- Real-world approach
- Applicable work samples
- Intuitive platform
- Over 200 free courses
- Career services
- Lack of mobile app
E-learning has become extremely popular. Nowadays, students all over the world can take a course in any subject from the comfort of their home. But when it comes to computer science and business, Udacity should be at the top of everyone’s list. This online educational organization has partnered with several top tech companies (such as Google and Microsoft) to offer comprehensive programs in job-specific skills that recruiters are looking for. From programming to artificial intelligence and product management, all courses provide real-world material and assignments that can be used when applying for a job or a promotion. With prices starting at $339 per month, Udacity is on the expensive side, but it does offer over 200 free courses. There’s even a small window to get a full refund – U.S. citizens have two days to decide whether the course is right for them, while UK and EU residents can use the platform for 14 days risk-free.
Udacity provides courses – called nanodegrees – in artificial intelligence, autonomous systems, business, cloud computing, cybersecurity, data science, product management, and programming. Each course has its own set of prerequisites, and although you don’t need to take a test to be accepted, it’s important that you only enroll in a program if you meet all its requirements. For example, one of the prerequisites of the Robotics Software nanodegree is to have advanced knowledge in an object-oriented programming language. If you don’t have the necessary experience, you’ll easily feel lost if you take this course.
Fortunately, Udacity makes it easy to understand what is expected of you before enrolling in a nanodegree. In addition to the prerequisites, all courses have a difficulty tag that ranges from beginner to advanced. You can also download the entire syllabus before enrolling, which gives you a detailed view of the program’s classes, projects, and objectives. All courses have an enrollment date, but this is so a group of students can start at the same time. This is perfect for people who like to exchange ideas with others while studying, but lone wolves can enroll whenever they want.
It’s important to mention that Udacity is not accredited. Still, its top-tier partners – such as IBM, Microsoft, and Google – are proof of the quality of Udacity’s nanodegrees. In fact, you’ll be learning from experts whose job is exactly what you want to learn. This real-world approach gives you practical knowledge of the tasks you would perform in the position you’re aiming for – something further explored through the assignments. At the end of each section, you need to upload a project that is reviewed by a team of experts. These work samples can be used to apply for a job or promotion after you complete the program.
Since Udacity’s courses are on-demand, it’s not surprising that lessons are video- and text-based. Video classes are hosted on the website itself and you can turn captions on for English and Hebrew subtitles, adjust the playback speed, and have the class play on picture-in-picture mode or full screen. Classes always come with a small quiz. You don’t need to complete the exercises to advance in your course, but we highly recommend doing so to ensure you’ve understood the lesson’s learning objectives.
All online resources can be downloaded for offline studying. We particularly like that the platform rolls out the content as you progress through the nanodegree, as it means that you don’t feel overwhelmed by all the material you need to learn. And because Udacity doesn’t have a dedicated mobile app, downloading the content is the perfect way to learn on the go without using the browser version.
Udacity also provides career services, including a detailed review of your resume, LinkedIn profile, and GitHub. Additionally, you can count on tips to grow your network and industry-tested templates. It goes without saying that taking the free courses in interview preparation is guaranteed to boost your chances of getting that dream job.
Udacity’s e-learning platform is intuitive and simple to use. The homepages of the courses show you a rundown of the curriculum, including deadlines for project submissions. You can easily go over modules, picking up where you last left off. There’s also a basic calendar that tracks your studying, but, unfortunately, you can’t plan study sessions and sync them with your own calendar.
New students have to answer a small survey before accessing their course. The answers may affect the learning experience, as Udacity adapts to your study preferences. For example, if you prefer to learn with other people, Udacity prompts you to its student forum. More importantly, the company asks you how many hours you plan to study per week to give you more achievable time frames for each step of the nanodegree.
All courses by Udacity follow the same structure. The monthly subscription costs $399, but you can save 15% by paying upfront for the entire course. Bear in mind that doing this offers access to the platform solely for what they estimate is the average time it takes to complete a nanodegree. If you don’t finish the program on time, you can change to a pay-as-you-go plan. Since the duration changes from course to course, prices vary, but even so, paying for the entire course upfront always translates to a $339 monthly fee. It’s also possible to get a personalized discount by responding to a quick survey. Another way to save on future payments is to cancel your account, as Udacity will offer you special discounts of up to 75% to keep you using the platform.
But before reaching for your credit card, we recommend going over the list of hundreds of free courses available. From product design to cloud computing and data analysis, you’ll definitely find a free course that suits your needs. Meanwhile, if a paid course isn’t as good as you expected, you can ask for a full refund within the first two days (for the U.S.) or 14 days (for the UK and EU). Companies and other organizations that want to provide employee training can do so with Udacity’s Talent Transformation Suite.
Students who don’t have the means to pay for Udacity right away can get financial aid through Affirm. This option is subject to a credit check and approval but allows you to get Udacity over three, six, or 12 monthly installments with an annual percentage rate (APR) of 0%. Promising students should apply to the scholarships offered by Udacity’s partners. Although these are only available for specific programs, they can be a way to access the nanodegree at zero cost.
Udacity doesn’t offer 24/7 customer support, but it’s possible to contact the company from 2 a.m. to 8 p.m. PST via live chat. Emailing customer support is also an option, and Udacity is available on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Of course, you can count on a comprehensive FAQ page, where you’ll find information about the learning programs available, scholarships, troubleshooting, and much more. All paying students can ask a mentor for help, and there’s a student forum to engage with fellow learners. Finally, we also recommend visiting the company’s blog, where you can find articles ranging from team development to career advice.
Although Udacity is expensive, it makes up for it with top-quality learning content. Since classes are led by experts whose real job is the exact thing you want to learn, Udacity’s nanodegrees are easy to put into practice. Additionally, the tangible course projects can be used as samples when applying for a job or promotion. Of course, you should also take advantage of the company’s career services and free courses to boost your career even further. It would be nice to have a dedicated mobile app, as even though students can access the browser version on the go, dedicated software always performs better and uses less battery. Paying for the full course upfront is an excellent way to save money, as the company provides a 15% discount. And don’t forget to take advantage of the company’s refund policy to try out the paid nanodegrees risk-free.Visit UdacityFree Courses Available
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