New IT-focused microcredential stacks seven bachelor's degree programs at WGU, helping students build a path to a degree.

New microcredential program helps students earn work-ready credentials

New IT-focused microcredential stacks seven bachelor's degree programs at WGU, helping students build a path to a degree

Western Governors University (WGU) has launched its first globally-available microcredential in information technology.

WGU’s IT Career Framework MicroBachelors is designed to create pathways for individuals looking to advance their IT careers. The new microcredential is credit-backed and stackable. It provides value as a standalone credential, but also allows working learners to apply credit towards a bachelor’s degree program at WGU, pending admission.

“WGU is committed to ensuring that we address the needs of working learners,” says WGU Provost and Chief Academic Officer Marni Baker Stein. “We’ve developed this program to serve as an industry-verified standalone credential as well as a stepping stone to several WGU bachelor’s degree programs in the College of IT. This pathway ensures that busy students acquire valuable credentials as they work toward their degrees.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in computer and IT occupations is expected to grow 12 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. And according to CompTIA’s 2019 Cyberstates Report, there were 3.7 million postings for tech occupation job openings in 2018 alone.

By partnering with IT industry leaders, WGU has designed this new stackable credential to give learners the foundational skills they need to compete for high-growth, lucrative computer science and IT careers, helping close the IT skills gap.

The new program also reflects a growing mindset that educational opportunities must be available for working students. Students with professional and family obligations becoming the norm at institutions, and efforts also are growing to upskill employees and provide adult workers with additional opportunities to increase their educational attainment.

More than half of respondents (56 percent) participating in a recent survey say they believe today’s employers are not adequately preparing workers with future-forward tech skills.

Many industry experts also predict that continued lifelong learning will be a key factor in a healthy future workforce. In fact, a report from Jobs for the Future (JFF) and Pearson notes that a career path won’t have a single-job trajectory, but instead will require a lifetime of learning. Higher education will have to experience significant reform to create graduates equipped for such a workforce, the report’s authors claim.

WGU’s IT Career Framework MicroBachelors gives learners valuable in-demand computer networking, security, scripting, and programming skills they need to compete in a dynamic, tech-driven economy.

The new microcredential is also intended for adults who want to add skills to their profiles but may not necessarily pursue a bachelor’s degree. For learners who are interested in pursuing a bachelor’s degree, the new microcredential stacks into seven different IT bachelor’s degree programs at WGU.

Material from a press release was used in this report.

Laura Ascione