If you’re interested in studying the topic of machine learning, most people would tell you that you’ve got your work cut out for you. I, on the other hand, would argue that all you need is a high-quality course, and a lot of practice! Does the Udacity Machine Learning Nanodegree fit the criteria of a “good course”, however?
Well, that’s exactly what we’ll try to figure out in this review.
Machine learning-oriented courses are on the rise, as far as popularity is concerned. While it’s a truly complex topic, it’s also one that can land you a great job, and bring many additional benefits, too.
What are those benefits, specifically? And is the machine learning Udacity course truly the right option for you? All of this will be discussed in the article below - stick around, and let's get to it!
Table of Contents
- 1. Why Study Machine Learning?
- 2. Udacity Machine Learning Nanodegree (ENROLL HERE)
- 2.1. Receive All of the Benefits of a Nanodegree
- 2.2. Taught by Professional Instructors
- 2.3. Work on Real-World Projects
- 2.4. Project Feedback and Technical Support
- 2.5. Career Services - Available!
- 3. The Less-Ideal Side of the Nanodegree
- 3.1. Not Suitable for Beginner Learners
- 3.2. No Accredited Certification
- 4. Pricing + Financing
- 5. Just One Part of the Puzzle
- 6. Summary
- 7. Conclusions
Why Study Machine Learning?
Before we jump into the actual Udacity Machine Learning Nanodegree review, let’s establish some common ground, and take a look at some of the main reasons why people want to study machine learning, in general.
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Admittedly, there are more than a few reasons for this.
For starters, the obvious answer would be money. Machine learning is a profitable niche - that’s hardly a secret. Specialists in the field earn very good salaries, so it's only natural that this area would attract someone who’s looking to improve their career path.
Why do machine learning engineers make great salaries, though? Sure, you could go ahead and give a cynical answer, something along the lines of “supply and demand”, but the truth is much deeper than that.
Indeed, machine learning is a difficult area to master, and requires a lot of effort, time, and dedication. Great engineers aren’t very simple to come by, and thus, they tend to make very decent wages.
That’s the other thing, too - if you’re serious about becoming a machine learning engineer, and are passionate about the topic, you can be sure that there should always be a job opportunity waiting for you. Expert machine learning engineers should never struggle with finding a job!
Another thing to keep in mind is that machine learning and data science are two specialties that are very connected to one another. If you possess some interest in Big Data, and have a passion for analyzing huge amounts of information and then applying your knowledge to machine learning, this is the perfect profession for you!
Either way, it’s evident that everyone is going to have their own reasons for wanting to study Udacity Machine Learning courses, whether it be the Intro to Machine Learning Udacity, or the more-advanced Nanodegree that we’re discussing today.
Speaking of which, let’s clear that, too, and get right to the review at hand.
- Platform: Udacity
- Duration: 3 months (10 hours / week)
- Price: €927
- Certificate: YES
- Level: Intermediate - Advanced
- Where to apply? HERE
Now, then - if you go to Udacity and search for machine learning courses, there are going to be a few different options that pop up.
Among those options, you will see an Intro to Machine Learning Udacity course, too. Just to be clear, this is NOT what we’re talking about today, in this specific Udacity Machine Learning review.
Instead, we’ll be discussing and reviewing the Udacity Machine Learning Nanodegree - these are two very different courses! The main difference between them is exactly that - one is a course for beginners, while the other is a full-fledged Nanodegree for advanced students of machine learning.
What is a “Nanodegree”, in the first place? And what does this tell us about the program in question? Right, then - let’s take it from the top and answer the most important questions first.
Receive All of the Benefits of a Nanodegree
While “Nanodegree” sounds like a fancy word, it’s actually just a term that Udacity uses to describe their in-depth learning programs, and differentiate them from some of the more-general courses found on the platform.
That being said, with the Machine learning Udacity course, you do also receive all of the benefits that come with any of the Nanodegrees found on the site. We’ll get into those benefits in a bit, but the one thing that should stand out straight from the get-go is the fact that this is a very in-depth course.
Indeed - the course runs for around 3 months, assuming that you put in more or less 10 hours into your studies every week. That’s a lot of information to take in, and a long period of time to finish a course!
It’s actually the tell-tale sign of just how expansive and broad the course is, and how much ground it covers.
With Udacity Machine Learning, you will receive all of the fundamental knowledge required to start a successful career path in the field in question - this is something that the platform behind the course even helps you do, too (more on that later)!
Suffice to say, this isn’t going to be any ordinary course that you can just grab, skim through, and finish in a day or two. As with all other Nanodegrees, there’s a certain standard that will be upheld - you will have homework, will have to work with other people, will be able to submit inquiries and get feedback, and so on.
