Udacity Product Manager Nanodegree Review
Product Managers have a fun and exciting role. Using their creativity and market research, they construct plans that map out product pathways from start to successful launch, all while attempting to squash competition. They are the leaders, fusing departments together as they go from planning to development to production to sales. While a motivating attitude and clear vision are great characteristics for the job, those interested will still need a set of skills, some of which they can score online.
There are a ton of academies online, all of which claim to be the best. One in particular, comes from an academy with a great reputation, Udacity. They have a new Product Manager Nanodegree, which includes in-depth instruction plus, the chance to gain hands-on experience with the help of projects that are included. While the academy overall might be well rated, how does this nanodegree value and, is it the right fit for you? That is what we will attempt to answer here, giving you the inside scoop of the curriculum and job market you could possibly be stepping into.
Udacity is an online academy offering courses dealing with the growing world of IT. They were founded by two Stanford University professors on a mission to bring the opportunity to learn to anyone around the world. Today, they have both free courses and more in-depth nanodegree courses, all of which are led by some pretty impressive names in the industry. Many of their courses aim to give learners real examples, some courses even developed with teams from names like Google, Uber and more.
The academy is recognized across the web and in many of the companies leading the IT world. They attempt to stay current with the ever-evolving world of technology, constantly tweaking their courses to only deliver techniques used in the industry today. While their list of free courses offers a great basis to build on, so do nanodegrees, a Udacity staple.
Nanodegree courses are meant to take learners from start to finish on a very specific topic. Most of these are embedded with projects and have a curriculum that is meant to build up step by step leaving you with the knowledge needed as you make your way into the working world. Apart from the curriculum, each nanodegree comes with:
The great thing about online courses is that you can adapt them to fit your schedule. You will have due dates on some projects but, for everything else, you’re given complete freedom and control over your schedule, learning any time day or night.
Meet other learners that are taking courses with the academy. You can chat to bounce around ideas, just get social or, make connections that can follow you as you make your way into the workforce.
Get help when you need it from a knowledgeable mentor. Just in case anything goes wrong, you’ll have your mentor there when you need them, available 24 hours a day by live chat.
Each course comes with projects that allow you to apply the knowledge you learned. The cool thing about each project is that you’re getting to work up solutions to problems that real companies are facing. Some are even created in collaboration with leading companies in the industry, giving you a head start on real-world applications.
Besides shooting out your resume to more than 95 companies, you’ll also get to score some sweet perks to help you get hired. Experts will help you clean up your resume and professional social pages, create a portfolio, and even hold a mock interview with you to get you prepped for the big day.
Before you Begin
This course is meant to be for any and everyone interested in a career in product management. There is no need to have any prior experience, though you will need to know how to work your way around a computer. Nothing too advanced but, things like browsing the net, video chatting, and managing files are all necessary. If you can work your way around a computer and have leadership skills then, you’re ready to start this course.
Meet the Instructors
Another area where Udacity often shatters the competition is their academic staff. They find highly qualified individuals from each field, most of which have worked with giants in the industry. For this course, you have three instructors, most of which are currently employed by top names like Google or previously with Uber. Your leaders include:
Some of her industry experience includes overseeing products for Real Estate and dating apps. It also includes big names like FinTech and, currently, Google where she is employed as a Growth Product Manager. With Google, she is currently working on growth with Google’s iOS search app.
Alex is a product manager at Uber. Before taking a position with this modern company, he was part of the team at JUMP to enhance user experience and worked with the setup of at home technologies like Google Home and Chromecast.
Yuva has a passion for enhancing user experience. She has worked alongside companies to help them makes their visions a reality, from startups to Fortune 10 companies.
A career as a project manager is fun and exciting. You are in charge of overseeing the development of products that will make companies profit while giving customers more of what they want. In this course, you’re given all the knowledge you’ll need to go from start to finish, launching a successful product. Below, the sections are broken down along with a bit about what you will learn.
A plan is the best thing you can have when attempting to reach a goal. See how to construct a plan based off of market research, solving problems which you give priority to. You will create stunning visuals that help to define your point and put a squad together assigning tasks and making a detailed itinerary. At the end of this section, you will create a visual and pitch it.
