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Instead of paying thousands of dollars on tuition, you can now earn a certificate that demonstrates your skill set. The NanoDegree was built and recognized by top-world industries (Google, Amazon & AT&T) in order to help you learn a skill set at a relatively low cost. If you’re thinking about changing careers or just getting started in the workforce, a NanoDegree may be the right option for you.
What Exactly Is A NanoDegree?
The reason it’s called a NanoDegree is because it cuts through all of the classes that you don’t need. Normally when you attend a university, there’s language requirements, liberal arts credits requirements, science courses you have to take, etc. With a NanoDegree, you jump right into it and learn only what you need to learn.
NanoDegrees were built by world leaders in innovative technology such as Google, AT&T, Amazon, SalesForce, AutoDesk, and Cloudera. Hearing this might already give you an idea on what type of degrees are offered: they’re all computer-based.
These so-called NanoDegrees can be obtained by completing courses on Udacity. This web-based company used to provide free courses that allowed you to learn a new skill set in a certain area of computing, but have recently teamed up with large companies in order to bring you structured courses that translate into some sort of certification that demonstrate your knowledge.
Currently on Udacity, here are the NanoDegrees that are being offered:
- Front-End Web Developer
- Android Developer
- Data Analyst
- iOS Developer
- Full-Stack Developer
- Introduction to Programming
For those of you with little or no computer knowledge, Udacity is a great place to start. Their courses start you from the very beginning, and no prior experience is necessary.
If you’re really worried about it, you can take the Intro to Programming course to see if it’s a career path that you would enjoy or be able to excel at. To get a better idea of all courses that are offered, you can view their entire course catalog here and sort them by skill level.
How Much Does It Cost?
The cost of a NanoDegree isn’t determined by how many classes are offered, but rather how quickly you complete it. They charge you $200/month for unlimited access to videos in the course that you’re signed-up for.
They expect that at 10 hours a week, you can complete a course within a 6 to 12-month timeframe. That means you can expect to spend 240 – 480 hours earning a certificate. Think about it if you increased this amount to 40 hours a week – you could be done in just two months.
If you aren’t sure about getting your feet wet in this type of industry, or maybe you just don’t trust the courses on Udacity, then you can always try a week-long free-trial at no expense.
If you took the entire 12 months to complete the course, you’re looking at spending $2,400 dollars in total for your NanoDegree. That’s very reasonable compared to a college tuition.
Normally you’d have to spend 4 entire years learning a skill set or two without any real projects to show to your potential employer. Udacity ensures that they will give you the skill set necessary to enter the workforce along with saving you thousands of dollars and a lot of time.
If $2,400 dollars is too much, working on your degree at 40 hours a week will allow you to complete it in just two to three months. This brings down your cost to a maximum of $600 dollars. If that doesn’t convince you enough, Udacity will even refund half of your tuition once you complete the course.
How Are The Classes Structured?
Each course will have its prerequisites, just like any other degree program. After completing each class you will normally be presented with some type of assignment or quiz to demonstrate and hone your knowledge.
After completing your course, you should have anywhere from 6 – 8 working projects that you can demonstrate to future employers that show your ability as a programmer.
Is It Worth It?
Most of you are probably thinking that Udacity is a great way to learn some new skills at a cheap cost. However, the question that tends to be on everyone’s mind is whether it will land them a job or not, and long after earning a certificate?
This is a difficult question to answer as it really depends on everyone’s background. Some already experienced in the technology sector use Udacity as a way to enhance their current skills in order to transfer companies, change directions, or receive an increase in salary.
For those of you just starting out, it might be a little bit more difficult, but not impossible. In fact, the companies that helped build the NanoDegree programs are specifically looking for those who graduated from Udacity courses.
Essentially the degree is for those who want to be smart about their studies and not not go into thousands of debt. As long as you have hope and a desire to learn a new skill set, it’s not entirely difficult to land a job after graduation. More and more employers are learning about NanoDegrees and how well the certificate translate into actual ability.
Aside from the companies listed above, here are some more that have already taken graduates from the NanoDegree. They are all located in Silicon Valley.
- Silicon Valley Leadership Group
- Business Roundtable
More importantly, what does this mean for the future of education? MOOCs have already made a big impact by placing recordings of online courses from prestigious universities (Yale, Harvard, MIT, etc.) on the web for free. It seems as if everything is starting to go toward the web.
As for myself, I’m going to be taking part in the next Udacity course. Not to land a job or to increase my salary, but I figure that if I can take the course quickly enough, I won’t have to spend a large amount of money, and I can learn a new set of skills at the same time. I’ve always been interested in app development.
Tell us your thoughts on the NanoDegree. If you already have one, we’d love to hear the process you went through of obtaining one and how you went about finding work afterwards. Again, thanks for reading and happy frugaling!