Udacity Artificial Intelligence Nanodegree Review
There is not one field in the industry that will go unimpacted by Artificial Intelligence. The ability to create advanced gadgets to enhance daily tasks in each and every field is evolving the entire workforce, making it a powerful skill to possess. You could be behind the creation of these gadgets, creating code and algorithms that will allow them to think for themselves. They will be able to do complex thinking including reasoning and deciding based on the factors surrounding them.
While you may have a few skills and a bit of knowledge in the field, further and continued learning is a must in an ever-changing field. For an up to date and in-depth course focusing on the skills needed to create technology of tomorrow, a certification like Udacity’s Artificial Intelligence Nanodegree can be just the thing. If you’ve not heard of the academy or their nanodegrees, we’re here to help. We’ve created a review with all you’ll need to know before you enroll plus, a look into the very promising job market.
A Bit About Udacity
They might have started off humbly, with the goal of bringing education to all but, nowadays, they’ve expanded into some powerful places. Their site is full of courses both free and for a monthly fee that introduce anxious learners to knowledge ranging from the basics to super in-depth concepts. Throughout their time on the web, they’ve teamed up with leading companies in the industry to build certification programs, partnered with recruiters to get graduates hired, searched high and low for knowledgeable instructors and, even added extras that come along with each and every nanodegree.
Each and every addition to the nanodegree program is like the cherry on top. These have been put in place with the goal of increasing learner success. As the years pass and more and more learners come to the academy, they have gotten more insight into what makes learners happy. With their feedback, Udacity constantly looks for ways to improve and enhance their extras. When you sign up for a nanodegree, your getting a killer curriculum plus:
With each nanodegree, you’ve got the power to choose. Create your perfect schedule adapting it to your busy life however you see fit.
In case there are ever any issues that come creeping up, you can call on your mentor. They will be there to get you through any sticky situations, available day and night to answer your questions.
Connect with other learners in the Udacity student forum. Here, you can make connections, brainstorm, or just strike up a conversation. Plus, you’ll be able to get help from one another or seek out support if the course load ever seems like too much to handle.
Included in all nanodegrees are projects where you can apply your freshly learned skills. These are created to closely match what you’ll see in the real-world, with some even created alongside top companies. With some nanodegrees, you’re given a final capstone to let your creativity shine while applying all the knowledge you’ve learned.
Take away any doubts or jitters with the help from career experts. They offer interview prep, where you’ll participate in a mock interview and get constructive criticism that will make you shine. You can also get advice on creating the perfect resume and even get to working on your portfolio with help from the career team. Last but not least, you’ll get a crash course on professional social sites like LinkedIn and GitHub.
Meet the Instructors
If the extras haven’t already caught your attention, we know the star-studded staff will. For each course, Udacity attempts to select instructors that are the best fit, with experience in the field and astounding educational backgrounds. For this course, you will be led by:
You should be excited to be taught by one of the most respected authors in the field. The book, Artificial Intelligence:A Modern Approach, is a reputable and useful textbook which he co-authored. Along with his obvious amount of knowledge, he also is currently the research director at Google.
Sebastian is actually the president and founder of Udacity itself. Other than the academy, he also founded Google X, where things like the Self-Driving Car and Google Glass are under his leadership.
Thad is part of the Google Glass team. Apart from his work with Google, he is a professor and director of a group known as Contextual Computing Group (CCG) Plus, professor of Computer Science at Georgia Tech.
A Look at the Prerequisites
You may already be aware that Artificial Intelligence is a pretty complex topic. This is not meant to be an introductory course and there are a few things that you’re expected to come equipped with. A list of requirements from the academy are:
- A basis of algebra and calculus
- Knowledge of statistics and probability
- Experience programming with an emphasis on Python
- Knowledge of algorithm deployment and implementation
- Work with Command Line
- Access to a system that allows for Python 3.4 or later plus, admin permissions for required installations
If these seem to be a bit out of your reach, you can always build up your knowledge base first. Udacity offers free courses that brush over the basics and also introductory nanodegrees. You can find a full list of courses both free and not here: https://www.udacity.com/courses/all
In the course you will find four sections that are filled with in-depth information. At the end and during each of the sections, you’ll have a shot to get some hands-on experience, applying what you’ve learned to help you create some pretty cool gadgets that do all the thinking on their own. The sections are:
Constraint Satisfaction Problems
The course will waste no time, getting you right in with building agents. You will learn information in this section that will help you in completion of the end of section project which will have you create a Sudoku Solver, one that is able to reason like a human.
