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What Is a Nanodegree? Should I Study One in 2020?

Lately, there’s been a lot of buzz around nanodegrees. But what are they and is it worth studying one? These are only a few of the questions we’ll address in this article. By the end, you’ll know if studying a nanodegree is what you need.

Let’s dive right in!

What is a nanodegree?

A nanodegree is a certified online educational programme that helps students develop specialised skills in areas related to Computer Science — e.g. Data Science, Programming, Artificial Intelligence, etc. Nanodegrees target professionals who want to learn new advanced skills or develop their current abilities, which will allow them to work with the latest technological developments.

Unlike traditional academic programmes, nanodegrees are only available online. This allows future students to access the courses from anywhere and study at their own pace. Studying a nanodegree is the perfect solution for accomplished professionals who don’t want to put their careers on hold.

What sets nanodegrees apart is the teaching methodology. You can forget about old-fashioned lectures and seminars. Nanodegrees use the latest presentation and teaching methods to help you quickly gain knowledge that can be applied in the real world. You’ll be learning through:

  • Projects
  • Case studies
  • Experiments
  • Test cases

Popular disciplines for nanodegrees

As we’ve already mentioned, most nanodegrees focus on Computer Science subdisciplines. Here are a few examples:

  • Nanodegrees in Data Science
  • Nanodegrees in Artificial Intelligence
  • Nanodegrees in Machine Learning
  • Nanodegrees in Android or iOS Development
  • Nanodegrees in Business Analytics
  • Nanodegrees in Digital Marketing

Since the demand for this degree type is growing, don’t be surprised to see nanodegrees offered in many other disciplines.

How long does it take to finish a nanodegree?

You can earn a nanodegree in 6 to 12 months depending on the study subject and the online platform that offers the programme. This study period is a lot shorter than regular Bachelor’s and Master’s courses, which can take between 3 and 6 academic years to finish.

How much does a nanodegree cost?

The price of a nanodegree depends on what you want to study, on the length of the programme, and the organisation that offers it. Generally, you can expect to pay between 200–400 USD per month. Thus, you end up paying:

  • Between 1,200–2,400 USD for a 6-month nanodegree
  • Between 2,400–4,800 USD for a 12-month nanodegree

If the demand for nanodegrees keeps growing, prices could increase even more. Before you enrol, always check the total costs, and decide if the ROI (return on investment) is worth it for you.

Udacity is the most popular provider of online nanodegrees.

Why should you study a nanodegree?

Some of the benefits of studying a nanodegree are obvious, others more subtle. So, let’s explore the most important ones:

1. Nanodegrees teach relevant skills with applications in the real-world

We might repeat ourselves but remember — nanodegrees are not your typical academic course. You won’t have to put up with long boring lectures and a curriculum that hasn’t been updated in years. You’ll develop demonstrable skills that are more important than a traditional diploma.

2. Learn from the top minds in the tech industry

If you’re like me, you’ve always wondered why your Accounting teacher has never worked in accounting. Or why someone who’s never started a business teaches students how to be an entrepreneur.

Well, you won’t face this issue during a nanodegree programme. People who will teach you are accomplished and experienced data scientists, AI researchers, and engineers — in other words, experts in their fields.

3. Change your career with ease

Nanodegrees are ideal for people who want to make a change and start working in the cutting-edge areas of technology, like Artificial Intelligence, Deep Learning, or Advanced Data Analytics.

Maybe you already work in the tech world and want a change. Maybe you have the mental capabilities to assimilate complex information quickly. Whatever it is, a nanodegree can transform your passion for technology into a lucrative and fulfilling career.

4. The tech industry values nanodegrees

Nanodegree courses aren’t just a new trend that’s popular because it is ‘cool’. The quality of this degree type is appreciated even by the biggest tech giants, like Google, Facebook, GitHub, and many others.

An official nanodegree will always come with a certificate at the end, which will attest your new knowledge and practical skills. You’ll quickly discover that the certification is a valuable asset on your CV.

5. Nanodegrees take the stress out of studying

This is one of the obvious benefits mentioned earlier, but you cannot deny it: studying whenever you want, wherever you want is awesome.

With a full-time job and other responsibilities on your hand, you need an educational approach that’s flexible and always there without adding even more stress to your life. If that’s what you want, stop looking — a nanodegree is the right solution for you.

Can you get a job with a nanodegree?

Yes, you can!

Just read one more time the list of benefits from the section above. In fact, this is what nanodegrees are designed for — teaching relevant skills to professionals who want to change their careers or take a more advanced or specialised role in the tech industry.

That being said, don’t think a nanodegree certificate will act as a deus ex machina. It won’t suddenly make everything easy or allow you to pass a job interview without demonstrating your skills. Earning a certificate is one thing, mastering complex skills and tools is another. Make sure you achieve both.

Is a nanodegree worth it?

Short answer, yes.

Long answer, it depends. Nanodegrees certainly offer a lot of quality, and the fact that big tech company appreciate or offer this kind of courses is a great sign. Still, before you hurry up and enrol in the first nanodegree programme out there, make sure you:

  • Verify that it is an official programme, which offers a certificate upon completion.
  • Look at the monthly and total costs of the degree and decide if it’s worth it
  • Go through the course curriculum and honestly evaluate if that’s what you want to learn

That’s it, then. You’re ready to take on the world and master new skills, now that you know the basics of nanodegrees. Have fun and make the best out of your time and education!

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