Udacity Predictive Analytics for Business Nanodegree Review
Data is a powerful thing. The only problem is, there are few that understand only numbers. That is where analytical tools come in to play, providing a detailed look into business practices and future effects. Those who have the skills to turn numbers into useful details are a company’s right-hand man, giving them the scoop on how to act and what they can expect from making changes to their campaign or marketing strategy.
These skills can be developed with the help of courses, some of which are online. These online academies all promise to be the best but, do they actually deliver? One academy that has a solid reputation is Udacity, and they are now offering a Predictive Analytics for Business Nanodegree. In this review, we’ll take a look at the nanodegree and its extras, while also digging into the course giving you a preview of what you’ll walk away with if choosing to take this course. We’ll follow by a look into the job market, giving you a good amount of useful information to decide if this is the academy for you.
Who is Udacity?
Udacity is an online academy that sprouted from humble beginnings. The idea was to provide knowledge to all that were interested in technological concepts, creating content in the form of video lectures that anyone from anywhere in the world could follow. Not only were the course for a booming area of knowledge but, these courses were offered free of charge. This, as one might guess, brought the academy a lot of attention and success, especially as the world of IT continues to flourish.
These days, the academy is known for recruiting top contenders in the market as instructors and making collaborations with industry giants to create certification courses know as nanodegrees. These are offered for a wide range of topics, generally taking learners in-depth on the topic and including hands-on projects so that they will be ready for the workforce.
So, what is a nanodegree anyway? This is a certification that is set to take less than a year. Instead of coming with a lot of extra unnecessary bulk, these are generally packed with useful information that focus on building a strong knowledge base in one area of the field. At Udacity, these nanodegrees cover just about every technological concept imaginable plus, a few extras including:
You’ll be able to login and learn when you want. No more sticking to schedules or deadlines that just add more stress. You’re the boss and in control of the time you want to learn.
In an attempt to increase successful completion, you’ll get access to a community of learners just like you. You can reach out to them if you need help or, start making connections that could follow you as your career takes off.
In case there is ever any trouble at bay, you’ll have a mentor. They are there to answer questions and keep everything running smooth in case there are any technological mishaps.
The academy tries to keep their projects as real as possible, often reaching out and creating content alongside companies. You’ll have projects sprinkled throughout each course and sometimes a final capstone that pulls all knowledge together.
Clean up your resume and get your professional social networks up and ready to share with help from the career services team. You can also take up the opportunity to schedule a mock interview before your big day, where you’ll get constructive feedback on how to rise above the competition.
Meet Your Instructors
On top off all the extras, Udacity really goes out of their way to put together a group of instructors that is worth bragging about. For this course, all instructors have years of experience, some with over two decades. If that were not enough, each of the instructors is currently part of the staff at Alteryx Inc., able to give insight into actual practice that is used in day to day analysis. You will be learning from:
Patrick has been in the business for more than two decades, sharply focused on data analysis. He is currently staffed at Alteryx Inc. as Director of Technical Activation apart from his role as an instructor for this Udacity course.
With the help of extensive data analysis, Ben works side by side with companies to help them solve problems and operate more methodically. He is also part of the team at Alteryx Inc. where he is titled senior solution engineer.
Maureen is another solution engineer in the mix. She has over 20 years of experience in the field, with her specialty focused around customer geospatial analysis.
Rod takes company data and uses it to create a story as a solution engineer. He then paints a clear picture with the data acquired, helping them to attain their goal and get a glimpse into their future.
Using predictive analysis, Tony helps companies based off of carefully analyzed data.
Are there any Prerequisites?
This course is meant to take from the basics and beyond. That being said however, you’ll need to come equipped with at least some experience with the following topics:
- Statistical Analysis
- Basic Math
- Spreadsheet Creation
For most of these, your knowledge base does not have to do in too deep. If you feel like you need to bush up on skills or just want to have a bit of a refresher before beginning, you can check out some introductory and free courses here: https://blog.udacity.com/category/free-courses
Problem Solving Using Advanced Analytics
In the beginning, you’ll work on building up your analytical skills. Learn how to analyze using more basic methods, taking it up a notch to see how multiple linear regressions can help take your skills to the next level. At the end of this section, you’ll test what you’ve learned attempting to predict sales from an upcoming launch.
