Micro-credentials: A Shortcut to a Great Tech Career

Micro-credentials: A Shortcut to a Great Tech Career

The pandemic of 2020 has accelerated a trend that was already underway: a shift away from the traditional four-year college degree. Many were already considering alternative approaches, and with COVID-19 precautions so dramatically altering the “college experience,” more career-seekers are looking for better alternatives.

One path that’s gaining popularity is the concept of “micro-credentials” or “credential stacking,” Instead of going away for four years and coming back with a degree, students are choosing to knock out certifications and credits one at a time, on their own schedule. A recent Wired article compares the approach to ordering a meal a la carte instead of the standard main-dish-and-two-sides option.

This has two major benefits: one is an obviously lower cost than, say, 15 credits in a given semester; the other is the schedule flexibility that allows for steady skills improvement while holding down a job. And yes, over time, those micro-credentials can add up to a bachelor’s degree.

There’s a third plus as well: students note that the right certifications can immediately increase their value on the employment market, with or without a full degree. In the tech world there are almost unlimited options for certifications from a wide range of organizations, so you can choose the path that makes the most sense for you and the direction you want to take.

This credential-stacking path isn’t just for the recent high school graduate. If you’ve been laid off from a position or are returning to the workforce after raising a family, the last thing you want to do is set aside four years of your life to obtain a pricey degree. Micro-credentials can put that career change on the fast track, with certifications that can be completed in a week, a month or a quarter. It’s entirely reasonable to expect that with a year of dedicated effort you could be on a new and much better career trajectory. Even if you later decide to pursue a full degree, the “Additional Skills” portion of your resume will stand out from others.

All of this dovetails perfectly with our mission of apprenticeship and Changing the American Workforce. Apprentices earn while they learn, and achieve a series of industry certifications along the way, with a corresponding pay raise for each one. If you’re at a crossroads in your education or career, consider the approach that gets you there faster.

Question about how an apprenticeship can accelerate your career? Contact Franklin Apprenticeships.