How a 6-month technology course at Udacity helped Anna Preis — and thousands of other people this year — change her life through a new career in tech.
Eight years ago, Anna Preis, originally from Poland, found herself in Dublin, Ireland, in a dead-end job working the phones for a payday lender. She hated getting people to take out high-interest loans she knew they could never afford to repay, but she had to meet her quotas to keep her job. “It was heart destroying,” she says. She talked to customers all day long but was never able to truly help them. A string of customer service and customer retention jobs followed, until late last year when a particularly awful day at work caused her to question everything. “I wanted to do something about my life,” she says.
Ready for a change, Anna opened an email from Udacity. Google was offering scholarships for people who wanted to become developers. Anna was excited about the possibilities but it was a big leap: She knew nothing about programming or computers. “It was like fairy dust and unicorns and magic,” she says. She went for it anyway, expecting to be rejected.
Anna was accepted! She jumped at the opportunity and discovered she was capable of more than she knew. She worked hard, and six months later, she graduated from Udacity’s Android Basics Nanodegree program.
Today Anna works for Shopify, customizing and troubleshooting online stores to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses. She earned a raise in the process, but says it was never about the money: “I would have taken a pay cut to do this,” she says. Pushing past her fears to become a programmer taught Anna that she can do anything if she puts her mind to it. “This completely changed my life,” she says. “It’s extremely empowering!”
Anna’s achievement was also a milestone for Udacity: She was the 50,000-th person to graduate from a Udacity Nanodegree program. By the end of this year, nearly 65,000 people from 160 countries will have graduated from Udacity Nanodegree programs. That’s up from 18,000 alumni this time last year. Like Anna, many of our students are able to attend Udacity with financial support: 12% of our graduates earned scholarships from our generous partners, including AT&T, Bertelsmann, Google, Facebook and Lyft. We checked in with our Nanodegree students and alumni to learn more about their achievements and decided to share some of that data in an infographic, below.
Udacity collaborates with more than 250 global employer-partners including Amazon, AT&T, Google, Facebook, Mercedes-Benz and NVIDIA to close talent gaps. Our alumni also get a great return on their investment: In the U.S. and Canada, Udacity graduates who tell us they have secured new jobs after learning with us have reported an average annual salary increase of 38%. Moreover, over 50 companies, including AT&T, Audi and Airbus, partner with us to re-skill and level-up their existing workforce, so their employees can advance their careers within the company.
At Udacity, we want students to attempt the impossible. Students like Anna inspire us immeasurably, and we celebrate their successes.