It Was A Very Good Year: Udacity in 2015

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“It was a very good year.”
~Frank Sinatra

365 days. 12 months. 1 year. It shouldn’t feel so long ago, but somehow January of 2015 seems about as far away as Y2K. Was it really just the beginning of this year we were blowing  your minds with data visualizations, and debating the merits of Python vs. R? And was it honestly just a mere two weeks after this year’s Valentine’s Day that we announced that all Georgia Tech OMSCS courses would be free going forward? Hard to believe, particularly in light of all the exciting news we’ve just had about GT’s first online graduates, but it’s true! How time flies…

Looking back at the year behind us, it’s hard to believe everything that’s been accomplished. Our students together comprise an incredible force for learning, and their dedication and commitment levels are other-worldly. Did you know, that if you add up all the hours that students together have dedicated to learning with Udacity, the total is over 450 years??? It’s true! Check our special Year-End Infographic if you don’t believe me!

Numbers like that are pretty staggering. One’s eyes almost glaze over thinking about it. When I get that feeling, it really helps to think about the students behind the numbers. The individual accomplishments just keep coming, and they’re all so special. As but one example, consider March of 2015.

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[Infographic] A Year of Udacity Achievements and Milestones!

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When you’ve enjoyed a year like we have—front-and-center for so many incredible student successes—it’s almost impossible to explain the feelings of achievement, let alone quantify the accomplishments. But we’ve done our very best to try and capture some of the remarkable highlights, and we’re excited to share our new infographic with you!

When we were beginning the process of assembling the numbers contained in this infographic, we knew a few things ahead of time, of course. But that didn’t make some of the realizations any less dramatic or moving. That we are now reaching students in 168 countries was certainly a known thing, yet … wow! 168 countries! This is so humbling and exciting both, and we’ve only just begun.

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Udacity Dads: User Research Manager Steven Johnson

There’s so much buzz around whether women can have it all, but hardly anyone’s talking about what it’s like for fathers to balance their family and career. Let’s start! In recognition of Father’s Day this coming Sunday, we talked to three Udacity fathers about their experience as working fathers in tech. Today’s post features User Research Manager Steven Johnson.

steven_johnsonTell me about yourself. Where are you from? What do you do? How many kids do you have?

I am a Bay Area native, born and raised! I am currently the User Research Manager for Udacity. My duties include researching the student experience and identifying areas where we can improve. I have one 6-year old-first grader named Brandon (code name: Mr. B). My commute to and from work is around four hours (my longest ever was seven hours!) because I drive about 75 miles to the office on traffic congested freeways.

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Udacity Dads: Program Manager Jason Barros

There’s so much buzz around whether women can have it all, but hardly anyone’s talking about what it’s like for fathers to balance their family and career. Let’s start! In recognition of Father’s Day this coming Sunday, we talked to three Udacity fathers about their experience as working fathers in tech. Today’s post features Program Manager Jason Barros.

jason_barrosTell me about yourself. Where are you from? What do you do? How many kids do you have?

I am from California, born and raised in the Bay Area. After high school, I joined the United States Marine Corps. After the military, I went to college at UC Santa Cruz. I currently live in Gilroy with my four kids, with one more on the way in October.

How did you get started in tech?

I was working in education (I’m formerly a teacher and academic advisor) and got to the point where I could not afford to support my family. I started looking for jobs (any jobs) in tech.

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Udacity Dads: Software Engineer Art Gillespie

There’s so much buzz around whether women can have it all, but hardly anyone’s talking about what it’s like for fathers to balance their family and career. Let’s start! In recognition of Father’s Day this coming Sunday, we talked to three Udacity fathers about their experience as working fathers in tech. The first features software engineer Art Gillespie.

art_gillespieTell me about yourself.

I was a military kid so I grew up all over the world. My family and I currently live in Sunnyvale, California. I’m officially a “software engineer” but I think of myself as a “guy who builds stuff” — someone who learned programming out of necessity. For me it’s always about the problem I’m solving or the experience I’m building for people. Software engineering is a means to an end.

My amazing wife Jenn and I have two kids: a seven-year-old daughter and a three-year-old son.

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Udacity Moms: Course Developer Gundega Dekena

In recognition of Mother’s Day this coming Sunday, this week we’re featuring three women at Udacity and their experiences as mothers working in tech. At a time in which the news media can’t stop asking whether women can have it all, we’re excited to bring you the stories of three women in tech who balance their families and careers on a daily basis.

Udacity moms: Gundega DekenaWe shared the stories of Liz Keleher and Catherine Gamboa earlier this week. The next to share her experience is Gundega Dekena, a course developer at Udacity.

Tell me about yourself. Where are you from? What do you do? How many kids do you have?

I’m from Latvia (it’s a small country in Northeastern Europe, one of three Baltic states) and I currently live there. I’m a course and curriculum Developer at Udacity for web, cloud and DevOps focused courses. I have one 11-year-old son. I’m divorced and I live with my son and my father.

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Udacity Moms: Course Developer Catherine Gamboa

In recognition of Mother’s Day this coming Sunday, this week we’re featuring three women at Udacity and their experiences as mothers working in tech. At a time in which the news media can’t stop asking whether women can have it all, we’re excited to bring you the stories of three women in tech who balance their families and careers on a daily basis.

We shared Liz Keleher’s storyUdacity moms. Catherine Gamboa earlier this week. The next to share her experience is Catherine Gamboa, a course developer at Udacity.

Tell me about yourself. Where are you from? What do you do? How many kids do you have?

I live in Almaden Valley, which is in South San Jose. I have two sons and work as a course developer at Udacity.

How did you get started in tech?

I have always loved technology. When I was a kid I built a house for my Barbie and I spent most of my time adding lights (using flashlight batteries and bulbs) and running water to the house. I loved math and doing experiments, so when it was time to pick a college major I looked for one that let me do my favorite things. That narrowed the choices to art or electrical engineering. Electrical engineering won because there was more math.

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