Udacity AI Product Manager Nanodegree Review
If you’ve got a knack for organization and have what it takes to lead a team of innovators to create the next big thing then project management could be the career for you. While there are project management positions of all kinds spread throughout the market, one in AI is exciting, coming with a world of opportunities with giant companies.
If you’re looking for a way to start and build up a knowledge base that will allow you to break into the industry, you can try Udacity, an online academy that specializes in computer science courses. In this review, we will take a deeper look at the academy and the AI Product Manager Nanodegree helping you see if this is the right course for you. We won’t just stop there, providing a look at the job market to see what your future holds summing it up with a bit of our personal insight.
What is Udacity?
Udacity is a creation from two Stanford professors. The academy has been around since 2012, starting off from very humble beginnings and offering only a few courses. Throughout the years, the academy would hit the ground running, making some superstar connections with big names in the business. Included now are certification programs known as nanodegrees. These come with more specified curriculums, said to equip learners with all that they need to land a job. Plus, they take months to complete, with none coming close to a year. Each of these nanodegree programs come with little perks that quite possibly add up to make them stand out and surpass the competition.
What are the Extras?
The extras that come along with each nanodegree are put in place to increase the success of each learner. Now, not to be biased from the beginning but, these made us fall hard. We like the extras, and all the new and improved upgrades that the academy has put in place to make them better throughout the years. These extras are:
You get access to the learner’s forum where you can make connections and get support from other learners just like you. Apart from that, you score a mentor that is there to help with the technical or more difficult stuff.
Real Industry Projects
In an attempt to prepare learners with experience that they can actually use, the academy includes projects that closely follow some of the very problems and projects companies are facing today.
The academy gives learners the freedom to make their schedule however they see fit. Full access is yours when you sign up and pay so you call the shots. Learn from wherever and whenever.
This is perhaps the extra that impressed us the most. You’re given access to a database that is swarming with businesses waiting for new graduates and, your resume is shared with almost 100 companies. Don’t worry about your resume, you’ll get expert feedback and help to polish it up plus, a look a cleanup of professional networking pages like LinkedIn and GitHub. Before you score an interview, you can practice with a career services team member to shake off any jitters and learn what companies are after.
This is not an extra but, the list of instructors caught our attention too. You can tell that the academy branched out and went after leaders in the industry that had some powerful insight into the field and the skills necessary to be successful. Before we get to the prerequisites and course, meet the instructors you’ll have.
Currently, Alyssa is the VP of AI at Appen. If that doesn’t speak loudly about her qualifications as an instructor, then maybe her time at IBM Watson as the director of projects does. She’s seen development from all ends and offers her experience and knowledge during her lectures.
Also a member of Appen, Meeta has an impressive background. Part of her experience includes building voice and video products for companies like Cisco and Tokbox.
Kiran has worked with companies like HR Tech and Fintech to name a few. He is an HCI developer that is currently working on the creation of new products and interfaces that will eventually evolve the industry.
Her background in customer success led her to put a sharp emphasis on solving complex issues that companies of today are facing.
What are the Prerequisites?
This course comes without the need for any prior knowledge. Of course, some basic computer skills would be nice plus, some kind of background knowledge with product management. Understanding of data analysis techniques could also be a plus, as you’ll be dabbling a bit with management of data sets of all sizes.
So, let’s get to the course. You’ll be led from the fundamentals all the way through to more complicated criteria that you’ll be applying just like you were in the field. The entire course is broken down into four sections with a capstone project tacked on at the end. The sections and content in each are listed below.
AI in Business
This section is all about how AI has blended into business. You will see how the field can benefit from the powers of AI and learn how to create a business case for AI application.
Creating a Dataset
When working with data, the analysis functions far better if you know how to create and organize it properly. You’ll learn what a good set of data looks like, plus, which types of data are better suited for certain projects. You’ll jump right in to the hands-on part here, creating a data set with Appen.
Building a Model
Things can get a little complicated in this part as you start to see what neural networks are all about. The concept of “training” is introduced followed by how to make sense of the results you receive. At the end, you’ll build your own using Google AutoML.
