What is a Nanodegree program? In this post, we’ll try to answer this question through looking at the credentialing process, and what it means to offer a skills-based approach. We’ll then highlight some important program details, including our hiring and curriculum partnerships. We’ll follow that by breaking down four key ways a Nanodegree program is uniquely valuable, and then presenting some use cases organized around experience levels. Finally, we’ll explore the distinction between tech skills, and being “in tech,” and show you why the skills you learn in a Nanodegree program are applicable across a wide array of exciting fields.
An Online Learning Credential Program
To begin, a Nanodegree program is a credential program. In simplest form, you enroll, you meet a series of expectations, and you receive a credential affirming your successful completion of the program.
More specifically, a Nanodegree program is a project and skills-based educational credential program. You enroll, you learn a suite of skills, you successfully complete a certain amount of projects that demonstrate your mastery of these skills, and you receive a credential affirming your mastery of these skills.
Learning in a Nanodegree program takes place primarily online, so it can be said that a Nanodegree is an online learning credential program.
The Udacity Nanodegree Program
Here are some important features that set our Nanodegree programs apart:
- Our Nanodegrees are credential programs built with, and valued by, industry leaders like Google, Facebook, AT&T, Salesforce, GitHub, and more.
- Our hiring and curriculum partnerships are unique in the field, and represent one of the key benefits our students enjoy. Only at Udacity, for example, can aspiring Machine Learning Engineers learn directly from Google’s Deep Learning experts.
- We offer beginner-to-career-track programs in Android and iOS development, as well as Data Science and Web Development.
- This year will see the launch of cutting-edge programs in Virtual Reality, as well as a new Self-Driving Car Nanodegree program.
- Our students are mentored throughout their studies, connect regularly with instructors and coaches in forums, and benefit from an unrivaled project review system that produces in-depth, detailed, expert project review at lightning speeds.
4 reasons why a Nanodegree is valuable
The value of a Nanodegree program can be broken down into four main categories:
Virtually all companies prioritize around capability. The importance placed on culture fit generally varies company to company. The importance placed on skills generally does not. You need skills to begin, to advance, and to succeed. This is why at heart our focus is on demonstrable skills mastery.
The importance of community cannot be overstated when it comes to career success. Your engagement with, and membership in, communities related to your chosen field will inform the entire lifecycle of your career. Every step of a Nanodegree program is taken in the company of supportive community members.
As the penultimate affirmation of your achievement, your Nanodegree credential has intrinsic value. It is proof of your success. However, when it comes to your career, your credential is only as valuable as the opportunities it affords you. This is why our hiring partnerships, and our Career Support team, are such critical components of our model. Companies are now hiring our graduates without even requiring interviews! This is but one clear example of the value placed on Nanodegrees by industry.
Our President and Co-founder Sebastian Thrun has often stated his belief that the ultimate value proposition of education is employment. We believe that if you choose Udacity as your learning partner, and your goal is career advancement, then job success is the final barometer of whether we’ve met our obligations to your future. We do everything in our power to see that you land your dream job after you graduate. Through our Nanodegree Plus offering, we even guarantee you get hired, or your money back.
Nanodegree Program Use Cases
Here are some general descriptions of why you might choose to enroll in a Nanodegree program, organized by skill/experience level:
You have little to no programming skills, you do not consider yourself to be a “techie,” but you feel that to compete in today’s hiring landscape, you need to equip yourself with more modern skills. You’re not thinking career path yet, but you want to emerge from your first Nanodegree qualified to choose a career path.
You’re functionally adept with valuable technical skills, but you’re not yet where you want to be in your career. You may be trying to land your first role in your chosen field. You may be attempting a lateral promotion into a position with the kind of opportunity you’re seeking down the road. You may be instigating a career change. You may be re-entering the workforce after a period away. In all these instances, you need to refresh or upskill to achieve your goals.
You’re ready to make the leap from fully skilled, to incredibly valuable. You want to master the most cutting-edge skills, compete for top roles at the most innovative companies, and start delivering real value on Day One. You want to learn the skills and techniques used by the most advanced technology companies in the world.
Technical vs. “In Tech”
Today, there is a critical difference between having technical skills, and working “in tech.” We believe the skills you learn in a Nanodegree program enable you to work virtually anywhere, in any field. Not just in tech. As just a few examples, when you master technical skills through a Udacity Nanodegree program, you are in a position to bring value to:
- Companies that have web properties which must be built, maintained, upgraded.
- Companies that need to build, maintain, and upgrade their apps.
- Companies that produce data which must be analyzed, and rendered strategically actionable.
- Companies which need to automate portions of their operations through the use of sophisticated algorithms that can be trained to increase efficacy.
When you enroll in a Nanodegree program, you will:
- Master in-demand skills
- Build and design amazing projects
- Earn a valued credential
When you graduate from a Nanodegree program, you will:
- Launch your career
- Be in demand
The ultimate goal of a Nanodegree program is to teach the skills you need, for the career you want, so you can build the life you deserve.