Udacity Introduction to Programming Nanodegree Review: Is It Worth It?

Introduction to programming nanodegree

Udacity Introduction to Programming Nanodegree is your first step towards a career in web and app development, data science, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and more. Today, programming knowledge has become indispensable, and learning how to program is one of the most valuable things you can do. Whether you are starting or advancing your programming career, or just excited to learn how to code, now is the time to start learning, and this introduction to programming Nanodegree offers everything you need to get started. And the best bit is that you do not need prior programming skills to sign up.

About Udacity

Udacity (read review) is an online learning platform that was founded in 2012 by two Sanford University professors with the goal of providing world-class training to learners from around the world at a fraction of the classroom cost. Over the years, Udacity has partnered with industry players to develop courses and projects that give learners real-world projects that prepare them for the workplace. And this collaboration does not only stop at course and project creation. Udacity also partners with organizations to help their graduates land lucrative roles upon successful completion of their programs.

About Udacity Nanodegree programs

Udacity Nanodegree programs are meant to take 3-6 months to complete. They range from beginner courses to advanced topics. These courses are designed to provide in-depth knowledge on specific topics, prepping learners for roles in the subject area. Each Udacity Nanodegree program comes with a couple of extras that give them an edge over other online courses. Here are Udacity Nanodegree extras:

Freedom to set your learning schedule

One of the greatest things about online education is that you can always adapt them to fit your schedule. Of course, there will be project due dates to observe, but for everything else, you have complete freedom to set your learning schedule. Thus, you can sign in to your dashboard and learn at any time of day.

Udacity student community

Udacity’s student forum is a great platform to meet other students taking the same course or other courses within the platform. It is a great place to chat, exchange ideas around, build networks, or simply get social.

Mentorship program

Learning alone can be challenging. Udacity assigns each learner a knowledgeable mentor that you can contact when you need help or motivation to carry one with your course.

Real-world projects

Each Nanodegree program comes with projects that allow you to apply the knowledge you have learned in the previous modules. These projects mimic real-world challenges that organizations go through, and some even created in collaboration with leading companies to give you leverage on real-world applications.

Career preparation

Udacity career prep services are meant to review and update your resume and LinkedIn profile with employers in mind and facilitate a mock interview to get you prepped up for the actual job interview.

Udacity Introduction to Programming Nanodegree Course Instructors

This Introduction to programming Nanodegree is facilitated by these instructors:

Karl Kreuger

Karl has previously worked for industry giants like Google before joining Udacity. He has experience working with top-tier companies as a Site Reliability Engineer (SRE). Using real examples, Karl loves taking learners through some of the more advanced programming topics, ensuring that learners have a sound grasp of the topics by explaining things in an easy to understand way.

Kelly Howard

Kelly is the leader of Web Developer Programs at Udacity. She is an experienced teacher, using her passion and experience to teach learners how to code.

Julia Van Cleve

Julia has previously taught math at a California middle school. Her experience as a teacher, coupled with her work with freelance programs, create a unique perspective for learners, helping them identify the kinds of opportunities available to them after learning how to code.

Abe Feinberg

Abe has both education and psychology experience. His strong interest with artificial intelligence (AI) prompted him to combine his passion for teaching with his love for creating smart machines. It is his passion to optimize education with the help of AI, possibly creating bots that perform better tasks than humans.

James Parkes

James has a degree in both mathematics and computer science. He has been an instructor at Udacity for several years, taking learners through multiple Nanodegree programs in the process.

Richard Kalehoff

Richard facilitates several courses at Udacity. He has a background in working with non-profits, an experience that opened up his mind to different fields including programming, teaching learners what and how they can apply their newly acquired skills.

Udacity Introduction to Programming Nanodegree Prerequisites

Udacity Introduction to Programming Nanodegree is an introductory level program. That said, it is recommended that you come with basic computer skills. You will also need to be familiar with basic algebra as well as some reasoning skills. Most important, you need to have the motivation to learn.

