College has always pretty much been the only way to start a career in our modern world. However well you do without a good college degree, “I went to Stanford.” will always leave a lasting impression on whoever you’re talking to. But, as online classes and resources continue to branch out, creating more content and ways to access them, the credibility of these classes continue to increase. Coursera, an online college level course distributor, already has a pretty good system running. There are hundreds and hundreds of courses on the site, only a handful on demand, most with scheduled class times spread throughout a period of time, curated by many different universities all over the world in tons of different languages. If you complete these courses, you can earn a verified certificate of completion, signed by the instructor from the university. Although the certificate can’t actually be used as credits, they are a good show of prior learning when applying, or just used as proof that you completed the course.


Coursera is now taking this “verified certificate” thing to the next level. They have already introduced a feature called Specializations, which are a group of courses under a certain topic. Once you have completed these courses, you have to complete something called a “Capstone Project”. A capstone project is, well, a project to show that you’ve learned the material. After completing the capstone project, it will be reviewed, and you may be awarded with a certificate of specialization completion.

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Obviously, Specialization Completion is worth a lot more than just completing one of the courses, because it has you use your new knowledge. But also, Coursera has recently partnered with a couple tech companies, including Google, Swiftkey, Instagram, Shazam and others to help with the credibility of these Specialization Courses. When you complete the capstone project, depending on the specialization you took, your project will be reviewed by one of these companies, and the best of the course’s participants may be given some reward by the company itself. For instance, Google looked over all the capstone projects in the Mobile Cloud Computing specialization, and featured the winner’s apps in the Play store, as well as giving them free Nexus tablets.

So far, these partnerships have been restricted to specializations to do with technology and entrepreneurship, but Coursera says they expect to branch out in the future to other topics as the specialization courses grow.

This opportunity, for your work to be shown to many new companies is a great for many people in college, not yet in college, or later in their career to try to move into a job they like better. Whatever the reason, Coursera is creating this great opportunity for learners of all kind, and you should definitely check out their courses, whether for college or just for fun. Also, this partnership is one step in the right direction from the Internet being known as “that place with cat videos” to a reliable, verified learning reasorce. Since is Google, Shazam, and many other of the biggest tech companies trust them, why shouldn’t you?