Udacity Intel Edge Artificial Intelligence for IoT Developers Nanodegree Review

Edge AI applications are touted to be the future of the World Wide Web. With a background in Artificial Intelligence, Edge technologies are giving developers the opportunities to combine hardware with data, algorithms, and deep learning to empower devices to make systematic decisions. These decisions allow devices to perform some pretty amazing tasks, some of them learning based off of previous stimuli or responses.

But, taking a dive into the depths of deep learning comes with its share of challenges, as the techniques and algorithms get more and more advanced with time. With the growing demand for those with AI skills, the best time to jump in and create a foundation of complex concepts that will power technology of the future is now. You can find these skills by signing up for Udacity’s Intel Edge AI for IoT Developers Nanodegree program. In this post, we take a deeper look into this online course with the goal of helping you decide if the online platform and the course are the right fit for you. We also look into the job forecast where you will see just how beneficial Artificial Intelligence can be. If you are looking for an online course that will brighten your future, this is it!

About Udacity and its Nanodegree programs

Udacity (read review here) was founded back in 2012 by two Stanford professors with the idea of bringing the ability to learn complex technological concepts to global learners. Over the years, the platform have partnered with top tier companies in the industry, collaborating to develop in-depth online courses that come with hands-on practice to launch learners into the job market with confidence. Today, the platform offers both introductory courses as well as certification programs known as Nanodegrees. These Nanodegrees focus on only one area, generally taking a few months to complete.

Nanodegree Perks

In order to stand out from competition, Udacity Nanodegree programs come with a handful of extras. These are created with the idea of making the courses run as smooth as possible while ensuring learner success. By signing up for a Nanodegree program at Udacity, you will score:

  • Community support – you will get to interact with learners like you
  • Mentorship – Tech challenges will be no more with a mentor that is ready to give you a hand
  • Career help – your resume will be polished, LinkedIn profile reviewed, and taken through a mock interview in readiness for the job market
  • Projects – you will access real-world inspired projects to reinforce the skills you have learned.
  • Freedom – you will get to design your own learning schedule and learn at your convenience.

Course Instructors

If the course’s extras fail to capture your attention, then its instructors certainly will. They include current Intel employees, each with an enviable educational background. Apart from their education, these instructors have industry experience in the world of deep learning, putting their personal authority and perspective into the course for you. Here are the instructors for this Nanodegree program:

Stewart Christie

Stewart is in charge of the Intel’s IoT developer program. Apart from content creation, he also organizes workshops in an attempt to bring together the developer community. He is an expert in robotics and computer vision software.

Michael Virgo

Michael’s background is in business where he continued his learning by signing up for technical courses. This led him to a career as a Self-Driving Car Engineer. You will find him creating content through which he passes on his rich industry knowledge.  

Soham Chatterjee

Soham was a Deep Learning Researcher for Saama Technologies before starting to work on his masters in research. He is also a Software Innovator at Intel.

Vaidheeswaran Archana

As a graduate student, Vaidheeswaran is researching in Deep Learning and Smart Grids. She also works as a Software Innovator for Intel. She previously held the title of Deep Learning Engineer at Saama Technologies.

Course Prerequisites

This online course is designed for beginners. It starts off with in-depth knowledge where you need a competent grasp on a couple of things in order to succeed. It is important that you have these skills prior to signing up for this Nanodegree program:

  • Intermediate Python programming skills
  • Ability to train and deploy deep learning models
  • Knowledge of CNN-based deep learning layers and architectures
  • Knowledge of command lines
  • Ability to work with OpenCV
If any of these skills are a little out of your league, or maybe you would love to brush them up, you can find a list of free Udacity courses or check out their course catalogue to build a solid basis in any of the skills mentioned above.

Udacity Intel Edge AI for IoT Developers Nanodegree course structure

This online course is broken into three modules. In each module, you will be introduced to software that is commonly used in the field, plus, some of Intel’s very own creations. You will be developing Edge AI Apps, which are believed to be the next big thing in the field of AI. You will use the same technologies as the professionals and finish off the program with loads of hands-on experience.  Here is a brief of the three modules:

Edge AI Fundamentals using OpenVINO

You will first be introduced to a pre-trained model to begin computer vision inferencing. You will them utilize the Model Optimizer to create an agnostic intermediate representation of deep learning models. You will also learn to create and deploy an app on the edge, pushing the information through MQTT. To reinforce this knowledge, you will be required to sift through different models in order to identify the best for detecting the number of people in a given frame.

Hardware for Computer Vision and Deep Learning Application Deployment

This module is all about the hardware you will be working with. You will learn how to tell the difference between different types of software and how to choose the right one. You will work with Intel’s DevCloud to test and deploy neural network interference on different hardware types, adding your creation to devices to boost their performance. You will end this module by building a custom queuing system, the kind that is used in retail and transportation services.

Optimizing Techniques and Tools for Computer Vision and Deep Learning Applications

In this module, you will learn how to optimize your newly created code. You will perform tasks like reduce interference time and check how expansive your model is. You will use a VTune amplifier, identifying the parts of your code that you may need to fix for optimization. Finally, you will learn how to package your data and application code to make it easy to deploy on a wide range of devices. You will end by using models in the OpenVINO toolkit to create a computer pointer with your eyes as the control.

Course Duration

Udacity estimates that you can complete this online course in three months if you are dedicating 10 hours per week to learning. However, this depends on the individual learner’s pace and schedule. You can take as long as you would like provided that you are keeping up with the projects’ deadlines.

While this may sound like a great deal, it is important that you come up with a learning schedule and stick to it. You will want to finish the course as fast as you can, especially since the completion time is correlated to the cost.

Course Cost

There are two payment plans. The first plan, pay as you go, is determined by the number of months you have access to the course. So, the longer you take, the more you will pay. The pay as you go plan is billed at $359 per month. Take advantage of the free one month promotion that is currently ongoing when signing up for this course.

You can also make a lump sum payment for this course and enjoy a discount of 15% while you are at it. Taking advantage of the one month free promo, this brings the cost of this online course to $206 per month to be paid up front. This is a great deal if you are confident that you can complete the course within three months.

Course ratings

Udacity has a strong reputation as a top online learning platform. Here is what a few learners had to say about this specific course:

“You see these in real-world situations like worker safety–making sure that workers are wearing the right protective gear.You can have a camera pointing at them. ‘Yes, they have their helmet on. OK, we’ll unlock the gate and let them go into the potentially dangerous manufacturing environment.”– Formica A.

“One recent medical example I found interesting was how a company used our OpenVINO technology to build surgical hospital logistics robots that can carry medicine and supplies around the hospital without humans having to touch as many things,” Robert T.

A look at the job market

Towards Data Science gives a promising forecast. They report 1 million openings as the marketing with AI Edge is projected to hit 1.12 trillion by 2023. Thanks to the amazing abilities that come with complex AI concepts, The New York Times points out that starting salaries for AI Edge professionals is in upwards of $100,000.

That said, you will be entering the job market at a time when the demand for this skill is at its peak with lots of positions to be filled. This could be an opportunity to start your career in a position that allows you to evolve your abilities, learn and grow as you go!

Final thoughts

AI is the technology of the future. Soon there will not be a single industry that is not touched by it. This could be the perfect time to begin to develop your skills, especially with an online course that is developed in collaboration with Intel and taught by leading industry experts. If you have the prerequisite skills needed, sign up for Intel Edge AI for IoT Developers Nanodegree program before the promotional deal runs out.

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