academic credentials
Promoted by University of California Irvine

The value of an educational credential today

It’s not enough to just have a degree these days. You need credentials too.

With the number of graduates outstripping non-graduates, an increasingly competitive labor market and the breakneck speed technology is changing the nature of work, graduates are finding they need more to land their dream jobs.

The answer to challenges such as these can be found at the University of California, Irvine – Division of Continuing Education (UCI DCE).

With its suite of credentials on offer, this is how students can present their story and achievements to employers. From English Language programs to certificate programs and internships, international students can map their journey towards their chosen career path. It can be tailored to their passions and strengths, one credential or academic building block at a time.

It’s a strategy that bodes well for the times we live in. For example, a person may have a degree in computer science but with the accelerating pace of technological change, skillsets are constantly being updated. At UCI DCE, they can take an Accelerated Certificate Program (ACP) – specialized three-month postgraduate programs with emphasis on real-work experience – in options like Data Science & Predictive Analytics for Business Professionals.

academic credentials

Source: UC Irvine, Division of Continuing Education

International students can also take advantage of the English Language programs here to kickstart their journey on an American campus. After sharpening their academic English skills, they will be better prepared to take the next steps in their academic journeys whether that is a postgraduate certificate or a traditional four-year degree.

Like alumna Mariana Boeira Pozas, students can take not just one, but several programs at UCI DCE to take their career to the next level. Originally from Brazil, Mariana had her own marketing business working with small businesses mainly in digital marketing back home. A family move to the US made her realize she needed to update her digital skills and learn data science too.

To achieve this, she applied to a number of UCI DCE programs that suited her needs: Data Science and Predictive Analytics for Business Professionals, Digital Marketing and Business English. Armed with these, she landed an internship at AWM Smart Shelf through UCI DCE’s Internship Program, and most recently, a position as a data analyst for the same company.

“So today I say UCI [DCE] programs were crucial for my career. In data science I’m a total newbie, and when it comes to digital marketing, I realize that I know a lot, but it’s a field where things change very fast. So I always have to refresh my knowledge.”

Such possibilities underscore the beauty of credentials: It allow all kinds of talented people, regardless of their background, the flexibility and access to achieve their goals.

academic credentials

Source: UC Irvine, Division of Continuing Education

Its popularity is being described as a force to “challenge and replace traditional diplomas.” Companies are on board with this trend too. Certain blue-chip companies such as IBM, Apple, Hilton, Starbucks and a number of others have announced in recent years that they no longer “require” degrees for certain positions.

In 2017, IBM’s vice president of talent Joanna Daly told CNBC Make It: “About 15 percent of the people we hire in the U.S. don’t have four-year degrees.”

“There’s an opportunity to broaden the candidates to fill the skills gap.”

In a national survey of 750 human resource officers at leading US employers, a strong majority of HR leaders said that the value of educational credentials in hiring has either increased (48 percent) or held steady (29 percent) over the last five years.

It also found that “a majority of HR leaders reported having either a formal effort to de-emphasize degrees and prioritize skills underway (23 percent) or actively exploring and considering this direction (39 percent)”.

This step-by-step accumulation of credentials is presenting itself as a welcome addition for students and mid-career professionals.

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