May 15, 2012

New undergraduate summer certificate programs teach career skills

News and Information

Three new University of Washington summer quarter certificate programs aim to help undergraduate students better prepare for jobs after college and even beef up their resumes.

The certificates, available to undergraduates, cover business essentials, database management and business localization for the international marketplace. Students can use the programs to explore new types of work they want to pursue after graduating, or learn more about how to apply the skills they acquire from their current degree programs to real careers.

“The certificates can help students test out or delve into a topic,” said Mary Larson, program management director for UW Educational Outreach.

The courses are taught by industry professionals who offer real-world perspectives on targeted careers. For instance, each of the three instructors who will teach the Certificate in Localization has over a decade of experience doing localization and project management for global companies including Microsoft and Siemens.

The Certificate in Business Essentials prepares students for work at most any kind of organization by teaching them practical skills in marketing, management and finance. As part of the program, students will write a business plan for a startup, product or existing organization.

“Dont be afraid of the word ‘business in the title,” Larson said. Even students who have never had an interest in taking business classes will find it valuable, she said. Thats because any kind of employer—a nonprofit, a business or a government—will have marketing, management and finance functions. The courses teach students the concepts behind those functions as well as practical skills.

Students who enroll in the Certificate in Database Management program will learn the fundamentals of database management technology, design, development and administration. The certificate is applicable to students in a wide range of degree programs since so many different kinds of businesses collect vast amounts of data. “Banks, airlines, Internet companies—theyre all about data and it has to be managed,” Larson said.

Instructors of regular degree classes might know students who can benefit from the certificate courses.

“A German language professor might tell a student: ‘Dont take my word that your language is valuable. Hear from the professionals teaching the localization certificate about how vital it is to multinational companies that are making giant investments in global markets,” said Larson.

In addition to learning valuable skills, students will be more marketable to prospective employees. A student with a resume that includes a degree as well as a specialized certificate will be more attractive to an employer, Larson said.

“A certificate from UW is always valuable in this region,” Larson said. “We know that from many years of offering certificates.”

Participants earn nine or more credits over the nine week summer period and pay regular summer tuition.

Interested students are welcome to attend information sessions with the instructors. The business essentials information session is May 23 at 6 p.m. at Savery Hall, room 137. The database management instructor will meet prospective students May 23 at 4 p.m. and May 29 at 6 p.m.  in MGH 420. Students are invited to hear more about the localization program May 30 at 6 p.m. in Denny Hall, room 308.