Udacity Introduction to Programming Nanodegree Course breakdown

Topic 1: Introduction to HTML

This introductory section is all about HTML. This is one of the most basic programming languages, used multiple times as a basis for infrastructure development. By the time you are through with this section, you will have written your very first code!

Topic 2: Introduction to CSS

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is the language that you use to add style to your code. In this section, you will get a glimpse of how programmers create beautiful webpages. You will learn how to use CSS to bring life to your HTML code. You will apply what you have learned to create your first project of this Nanodegree program.

Project I: Design an Animal Trading Cards

This is the first project of this Nanodegree. It involves creating a trading card for your favorite animal. You will apply your HTML knowledge to create the structure of your trading card. You will then add CSS styling to design it.

Topic 3: Introduction to Python

Powerful is one of the world’s most popular programming languages. It has taken IT and Machine Learning to new heights, giving developers and programmers the opportunity to create sophisticated applications and infrastructures. In this section of the course, you will be introduced to the basics of Python as well as the possibilities that come with this programming language such as logic checks and problem-solving.

Project II: Adventure Game

Once you have learned how to work with a powerful programming language like Python, you can do cool stuff like developing your own games. In this second project, you will be using Python syntaxes and logic to create an adventure game. You will input loops, conditions, and functions, and use them to create a detailed action within your game.

Topic 4: Introduction to JavaScript

JavaScript is yet another popular programming language. It is commonly used for application development, helping programmers keep up with the fast-paced deployment cycles.

Project III: Pixel Art

Are you ready to build your first application? Well, that is exactly what you will be accomplishing in this project. You will be tasked with creating a single-page application that allows you to draw pixel art on a 100 percent customizable canvas. You will be expected to apply all the skills you have learned in this course to create a beautifully designed application that works like charm.

How long does Udacity Introduction to Programming Nanodegree cost?

Learning the four programming languages and creating webpages and applications in the process may sound like a lot to get through. Udacity estimates that you can complete this introduction to programming Nanodegree when you dedicate at least 10 hours per week to learning. However, being a self-paced course, you can take a shorter or longer time frame to complete the course.

How much does Udacity Introduction to Programming Nanodegree cost?

The cost of this program depends on two things: the time you take to complete the course, the payment method you opt for. That said, Udacity charges $399 per month of access or $1116 pay as you go.

Udacity Introduction to Programming Nanodegree reviews

This course is rated 4.7/5 by learners who have completed it. Here is what learners have to say about this Nanodegree program:

“Highly recommended for students new or relatively new to programming. Your computer illiterate <insert older relative here e.g. grandfather or grandmother> could take this course and become better coders than many undergraduates. If you’ve taken a few semesters of computer science courses or have a little bit of practical experience with programming, I’d suggest to attempt finishing the course materials on trial. Project 1 is about building a simple webpage with html and css. Project 2 is the typical intro to programming project mainly testing your knowledge of functions (in Python) and loops. Project 3 is about classes (with a ridiculously easy project that should take most people 10-15 minutes). The final project in the full-stack path is basically writing a few lines of sql (and is barely longer/harder than project 3). My biggest advice for the students who like to go the extra mile, is don’t. Don’t look at extreme cases. Don’t attempt to include any additional features. Just don’t! I spent 8 hours on project 0 trying to implement certain features without looking anything up. In reality, I had met the requirements at the 30 minute mark. If your program meets all the specifications, just submit.” James L.

