, specifically with Goodwill, Per Scholas, Year Up, Student Veterans of America, and Upwardly Global. (While the course is global, the financial aid will be open to those only in the US.)
For Coursera, the IT Support course is part of a larger strategic push for the startup to promote more vocational training alongside the company’s academic mandate (it works with some 150 universities to offer courses, and has its roots more in academia). In this, it’s targeting both students looking for jobs, but also businesses as part of its Coursera for Business offering.
It’s also a way to tease out other potential business lines for the company in areas like career placement. After you finish the course, Coursera can then help you find (but does not guarantee) a job, tapping its partner network of businesses, which includes Bank of America, Walmart, Sprint, GE Digital, PNC Bank, Infosys, TEKSystems, UPMC, and Google.
“I believe that the future of work and the future of education are converging,” Coursera’s CEO Joe Maggioncalda said in an interview. “I think that it’s natural to see the jobs that people might want to have when they finish a course.”