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Google Announces Free IT Training

Google today announced a new IT Support Professional Certificate that will help beginners start a new career in 8 to 12 months. The certification is just the latest front in its ongoing war to wrest control of the enterprise away from Microsoft.

“The Google IT Support Professional Certificate [is] a first-of-its-kind online program to prepare people for roles in IT support,” Google’s Natalie Van Kleef Conley explains. “With no previous experience required, beginning learners can become entry-level job ready in eight to 12 months.”

The Google IT Support Professional Certificate program is part of Grow with Google, a Google initiative to help people get the skills they need to find a job using free training, tools, and events. Google offers paths designed specifically for teachers, local businesses, students, developers, and startups in addition to the job seekers that the Google IT Support Professional Certificate program targets.

According to Google, this is a big market, too, with over 150,000 open IT support jobs in the United States alone. And the average starting annual salary is over $52,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

Van Kleef Conley says that the certificate evolved out of an internal Google program to train and hire “non-traditional talent” for its own IT efforts.

“The program was a success, and its graduates inspired us to think about how we could make a bigger impact beyond Google,” she writes. “Now we’re using the training we implemented at Google as the basis of a new program available to anyone, anywhere, as part of the Grow with Google initiative. No tech experience or college degree is necessary.”

The Google IT Support Professional Certificate program includes over 64 hours of video training lessons with hands-on labs and other interactive assessments. The course is hosted at Coursera, and Google is subsidizing the normal $49/month fee so that it will be free to everyone.

And those who complete the training can opt-in to share their success with potential employers including Google, Bank of America, Walmart, Sprint, GE Digital, PNC Bank, Infosys, TEKSystems, UPMC, and others.