This part is all about making visuals a reality. Once you’ve brainstormed and found what you’d like to focus on, you’ll hand it over to the guys in engineering, setting them off on the development. The goal is to give users what they want while making sure company productivity and support are in place. At the end of this section, you’re asked to create a design sprint, where you’ll have to choose what to focus on from a group of ideas and construct your master plan.
In your career, you’ll be working closely with stakeholders. In this section, you’ll see how to collaborate with them and outperform their expectations to crush any potential competition. The project in this section will have you create an activities map, analyze potential problems, and have solutions to any issues that could halt production.
Before the big launch, you’ll take a look at any risks or issues, attempting to avoid them all. You will get to see how teams from different departments come together to see off a successful launch, each one adding their expertise into making it great for every customer. After you launch, you’ll be met with feedback and suggestions from your customers, taking that and using it to your advantage to map out your next steps. In the final project of the course, you’ll take your product from previous sections and map out the entire process up until pre-launch. Give each department what they need, and then take the feedback you receive from customers to create a new feature for your product.
How Long Does the Course Take?
While you do have the freedom to set your schedule, the course, on average, is said to take four months. This is Udacity’s calculation using 10 hours a week as an estimate. If you can dedicate more time, you can finish faster, something that you might want to consider, as it directly affects the total course cost.
What’s the Cost?
Udacity charges per monthly access. This is a way to give learners freedom, allowing them to finish in their own time. Only thing is, each month means another fee, which could eventually add up. There are a few ways that you can pay for the course, the best option depending on the amount of time you think it will take you to complete the course.
Pay per month
Each month of access comes to $359. This is a great option if you think you can finish faster than the Udacity estimate. However, if you take four months or longer, it could come out much more expensive than the academy’s deal.
If you take the academy’s recommendation and go for four months of access right off the bat, you get a 15% discount off the total. For this course in particular, this will bring the cost down to $309 per month, making it a better deal in the long run if you take the same amount of time.
Whichever way you choose, Udacity is now offering a free month of access with sign up. If you pay per month, you’ll be billed after your first free month. If you take the deal, you’ll pay for only three months, dropping the monthly down to $232.
What Learners are Saying
To get a good grasp on what the course is really like, we’ve included some reviews from learners that have already taken the course. Though this is a fairly new course, it is receiving positive feedback, with many satisfied graduates already out in the field.
“The course also taught me how to use metrics to measure if the action item is a success in a Machine learning environment. As a product manager, despite there are different approaches to metrics, the principle should be easily measurable, correlated to business performance, can be isolated to factors controlled by the group it’s measuring against, and comparable to other metrics. Overall, your metrics have to stay relevant to the business.” – Cedric L.
“The videos itself are fairly comprehensive. I would say the quality is not bad per se. There are times when I was pleasantly surprised by the content. Like when they anticipated a question I had (what’s the difference between project and product managers).” – Kahim M.
A Look at the Job Market
Product management is listed as one of the hottest careers in the years to come. In several studies of the market, the percentage of jobs is increasing, with a large bump over the last two years. According to Medium, It is said that from 2017 to 2019 alone, there was a 32% increase in demand. This demand comes directly from the fact that more and more companies are increasing their online presence to keep up with the influx of digital visitors.
Aha! pointed out that the average salary range is anywhere from $61,000 to $200,000 for product managers. This gap has a lot to do with seniority and experience but also depends on the company. Some offer bonuses when certain goals are met while others may come with pay raises and opportunities to scale up the ladder.
Product Management is a promising career, especially now that the demand is beginning to increase. Beginning to build up your knowledge base and gaining industry experience now will mean big things for you and you career in the future, as you start to climb the corporate ladder to big titles that come with even bigger pay.
Choosing to learn with an online academy like Udacity has its advantages, especially since you get to set your schedule and choose when and where you learn. On top of that, Udacity is a trusted academy, one that has gone out of their way to collaborate with innovative companies. While the choice is ultimately yours, you can’t go wrong with this nanodegree, especially if product management is your calling.