Major Milestone! Udacity Reaches 100,000 Alumni

Udacity has hit a significant milestone — we now have 100,000 alumni! 

Hitting the 100,000 alumni mark as an online learning platform is not just an accomplishment –– it’s a reason for us to celebrate you, our alumni.

There’s nothing we value more than seeing Udacity graduates gain the skills they need to go further in their careers. 

And, at the end of the day, we’re here to empower you with the knowledge and experience to help you land your dream job. 



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Udacity Leads Effort to Upskill Laid-Off Workers With New Scholarship

Businesses both large and small, have been adversely impacted by COVID-19, causing the economy to launch into a tailspin. 

In fact, many large corporations — including Marriott and GE Aviation — have announced that they will lay off hundreds of workers as a result of having their industries decimated by travel bans, event cancellations, and shelter-in-place orders.

An abrupt lay-off can have negative repercussions on a worker’s income and leads to undue stress when the future seems uncertain.

However, there is relief for recently laid-off workers. Udacity is offering Nanodegree program scholarships to individuals who have experienced job loss in the United States due to the Coronavirus pandemic.



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Udacity’s Contribution to the COVID-19 Crisis: One Free Month Access to Nanodegree Programs

At this point, we’ve all been changed by COVID-19. Our normal lives have halted and our day-to-day activities have been turned upside down. Here’s what we’ve experienced so far:

  • Hundreds of millions of people around the world are quarantined or working from home. 
  • Schools and universities are shut down, and parents and educators are scrambling to move to a virtual learning environment. 
  • Millions and soon to be tens of millions of people have lost their jobs.

If you’ve been laid-off, or stuck working at home, or even have stir-crazy kids that need something to do, we can help.



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Udacity appoints new Chief Financial Officer

Seamus Hennessy brings 20+ years of strategic and financial experience to Udacity. 

Udacity Seamus Hennessy

We are excited to announce the appointment of Seamus Hennessy as our new Chief Financial Officer, effective immediately. 

Hennessy brings over two decades worth of financial experience with both public and private technology companies to Udacity. Prior to Udacity, he spent eight years as CFO at Ruckus Wireless, where he led the company from early-stage startup, through its successful IPO in 2012 and acquisition by Brocade Communications Systems in 2016. He has also held CFO positions at Big Switch Networks, Cohesity and Aerohive Networks. The appointment highlights Udacity’s commitment to continued financial growth as the need for upskilling and reskilling for workers continues to accelerate, particularly in the fields of artificial intelligence, cloud computing, autonomous systems, and data science. 



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Introducing the Udacity Product Manager Nanodegree program

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Udacity is excited to introduce the newest addition to our School of Business: the Product Manager Nanodegree program. Product management has become one of the hottest career fields today. From MBA graduates to former entrepreneurs, the product manager position is a role in the tech industry coveted by some of the boldest and brightest. Over the past decade, interest in the product management profession has grown by 300%; and rightfully so. Rated as a top 15 job on LinkedIn’s 2020 Emerging Jobs Report,  product managers boast a 24% job growth rate and an national average base salary of $125,000 a year.  

As Alex King, Product Manager Nanodegree program instructor and Product Manager at Uber, states, the Product Manager role entails high responsibility and reward.

“Product Managers play a critical role in making sure that the right product gets built. This starts by deeply understanding your users and the problems that you are solving for, then working with a number of different teams to identify and build a solution. After launching a product, it’s an amazing feeling when you see people using your product in the real world.”

This Nanodegree program is great for those looking to break into the Product Management space, and has no technical prerequisites, so it’s accessible to learners from a variety of backgrounds. Once you learn the foundational skills required in Product Management, you will be equipped to further specialize your skillset with the AI Product Manager Nanodegree program, as well as the Growth and Data Product Manager Nanodegree programs coming soon.

Udacity Product Manager Nanodegree program

Product Managers Drive Company and Customer Value

Let’s go through a few examples of why Product Managers are so valuable to companies.  Have you heard of ICQ? Most likely not. However, most of you probably have used or at least heard of AOL’s Instant Messenger. ICQ was an early messenger tool similar to AOL’s Instant Messenger, but unlike Instant Messenger, ICQ had too many features that struggled to deliver customer value; as a result, it never took off because it became too overwhelming and inadequate for users. Now, let’s examine an example that is a little more recent. When Apple released its first version of the iPod in 2001, Microsoft released a competitive offering five years later called Microsoft Zune. However, unlike Apple’s iPod, Microsoft’s Zune failed to deliver any additional value to listeners and was late to the market, resulting in listeners sticking with Apple’s iPod instead of switching over to Microsoft’s Zune, causing Microsoft to discontinue production of the Zune product after a few years.

So what distinguishes exciting ideas from industry-changing innovations? A Product Manager. Product Managers make visions a reality by tactfully blending insight-driven strategy with influential execution. Whether it’s adding a feature that enhances customer delight for an existing product, such as in AOL’s Instant Messenger, or a completely new offering into the market, such as Apple’s iPod, Product Managers serve as the bridge between what problems a company spends their resources solving and the value that gets delivered to the company’s customers. 

