In September 2017, Lyft and Udacity announced the Lyft-Udacity Scholarship Program, a joint program dedicated to increasing diversity in the field of self-driving cars, and helping people take that first step to becoming a self-driving car engineer. Over 8,000 people from around the world applied for the 400 available scholarships to Udacity’s Intro to Self-Driving Car Nanodegree program.
According to a recent Boston Consulting Group study, partially autonomous cars will be available in large numbers by next year with the biggest growth in the next two decades. By 2025, the market for partially and fully autonomous vehicles is estimated at $42 billion (and $77 billion by 2035). According to Catalyst, however, women held only 26.7% of jobs in the motor vehicle and motor vehicle equipment manufacturing industry in 2017.
Diversity is crucial for creating solutions that serve everyone. That’s why Udacity and Lyft partnered to create these scholarships specifically targeted to communities that are underrepresented in technology industry roles. The 400 scholarship winners came from more than 30 countries, including Bolivia, Cameroon and Bangladesh, 29% identified as Black or African American, another 29% identified as Hispanic or Latinx, 19% considered themselves a member of the LGBTQ community, and over 40% were women.
In honor of International Women’s Day–a day to raise awareness on women’s rights and equality–we would like to highlight a few of the exceptional women, their personal journeys to success and how they are inspiring change in autonomous systems tech.
These are their stories.
Meya: Recent College-Grad Lands Job as Software Application Engineer at Workday
Meya completed the the Lyft-Udacity Scholarship as she was finishing up her degree in Computer Science at California State University, Monterey Bay. As a student, she interned at the Space Systems Lab of the Naval Postgraduate School, where she programmed a High Altitude Balloon payload using a Raspberry Pi and Python. While she felt comfortable working in an academic setting, learning with Udacity taught Meya what it takes to succeed in a technical business environment: She learned how to review code, collaborate on Slack, and most importantly, solve problems independently. She graduated from college in May 2018 and started a new job as a software developer in July. “The interviewers were really impressed with my Intro to Self-Driving Car Nanodegree, especially my GitHub profile and portfolio of projects,” she said. “It was a real differentiator.” As a next career step, Meya plans to enroll in Udacity’s Self-Driving Car Nanodegree program in order to transition into a role with more machine learning and computer vision skills.
Find the right nanodegree program for you.
I work in the field of flying cars. Yes, flying cars, really! It’s admittedly not a common field, but flying cars are very much a reality, and every day we get another step closer to full-scale adoption and application of this technology. That may come as a surprise to some, and I understand that, because there’s a lot of misinformation out there. That’s why, in this post, I’m going to provide a working definition of what flying cars actually are and an explanation of how they cleverly make use of features from helicopters and airplanes.
Bruno Santos recently landed a graduate role as an Autonomous Engineer after enrolling in the Robotics Software Engineer Nanodegree program. He was able to move from Portugal to the UK to take up the role, and loves the work he does everyday. It is the happy conclusion to a career journey in which Bruno pursued physics, then data science, before deciding neither field was what he truly wanted to do. It was only when he found robotics that he knew he’d found a subject he felt really passionate about—one where he could go beyond theory to build real projects.
We spoke with Bruno to hear how he took what he learned in his Nanodegree program and turned it into his new career.
Become a robotics software engineer.
We recently opened enrollments for the new class of Udacity’s Robotics Software Engineer Nanodegree program. In it, you’ll focus on building a portfolio of five hands-on projects using ROS and C++ (the most important programming language in robotics) and you’ll learn core robotics algorithms.
As we prepare to get started in a few weeks time, we thought it would be useful to speak with someone who already works in robotics to get an insider view on the robotics sector. We recently caught up with Michael Costa, a robotics engineer who has a passion for working with medical devices.
He gave us a great insight into his career journey and some great advice on how someone new to robotics can land their first position.
At Udacity, we work closely with leading industry employers to develop the right curriculum to support your career advancement. We believe there is no better way to understand exactly what skills top employers are looking for than to speak directly to those companies and professionals. Today, as a result of insights gleaned from our collaborators in the field of robotics, we are announcing the next generation of our Robotics Software Engineer Nanodegree program!
The changes we are rolling out are expressly focused on today’s intense demand for robotics talent. We know that top employers are seeking engineers with these core robotics skills: ROS, Gazebo, C++, and robotics algorithms. So, we’re introducing a newly streamlined and laser-precise version of our program that will focus specifically on these core skills in a single, four-month intensive term.
It’s 2019, it’s a brand-new year, and it’s the time when many of us start planning major changes in our lives. Whether you are thinking about learning new skills, changing your career, or landing a fresh opportunity at your employer, this is the time of year to make that happen.
Nicola Poerio changed his life when he landed a new role in the self-driving car division of his employer, Fiat Chrysler, without any previous work experience in autonomous systems engineering. All after building his skills with Udacity.
Nicola had been working in the automotive industry for over ten years as an engineer. He’d built a career he calls “satisfactory” at Fiat Chrysler, one of the world’s biggest automotive companies. And he’d done well in his work, taking on new projects and management responsibilities along the way.
Find the right nanodegree program for you.
This Udacity Nanodegree program graduate enacted a full-scale career change to become a Machine Learning Engineer.
Meet Robin Stringer. Robin worked as a journalist, a translator, and a marathon race guide for visually-impaired athletes, before a conversation about coding caused him to reevaluate his long-term career plans.
While he was working for a para-athletics non-profit in New York, he began learning Python online, and in the course of doing so discovered Udacity’s programs. He moved to Seattle and took the opportunity to pursue his coding studies full-time, with the goal of pulling off an audacious career change. After studying some of Udacity’s free courses, he started the Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree program and got his first taste of machine learning. After a lot of work, he successfully landed a full-time role as a machine learning engineer.
We chatted with Robin to learn how he made his career change happen.