Udacity Data Structures and Algorithms Nanodegree Review

There is no doubt that data is a very powerful tool for today’s businesses. Those with the skills to process and make sense of it are in demand. Working with complex structures and algorithms bring the power to solve data driven business challenges, giving organizations one less thing to worry about and they take their businesses to the digital space. But, it all starts with creating a strong foundation of knowledge to land a job in the field, one that you can start with Udacity Data Structures and Algorithms Nanodegree program.

In this post, we take an in-depth look into this online course to help you decide if it is right for you. We will introduce you to Udacity platform, course tutors, and break down the course and curriculum before ending with an analysis of the job outlook. By the end of this review, we hope that you will have all the information you need to decide if Udacity and this Nanodegree course are the right match for your learning goals.

About Udacity

Chances are you have heard about Udacity thanks to their in-depth online courses or one of their numerous partnerships. Though they are taking online learning abilities to new heights with their job-focused courses, they started off quite small and with a very noble idea. Two Stanford University professors wanted to make education accessible to everyone who needed it at a pocket-friendly fee. Founded in 2012, Udacity has specialized in offering online tech and IT courses, from introductory to advanced, some free and others with certifications that you can present to potential employers and land your dream job. These online certifications are known as Nanodegree programs, mini-courses designed to take months rather than years to complete.

Udacity Nanodegree perks

Every one of Udacity Nanodegree programs is carefully structured to specialize in one area in the field. Alongside the knowledge you need to break into the field, these online courses come with projects designed to give you hands-on skills. That said, Udacity Nanodegree programs come with a few extras that clearly set Udacity apart from other online learning providers. Here are these extras:

Flexibility

You are free to create a learning schedule that best fits into your program. This way, you are free to learn when you want, from where you want. All you need to do is ensure that you meet your project deadlines.

Real-world projects

Each Nanodegree program comes with projects designed to re-enforce learning while applying the skills you have acquired. Udacity tries to keep these projects as close to what businesses encounter in the real world, sometimes creating them in collaboration with top tier corporations.

Mentorship program

Learning can be difficult, especially when you are left to figure things out on your own. Udacity mentorship program is designed to let you find someone you can call to keep your learning on track.

Community

Udacity has a learner forum where students connect, network, and share ideas. Though this platform, you can ask for help, support, or simply bounce ideas around. You may end up building networks, some of which may follow you well into your career.

Career preps

Also included with each Udacity Nanodegree program is an amazing career preparation team. These professionals will look over your resume as well as LinkedIn page and craft them to stand out. They will also take you through a mock interview, where you will be given feedback that can help you prepare further for the actual job interview. As if this is not all, Udacity will add you to their career database, where you can connect with potential recruiters and land your dream job.

Course tutors

Udacity extras might make this online learning platform stand out but, the platform’s tutors definitely put the icing on the cake. Each and every one of Udacity tutors is hand-picked, generally standing out in their specializations. Here are the tutors you will meet in this course:

Brynn Claypoole

Brynn is presently working with Genomics, which brings her industry experience to broadly expanded horizons. Before this, she worked for Facebook as a data engineer and Udacity as a data analyst.

Abe Feinberg

A former university professor, Abe is dedicated to putting his passions into play, making it easy to grasp even the hardest concepts. He is one of the top content developers at Udacity, creative in-depth and very interactive courses.

Kyle Stewart-Franz

Kyle has a very interesting beginning, learning development concepts all by himself. Currently, he is developing projects for Udacity Nanodegree programs, including Blockchain and Self-Driving Car Engineer.

Course prerequisites

During this online course, you will be using Python to process complex data structures. And due to their advanced nature, you will need to possess a couple of skills in order to succeed. Udacity has listed the following prerequisites as a recommendation:

  • Basics of Algebra
  • A good grasp of programming with Python

If you have never worked with Python before or need to brush up your skills, you can check out this Python courses. It will help you build a foundation, one that will help you load more concepts as you follow through this Nanodegree program.