Impact and Measures
After you get things up and running and reports start coming back, it’s crucial to know what to do with them. Learn about their impact and how to make improvements based off of your readings. There is also a portion that hits on security and compliance.
The project comes straight from your innovative mind. You get to choose what type of AI product you’ll be pushing, including important information that define the rate of success and datasets. One thing you must include is a monitoring measure, one that keeps up with information after the AI product is deployed.
How Long Does the Course Take?
While you have flexible learning on your side, you still want to make sure that you’re completing the course at a good pace. This is because the cost goes up the longer you take, so the shorter the better. Lucky for you, this is a shorter course, with Udacity estimating that it will take you 2 months to complete if you’re spending only 5 to 10 hours a week.
What is the Cost?
Up and running on the site now is a deal that offers a month of free access for all nanodegree programs. This is a steal for a program like this, as it comes out super cheap and economical if you complete the course in the estimated time. You’ll only be paying for one month! When it comes to paying for the course, you’ll have a few options to choose from. These options are put in place in order to make it accessible to learners of all budgets, which include:
Pay as you go
This is a per month price. Each month that you have access with come with a price tag of $359. Included in this price is full access to the course and all the extras. As you might be thinking, this could add up quick but, the faster you finish the more economical the total cost.
The Udacity bundle deal
The bundle deal goes based off of the estimate given by Udacity. They take the estimate and bundle it up throwing in a 15% discount. For this deal, you can expect to pay about $315 for each month but, you have to pay up front. For this course, Udacity estimates 2 months if you spend anywhere from 5 to 10 hours per week.
What Did Learners Say?
For a bit on what to expect when you begin the course, we’ve taken a look at what learners and graduates have said. Perhaps this can offer you a bit of a different perspective to know what you’re going into. Here is what a few different reviewers had to say:
“The program is good. The project is so far the most interesting part of it. However, this seems to me serves more toward beginners in product management and in data/ML worlds. The level of this course was unclear before I purchased it. I don’t feel I’m getting enough new information on top of my current knowledge. Happy to provide more feedback. // thanks, Ros.” – Rostyslav L.
“I love the first project in the Nanodegree program with exception to the instructions and guidelines for Figure Eight Platform. After almost quitting the project entirely, I was lucky enough to restart the project choosing a different data annotation job that allowed me the opportunity to make question changes using the Figure Eight template that was unavailable in my previous data annotation job. The Google AutoML project has been fun and rewarding learning experience thus far. I look forward to re-taking the AI Programming using Python course after completing more Python courses on Coursera and finding more time in my schedule to confront other course challenges such was text editor not working correctly or likewise.” – Jonathan F.
How’s the Job Market?
Well, we have some bad news for all those in project management without any type of AI experience or training. We say this because there are a lot of jobs on the market that are currently being replaced with individuals who have this type of knowledge as the field and the way that companies do business is changing. But, fear not, you’re here for the emphasis on AI, which happens to come with a healthy demand.
According to Business Blog, there is said to be an 11% increase in the market seen through to the year 2026. Project management is a broad term and can be for a number of markets of all kinds. With the increasing technology and AI that breaks its way into every field, project managers with knowledge in AI will be in highest demand. This is not the highest increase however, with current scares happening in the market of product management. This is because AI solutions are in the works that take over the jobs of some project managers. This means that the future could hold a drastic cut for project management positions overall. Medium.com suggests that there will be an 80% decrease by the year 2030. Having some background in AI cuts that risk however, putting you in the very market that is stealing these jobs away.
Should I Choose this Course?
If you’re currently a project manager or on the way to becoming one, some background in AI could be beneficial. Not only for the fact that you’ll have a large and in-demand market looking for you but, you’ll have a bit more job security to go along with it. To kick the process in gear, a certification course that comes with the knowledge necessary is crucial. You can find that here with the Udacity degree.
When you sign up to get a nanodegree with Udacity, you’re signing up for much more than just the curriculum, and that is what we like. The career services and emphasis on helping you outside of the academic part says a lot. You have all the important stuff, most of which can help you with deciding whether or not this course is the perfect fit for you and your future career goals. You’ll be on your way in no time, starting with building up the proper skillset.