Friday, August 1, 2014

New! Software Debugging Course with Coaching and Certificates

We’ve all been there. We’ve all written code that didn’t work right. And we’ve all spent hours pouring through lines and lines of code to find the error, not entirely sure what we’re looking for.

It’s terrible.

But Software Debugging can help! In this course, you’ll learn how to use the scientific process in software engineering and how to automate the debugging process.

7 steps of debugging
This is an essential skill to keep in your software developer toolbox. Plus, the more efficient you are in debugging, the more you will be able to focus on the fun part of programming - designing and writing something new, rather than spending hours and hours on trying to find that one critical, but evasive, bug.

Today we’re happy to announce Verified Certificates and Certified Coaching for Software Debugging. In the full course, you’ll have access to a personal Coach to help you tailor your learning goals and answer any questions that you might have about the course material. After passing an oral exam, you’ll also earn a certificate verifying your new debugging skills.

We’ll see you in class!

UX Research: Doing Right By Your User

Designers &  developers have the same goal: doing right by the user
Designers and developers have a lot in common. 

They are passionate about the ideas they're bringing to life, they want to do right by the user, and a lot of the decisions that they make are driven by product requirements that are set by their management or client (in the case of freelancers).

One of the common themes that they're both driven by is "doing right by the user." How can they actually do this though?

Designers need tools to help them support the design decisions that they make, by showing how these decisions benefit the user.

Developers need to do the same thing as well, although developers have implementation constraints which can't be changed.

UX research is a very powerful tool that both designers and developers can use to figure out what actual users need or want, and what they don't need or want! 

User research is a great way to collect data from the right pool of users (potential customers & existing customers, but not non-customers) and validate assumptions that designers & developers might have. It's important to iterate on this & integrate this into the design & development process, so that really compelling products are brought to life, and not ones that aren't of use to anyone.

Richard Fulcher talks about the benefits of UX research in this video clip. To watch more video clips from the course, here's a playlist.

To learn more about design and UX, check out my online course UX Design for Mobile Developers. The class is free to take (just click on "View Courseware"). 

For even more UXD content, check out the YouTube show here:

New! Earn a Certificate in Interactive 3D Graphics

Learn to create virtual worlds in Interactive 3D Graphics
Today we’re excited to announce that Verified Certificates and Certified Coaching is now available for Interactive 3D Graphics!

3D graphics are used in everything from video games to 3D printing. Knowing how to generate 3D graphics opens a world of possibilities in exciting and growing fields.

Interactive 3D Graphics will teach you the basics of 3D computer graphics: meshes, transforms, cameras, materials, lighting, and animation. By the end of the course, you’ll have the skills to run a web browser with Three.js and WebGL.

With the paid course experience, you’ll have access to a personal Coach to help you tailor your learning goals and answer any questions that you might have about the course material. After passing a final assessment by your coach, you’ll also earn a certificate verifying your new 3D graphics skills.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

New: Parallel Programming with Certificates and Coaching

Learn parallel programming with NVIDIA
Today we’re happy to offer Verified Certificates and Certified Coaching for Introduction to Parallel Programming

Parallel programming is an especially useful skill for software developers, as it allows you to write programs that run and execute faster. 

In this class, you'll learn the GPU programming model and architecture, key algorithms and parallel programming patterns, and optimization techniques. In order to solidify your GPU programming skills, throughout the course you’ll build a number of image filters with NVIDIA’s CUDA Toolkit. 

With the full course, you’ll have access to a personal Coach to help you tailor your learning goals and answer any questions that you might have about the course material. After passing an exam, you’ll also earn a certificate verifying your new parallel programming skills.

See you in class!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

How to Conduct Low Cost User Research

The best way to make an app (or any product) that your users love is by understanding your users, and that means conducting user research. While big companies like Google can afford to conduct sophisticated and expensive user research studies, basic user research can be done very cheaply.

Listen to Rich Fulcher, an Android designer and developer, as he first explains some of the ways Google conducts User Research and then discusses some of the low-cost techniques you can use to improve your products immediately.

If you want to learn more, check out UX Design for Android Developers.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Intro to the Design of Everyday Things, now available with the full Udacity goodness!

Did you know that you’re a designer? It’s true! We all incorporate a little design in our everyday lives, whether it’s crafting an email or rearranging the knick-knacks on our desk. Design happens whenever we change our environment to make things a little bit better.

In Into to the Design of Everyday things, you'll learn to appreciate good design in products you use every day.
Today, we’re happy to be offering the full goodness of the Udacity experience for Intro to the Design of Everyday Things (including Verified Certificates, extra material, and Coaching). It's available with a 2-week free trial.

If you’ve ever been curious about the principles of design, we encourage you to join us in class. You’ll learn about design concepts like affordances and signifiers, learn how to recognize good and bad design in your everyday life and how to talk about design. This course really does offer something for everyone, regardless of whether you have design experience or not.

See you in class!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Data Visualization Case Study: How Bad Is Your Commute?

Hi, I'm Chris and I teach Data Analysis with R!
Data Analysis with R is a mouthful. Whether you know a lot about analyzing data or are looking to share numbers in a presentation, I want to show you how easy it can be to make sense of data and communicate it to an audience. Let’s start with a question.

How long does it take you to get to work?

My Udacious colleagues travel all across the Bay Area with commutes times as long as 2 hours and as short as 2 minutes. With your commute in mind, can you think about which cities have some of the worst commutes in the world? Go ahead, jot down some cities.

IBM conducted a Commuter Pain Survey (2010) and determined which cities had the most commuting woes, such as terrible traffic and crowded busses. Researchers ranked 20 cities on a “pain index” based upon many issues. One way of making sense of this data is by looking at a table like the one below. How does your list of cities compare?

Pain Index
Buenos Aires
Los Angeles
Mexico City
New Delhi
New York
Sao Paolo

While this table delivers the data, our brains digest data visualizations, like bar charts and scatter plots, much faster than numbers. If you have ever scanned an excel spreadsheet, you know what I mean. Here is the same data in a visualization.

Made in R with safe colors for those who are color blind. I actually like this better.

By reordering the data, the visualization draws the eye towards the worst cities at the top of the diagram and the less “painful” cities towards the bottom of the chart. Additionally, color serves to draw the eye to particular cities: Beijing, Mexico City, and Berlin. Color might seem like an odd addition to the bar chart, so let me connect it to another visualization.
The chart above shows the percentage of drivers who would spend more time working if their commute times were considerably less. Notice that even though Berlin’s pain index is about a quarter of Beijing and Mexico City (from the first diagram), the same percentage of drivers would prefer to work. Now that’s dedication!

If you want to dedicate time to create visualizations like this one, then join myself and members of Facebook’s Data Science Team in Data Analysis with R.

I know commuting can be a pain but making sense of data should be easy.

Chris Saden
Course Instructor, Data Analysis with R