Course breakdown

Throughout this online course, you will be heavily working with algorithms to solve data problems. In each of the four modules, you will be putting knowledge to test, learning how to work multiple algorithms and data structures to solve a wide range of business problems. Here is a look at the course’s modules:

Introduction

Your introduction into this online course comes in the form of an overview as well as a Python refresher topic. You will start off by taking on open-ended challenges, learning about more about every module. This will help you understand the complex idea of time and space. You will apply these ideas in solving computer science problems for your first hands-on project.

Data Structures

In this module, you will be getting your hands on the data, learning how to work with it giving it new forms and shapes that result in useful insights. You will learn about the different data structures, and learn which you can apply to effectively solve different kinds of problems. You will apply this knowledge at the end of the module to solve different open-ended problems with the right data structure.

Basic Algorithms

In this module, you will be introduced to algorithms that make problem solving seamless. You will learn the concepts of searching and sorting as well as how to determine the efficiency of each. For your practice, you will sharpen your selection skills and learn how to choose and tweak algorithms to make them solve specific data problems. Using the skills gained, you will work with a range of problems to advance your algorithm knowledge in the following module.

Advanced Algorithms

This final module will introduce you to more complex algorithms, some that are capable of solving very complex problems. While working with graphs, you will get a glimpse at more dynamic programming such as storing. You will end this module by building an algorithm that is capable of planning routes similar to that of Google maps. The goal of this project is to use a combination of algorithms and in-depth thinking to successfully map the shortest distance.

Course duration

One of Udacity’s major selling points is flexibility. While some projects come with fixed deadlines, you are at liberty to set a learning schedule that fits into your work program. However, this may be counterproductive as you will want the knowledge fresh on your mind when completing your course projects.

Apart from keeping your knowledge fresh, you might also want to finish this online course within the set timeframe for your wallet’s sake. This is because Udacity prices its courses on monthly access. The platform estimates that you can complete this course within 4 months if you set aside 10-15 hours per week to learning.

Course cost

If you are looking to take this course now or in the next couple of weeks, you are lucky. Udacity is currently running an offer where you get one month of access to its Nanodegree programs absolutely FREE. This makes this course and its content much more attractive, giving you access to quality education, staff and all the perks at a discounted price.

That said, the total cost of this online course depends on two factors: your payment option, and the time you take to complete the course. Since Udacity charges its courses on per month of access, the longer you take to complete its courses, the more you will pay. Therefore, before signing up for Udacity courses, it is important that you take a look at your schedule and create a learning time table that you can stick to. This will help you choose the best payment option and get the most from this Nanodegree program.

Per month option

As already indicated, this option allows you pay for course access by month. Thanks to the on-going promotion, you will access the first month FREE of charge, and only pay for each month thereafter. Each comes with a price tag of $399, which can significantly add up if you take too long to complete the course.

Bundle up option

Udacity’s estimate is used for creating a bundle deal. The total comes with a 15% discount plus, with the ongoing promotion, you will be paying for three months of access for a total of four. This brings the lump sum fee to $1,356 or $339 per month. You will be required to pay this fee upfront. This is a great deal if you are confident of completing the course within 4 months.

A look at the job market

The role of data in business decisions is increasingly becoming increasingly indispensable. The demand for those who have the skills to turn data into understandable and useful information is on the rise. This demand is expected to grow as more and more businesses go online to increase their presence and customer satisfaction. The Morning Fortune projects that the field of data analysis would create over 700,000 jobs in 2020 alone. The average entry level salary for data analysts is $65,000, which rises depending on your skillset and work experience.

Data Science is ranked as one of the most sought after skills out there, making it an attractive and career to get into. Acquiring this skill now comes with lots of benefits, leaving you with adequate time to expand your knowledge long before the peak is reached.

Final thoughts

The job market surrounding data is expected to grow over the next decade. This makes it a great idea to start growing your skills now. With the skills necessary to create and deploy algorithms that solve complex business problems, you will become an asset to organizations seeking to use data to gain competitive advantage.

To begin gathering the skills you need, Udacity Data Structures and Algorithms Nanodegree program can be a great option. We love Udacity because of its reputation and for the fact that its Nanodegree programs are well structured and come with hands-on application. Take advantage of Udacity’s generous 50% discount today and get started with your data science career.

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