South Florida Tech Talent Opting for Fast-Track Certifications in Lieu of College Degrees

  • To meet the surging demand for a qualified IT workforce in South Florida, IT education provider New Horizons South Florida is skilling up the tri-county’s residents through innovative fast-tracked certification courses in lieu of traditional college degrees. Palm Beach County resident Harmand St. Hubert lost his job during the pandemic. With a B.A. in Business Administration, he is now enrolled in a nine-week IT certifications program, to learn a specialization that will open employment doors to new career opportunities.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated a growing education trend in the tech industry: fast-track certification courses that help prepare students for careers in weeks – not years. Not always offered through traditional college degrees, these fast-track programs skill up students with the necessary qualifications and the most up-to-date technology knowledge needed to become certified in their technology of interest.

New Horizons South Florida, an innovative IT education provider, had anticipated this trend and fine-tuned its educational offering to help prepare the next generation of Miami’s tech workforce.

“The key to making Miami the next Silicon Valley is creating a local and diverse talent pipeline,” said New Horizons South Florida Executive Director, Charlene Pou. “However, the IT industry is changing so rapidly that by the time students finish a four-year college degree, the technology has moved on. As a result, many students face the need to re-educate themselves all over again.”

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“In 2020, 63 percent of our students already had associates degrees or higher. However, despite their college degrees, they were still struggling to be hired in the IT sector. Having observed this trend for quite some time now, it became clear to us that college degrees are simply not as helpful in securing IT jobs that require highly specific professional certifications and skillsets.”

“This is why New Horizons created programs that train students in weeks, not years, to help them get certified for in-demand IT jobs brought in by companies that are moving to the tri-county area,” explained Pou. “We are now offering ever faster nine-week certification sessions that prepare students for specific career options that are available in the area right now.”

Palm Beach County resident Harmand St. Hubert is currently enrolled in New Horizons’ nine-week program slated to graduate on November 14th. Harmand graduated Kentucky Christian University with a B.A. in Business Administration with a concentration in accounting. During the pandemic, he worked as a Job Cost Analyst at a South Florida-based construction company and was part of a large lay-off due to the company’s pandemic-induced closures.

At just 25 years old, Harmand had to pivot and think about making himself more marketable in the future.

“A lot of kids are struggling, they have degrees that have no specialization,” said St. Hubert. “Covid made me realize that what you do has to be essential, and I believe that IT is essential.”

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“I want to remain versatile and having an IT education like this will open doors of opportunity. An IT certification from New Horizons makes me feel like a guru. I feel like a wizard. You will succeed based on what you put into it, and that makes me feel empowered.”

The intense nine-week program fits perfectly into Harmand’s schedule. During the day, he works as Assistant Manager at Palm Beach Airport at Enterprise holdings, and in the evening, he is training for a career in IT.

New Horizons offers more than 700 training and certification courses and is on track to add another 50 courses to stay current with the constantly evolving technology. Courses and certification programs include security, Amazon Web Services, Cloud Platform training and data science.

Registration for programs is open with nine-week and eighteen-week certification sessions that begin new cycles on a monthly basis. Through the end of 2021, courses are offered online. New Horizons plans to resume in-person classes in January 2022, at its Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach campuses. For coursework and schedules, visit New Horizons online training and certification course catalogue.

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