Building A Blockchain Career

How two-time Nanodegree program graduate Marie Leaf transformed her mindset, and launched a new career in a transformational field.

Building a Blockchain Career - Marie Leaf - Udacity - Student Success

Marie Leaf describes herself as a lifelong Udacity learner, and we’ve been so impressed and inspired not just by her incredible thirst for knowledge and self-motivation, but by all the ways she’s connected her learning experiences to her career advancement. Marie has built a unique career path that has led her to an exciting role in the blockchain field, and in our interview below, she discusses how learning with Udacity helped transform her mindset, and how she felt empowered to pursue the technology-centric career she really wanted for herself.

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What is Democracy in the Internet Age?

An interview with Santiago Siri, founder of Democracy Earth, about blockchain-based voting technology, and becoming a “gatekeeper” of the voting process.

Santiago Siri - Built on Blockchain - Udacity - 2As we continue to explore blockchain’s potential impact on the world, we are paying particular attention during this election season to those individuals and organizations who are using this technology to address issues such as security, transparency, sovereignty, and identity.

One such organization is the Democracy Earth Foundation, founded by Santiago Siri.

When the MIT Technology Review included Santiago on their 2017 “Innovators Under 35” list, they described him as “using blockchain to devolve political decision-making power to citizens.” Wired Magazine, in a recent profile, offered an even more dramatic summary:

A new movement says that crypto-voting can purify democracy—and eventually eliminate the need for governments altogether.

We recently spoke with Santiago for our Built on Blockchain documentary series, and the more we learned about, and from, Santiago, the more clear it became why he has so quickly emerged as such a compelling voice in the blockchain space.

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The new Digital Freelancer Nanodegree program launches in MENA!

In collaboration with ‘Maharat min Google’, Google’s digital skills-building program in MENA, Udacity is launching a Nanodegree program specifically designed for students to learn the skills and tools needed to launch successful freelance careers.

Udacity Digital Freelancer Nanodegree program - MENA

Today marks the launch of an exciting new opportunity for the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region—our new Digital Freelancer Nanodegree program! We are thrilled to be launching this program in collaboration with ‘Maharat Min Google’, Google’s digital skills-building program for Arabic speakers. Together, our goal is to help empower aspiring learners to acquire the skills necessary to succeed in the global digital economy, with a special emphasis on women, and young workers just now preparing to enter the workforce.

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Bringing Votes Home Safely, with Blockchain

West Virginia’s embrace of blockchain-powered mobile voting technology is the latest in a long line of pioneering achievements for the state.

Donald Kersey - Built on Blockchain

It’s no coincidence that as we approach election day, we find ourselves talking about election technology, and it’s no surprise that we’re talking about blockchain. For its advocates, blockchain is virtually synonymous with trust and security, and that’s what successful elections are all about.

In our most recent Built on Blockchain interview, we talked with Nimit Sawhney, the Co-Founder and CEO of Voatz. Voatz is pioneering the use of blockchain technology to help overseas military personnel vote securely in West Virginia, and in our interview below, we check in with the West Virginia side of this remarkable partnership, as we talk with Donald Kersey, the Director of Elections in West Virginia.

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George Ampartzidis made a spectacular career change—from bank teller to Android developer!

George Ampartzidis - Udacity - Student Success - Career Change - 2

George Ampartzidis’ career wasn’t going where he wanted. He’d worked in the banking sector for twelve years, but was unable to move up through the ranks. He’d added a Master’s in Information Systems to his resume, but it hadn’t enhanced his employability. He’d even expanded his search for new roles across his homeland of Greece, but he found opportunities severely limited.

Then George heard about a Udacity scholarship, and saw in it the opportunity to start something new. He applied, and was accepted. Less than two years later, nearly everything in George’s life has changed. He moved with his wife from Greece to the UK, and he landed a great new role—as an Android developer!

We spoke with George to hear how he succeeded in making such a spectacular career change.

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Securing Democracy With Blockchain

Nimit Sawhney’s company Voatz is pioneering the use of blockchain technology to help overseas military personnel vote securely in West Virginia.


