by VIVEK KUMAR SINGH, CO-FOUNDER & CEO, CAREERERA
Charles Darwin may not have known the sheer relevance of his words today when he coined Survival of the Fittest. The COVID-19 pandemic, while ravaging our lives, businesses and economies, also has a lesson or two imbued in its wake. Working predominantly from home and facing severe professional pressures, Indian professionals are finding newer ways to differentiate themselves from the competition.
Short-term certificate courses are helping employees find their silver linings amidst the pandemic, filling up knowledge gaps and acquiring vital skill-sets. Professionals are finding greater value in these courses for scaling the career ladder and landing higher paying employment opportunities simultaneously. Convenient home-based up-skilling without pinching the pocket is the core premise that is driving growth of courses across a wide variety of sectors. From enhancing specific domain knowledge to acquiring related/complementary skills, these courses are enhancing job readiness or eligibility levels substantially for aspirants.
What’s happening in this space today?
Examples are many and multifarious by nature. Professionals seeking English teaching opportunities at schools/colleges are finding greater value in ELT certificate courses. Aspiring entrepreneurs are enhancing their understanding of setting up a business with a Business Skills certificate course.
Students who have just cleared their Higher Secondary examinations are taking certificate courses for aligning their skills with the job market in advance. Digitization is arguably the biggest differentiator across sectors today and many professionals are taking these courses to brush up on their digital skills as well. Several leading industry giants and companies are also unveiling their own skilling initiatives likewise.
Here’s taking a look:
- Google has launched its Google Career Certificate program for enabling people advance into IT Support based jobs even without college degrees.
- Grow with Google Career Certificates is an initiative enabling people to start businesses or find employment through skill development. Google will be funding 10,000 need-based scholarships as well in this regard. Popular courses include project management, data analysis, IT Support and UX design.
- Industry giant GE Healthcare has tied up with NITF for offering short-term certificate courses for healthcare technicians. Courses are being offered for X-ray technicians, cardiac care technicians and OT technicians among other professionals in this sector.
- IIT Kharagpur has entered into an official collaboration with the Vinod Gupta School of Management (VGSOM) for its Introduction to R Programming and Data Analytics short-term course. This course is geared towards developing aspiring analysts and data scientists.
What does data say?
- Digital skills are deemed essential at high/medium levels for a minimum of 60% of jobs since the beginning of the last decade.
- 64% of people enrolled in certificate programs offered by the likes of Google and other industry behemoths do not possess conventional 4-year degrees.
- 56% of Indian professionals took short-term certificate courses for enhancing their career prospects.
- 55% took these courses for gaining more knowledge.
- Just 36% of Indian professionals are concerned about costs of programs.
- 47% are adjusting their courses to balance other commitments while 27% have adjusted owing to prevalent concerns regarding the same.
- 50% of professionals are more inclined towards single-domain/subject courses.
- 66% of adult professionals prefer fully online courses.
- 62% of learners may also consider blended learning (offline + online) solutions in the long run.
Courses in high demand today
While there are certificate courses to suit almost every graduate and domain need, here are some of the most popular ones that are gaining more ground recently.
- Product Management Certification
- Business Analytics Certification
- Full Stack Development
- Finance, Accounting and Taxation
- CFP (Certified Financial Planner) Courses
- Data Science Certification
- NLP and Machine Learning Certification
- Blockchain Technology Certification
- Digital Marketing and Communication Certification
- PHP Certification
Why are professionals choosing short-term courses?
Knowledge acquisition and career improvement are two core factors behind professionals choosing short-term certificate courses in recent years. Adult learners prefer the convenience offered through passive online learning with active in-person learning modules and experiential/interactive sessions. Indians are far less conscious about course prices although they are extra concerned about credibility of courses available in the market. Another reason has to do with new-age skills garnering higher demand, particularly in an environment where people are being majorly impacted by COVID-19 and the disruption of conventional working environments.
Some professionals are finding greater value in up-skilling through short-term courses instead of going on a sabbatical to pursue higher education courses which may otherwise be expensive as well. Here are some other compelling reasons behind the spurt in popularity of short-term certificate courses in India.
- A large chunk of professionals may require more than a degree to successfully land a high-paying job in a specific domain.
- Short-term courses enable acquisition of supplementary skills and knowledge upgrades.
- Professionals are finding higher paying positions and better employment opportunities through advanced certification and job-oriented curriculum.
- Aspirants can conveniently learn at their own pace and at comparatively reasonable price points.
- Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, short-term certificate courses are helping professionals utilize their time and money wisely towards upgrading their professional eligibility.
The core take-away
Gone are those days when non-tech graduates would have considered it impossible to switch towards tech opportunities that paid more handsomely. This is no longer impossible with the right short-term certificate course. That is the impact of these courses in terms of opening up new doors for professionals, enhancing their knowledge and skill-sets and even helping them acquire specific/related skills to move up the career ladder. From promotions to higher paying jobs, the sky is the limit for young professionals with the desire to beef up their resumes and gather more industry-specific knowledge. Short-term certificate courses can thus be called a ticket to three Es, namely effectiveness, employability and eligibility.