Switching Careers: Advice from a Nanodegree Graduate

Mike Miller, Switching Careers

Udacity students pursue a wide array of career goals. Many are preparing to launch new careers, while others are switching careers—turning their existing skills and interests in new directions. In this post we feature Mike Miller, a Nanodegree Plus graduate who successfully switched his career from mathematics educator to iOS developer. In an in-depth interview, Mike generously shared details about his journey from software hobbyist to full-time iOS developer. He discussed his challenges, described his successes, and explored the role that Udacity played. His answers offer a wealth of advice and guidance to others contemplating similar career changes. Excerpts from the interview follow.

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Breaking Down How A Nanodegree Program Works

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Making a decision about your education, your career, and your future is one of the biggest life choices you can make, and enrolling in a Nanodegree program is exactly that kind of decision—it’s about about your education, your career, and your future. You don’t choose lightly, and it’s important you have a clear understanding of what’s involved. So how does a Nanodegree program work?

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No Student Debt vs. Student Debt?

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I have worked with a lot of independent contractors and small business owners over the years from many different fields—from HR vendors and alt-currency app developers to Americana songwriters and organic winemakers—and while the respective worlds are often seemingly very different, one objective unites them all: the goal of offsetting debt with revenue.

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A New Job Guarantee

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In 2010, we started Google x to pursue moon shots, moving impossible ideas into reality to change people’s lives forever. In education, the biggest moon shot is connecting learning to jobs. Get an education to get a job to change your life.

Today, we are launching a new program at Udacity, called Nanodegree Plus. Earn a Nanodegree credential and we will guarantee you a job within six months of graduation, or give you 100% of your tuition back.  

Over the last 18 months, our Nanodegree programs have begun to emerge as the place to go to learn technical skills to get a new job or advance a career. They are backed by companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, GitHub and AT&T among others—teaching students the latest technical skills for today’s workforce. Already, Udacity graduates are working at companies like Google, Nest, Accenture, AT&T, Amazon, Salesforce, Rakuten, Verizon, Goldman Sachs, Intuit and many others in Silicon Valley and beyond.

Over the past few months, we have actively placed Udacity students into jobs. Some have joined Udacity, others have taken jobs at our partner companies. While these initial placements were done quietly, today we are formally launching a job guarantee to eligible US students.

Initially, our new Nanodegree Plus program will be available for Android Developer,” “iOS Developer,” “Machine Learning Engineer” and “Senior Web Developer,” at $299 per month starting today. Students enrolling in these programs will work closely with our Career Services team, and enroll in our new Career Advisor program and Career Concierge services. In time, we plan to roll out the program to other countries and other Nanodegree tracks.

Today’s job landscape is changing with new types of jobs being created and job tenure shortening. The new Nanodegree Plus program offers students the latest technology skills for jobs that are most in demand today, like Android and iOS developers, at a fraction of the cost of a traditional education and a job guarantee at the end.