This part is all about how to choose the best data. Learn what good data is and how to find it plus, how to spot outliers or ‘dirty data’ that could skew your numbers. See how data can be manipulated and taught to come together even when originating from different sources. At the end, you’ll make your own analytical dataset.
The model you choose to create insights for businesses is important. In this section, you’ll be introduced to a few seeing how they will aid you in creating better business insights. At the end, you’ll work with predicting the risk of loan default.
One you begin to give businesses an insight they can use, you’ll want to also help them make predictions on how it will playout. With the tool of A/B testing, you’ll be able to solidify your insights, confidently backing your recommendations with proven tests. At the end, you’ll work with a test menu launch.
Time Series Forecasting
This part is all about forecasting. You’ll work with ETS and ARMINA to predict the future, including how to spot trends and launch based on seasonality.
Segmentation and Clustering
To end, you’ll learn about what patterns you might be introduced to, using them to help you further hone in and support your predictions. See what the powers of clustering can do to turn data into readable form. At the end, you’ll take all that you learn and put it together, creating a projection for a grocery store that is looking to expand.
How Long Does the Course Take?
According to the academy, it is possible to complete the course in three months if learners dedicate 10 hours per week. This, however, should be taken lightly as everyone learns in their own time and at their own pace. There is never a set time to finish the course, with Udacity promising that learners can take as long as they’d like.
We know what you’re probably thinking, sweet right? Well, it could be, if you’re ok to pay for it. Udacity has a bit of a different way for charging for this course, going by monthly access which could add up in the long run if you’re not careful. More on what we mean by that coming up next.
What’s the Cost?
Udacity offers two ways to pay. Choosing the best option for you depends on a few things, one of which is the time you think it might take you to complete the course. Your options are:
The monthly price is $359. This could add up if you’re not keeping track of your time spent on the course so, before committing, make sure you have a set action plan for tackling and completing the course.
The bundle is calculated by the Udacity estimate, where they take the three months and add them together. This option does come with a discount, rewarding you for paying up front.
The better option for you depends on the time you think it will take you to complete. If you’re thinking about signing up now or in the very near future, you’re in luck. There is a promotional deal up and running on the site where you’ll score a free month of access with either method that you choose.
What are Learners Saying?
Udacity has a solid reputation throughout the web. Reviews are a good way to get a bit of a different perspective, showing what those who have taken the course thought about it. Here is what a few learners had to say.
“…personally I loved this Nanodegree and, yeah I would like to recommend this course to everyone interested in becoming a Business Analyst, or anyone who is getting into Data Science (like me).” – Prateek
“This is a more advanced program, as compared to the Business Analytics Nanodegree. Though however, you can still walk in without any prior knowledge (basic stats and maths would do). The main program you’ll be using throughout this course is Alteryx (windows only, so you’ll need to bootcamp or virtualbox on mac), a data analytics platform, and you’ll touch on Tableau for your final project.” – William
First of all, we will say that you should not be short of opportunities coming out as a fresh graduate in the field. Data scientists are said to be in demand, with Forbes reporting that there will be a 28% increase. This is a direct correlation with the latest craze of digital conversion, that has all companies collecting an insane amount of data without the know-how to make it work for them.
When you’re coming into an entry level position, you’re said to come in with a comfy salary above $60,000 which goes up higher and higher the more experience you have. This is a career that takes efforts to climb to the top, where booking the right clients and helping them achieve future success has the power to make you the big bucks. Indeed.com reports that the average is able $123,988 per year, not including bonuses that are pretty common if you’re booking big industry leading companies along the way.
If you’re in the field of data and want to take your analytical skills up a notch, this Udacity course could be of assistance. You’ll gain the knowledge necessary to give companies the predictions they need to make their next big moves. Throughout the course you’re given knowledge followed by hands-on projects that give you a look at how you’ll be operating day to day.
On top of the knowledge you’ll gain, you’re getting to take full advantage of the Udacity perks, some of which we are really impressed by. The career services team really goes out of their way to incorporate learners into the market as quickly as possible, keeping them competitive among others. Now is a great time to jump in and start learning, scoring the current promotional deal and joining the many successful graduates that started with Udacity.