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Udacity introduces nanodegrees, partner AT&T to offer 100 internships

Each nanodegree has a compact curriculum that teaches what’s essential to get a job in technology. 

MOOC provider Udacity, focused on professionals improving their work-related computer-science and technical skills, just announced their ‘nanodegrees’ program, which will be available soon. These are based on specific curricula of core and elective Udacity courses, and an additional capstone project. The four initial nanodegrees announced are:

  • Front-end Web Developer
  • Back-end Web Developer
  • iOS Developer
  • Data Analyst

Udacity describes nanodegrees as ‘Industry credentials for today’s jobs in tech

These courses are produced in collaboration with partner companies (details of how they are involved are not provided), but include vary by the nanodegree and include: AT&T, Facebook, Google, Cloudera, Salesforce, mongoDB, Autodesk, and Hack Reactor. AT&T announced that they committed to offering 100 internships to students who pursue or obtain these nanodegrees.

The time requirements for each nanodegree are listed to be around 3-4 months at 20 hours/week or 7-8 months at 10 hours/week. This requires that you enroll in Udacity’s paid courses, which are offered for a monthly fee (which includes personal feedback from a Udacity-trained coach), but no extra fee is mentioned for the nanodegree.

The first nanodegrees will be available in the Fall of 2014 

This ‘nanodegree’ concept appears to be similar to Coursera’s Specializations program, in that it is an attempt to group similar courses together into a curriculum and create a credential on a subject area. The difference with Udacity is its company partners, who have a very relevant view on the skills they are looking for, and probably had a voice in the curriculum. Since the four initial nanodegrees start with basic courses, they may be best suited for those seeking their first jobs as web programmers, iOS developers, or data analyst/scientists. Given Udacity’s focused approach to providing the practical skills to obtain a new technical job, we think the nanodegrees have a good chance of helping people prepare for and obtain those entry-level jobs.