Main image of article 'Tech Connects' Video, Transcript: Grow with Google Founder Lisa Gevelber

You’re well aware that certifications and other credentials can boost your chances of landing a job, as well as scoring higher raises and other types of compensation. Google realizes that, too, which is why the search-engine giant has been producing certifications via its Grow with Google initiative.

We recently interviewed Lisa Gevelber, who’s Google’s CMO of the Americas and the founder of Grow with Google, on the Tech Connects podcast. Below is the video of that conversation (the audio is also available via the podcast channel of your choice, such as Acast and Spotify):

If you’re interested in pursuing Grow with Google certificates, you have the following options:

We’ve also included a partial transcript of our conversation with Gevelber below; feel free to check out the video and audio for an even deeper dive into popular certificates, how tech skills programs can boost diversity, employers’ desperate need for tech specialists, and much more! 

How did Grow with Google start? How do you align an organization so large to devote resources to an initiative like this?

We have always been really focused on ensuring that the opportunities that are created by technology are truly available to everyone. Google's products are for everyone. And we saw a unique need in the market that we thought we could fill using Google expertise, right? It's something that we thought we could relatively uniquely do, which was helping people grow their skills, careers, and businesses using technology.

We honed in quite early on a very specific but large societal problem. Google likes big problems, and [the problem here was] that almost every job in our country—and not too different in many countries around the world—that pays well and has a great trajectory say they require a college degree. But in the U.S., only about a third of Americans have a four-year degree. So, there was this gigantic gap between what people were capable of doing and what they were getting access to do, and we really believed that we could give more people access to great jobs at a significant scale, and that's where the idea for the Google Career Certificates program came from. 

Obviously you might not be able to share full numbers, but I just want to give the audience an idea of the scope of the program and the size of it. How many people have enrolled? 

It's impressive how fast it’s growing, but we're also excited. There are so many more people to help in the U.S. alone. There's about 80 million Americans locked out of good jobs without degrees. But we're off to a good start: we have about a half million graduates globally across the Google Career Certificates program. 

Google was one of the first companies to issue a very in-depth diversity report where you break down the compositions internally of executives and the tech core and so on. When I've spoken to Google folks, Googlers, there’s this idea that if the educational system was more diverse in terms of people entering computer science programs and so on, then hopefully that would eventually translate over a certain period into a more diverse workforce. Whenever I hear about the Google Career Certificates programs and so on, I wonder if these sorts of programs improve the diversity of people entering tech.

We care a lot about this topic, and I think we are seeing some positive results if you look at our graduate pool. Of people who fully completed the certificate program, about 55 percent of them in the U.S. are Black, Latino, or Asian. We focus a lot around: how do we bring access to this incredible training and certificate program all around the country and around the world, with this goal of really diversifying the people who can access these amazing jobs?

That makes total sense. I've talked to so many pundits about this who suggest that the formality and rigidness of a four-year degree potentially slows down the number of people who are entering the tech space. Do you think that traditional education potentially slows down the people entering it, or do you think that it's not really an issue?

Make no mistake: I think getting a college degree is a life-changing thing. Our belief is it just can't be the only way to change your life, and so these certificates are certainly meant as an additional alternative pathway that will and is already providing people with increased access to great jobs and economic security. But we are also believers in the higher ed system, and we have made a lot of partnerships in higher ed. We initially started with the community college system, which is an important part of training the workforce in our country. We'll have astounding results with community colleges. One of my favorite examples is Dallas College in Texas; within a few years they've graduated 500 people with just the Google IT Support Certificate alone.

We have six certificates in different fields, which I can speak about, but this community college got smart about how to leverage the content we had already created with the amazing system that they have for helping students get educated and get great jobs, and since that time we've built incredible partnerships. Also, at the four-year bachelor's degree level, one great example of that is the University Of Texas and the Texas state systems. They're offering the Google Career Certificates to all their students and within just a few months they had enrolled almost 3,000 students. Those people are complimenting their four-year degree with the Google Career Certificate because the data shows that when you complement a bachelor's degree with a high-quality industry recognized credential, you become more employable at higher wages. 

What are people gravitating towards in terms of certificates? Is there any one standout? 

I'm proud to say that the Google Data Analytics Certificate is the number one professional certificate globally on Coursera, and I suppose that's not surprising, because if you look at data—and one of our favorite sources of data is Google Search data—what you can see is people looking for new jobs and careers. So, we look at queries, like how to become a particular profession, and it turns out that how to become a data analyst was actually the top ‘how to become’ query in 2022. But we also look at other data; we look at job posting data, and actually the need for data analytics is one of the highest skills in demand. As a matter of fact, it's about 15 times the demand for the average of other skills. So, both employers really are looking for people and people are looking to get the skills they need to get these great jobs.  

And doing this analysis to really understand what are the most in-demand, high-growth, high-paying jobs is a big part of how we develop our criteria for which certificates we create. So, we look for in-demand, high growth, high-paying jobs which can all be taught online in a reasonable period. Most of our certificates are completable in about three months and they're all things where Google has unique expertise, right? One of the big value propositions is that every one of our certificates is written, designed, and built by experts who work at Google, who have decades of years of experience in these fields, so you're really learning from people who are doing the job. And that's how we picked our fields, and so we have six different fields we teach. We talked about data analytics, and we recently launched cybersecurity, and that one is off to a great start. We're seeing tons of interest both from the employer side and the individual job-seeker side. We have data analytics, cybersecurity, IT support, project management, user experience design—which are the people who design websites and apps for example—and digital marketing and e-commerce. So those are those are our six big fields and within those we have some more advanced certificates, too. We have advanced data analytics; we have business intelligence, all based on the incredible demand we're seeing from job seekers and from employers. We have one on automation, with Python being the most in-demand language. So now we have a whole portfolio, and that's good, because different people want different things. Not everyone wants to be a data analyst, right?