Lastly, Udacity’s Nanodegrees have garnered a reputation of being top-quality learning materials for any subject that they cover - machine learning Udacity included. So, if you’re looking for some truly high-quality content to study, you won’t go wrong with the course (program) in question!
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Taught by Professional Instructors
Whenever you’re looking at online courses - be it the Udacity Machine Learning Nanodegree, or else -, your primary concern should always be quality.
Admittedly, the quality of a course isn’t always all that simple to measure. There are some giveaway signs, though - a simple one, in this case, would be the fact that we are talking about a Nanodegree, and not just some random course on a random e-learning site.
This, however, isn’t necessarily enough to convince most people - it makes sense! Granted that you will be spending your hard-earned money on the course, you’d probably want to be 100% sure that what you’re purchasing is truly a high-quality product (service).
Naturally, one of the best ways to make sure of that would be by taking a look at the instructors of the course.
Machine learning is one of those topics that are actually rather simple to filter, as far as this particular aspect is concerned. Given that you do already have to be a somewhat advanced learner in the field of programming and some related topics, you would probably have a pretty good idea of whether or not an instructor is qualified, straight off the bat.
Having said that, though, student Udacity Machine Learning reviews will tell you that the instructors that you will meet in this course are truly well-qualified professionals in their field. They include the following:
- Cezanne Camacho - a Stanford University graduate, Master's degree in Electrical engineering. A machine learning educator and the lead of the curriculum.
- Mat Leonard - former physicist, data scientist, research neuroscientist.
- Luis Serrano - an ex-machine learning engineer over at Google.
- Dan Romuald Mbanga - AI Business Development for Machine Learning Services over at Amazon.
- Jennifer Staab - Ph.D. in Computer Science, Masters in Biostatistics.
- Sean Carrell - a former research Mathematician.
- Josh Bernhard - lead data science instructor over at Galvanize, data scientist at Nerd Wallet.
- Jay Alammar - a degree in computer science.
- Andrew Paster - an engineering degree from Yale, has created courses for another Nanodegree program.
That’s a pretty extensive list of instructors! Now, as you might have noticed yourself, the list is made up of various professionals, in a few different fields of science. However, what all of these people have in common is the fact that they are all TRUE professionals in their respective fields, and have the credentials to prove it.
What does this mean to the students? Well, it simply means that if you choose the Udacity Machine Learning Nanodegree, you can be sure that you’ll receive the highest quality level education on the topic, straight from professionals in the field.
Definitely an awesome aspect to keep in mind!
Work on Real-World Projects
Reading through student Udacity Nanodegree Machine Learning reviews, it’s evident that probably one of the biggest and most-notable features of this program is the fact that you will have the chance to work on real-world projects, and not just some theoretical ones.
What does this mean, exactly? Well, simple - while studying the course, you will develop the skills that are actually needed on the job market, instead of practicing some outdated and not at all useful tasks.
This, admittedly, is one of the bigger benefits of all Nanodegrees offered by Udacity. The platform has partnerships with many well-known companies around the world, and thus, has access to tasks that are actually performed within the companies in question.
Having access to such tasks means that they can then be presented for students of the courses, thus allowing them to see what sort of challenges are going to exist within the job market.
Following this, the students can then be much better prepared for anything that they might encounter whilst trying to land a job in a company after they finish the course, since they’ll already be aware and have the general idea of what to expect.
All things considered, if you want to know what it’s like to be working on real-world machine learning tasks and tackling challenges that you will have to deal with in your future workplace, then the Machines Learning Udacity course might be the perfect option for you!
Project Feedback and Technical Support
Feedback on your studies should be one of the most sought-after features when you’re searching for the best places to study and learn a new skill, or develop an already-existing one. That’s a no-brainer!
It’s especially-so-true in regards to homework, and various tasks that you have to complete during the runtime of a course. Even if you do manage to complete all of your tasks without many issues, you might still have some questions regarding a specific topic or task that you’ve been given.
With most online courses, you would be left to research all of the answers for yourself. In some rare cases, you might actually come across a course in which the instructor notes that you can contact them via some social media links, or email. This, however, rarely brings satisfactory results.
This is not something that you would need to worry about in regards to the Udacity Machine Learning Nanodegree, though. A single look at the course landing page will immediately reveal to you that, whilst studying this course, you will have the chance to not only receive feedback on your work, but also get help with any technical questions or issues that you might have.
It’s actually another feature of Nanodegrees, too - Udacity has a huge number of professionals that are ready to help you out at any given point in time, with all of the questions that you might have regarding the course material or some task that you have to perform.
