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Ask HN: Udacity nanodegree worth it?
11 points by curiously on Apr 2, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 9 comments
so I'm looking at the nanodegrees, trying to determine if there's any legitimacy of having such online course degrees.

wondering if anyone on HN have experience with it and if it has landed you gigs.

I'm interested in the full stack nano degree but really tempted by the data analyst nano degree as well.




I've finished the Front-end, Data Analyst, and Full Stack Nanodegrees (in that order). I'm not looking for a job, but I have received several job offers already. None of those offers came because of the certificate. Rather, they came from my portfolio and demonstration of skill and competency.

On a personal level, I learned an incredible amount going through the Nanodegrees, especially because of the project-based instruction. I've taken 20+ courses at edX, Coursera, and Udacity and went through pretty much all the curricula at Code School and Team Treehouse. I can safely say that Udacity Nanodegree was the most positive, valuable experience out of all of them--you're not just taught what to do, you're taught how to think.

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Here's a copypasta response I wrote on Quora to the question, "How valuable is a Udacity Nanodegree certificate?"

The Nanodegree program is still new, and chances are, a potential employer won't be familiar with it, nor even heard of it. If they have, they'll probably still evaluate you based off of your resume and portfolio.

A Nanodegree certificate won't guarantee you employment, clout, or value on its own merit... at least not yet. But by going through a full Nanodegree program, you will finish with a full, robust portfolio to demonstrate to an employer and say, "Here are all the projects I worked on. These are the skills I learned while doing them. This is the quality of work you can expect from me."

Like any educational program or institution, you can skate by with the bare minimum and earn a piece of paper. If you do that with Udacity, I think you're missing the point, and your potential employer will see nothing but your bare minimum.

I'm a graduate of three Nanodegrees, and as such, evaluate it much differently than most other people. I have never placed much value in certificates or diplomas, and I always evaluate applicants based off of their portfolios and the knowledge and potential they bring into an interview. That said, I can safely say that if a resume with a Udacity Nanodegree arrives in my inbox, I will know that at the very least, that applicant has the will, drive, and discipline that's needed to complete a self-paced, rigorous course-load.

"Show me your portfolio," I'll say.


very good.

do you get to build a portfolio through the nano degree program?

Which of the three nanodegrees did you find most useful? Does the full stack and front-end nanodegrees cross over? doesn't the full stack not cover front-end stuff?

The data-analyst is really interesting, do you need to brush up on statistics and such before you get into it?

Did you receive offers for data analyst/scientist positions?

How did you land job offers?

Does udacity teach how to perform on technical interviews?

Did you pay $600/month for all three nano degrees?

Basically I want to take it to learn all the stuff. I already have worked as a developer but just want an complete upgrade (been a LAMP dev for too long).


Wow, tons of questions...

1. Each Nanodegree has 5 to 6 projects that you can add to your portfolio. For the Front-end Web Developer Nanodegree (FEND), one of the projects is actually building a portfolio.

2. I probably learned the most in the Data Analyst Nanodegree (DAND), but enjoyed the Full Stack Nanodegree (FSND) the most.

3. The FSND and FEND are separate (no cross-over), but complementary (skills in one will help the other). The FSND covers mostly back-end.

4. For data analyst/scientist positions--I did not receive any offers.

5. For FE/FS job offers--honestly, I don't know. I really wasn't actively seeking them, but I was lucky enough that people were coming to me. Udacity did a Student Spotlight blog on me, so I think that might be where or how they found me.

6. Udacity has some awesome career services support, and they hold workshops on technical interviews.

7. My bill at the end of the day was $980 total. I took the FEND and DAND concurrently, and they took 2 months each ($200/mo * 2 mo/ND * 2 NDs = $800). I finished the FSND in one month, and was part of the inaugural cohort (10% off = $180).

My best advice to you is to give some of the classes or Nanodegrees a test drive. Udacity is still a MOOC provider, so all the classes you can still take for free. Good luck to you.


In tech, employers are often looking for demonstrated ability. The Udacity Nanodegrees provide an excellent opportunity to learn the right way to do things (courses built alongside prominent tech companies) and give students the structure, support and feedback to build a strong portfolio. I've completed the Front-End Dev, currently working on the Data Analyst, Full-stack. I feel that Udacity's offerings are more valuable than other MOOCs because they are designed with a focus on employment where as others are more "academically" focused.


Online course degrees don't have much legitimacy in the traditional sense. It's good to take courses on Coursera/Udacity because you have great opportunities to learn for free. However, it's almost always better for to simply remove an "Education" section on your résumé if you haven't completed a degree.

If you can still fill out a résumé in other ways, you'll likely find that most reasonable employers in the tech industry are willing to overlook its absence. Just don't lie, when asked.


I've done the Front End Nanodegree. The most important thing in the Nanodegree is not the certificate but the portfolio. By the time you finish it, you will have a strong portfolio of concrete projects you can show to employers and talk about in interviews. I, myself, didn't land a new job (I'm already full-time employed) but some graduates have already find jobs in web dev after the Nanodegree. Based on their feedback, having a portfolio was determinant in the process.


The degree probably means nothing (if you put it on your resume, no one will care), but the knowledge is a good thing to have.


totally agree with this - it costs much more than online grad certs from top US unis too.


I'm curious. Can you please point us to some of the online grad certs from top US unis that you've mentioned? URLs . Thanks.




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