“This course generally is great! But I want to make something very clear for those who are novice in programming. It certainly needs a lot of hard works in reading through many information. This includes not only the instructor’s videos and manuals, but also many more links of information from reading through discussion forum, referred from mentors, posted summary notes, and recorded videos. In my case, I have input a lot of time in it and much more than just 20 hours a week. But because I have interest in programming and liked this course, I was enjoying doing it. There are times where things seems to be frustrating and impossible, but the key is to look up, be at rest and in peace, and realize that all information needed is right there (sources mentioned above). The great resource I have found for most of the questions I had was the discussion forum. If I couldn’t get any answer from there, then my 2nd option always was posting my questions on the forum. The mentors and couches are excellent and very prompt to answer all your questions and usually they will go extra giving you more information using links. So I didn’t need to have a 1-2-1 appointment at all. In my opinion, practicing and doing all in the instruction manuals every day is a must to be successful in gaining real knowledge and programming skill. Also, whenever I had any technical issue or general question in locating something, the technical staffs were very prompt in providing the needed information by responding to my e-mail. Finally, for students who have a plan to take this course, my advice to them is to make themselves familiar with these programming languages (HTML, CSS, java script, python) in advance. Thank a lot Udacity!” Yodit F.

“Earlier this year, I decided that I was burned out in my current career as a tissue bank specialist (yes, it pays well… but the joke “I see dead people” is only clever the first 100 times you hear it). I wanted a new career and went through the myriad of choices I could choose from to pursue. Computers are a staple in my family, in fact, my grandfather worked for IBM for 35 years (and passed away at 92 this summer) and holds the original patent on magnetic disk drives. I like analytical thinking and problem solving, the job market is booming, I could perform this career in relative perpetuity (my current job can be VERY physical… don’t get me started on explaining how we use the deli slicer), and I could relocate or work remotely – all very important aspects I was reviewing. I began studying computer science this summer with some haphazard help from my brother and cousin who work as a UX developer and a Java programmer respectively. My brother shoved some books my way and said “you might start here.” One was an HTML book, the other CCS. I quickly learned that I hate web development and picked up a book in Python programming. I tried a couple of other online programs (codeschool I think was one), but the instruction was all over the place and didn’t tie ideas together cogently. I was just starting to learn Python when I found out that I didn’t get into the post-baccalaureate program that I wanted to enroll in. I promptly decided that it wouldn’t hold me back and I began digging into other methods of achieving my goal. I noticed something interesting on WGU’s (another CS school I was interested in) website that a nanogdegree from Udacity was an acceptable prerequisite for their program. I looked at Udacity and realized that they have a well-put-together program. I’m midway through the Intro to Programming nanodegree and I’m really excited about what I am learning. Sometimes, I feel that I could be moving faster with the content, but I noticed that there is a lot of emphasis placed on how things work in Python and in computers in general, which is something that I hadn’t seen in other resources. To me, this understanding is crucial. I also like the quizzes. Sometimes I wish there were even more, but they give me a little bit of interactive learning in good intervals. I recently was discussing my experiences with Udacity with a friend who works in tech support. Originally, he said it sounded like a scam. I sent him the company info and now he’s planning on starting a nanodegree as well – he was that impressed with the content and supporters of the programs. Looking back, I’m glad I didn’t get into the university program I had applied to. I know that I wouldn’t have gotten the level of understanding about the things I wanted to learn (which was a major issue I had with my first undergrad degree). I’m also saving close to $30K (more if you consider interest – probably closer to $50-60K), and can study at my own pace. I understand that being able to transition to a new career without a CS degree may be a little more challenging and take a little longer, but overall it’s a much wiser decision for me. I’m really excited about the last section of this Nanodegree. I was really lost when I looked at all of the avenues that I could take in pursuing a new career in programming. It’s really helpful to get my feet wet in a few different types of programming and compare my experiences with industry needs and income expectations! Thank you so much guys!” Greg C.

How is the job market for programmers?

The demand for rookie programmers may not be high. This Udacity introduction to programming Nanodegree is designed to get you started in the right direction, giving you the freedom to choose a career path in the broad IT field. You can use the skills you have learned as a foundation to build on, going toward web development, application development, Data Science, AI and more.

Udacity Intro to Programming Nanodegree Review: Final thoughts

Udacity is a reputable online learning platform. Udacity Introduction to Programming Nanodegree is a great fit for individuals looking to pursue a career in programming but are not yet settled on the discipline to focus on. Sign up for this introduction to programming course and build up the skills you will need to start a successful career as a programmer.

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