Moreover, with the rise of digitization in the past few decades, all companies, including ones that were previously primarily selling physical products, such as Nike, Procter & Gamble, and Lego, now need Product Managers that can guide the development of software products. As a McKinsey article states, Product Managers are critical for companies in today’s digital era, connecting software-engineering teams to the rest of the organization, and ensuring resources spent internally create extraordinary customer value externally. Such an influential role requires a dynamic set of skills, including mastery of both soft skills, such as influencing without authority, and hard skills, such as distilling customer and market-based insights into a product spec. Being able to apply this breadth of skills throughout the product development lifecycle is what allows impactful products to be delivered into the market at the right time with the right features.  

There is a Product Management skill gap in the market due to a lack of industry-relevant programs that focus on both the soft and hard skills

However, this dynamic set of skills that set Product Managers apart are a rare breed in the workforce, especially in countries like Australia and India. The gap of skilled Product Managers in the workforce can be attributed to the lack of practical, industry-relevant training. McKinsey claims the maturity of a Product Manager can be measured across six pillars, and that the best way to upskill in these pillars is through working on real-world projects with regular coaching and feedback. In other words, Product Managers need to have a good sense of business, tech, and design, and be capable of seeing synergistic opportunities and switching contexts between those three domains constantly. However, there are very few Product Management training programs available in the market that enable synergistic problem solving across the business, tech, and design domains, and there are even fewer that teach the hard and soft skills needed to work effectively at the intersection of these three spheres.      

Program Details

The projects in the Product Manager Nanodegree program will prepare you to lead a cross-functional team in your organization, and act as the CEO and general manager of a mini-startup within your company.

Students who enroll in the Product Manager Nanodegree program will learn to define product strategy and KPIs based on market analysis, pitch a product vision to get stakeholder buy-in, and design a user-centered prototype that adheres to engineering constraints. Then, you will develop an execution timeline that handles competing priorities, communicate a product roadmap that builds consensus amongst internal stakeholders, and create a comprehensive go-to-market plan based on product KPIs. Finally, you will build tests to enhance product features based on market data. Projects in this Nanodegree program include:

Project 1: Pitch a Product Vision

Perform market research to identify target users and size the market opportunity for a new product. Compile your analysis into a pitch deck, and present the vision of your product to business stakeholders.

Project 2: Run a Design Sprint

Take a product opportunity and explore potential solutions. Narrow down ideas to the most compelling one, create a storyboard and prototype, conduct user research, refine ideas, and incorporate findings into a final product spec.

Project 3: Manage the Product Development Process

Balance competing priorities, relationships, and expectations to make sure your product will be built and launched within a given timeline.

Project 4: Deliver a Product to Market

Create a pre-launch process, including identification of launch risks and mitigations. Develop a marketing and pricing strategy, and create collateral to prepare the Sales and Customer Support teams to evangelize the product. Use customer feedback to design an A/B test for a new product feature.

Collaborating with Top Product Management Professionals

To develop this program’s world-class curriculum, we collaborated with professionals from companies including Cornerstone OnDemand, Lyft, and Microsoft. Each of these collaborators contributed guidance and feedback to focus the program on the most in-demand skills. Also, each of the instructors in the program has extensive professional experience as Product Managers in technology. Below is a list of contributors to the program.

Instructors

  • Alex King, Product Manager at Uber
  • Anastasia Root, Product Manager at Google
  • Yuva Murugan, Product Consultant

Begin Your Career in Product Management Today

Product Management roles in the US have grown an astounding 32% over just a two year period, from August 2017 to June 2019, higher than software engineering job growth (21%) and overall US job growth (6%) during that same time span.

This program will teach you both the hard skills of leading product development, and the soft skills of sourcing user feedback and influencing cross-functional teams. Udacity’s Product Manager Nanodegree program allows learners to develop experience across the business, design, and tech domains through hands-on, industry-relevant projects and mentor feedback. Enroll today to begin your career in Product Management!

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Introducing Udacity’s First Executive Program: AI for Business Leaders

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Udacity is thrilled to introduce our first Executive Program — the AI for Business Leaders Executive Program, built in partnership with BMW. Executive Programs are intensive, strategically-focused programs that empower business leaders to rapidly understand complex and technical concepts, like Artificial Intelligence, and apply these concepts to high-stakes decision-making in real-world business scenarios.

What exactly is Udacity’s new Executive Program, AI for Business Leaders? Gabe Dalporto, CEO of Udacity, offers a great explanation of the value of this program: ”Udacity ‘Executive Programs’ are an exciting addition to our curriculum that teach leaders and executives the fundamentals of a particular technology, like Artificial Intelligence, and go deep into the key questions and strategic implications they should be considering around the application of these technologies in their organization. In contrast, our Nanodegree programs teach hands-on, practitioner-level skills to those who will be implementing a specific technology.”

AI for Business Leaders


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