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Sean Mackert

- Passionate about security
- Aspiring red teamer
- Seeking mentorship

4-Minute Read

Google recently launched a new ~6 month (for complete newbies) certification through Coursera called the Google IT Support Professional Certificate that’s supposed to be an equivalent to the CompTIA A+ certification. To get straight to the point, this certification won’t get taken seriously if a) Google doesn’t fix the major issues with the labs in the course, and b) probably still won’t be taken seriously because it’s a $50/month proctored online course.

That said, I threw my hat in the ring to see what’s up and here are some of my thoughts on the course.

The labs are horribly broken and support from Google is lackluster/nonexistent.

The labs use a website called QwikLabs that spawn a temporary Google username and password and an instance running on the Google Cloud Platform. There doesn’t seem to be an issue with QwikLabs themselves but with the way the Google team made the labs– they sometimes didn’t update the score properly, the directions were often contradictory/incorrect/and/or confusing, and the instances were poorly configured and took up to 10 minutes for the start up scripts to run before you could begin working. The biggest issue was that on many labs the scores never synced back with Coursera causing an incomplete grade. This was an issue for weeks after launch and the Google Mentors (as Coursera calls them) continually promised updates coming soon and even stated that they were working when many of them were still broken. Eventually I had to take screenshots of my completed work and submit them to Coursera support to manually update my grades.

This was incredibly frustrating because I would have completed the entire cert within the Coursera free 7-day trial but instead took two weeks of piddling around waiting for the labs to be fixed.

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Sean Mackert is an IT professional passionate about security and helping inform others.