Udacity - Built on Blockchain - NimitFor some, career choice seems like a foregone conclusion, as if they were born to it. For others, a career is something one ends up in as the result of choices made along an uncertain path. For still others, a career is a way to make a living doing something you believe in. For Nimit Sawhney, it’s all three, and then some. His career journey began in 1984, the moment the Prime Minister of India was assassinated. He was just a child, and couldn’t have known then the influence this terrible event would have on his life, but today, he credits that experience for motivating him to pursue the work he is now engaged in.

“Some of the things I saw then as a little kid were shocking—just the image of someone forcing you to vote at gunpoint. It was scary at the time and the image really stuck in my head, though I didn’t understand the magnitude of it until I grew older.”

Nimit is the co-founder of a company called Voatz, which is pioneering the use of blockchain technology to secure modern voting platforms.

In creating our new documentary series Built on Blockchain, our goal was to seek out and engage with the most innovative thinkers, the most passionate practitioners, and the most ardent evangelists of this powerful emerging technology. We spoke with Nimit to learn more about his history, his company, and his embrace of blockchain technology.

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Enroll Today In Udacity’s New Cybersecurity Nanodegree Program

Please note: We have made changes to this curriculum since this announcement. As of January 15, 2019, a new version of our cybersecurity curriculum is available via a free course. Additional details below.

Learn modern cloud-native cybersecurity skills and advance your software career with a new course built in collaboration with Chronicle. Learn more today!

Udacity - Chronicle - Cybersecurity Nanodegree program

As of January 15, 2018, Udacity’s cybersecurity curriculum, developed in collaboration with the team at Chronicle, is available via a free course called Introduction to Cybersecurity with Chronicle. In this course, you’ll learn the foundational skills necessary to launch and advance a cybersecurity career.

To primary goal of the course is to ensure you develop demonstrable proficiency with core skills central to success in the field. This includes learning how networks handle routing, DNS, load-balancing, and more. You’ll also explore the Linux operating system, review programming and APIs, and even start building cloud infrastructure.

In addition to our core internal team, we are pleased to include Wael Ghandour, Lead Security Engineer at VMWare, as one of our course leads.

The course features seven lessons:

  1. Introduction
  2. Programming
  3. Networking
  4. Systems
  5. APIs
  6. Modern Cloud Architecture
  7. Cybersecurity Fundamentals

Through our cross-industry collaboration with Chronicle, we are creating something desperately needed in our world today—cybersecurity training that can stay ahead of the threats. Chronicle’s bleeding-edge expertise at applying planet-scale computing and analytics to security operations, combined with Udacity’s agile and dynamic learning platform, makes for a compact training opportunity that is regrettably still rare in our digital world.

The time is right for learning opportunities of this kind, and there has never been a greater need for new talent to enter this field:

“In this day and age, when our reliance on networked systems is higher than ever and the gap between talent and demand is growing faster and faster, cross-industry collaboration is critical to the future of our society. The time to address this problem is now, and this partnership with Udacity will take us one step closer to achieving our common goal.” —Mike Wiacek, Co-Founder, CSO, Chronicle

The need for qualified cybersecurity talent

As the number and complexity of cyber attacks increases around the world, demand for qualified security professionals continues to rise dramatically. The recently-released Global Information Security Workforce Study predicts that there will be 1.8 million open cybersecurity jobs by 2022, and the U.S. Department of Labor anticipates security-related job growth rates of 28% over the next decade. As striking as these numbers are, they are conservative by many estimates. Cybersecurity Ventures predicts 3.5 million cybersecurity job openings by 2021, and ISACA forecasts a global shortage of two million cybersecurity professionals by as early as next year.

No matter which forecasts come to fruition, the challenges are inescapable, and the demand is very real—the world needs trained cybersecurity professionals, and for those who possess the right skills, the opportunities are nearly limitless.

The opportunity to help the world address its security challenges, while simultaneously supporting a new generation of security talent to acquire the valuable and in-demand skills necessary to enter the field, is why we created this curriculum in the first place, and it’s why we’re here today, getting ready to open our classroom to the security professionals of the future.

If you’re ready for cybersecurity success in roles such as Security Engineer and Cloud Security Engineer, then visit Udacity today. The classroom opens soon, and the world needs you.