Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 12.11.39 PM

Since we launched Udacity Nanodegree programs last year, one of the most common questions we hear from the community is, “Are these right for me?” Ultimately, furthering your career will be a very personal decision and different for everyone. But we figured it would be helpful to gather some of the most popular answers to Udacity-related questions from around the Web. We hope this helps answer your inquiries about the Nanodegree programs, but if you have further questions, you can always let us know via social@udacity.com.

Question: What is a Udacity Nanodegree?

Answered by Joseph Rauch—on skilledup

A Nanodegree, provided by Udacity and AT&T among other partners, is an online certification that you can earn in 6-12 months (10-20 hours/week) for $200/month. It aims to teach basic programming skills that will qualify you for entry-level programming and analyst positions at companies like AT&T. At this point, Udacity has announced 4 tracks you can earn a Nanodegree in: front-end development, back-end development, iOS development, and data analysis.

Much like the requirements for a college major, each track has prerequisites, core courses, and elective courses. There is also a project portfolio requirement where you work with a coach to demonstrate the skills you learned by producing 6-8 useable projects relevant to the track you chose.

Although AT&T has invested the most and taken a lot of the spotlight as part of a PR push, they aren’t the only company Udacity is working with. Udacity has also partnered with Cloudera, Salesforce, Autodesk, Google, Hack Reactor (a popular and prestigious coding bootcamp), Facebook, and MongoDB.

Currently, Nanodegrees are for aspiring programmers and data analysts who don’t want to get saddled with debt and waste time with the traditional college experience. It’s for people who can’t even afford a decent college education in the first place. Udacity offers a “self-assessment” tool once the degrees become available so prospective students can see whether or not they are ready for the training.

Answered by Hassen Tanfous—on Quora.

  • It consists of core courses already available on Udacity or core courses that’ll be available soon (depends on the path)
  • It consists of new courses that’ll stack up with your finished ones.
  • It consists of projects that’ll demonstrate your skills in every course.

Keep in mind: It’s produced in collaboration with tech companies, so you’ll always be up to date in terms of technologies used.

In summary: You learn new stuff , keep getting updated on new content or changes in the courses, practice new acquired skills in challenging projects, get recruited from a tech company…

Question: Can you get a job after graduating from a Nanodegree?

Answered by Ben Halperin, Udacity graduate—on Quora

Yes! (I’m one of them).  I’m going to be working as a software developer at athenahealth starting in April. I was in the first cohort for the Front-End Web Developer Nanodegree, which I completed in December.  The program is still very early (started in October), so there are only a handful of people who have completed it.  There are no statistics to give at this point, but I know several people who either have new jobs, were promoted, or are currently looking (and getting interviews).

So, the answer to your question is yes.  People have gotten jobs after completing the Nanodegree.  I don’t know that other students feel the same way or that this will be your experience if you choose to enroll in the Nanodegree)…I had no trouble getting interviews is that I had a portfolio of work to prove that I knew what I was doing.  This is really the key part of the Nanodegree…

Answered by Allan Reyes, Udacity graudate—on Quora.

Like all educational opportunities, you’ll get out what you put in. The ND program is still very new. A certification certainly won’t guarantee you employment on its own merit, but I can safely say that active participation will give you industry-relevant skills

You’ll get more exposure to employers, tips and mentorship on how to conduct interviews and prepare your resume, and you’ll have a full, robust portfolio of projects to demonstrate your capabilities…Bottom line: I’d suggest you approach this more from the lens of “will I get relevant, employable skills?” versus “will employers see this credential, and automatically assume I have a desirable, competent skill set?

Question: What is the Data Analyst Nanodegree like?

Answered by Seth Weidman, Udacity Data Analyst Student—on Quora.

Pros

  • As with other Udacity courses, the content itself is excellent. Clearly the makers of the individual courses have thought backwards from “What do we want our students to know?” all the way through to how best to teach the students the content.
  • The lectures are engaging. The exercises are at an appropriate level of difficulty and are well-motivated. Each of the five projects you’ll complete as part of the Nanodegree is interesting, instructive, and would make a good addition to a GitHub portfolio.
  • What really sets Udacity’s program apart from others (like Coursera’s), however, is the support they give you outside of just teaching data science skills. They set up “office hours” where you can ask questions about the Nanodegree, provide resources on how to conduct informational interviews, and identify data science sites that those looking to break into the industry should read frequently.

Cons

  •  The Nanodegree program, along with all nontraditional certification programs (such as the Coursera Data Science Specialization, which I have also complete all the classes for), is unproven.
  • Employers may simply not know enough about the program to trust it yet over, say, the University of Washington program that another poster mentioned.
  • So, as much as I like the program, I don’t think there’s evidence yet to support a claim that completing the degree is guaranteed to get you a job as a data analyst at a tech firm.

Answered by Ricardo Vladimiro—on Quora. On differences between Udacity and Coursera Data Science tracks…

Udacity assumes prior knowledge in statistical inference. One of Coursera’s courses is of statistical inference. I would say that both assume knowledge of descriptive statistics. Udacity states it, Coursera doesn’t if I recall correctly.

Udacity assumes prior programming knowledge, especially Python. One of Coursera’s course is R programming, the only language you will need for the specialization.

Coursera is, in my opinion, more academic. It distinguishes data science from big data and focuses on the science part of data science. For instance, it worries with reproducible research and the creation of data products that a data scientist can share and discuss. While that is very useful on a corporate setting, it is (again in my humble opinion) a bigger concern in research and academia context.

Udacity approach is, in my opinion, more corporate. It exposes the student to things like MapReduce, MongoDB while not forgetting my dearest friend R. It has a visualization part which is very important for professional.