The problem with many courses is that they will inevitably have a hard time gaining a reputation amidst traditional degrees. In order to achieve parity in terms of credibility, they need differentiating factors. Online courses have to be somehow better in some regard or fill a basic need that is currently not serviced.
Training the Next Generation
That need has just been revealed. Google has blown open the concept of online courses with its Android development nanodegree. It is designed specifically to fulfil Google’s own need for Android developers, with the industry facing a critical shortage. The program’s creator, Sebastian Thrun says there are hundreds of thousands of coding jobs going unfilled.
Google’s nanodegree takes between 6-9 months to complete and is fully online. It differentiates itself from other courses through mentors, project grading, and guidance from Google’s experts in app development. It costs $200 a month, a tiny amount compared to conventional degrees but that’s not why this program is special. The real value lies in the expert tuition from Google’s own developers. If it wasn’t enough that the student can learn from Google experts, the degree may lead to a job with Google itself. Indeed, Google’s partnership with Udacity to deliver their nanodegree is primarily to fulfil their own developer shortages, with Google planning to hire the brightest and best.
Even those who do not get hired can expect a fantastic career in app development for other firms writing Android code. Thrun said, “If you do what we tell you to do with this program, you can get $100,000, $180,000 as an entry-level salary in Silicon Valley.”
This is staggering and its importance for app developers and the wider concept of nanodegrees cannot be understated. Online degrees needed a differentiator to come of age, and it has found it in the most spectacular and relevant way possible – they have been validated by arguably the world’s most relevant company.
Are there Alternative’s to Google’s nanodegree?
There are other nanodegrees offered by Udacity in tandem with software and tech companies. Those comparable to Google’s Android development degree are listed and are known to result in jobs in app development (or similar) shortly after graduation.
AT&T: IOS Developer Nanodegree, Front-End Web Developer Nanodegree
Amazon Services, AT&T, GitHub, Google: Full Stack Web Developer Nanodegree
Facebook, mongoDB, Zipfian Academy: Data Analyst Nanodegree
The bottom line
You don’t need a Google nanodegree to learn how to code. You can learn it yourself for free and display your talents on sites like http://insightdatascience.com. If your coding is good enough, you will be found. However, what the Google nanodegree and others are doing is formalizing the process, making it accredited and providing a more structured pathway to jobs in IT and app development. Combine that with expert tuition from leading developers looking to hire the students they teach and it is a win-win.