Technical skills certificates can be more valuable than a university degree

From P-TECH to Red Hat Academy, and much more, here is a look at training programs that can help you a step further in securing a highly sought-after job.

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It is no myth that many college degrees do not work in areas related to their majors.

A study, “Degrees at Work,” published by Emsi in August, found that only two majors sent graduates directly to their company: engineering and computer science. The research also showed that non-STEM grads devalue their education.

Yet there are many
available technical jobs
, including positions that are filled for months at most. And a reason for the difference? Lack of skills. Graduates, and students in general, lack not only experience but also practical skills to achieve the type of jobs they are seeking.

SEE: Building an effective data science team: a guide for business and technical leaders (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

“Our education system is not equipped to meet the demands of the modern workplace,” said Grace Suh, vice president of education for IBM citizenship. “We have more jobs than skilled people to fill them. There are more than 700,000 open technology jobs in the US, and another half a million are expected in the next decade. Part of the problem is that we have too much focused on just one path to a good job: a bachelor’s degree. ”

To address this problem of skilled but unskilled companies, they combine with schools and alternative application programs to fill vacancies and match employees with their interests. And so IBM and its P-TECH program, and the other skills-based programs, have begun to represent a kind of contemporary vocational school, for what some call “new collar” jobs.

Some companies have even developed their own training program for future employees, it is called a “train and hire model”.

There are of course some reservations. The model is more like an internship, where interns or a minimum wage are paid. The internship period can be a financial burden for those who are cut off from their parents’ finances and have saved little.

SEE: Programming languages: JavaScript developer reveals their favorite tools (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Here is a look at some technical programs aimed at getting a coveted job in the industry.


Starting in the first year in high school, students can work on a college education or a career at a P-TECH school. The first was opened in Brooklyn in 2011, as a collaboration between IBM, the New York Department of Education and The City University of New York.

It is a six-year integrated program of high school and college courses designed to develop skills from the industry, leading to a post-secondary diploma for all students.

IBM and CUNY have developed a P-TECH blueprint for public high schools, community colleges and companies.

P-TECH is a partnership between K-12, community college and industry and includes urban, rural and suburban schools and includes a number of STEM fields, including IT, advanced manufacturing, healthcare and finance. There are currently more than 100 P-TECH affiliated schools.

“P-TECH helps to strengthen regional economies and disadvantaged populations with a workforce better prepared for” new collar “jobs, skilled,
technical functions
who do not necessarily require traditional, four-year university education, “Suh said.

“From August 2019, 240 students have graduated from IBM-affiliated P-TECHs, such as in New York State and Connecticut, and 35 of them have accepted positions at IBM,” Suh ​​added.

“In general, the initial graduates completed their associated degrees four to five times faster than typical community college students,” Suh ​​explained. “Most students follow more studies, and since the majority is the first in their family to graduate, this is a huge success.”

Red Hat Academy

Red Hat Academy is an academic training program that works with schools and students and offers a business-ready Linux and open-source curriculum and certification. The students at the 1,600 schools worldwide affiliated with the Red Hat Academy participate in the content of RHA as integrated into their courses.

“An important contribution to our success is content relevant to the industry,” said Ken Goetz, VP, global learning services at Red Hat. “Our curriculum includes technologies such as containers, Kubernetes, cloud, Linux and other open source technologies that are in high demand on the labor market.”

Students who complete the program have “very good” prospects, “Goetz said.” Much of what is happening in IT today – big data, cloud, DevOps – is based on open source technology, so knowledge and skills in open source are in high demand. ”

Cisco Networking Academy

Cisco’s program was developed when Arizona-based Cisco system engineer George Ward collaborated with the faculty and students of Greenway High School in Mesa to find out how to manage the emerging school network. The program has been around for more than 20 years, is in 180 countries, in 25 languages, and has more than “one million students currently enrolled worldwide,” said a Cisco representative.

“Cisco Networking Academy follows a multi-path model,” the representative added. “There are three possible outcomes: providing secondary and post-secondary students with entry-level skills, preparing students to pass and obtain a certification exam, or continuing with a post-secondary academic career.”

Cisco said that 94% of students who obtain a Cisco certification have a new or better job or continue their post-secondary academic career.


“Facebook has invested in digital skills training to help small businesses and people get ahead,” said Parisa Sabeti Zagat, Facebook’s public policy director. “The purpose of the program is readiness for tasks.”

FaceBook worked with Pathstream to develop a customized program and worked with 20 community colleges in the US to offer digital marketing training.

“These partnerships provide ongoing support to people and businesses through educational resources that will help them continue to work, find new jobs or run their businesses.” Some schools offer the academic credit program, “so it also counts for a traditional degree,” Zagat said.

The curriculum, which takes six to nine months, consists of six course topics such as social media marketing, content strategy and branding, analysis and optimization and e-mail marketing, and is free for colleges. FaceBook donates advertising credits to students so that they can practice with the help of the Advertising Manager and offers student financing.

“The courses contain a significant amount of career navigation content and guide students in starting their job search, including updating their resumes and LinkedIn profiles and planning their outreach,” Zagat said.

“Given the inherent local nature of jobs, we worked with community colleges and other local organizations on community-specific career opportunities and support.”

Infosys Knowledge Institute

Infosys has hubs for rearranging in non-traditional American tech cities such as Phoenix, AZ; Providence, RI; Hartford, CT; Indianapolis, IN; Raleigh, NC; and Richardson, TX to upgrade university and university colleges to fill the skill gap.

In the recent first phase of the Infosys retraining program, 10,000 American employees and partners with higher education institutions. Students in the retraining program range from students of liberal arts at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) to graduates of four-year universities such as Trinity College, to local community courses.

SEE: Deploy containers: six critical concepts (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Other important programs

  • Florida-based cyber security company ReliaQuest worked with the University of South Florida and the Muma College of Business and promised $ 1 million for a five-year cyber security training program for a cyber security training program.
  • Intel developed partnerships with universities and colleges in production and research and development locations (Oregon, Arizona, and New Mexico) to assist factory hiring.
  • Neil Hunt, former Netflix chief product officer, donated $ 3.5 million to his alma mater, Durham University in England, and established The Hunt Program “in computer science, four scholarships, including one focused on the promotion of women in leading technical positions.
  • The McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin has recently announced a Leadership in Healthcare Privacy and Security Risk Management certificate program to develop cyber security risk managers in US healthcare systems.
  • UTA was also paired with Digital Defense for students to get to know the cloud-based information security platform Frontline.Cloud. The skills are part of an internship program, said Larry Hurtado, president and CEO of Digital Defense.
  • offers a university accelerator program, as well as a Working Scholars program for disadvantaged communities and working adults, and uses Thomas Edison State University.
  • The Relativity Academic Partner program prepares legal students with e-discovery technology skills for legal careers. More than 90 colleges and universities worldwide use the platform in their curricula. The program is free and students can be certified on the Relativity software.
  • Credly works together with the Colorado Community College System to create digital data. Introduced in 2013, students enrolled at the CCCS can earn digital badges at no extra cost (and offers financial assistance to students).

Demonstrable skills

“Current employers are increasingly shifting to skills-based recruitment and promotion policies that reward individuals for their specific, demonstrated skills, rather than signifiers of skills such as years of experience,” said Jonathan Finkelstein, CEO of Credly.

For more information, Indeed debuts new tech recruitment platform for technology jobs at TechRepublic.

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