Think of your best learning experiences. What were you doing? You probably weren’t simply listening to a speaker or reading a book. To really energize the learning centers of our brains, we need to engage multiple aspects of our bodies as well. Something as simple as taking notes in the margin can increase comprehension and retention. We have the best learning experiences when we’re actively involved in the activity of learning — from changing a tire to drawing an image to kicking a ball.
Since Udacity’s inception, our mission has been to train the world’s workforce in the careers of the future. Hundreds of thousands of students have graduated from Udacity programs since we launched in 2011. Qualified professionals are always in high demand and we’re here to help students get the skills they need for the job they want.
Of the over 128,000 students who have completed a Nanodegree program through Udacity, 73% who signed up with the intention of advancing their career reported a favorable career outcome, according to a 2020 survey of our graduates. What’s more, 50% percent of graduates who signed up with the intention of advancing their careers received a 33% median increase in pay.
Our students’ achievements are a constant source of inspiration around here. But just how did those students go from the online classroom to a tangible job?
Since March, when the COVID-19 virus shut down schools, businesses, and everything in between, we’re all spending a lot more time at home. To make the most of the time that would normally be spent out of the home socializing, a lot of people are picking up new skills and hobbies. Many who find themselves unemployed (currently 8.4% of the US population) are using this time to switch careers and boost their resume.
Going into classrooms isn’t an option these days, so most people have turned to online learning. Without a clear end in sight for COVID-19, taking courses over the Internet is shaping up to be the “new normal.”
I have been working as a Software Engineer for most of my 15-year career in technology. I progressed from embedded software development, to full-stack web and database development, to cloud-native application development and DevOps. Currently, my work focuses on cloud AI development and data engineering.
In 2015, I was searching for cost-effective ways to advance my career. I firmly believed that machine learning and AI skills were the most coveted and critical digital skills – in addition to cloud and software development. Since I already had extensive software development experience, I focused my development plan on expanding my skillset in data science, machine learning (ML) and AI.
Today, 30 million people have lost their jobs in the United States. This terrible reality isn’t just a tough pill to swallow, it’s creating a tremendous amount of uncertainty about the future of work. COVID-19 has in many ways sped up the inevitable dismantling of millions of jobs due to technological efficiencies, but the good news is that technology is only as powerful as the people that use it.
Graduating from a Nanodegree program is no small feat and definitely an accomplishment worth celebrating. One of our students, David Hundley, has recently graduated from his 10th Nanodegree program, and is now working on his 11th!
In just over a year, he was able to use the skills he learned across different Nanodegree Programs to transition into a Machine Learning Engineer role. Here’s David’s story: