If you are interested in the world of tech and business, then you may be familiar with the online learning platform Udacity. Udacity is an online platform that can help you gain the skills you need to start a career in technology in as little as three months. Through one of their many programs, you can learn from industry experts and receive a Nanodegree that can help you stand out to potential employers and land a high-paying job in a variety of tech fields.
I decided the best way for me to get to know the Udacity platform was to try out one of its Nanodegree Programs. I chose one of its most popular programs: How to Become a Data Analyst. This Nanodegree has been created in collaboration with kaggle and focuses on advancing your programming skills and ways to manipulate data for analysis.
If that sounds like something that interests you, then stick around as this article will go into detail on everything you need to know on Udacity’s Data Analyst Nanodegree.
Udacity Data Analyst Nanodegree Overview
The Udacity Data Analyst Nanodegree is an online program designed to teach the skills required to become a data analyst. The program covers topics such as data analysis, data wrangling, data visualization, statistics and machine learning. The Nanodegree is self-paced and can be completed in 4 months if you work around 10 hours a week. It includes interactive quizzes, videos and projects to help learners apply the skills they are learning to become a Data Analyst.
The program is taught by industry professionals and includes real-world projects that are designed to stimulate the work of a data analyst. This Nanodegree really can be an all-in-one package to kickstart your data science or data analytics journey. Overall, the Udacity Data Analyst Nanodegree is a well-regarded program that is self-paced, so you can work around your schedule, but it’s important to remember it does require a significant time commitment, and you should be prepared to invest in the program to get the full experience.
Udacity Data Analyst Nanodegree Pros & Cons
- Taught by industry-leading experts: The Udacity Data Analyst Nanodegree is taught by experts in the field, including professors from top universities as well as Sebastian Thrun, founder of Udacity and Google X and former professor at Stanford.
- Content co-created with Kaggle: Kaggle is an online platform that lets data analysts and data scientists use public datasets to test machine learning strategies and engage in a variety of data science competitions. They’ve helped create the Udacity Data Analyst Nanodegree course to add cutting-edge and industry-relevant knowledge.
- Fantastic career services: Not only does Udacity offer a top-tier education, but they also provide a variety of career services for their graduates, including resume and LinkedIn profile reviews and access to their exclusive job search portal.
- Projects are graded by humans: Unlike the majority of other online learning platforms, Udacity employs a team of industry experts that will personally review the projects you take on during the course, giving you feedback and tips to improve and continue to become more career-ready.
- Limited amount of hands-on activities: While this Nanodegree has quizzes throughout that test your knowledge of basic concepts, there are only five projects in the course, which doesn’t give as much practical data analysis experience that I would’ve hoped. I would have enjoyed having two or three practical projects for each section to have a better grasp on how to use the concepts taught.
- Not a four-year degree: While the majority of jobs that ask for a bachelor’s degree will also accept relevant work experience, some jobs in the Data Science field require a Master’s Degree or Ph.D. If you plan to pursue a graduate degree this might not be the best option for you.
- Can be expensive: As a premium learning program with expert teachers and very good job placement success rates, the Udacity Data Analyst Nanodegree may be too expensive for the casual learner who doesn’t plan to actually get a job in the field.
- Some prerequisites required: This is a course in data analysis, not programming, but some prior knowledge of the basics of Python and SQL is needed. With no previous knowledge, it’s possible you can still make it through the course, but it will take longer and you’ll need to study Python and SQL independently outside of the course.
Data Analyst Nanodegree Enrollment
Once you have signed up and paid for the Data Analyst Nanodegree program, it will take you a few minutes to go through the onboarding. You will then be asked a few questions to help personalize your learning experience like; How much time you can commit weekly? What is your goal for completing the program? Once you have completed the onboarding process, you will be provided access to the Nanodegree syllabus and all its resources.Enrol Course
What is the Data Analyst Nanodegree Syllabus?
When opening up the Data Analyst Nanodegree page, you’re greeted by a syllabus that outlines the curriculum for the Nanodegree. You can use the tabs on the left side of the page to navigate between the six sections of the Nanodegree, or from the Syllabus tab you can see extracurricular lessons to help you learn key skills like Python, SQL, and Git (see image below). I found that these lessons are helpful if you’re unfamiliar with some of the prerequisites for the course. SQL is used often throughout the course to interact with databases, Git is how you’ll submit all of your projects, and Python is the primary language used by data scientists in the field.
On the page titled Program Home you’ll find an overview of your progress in the course and a helpful tab that lets you set up a study plan for yourself. The overview tab (see image below) shows where you’re at in the course and how many projects you’ve completed, as well as a calendar showing how often you’ve worked on the course and how many days in a row you’ve completed something.
Welcome to the Nanodegree program!
The first section of the Nanodegree program was pretty much what I’d expected. You explore the Udacity platform and resources and get to hear several data analysts give their thoughts and experiences on what it’s like in the field. To round off this section, you get to take on your first project, using SQL to interact with a dataset and compare your local weather trends with global ones.
Introduction to Data Analysis
The Introduction to Data Analysis section helps you to learn how to use several helpful data analytics tools like Anaconda and Jupyter Notebooks. The lessons then go on to explore the Python programming language and help you perform an investigation on one of Udacity’s datasets with popular Python libraries like Matplotlib and NumPy. It’s helpful if you come into the Nanodegree with some experience with these libraries, but I found that that isn’t absolutely necessary, and you can still learn the basics of these tools through the program.
While the previous sections are a great introduction to the tools needed for data science, this section teaches the actual statistics and metrics you’ll need to make informed decisions with the data you analyze. This is one of the most important things to learn for job placement after completing the Nanodegree, as potential employers will want to know how you can help guide their decisions with data, not just organize and look at it.
Data science can be tricky when the datasets you have access to are missing information or have inaccurate information. This section teaches you the process of data wrangling, which is essentially gathering, assessing, and organizing your data before using it with data analytics or machine learning algorithms. Data wrangling isn’t the most glamorous part of the data analysis process, but I found that with the tools provided by the Nanodegree I was able to become very comfortable with it fairly quickly.
After learning data wrangling, practical statistics, and data analysis tools like Matplotlib and Anaconda, you’ll move on to the portion of the Nanodegree focused on data visualization. Visualization through graphs and charts helps data analysts better understand and utilize large amounts of information, and you’ll learn how to do that like a pro in this section. I found this to be the most interesting part of the Nanodegree, as data visualization appeals to visual learners and is one of the things that brings many people into the data science field.
Congratulations and Next Steps
By the completion of the Nanodegree, you should have learned how to write code in Python, use statistics to analyze datasets. use libraries like Matplotlib and Pandas to visualize that data, and more. In the final section, you’re exposed to a bit of the next possible step in your data science journey, Udacity’s Data Science Nanodegree. This Nanodegree has you using the foundation you built in the Data Analyst Nanodegree to take on real-world datasets and problems.
This syllabus was a well-rounded learning plan that left me feeling comfortable taking on my own basic data analysis projects. The section on practical statistics was the most difficult part of the Udacity course, but even it was much simpler than I had expected the course to be. The teachers did a great job of explaining important concepts in an easily understandable way, and they used helpful analogies and comparisons to help a beginner like myself still feel I had a grasp on the material. My favorite part of the syllabus was the section on data visualization. It’s one thing looking at a large dataset full of numbers and words, but learning how to translate that into graphs and charts made a data analyst’s job much clearer to me.
I, personally, loved the study plan tab, which lets you send your planned study sessions directly to your Google or Apple Calendar, and automatically sets the length of your study sessions to help you plan for the recommended 10 hours a week of study time. The study plan recommends you plan out your study sessions every two weeks, which gave me ample time to work around my other responsibilities while still making sure I was able to schedule enough time to make significant progress on the Udacity course.
The mentor help gives you the option to ask for help during the Nanodegree program if you have any questions or doubts. You can choose from Sort by Recent or Sort by Popular and you may just find what you are looking for. But if you don’t find it there you can search for an already asked question.
If you have a specific question that hasn’t already been asked then you can click on Ask a mentor (see image below) and type in your specific question, details and links that maybe helpful to the mentor asking it. The mentor community at Udacity include engineers, researchers, writers, marketers and more who all support students by providing thorough, personal and timely technical support and feedback.
Will Udacity’s Data Analyst Nanodegree Help my Career?
Udacity partners with world recognised employers, including Google, BMW, Shell, and IBM, to help place their Nanodegree graduates in jobs where they’ll be well-compensated and be able to put their education into practice. Udacity has over 100,000 students and is well-known in the business and technology industries, so I’ve found that their Nanodegree carries more weight on a job application than certificates from many other online platforms.
Indeed.com has nearly 50,000 listings for data analyst jobs, so there’s no shortage of opportunities for this career path. Additionally, if you complete the course and find yourself wanting more, or if you’ve already worked as a data analyst for some time, Udacity offers a Data Scientist Nanodegree that is a great next step. Data scientist is the natural higher–level role for a data analyst to aspire to, so this course seems like a great option to continue your education.
In September 2023, Udacity revamped its pricing strategy, introducing a monthly and four-monthly subscription plan. This new model allows users unlimited access to all of Udacity’s courses and programs. Previously, learners had to choose and pay for specific Nanodegree programs or courses individually.
From my perspective, this shift is a positive development. It’s not only more cost-effective but also provides the opportunity to explore Udacity’s full range of offerings. Users can now access a broader spectrum of content, including courses they might not have initially thought to consider.
Before deciding on which subscription plan is best for you, it’s important to consider a couple of factors:
- How much time you can commit?
- How big is your budget?
Udacity recommends that you’re able to finish a Nanodegree in 4-months, if you have the time and budget to commit upfront, then this option may make the most sense to you.
Udacity Payment Methods
You can pay for a Nanodegree program in a few different ways with credit/debit card, paypal or by using the payment service affirm.
If you are unable to pay for the Nanodegree upfront, then you may consider Affirm, a payment service where you can create monthly payment plans for 3, 6 or 12 months. Its payment options rates are from 0-30% APR with no hidden fees.
After purchasing an Udacity subscription, you can cancel at any time in your Account settings by going to the subscription setting. You’ll then be guided through some prompts to complete the cancellation and you’ll recieve a confirmation email.
It’s important that you cancel your subscription a couple of days before the next billing cycle begins, to avoid being charged for the next period.
Udacity offers a 14-day refund policy on the first month of a subscription plan only for citizens of the European Union, be mindful of this before purchasing a subscription plan.
Tip: For anyone who is hesitant about financially committing to an Udacity Nanodegree program, it would be best to try out one of its free courses (close to 200) to get a real taste of the platform and its courses. Plus, many of its free courses are an introduction to the Nanodegree topics.
Udacity does offer a Scholarship program helping to give learners around the globe the opportunity to learn of one of its Nanodegrees. There is of course no guarantee that Udacity will offer a scholarship on this particular Nanodegree.
It still maybe worth signing up to get notified on its future scholarship opportunities, which they will send you email updates on. If the opportunity does come up, then you can complete the application, and you will be contacted by one of the Udacity team.Check out Udacity
Udacity Data Analyst Nanodegree: Last Thoughts
With all the online learning opportunities available today, a college degree doesn’t have to be the go-to for hardworking individuals hoping to make a successful career for themselves. Each section of the Nanodegree provides video lessons, quizzes, recaps and summaries, and a real-world project that will help you develop data skills to build projects of your own and impress potential employers. Udacity’s Data Analyst Nanodegree will train you in all the foundational skills you’ll need to start a career in the data science industry and will provide you with career services to help you find a job.Check out Udacity
Please leave a comment below if you have any questions, and I’ll do my best to help you out.