By Audrey Carroll, MSAN Education Coordinator
In 2001, I graduated with my Bachelor of Science in Information Systems and immediately began working in my field. With technology and programs changing and/or developing each year and with my education being almost fourteen years old, I find that my skill set could use some updating. I have met several people who work in the IT field; however, most of them possess an education in other fields outside technology. Although my education and experience are still relevant to my current job, I would like to gain the knowledge that other individuals possess to either enhance my performance within the company I currently work or make myself more marketable for other positions with other companies if the time comes.
With the understanding that I need update my skill set, I began my search for a means of doing so without obtaining either a Master’s degree or completing any additional course work in higher education. I was looking for a program that would train me for a job today instead of one 2-3 years from now. The good news is corporate America also recognizes that many individuals are in a similar situation and are unprepared for long-term future growth and development. However, I was able to find a program that offers multiple different certifications in a format that conforms to one’s working lifestyle.
Leaders of different industries and Udacity have partnered to develop Nanodegrees. So now you may ask what is a Nanodegree? Defined by Udacity “a Nanodegree is a compact online curriculum designed to get you the skills that employers believe are key to get a job in technology. It focuses on learning by doing. It is typically comprised of 5 to 8 projects with relevant courses to support the skills needed to complete those projects.” Udacity offers Nanodegrees in Into to Programming, Android Developer, iOS Developer, Data Analyst, Full Stack Web Developer, and Front-End Web Developer.
While the programs do not award an actual degree, they were developed with leaders of industries to build the skills for the jobs of tomorrow. The financial risk is minimal compared to the potential return. Each program begins with a cohort and cost $200 a month with many having a suggested timeframe of 6 to 9 months to complete. The course work can be completed at your own pace; therefore, the potential to complete your desired program earlier than the suggested is possible. The time frame is suggested for someone working full time contributing 10 hours a week to the program—a lot less of a time commitment than that of completing another bachelors or masters degree.
The Udacity blog post from June 2014 (link below) explains this unique program and the contributions of one of its partners in developing the programs.