Search, Optimization and Planning
Start to expand your abilities, creating more advanced systems that allow agents to make decisions logically using its surroundings. This is the same type of technique used when building the NASA Mars rover, bringing your programming level up. At the end, you’ll build an agent with the ability to forward plan.
You’ll learn about adversarial domains, where you will start to learn how to build devices that make decisions on their own. At the end, you’ll use your new knowledge to create a device that will play a game without the need for any human interaction.
Fundamentals of Probabilistic Graphical Models
Take the concept of uncertainty and use it to get a bit of pattern recognition. This is used in the real-world as well, and you’ll be happy to learn the powers of speech tagging. You will use this information to create your own part of speech tagging for your last project in the course.
How Long Does It Take?
Udacity estimates that the average time it will take to finish the course is three months. This estimate is calculated with the idea that learners will be dedicating about 12 to 15 hours a week. This by no means is a definite and comes with the freedom to login as you please.
Each learner is different and the pace at which courses are taken will surely vary. When considering the total time, you’re hoping to spend, you should keep a few things in mind. The first is that you will be given deadlines and due dates for some projects. The second is that, the longer you take, the higher the total course cost.
What’s the Cost?
The total of the course is directly affected by the time that it takes you to complete. In an attempt to make the course affordable for learners of all budget ranges, Udacity has a few options to pay. As of now, each option comes with a promotional deal offering a free month of access.
One option is to pay as you go. Each month that you need access, you’ll pay the price of $359. As you can tell, taking too long with this option can result in a large overall bill. This is why it is best to set a schedule and stick to it so you can get in and get done.
You also have the option to go with Udacity’s estimate. They provide a 15% discount when you choose to bundle up and pay upfront, driving the monthly cost to $206 as you’re only paying for two of the three months with the current deal. This could be the best way, especially if you’re confident that you can finish within three months.
This course has an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. Plus, taking a walk around the web showed that, overall, the academy and this course both have a positive reputation, with most graduates and learners highly satisfied. But you don’t have to take it from us, take a look at what a few leaners had to say.
“This was an excellent program, that covered many aspects of the field with clear concepts and great exercises and projects. The project evaluation was good and detailed, from the concepts to the code review. Thanks for a great Nanodegree!” – Eduardo R.
“This program is matching my expectations so far. The Sudoku Solver has helped me build an initial intuition about how to structure AI projects and how to apply search and constraints in order to maximize algorithm efficiency.” – Luis C.
“It is quite interesting and engages my attention. Shout-out to the sudoku project! It’s taught me how to use anaconda which is a great added bonus. Cheers!” – Shobhit V.
The Job Market
If you don’t already know, AI skills are in high demand. Every single field is becoming impacted by AI, using advances in technology at an advantage to work more effectively and efficiently. A market review done by Market Watch shows that AI was the number one job of 2019 and showed a 74% increase in hiring. They also point out the huge salaries paid out on average which are mostly always in the six figures. The same analysis showed that the average was around $125,000 starting out, with salaries spiking past $200,000 as skills advance.
Forbes released a projection for the future that put the rumors of a technological takeover to rest. While AI will change the way businesses do business, they will essentially evolve the market, causing it to shift into a literal well-running machine. While their outlook shows 133 million jobs will be created by 2022, they show AI deployed devices will take over 75 million jobs. This means an overall increase of 58 million jobs flooding into the market by the year 2022.
A Few Final Things to Consider
If you’re thinking about AI as a career, you’ve quite possibly struck gold. This is a field that is definitely in its early stages, with lots of room to grow as technologies and algorithms develop. Businesses of all sorts will be on the hunt for a knowledgeable individual with the ability to help them take their practices to the next level.
Udacity is a great choice when looking to gain the knowledge necessary to start a career. Not only is their reputation solid but, they also have lots of extras that make them stand out. The nanodegree extras are a big help, especially career services as their goal is fixed on getting graduates hired. After successful completion of this degree, you’ll have all the knowledge needed to break into the industry, beating the peak to the punch and growing your skills. This could mean job stability and super high salaries in the future, as you help create ground breaking technologies that will change they way we work forever.