This extends to the technical staff, too. Whether it be some sort of a technical issue or simply a question that you might have regarding the topic, you can be sure that there’s always going to be someone to help you out.
Such all-encompassing support is truly a rare sight to see, no matter what type of a course platform you are using! It’s also truly beneficial to anyone who’s serious about studying a particular topic. An awesome part of this Udacity Machine Learning review!
Career Services - Available!
It’s the main reason why people are searching for online courses, in general! With the average online-based student being in their 30s, it’s rather evident that people want to advance their career, be it in the same field in the form of a promotion, or changing their approach, altogether.
Whatever the actual case might be, it’s notable that there are very few online learning programs that would offer career support after you finish and graduate from them. Udacity Machine Learning, however, is one such program.
To be fair, though, this isn’t really a feature that’s exclusive to the course, but rather, to Udacity Nanodegrees, in general. That doesn’t really change the fact itself, though.
Upon finishing the course, you will have the chance to get some help with your resume building, Github repositories, and even your LinkedIn profile optimization. The professionals over at Udacity will help you optimize all of your channels so that you could maximize your potential at landing the job of your dreams!
Yet again - while this is truly a rare feature that online learning platforms would provide, it’s definitely one that you should make sure to use, right after you graduate from the Udacity Machine Learning Nanodegree!
The Less-Ideal Side of the Nanodegree
Now that we’ve covered all of the main aspects and beneficial features of the Udacity Machine Learning Nanodegree, before we move on to the pricing and conclusions of this review, let’s also take a look at the less-beneficial features of the course in question.
This, in turn, will help you develop a full understanding of the course, and also decide if it’s the best option for you.
Not Suitable for Beginner Learners
As discussed multiple times in this Udacity Machine Learning review already, the course in question is aimed at intermediate-to-advanced level learners. Unfortunately, this does not include beginners.
What sort of skills should you possess in order to start studying Machine Learning Udacity? Well, the prerequisite requirements include at least 40 hours of programming experience, knowing what are data structures, and experience with various libraries, such as NumPy and pandas.
On top of that, you need to possess some machine learning-specific knowledge, too. You should be knowledgeable in regards to supervised (linear regression), unsupervised (k-means clustering), and deep-learning (neural networks) models.
That’s a hefty number of requirements! Evidently, if you’re just starting out, this course is definitely not going to be useful for you.
Obviously, you should turn towards the Intro to Machine Learning Udacity course that we’ve mentioned a few times in this article already. It’s a great place to start your machine learning journey, and then segway towards this more-advanced course afterwards!
The course in question is also a Nanodegree, so you can expect to receive all of the benefits mentioned up to this point in the review. It can also act as the main starting point of your career development, if you decide to continue to Udacity Machine Learning Nanodegree right after!
If you do pass the introductory classes, and are advanced enough to take this Udacity Machine Learning Nanodegree, you will receive all of the same features and benefits, too!
No Accredited Certification
Whenever discussing Udacity’s Nanodegrees (or any other courses offered by the platform, for that matter), this is almost always going to come up as the biggest issue.
Quite frankly, that’s because it likely is, for most students.
Accredited certificates are certificates of completion that you receive after you finish a course on a given topic, and that hold some sort of a backing from an official, well-known institution.
Why are these certificates so important? Well, mostly due to the value that they hold in regards to a job interview.
If you go to a job interview and bring a random certificate from a random course that you took on a random website on the internet, it will likely not hold much weight in regards to you getting the position or not. Now, don’t misunderstand - I’m definitely not implying that this is the case with Udacity! However, you do understand the general gist of things.
On the flip side, a certified certificate will void you of any potential follow-up questions from your potential employer - they will see the paperwork, notice the accredited certification, and will be able to rest assured that you do possess the required skills.
None of Udacity’s Nanodegree programs provide accredited certificates, Udacity Machine Learning included. Upon completing the course and graduating, you will receive a Nanodegree-specific certificate - it won’t be accredited, though.
The severity of this “issue” depends on your personal situation. If you’re planning on applying to a lot of jobs, and are just starting out with your machine learning career, then an accredited certificate is going to be more important. If you’re just looking for a promotion in an already-existing job, though, a paper like that will hold less weight, in the grand scheme of things.
As a final note on this point, it’s worth keeping in mind the fact that the Nanodegree-specific certificates are becoming increasingly more recognized by potential employers around the world! While they are nowhere near the accredited certification level, it’s still something worth keeping in mind, nonetheless.
Pricing + Financing
Approaching the end of our Udacity Nanodegree machine learning course review, let’s take a look at the pricing options available with the course, and discuss whether or not the product is worth the price.
