“I grew up in a home with three generations and ten to fifteen people crammed into four bedrooms,” laughs Marlon Avery, Udacity Tech Coach. “It was a wonderful time, and no matter how tough any one group of people has it now, it’s important to remember we all have it much easier than our grandparents!”
Marlon’s personality is as big as the smile on his face as he recounts his youth, but despite the breezy way he tells stories, growing up as a black man in the South and working in tech, he has most assuredly faced adversity.
“The thing about adversity is that it’s all in the way you look at it,” he says. “You can focus on it and not get past it. Or, you can create a conversation around it and invite everyone to take part and, through that, reach a kind of understanding.”
As the calendar year comes to a close, it’s natural to look back and compare yourself to where you were this time last year. In December 2018, we were celebrating 50,000 graduates with the story of Anna Preis, who earned a Nanodegree from Udacity and used it to build a career she truly cares about. Now, in December 2019, we’re celebrating 100,000 graduates as well as a load of other exciting achievements this year.
Great leadership is the foundation of any organization, big or small. Without capable leaders guiding the way, growth is impossible. Effective business leadership requires a skillful captain to navigate the ship, and not simply a passive presence standing near the helm. Quality leadership is active, not static. One person who knows what it takes to be a successful leader is technology veteran Sue Barsamian.
We sat down with Sue during our recent Udacity Thought Leader Series Webinar to discuss the qualities leaders need to create and manage high-performing, productive teams. Sue’s extensive background in general management, marketing, sales, and engineering is a testament to her reputation as a foremost expert in team development. Currently, Sue serves on the boards of Symantec, Box, Gainsight, and Xactly. Previously, she was the Executive Vice President, and Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at Hewlett Packard Enterprise Software, where she orchestrated the successful spinning-off of the division from HPE and merger with Micro Focus International, to form the world’s seventh-largest software company.
Jean Luc Godard said, “Sometimes reality is too complex. Stories give it form.” And while a quote from the French New Wave Film director might be an unusual place to start a blog about one of Udacity’s instructors, Michael Dedrick would, no doubt, agree with the sentiment.
“Storytelling is key to all aspects of teaching and working in tech,” says Michael. “From the portfolios, you create while searching for a job, to the curricula you create while teaching a class, everything is a story. Your portfolio tells your story to employers. It shows how you created the work. And, ultimately, you hope your story is more engaging and more pleasing to the employer than the stories told by others who are competing for the same job!”
Some people have such an innate understanding of a subject that being in their very presence makes you feel like you’re learning something, almost through osmosis. Udacity Instructor, Melissa Hui, is one of those people. Talking to her is a revelation. Melissa is the founder and principal of Context Leap, an agency specializing in employing human-centered design to help organizations manage culture transformation, empower leadership, and discover how to work in more productive, creative, and innovative ways.
A data engineer is currently the most sought after tech job–– it had an 88.3% increase in postings over the past twelve months according to Burning Glass’s Nova platform. Why? The answer is hidden in the apps you rely on every day: data streaming.
Right now, you probably have a handful of apps on your phone that leverage real-time data––think ride-sharing apps, maps, and streaming services. And that’s just skimming the surface. Financial institutions use data streaming to monitor the stock market and hospitals use streamed data to monitor the health of patients. In a nutshell, data streaming is the process of sending data continuously rather than in batches, which enables millions of companies to create the products we use every day. This includes everything from web personalization and recommendation engines, to fraud detection and in-game interactions.
Flexible learning has been a hot topic in education since the 90s, although it significantly gained popularity once the internet became widely accessible. The idea is that students are better able to grasp concepts without rigid guidelines that pigeonhole them into specific ways of learning. This means that location, time, learning requirements, teaching style, and grading all have increased flexibility.