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Do Coursera's paid Signature Track certificates carry more weight than their free ones?

Posted in 'Hot Topics from Quora' started by Quora Feeds, Feb 11, 2016.

  1. Quora Feeds

    Quora Feeds Member

    Nikhil Balaji

    If getting a paid certificate motivates you to work hard and stick it out until the end, then Yes.

    If you're primarily interested in the market value of a paid certificate, then probably not at the moment.

    Once you have paid for a verified course you don't have the luxury of quitting midway. These courses demand continuous self-motivation on the student's part. Paying for a course can provide an artificial motivation during those days when the last thing you want to look at the course.

    The best strategy would be to narrow down on a course that is really important to your learning goals, allocate sufficient time for it and consider paying for it.

    Personally I've had a problem with completing courses on MOOC's. Signing up for courses is extremely easy, sticking it out till the end is the hard part. Over the past two years I've completed 4 courses on Coursera. The only course where I got a 100% is in the one I paid for (Programming Mobile Applications for Android Handheld Systems). I don't know what weight this certificate carries but that doesn't make me regret signing up, I put in a lot of effort and I had fun!

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  2. Quora Feeds

    Quora Feeds Member

  3. Quora Feeds

    Quora Feeds Member

    Tina Lakinger

    Hiya, I'm a hiring manager.

    The difference between the "honor code" cert and the verified cert is all in the level of traceability. You can say that you took a MOOC, but the verified cert gives me an URL I can tell my HR partner to go "prove" that someone else agrees that you've taken that MOOC.

    It will probably not make or break your chances of getting in the door; your experience, portfolio, and formal education will do that (I try to discount the lattermost as much as my HR partner will let me in favor of the former two).

    However, it gives the candidate texture; that is, you've now got some depth to your interests and some evidence of your tenacity (MOOCs have a ridiculously high attrition rate). During an interview you'll have more to talk about, and the obvious dedication to continuous self-development will provide leverage at salary negotiation time.

    In terms of tactical advice, whether you put it on your resume or save it for your LinkedIn profile depends on the culture of your prospective employer. I'd drop it for conservative or "establishment" firms. GE, Boeing, IBM, no. Biotech, startups, design firms, hell yeah!

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  4. Quora Feeds

    Quora Feeds Member

    Ethan Solomon

    It's very hard to say; MOOCs as we know them today are only a few years old, and the big MOOC providers only started offering verified certificates this year (Note that edX has also piloted a course offering a verified certificate).

    As other answerers on this subject are quick to point out, employers are looking for demonstrable skills in their applicants, not coursework on a CV. If you can convincingly show that you internalized the skills and concepts you should have learned in a MOOC, I don't think a signature track certificate will mean anything more than an honor code certificate.

    (And even if employers did really care about coursework, it's not clear that the security and identity-verification features which come with the Signature Track are robust enough to be given a lot of weight. But that's just a guess.)

    That being said, signature track certificates are meaningful as far as higher education credits are concerned; a handful of Coursera's courses now carry ACE credit if you take the signature track option (which carries a fee). See Five Courses Receive College Credit Recommendations for more information.

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