So, if you choose to study the Udacity Machine Learning Nanodegree, it will cost you €927, for all three months of the course’s runtime. However, there’s actually an alternative method of paying for this Nanodegree, and it comes in the form of financing!
Basically, you can just pay as you learn, in increments each month - this would result in you being charged €359 per month.
As far as the pricing of the course is concerned, it’s pretty standard stuff when it comes to Nanodegrees. However, this is true not only in regards to the pricing, but also the quality of information that you receive, and the different benefits available with the service, too.
Most student Udacity Machine Learning reviews that you’ll come across online appear to be quite positive towards the course, from the pricing side of things. While it’s a hefty sum to pay for an online course, you do appear to receive top-level education.
Just One Part of the Puzzle
Something that’s crucial to consider before deciding if the Udacity Machine Learning Nanodegree is right for you or not is the fact that this is just a single part of a larger puzzle.
What do I mean by that? Well, if you were to scroll down to the almost-very-end of the course landing page in question, you would notice that there are alternative (related) courses (programs) for you to check out.
Quite frankly, Udacity allows you to build a personalized learning path, and follow it as far as you’d like. The platform has courses (Nanodegrees included) on a huge variety of different topics - if you’re interested in continuing your studies when it comes to machine learning, there are definitely options for you to pick from!
Following that, this is actually awesome news for anyone who might be interested in the Udacity Nanodegree Machine Learning course, but simply do not yet possess the prerequisite requirements in order to start their studies.
Simply put, you will be able to find all of the courses that you might require in order to prepare for this specific Nanodegree in question. That’s awesome!
Naturally, though, this point concerns individuals who are keen on continuing their studies further than a single course. If you’re just looking for student Udacity Machine Learning reviews in order to study the course for some specific reason, and do not plan on branching out, this might not be as important to you.
By this point in the Udacity Machine Learning Nanodegree review, we’ve covered a whole bunch of different points and aspects regarding the course in question. Having said that, though, before I let you go, let’s have a quick summary of all of the main points we’ve discussed, so that you could have a clear picture in your head of what to expect from the course in question.
The Udacity Machine Learning Nanodegree is a course that’s aimed at intermediate-level machine learning students who want to advance their knowledge, and become much more proficient when it comes to all things machine learning.
As the name likely implies, it’s a Nanodegree - a specific type of online program offered by Udacity. This fact alone brings a bunch of benefits to the table.
With the Nanodegree in question, you will be able to receive feedback on your work, and also technical assistance with all of the tasks or issues that you might encounter while you’re studying. You will also get the chance to work on real-world projects, thus making yourself even more ready for the job market.
Since it’s a Nanodegree, you can also expect to receive career services, too - LinkedIn profile optimization, help with resume writing, etc.
The course in question is also taught by quite a few different instructors, all of which are true professionals in their respective fields of expertise. This is a very important point to consider, granted that it means that all of the information provided within the course is going to be of truly high quality!
On the negative side of things, the only real issue that students have with this program has to do with the lack of accredited certification. This, however, is something that is an issue with all of Udacity’s Nanodegrees, not just the machine learning one. If an accredited certificate is a mandatory requirement for you, Udacity might not be the best option to go with.
Lastly, from a pricing standpoint, most students seem to agree that the course is very decently priced! You get the chance to pay for the entire thing upfront, or choose to pay in increments each month (for a total of 3 months). All in all, when you keep in mind the quality (and quantity!) of information that you receive from the Nanodegree, the pricing does appear to be fair!
So - would I recommend the Udacity Machine Learning Nanodegree to anyone who's interested in learning more about machine learning, or wants to start a career path down this road?
Yes, I surely would! With one exception, obviously - it’s not the right course for any beginners out there.
If you already have experience with programming and machine learning, and are searching on how to make the next step in the right direction, Udacity truly does bring a lot to the table. The course that we’ve discussed in this review receives mostly positive feedback from the students that take it!
If you’re a complete beginner, though, evidently, this is not going to be a good place to start figuring out machine learning. Instead, you should take a look at the Intro to Machine Learning Udacity course that’s available on the platform, too - it's also a Nanodegree, and once you finish it, you might be ready for the course that we’ve discussed in this article!
Table: The pros and cons of Coursera and edX
All of that said, if you’re still “not feeling it”, and would like to explore some alternative options, do check out Coursera or edX - these online learning platforms are considered to be among the best ones in the industry, and perhaps you will be able to find the best course for yourself there?
Thank you for reading this Udacity Machine Learning review! I hope that it was informative and helpful, and wish you the best of luck with all of your machine learning adventures to come!
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