Gain New Skills With Udacity
Written by Sue Gee   
Wednesday, 03 November 2021

Udacity is currently offering personalized discounts of up to 75% to both new and existing customers. So what better time to enrol in a Nanodegree program? The problem is choosing among all the options available.

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As a training provider Udacity can be considered the large-scale online equivalent of a Boot Camp, offering an intensive, highly practical and hands-on learning experience. Its distinctive credential is the Nanodegree which is earned by successful completion of a series of projects which are undertaken in conjunction with learning materials the content for which is created by Udacity and its industry partners. The emphasis of each Nanodegree is preparation for a specific job role or career in the real world. They are suitable for those embarking on a new career either as a new entrant to the workplace or those looking to switch to a new career path and to those established in a career and wanting to enhance their skills to move forward. 

If you want to know more about the experience of taking a Udacity Nanodegree, I Programmer team member Nikos Vaggalis has documented two complete programs, most recently with last year's Insider's Guide to the Java Web Developer Nanodegree.




If you are looking for a cutting-edge career, three choices leap out - Cloud Computing, Data Science and Artificial Intelligence.

I have already reported extensively on the many and various Udacity Nanodegrees offered in both cloud computing and data science and we've also looked at many of Udacity's options for acquiring skills in Machine Learning so today it is the turn of Artificial Intelligence, starting with the Artificial Intelligence Nanodegree, which is at advanced level.  

This Nandegree has a very similar appeal to the Introduction to AI Class in which Sebastian Thrun and Perter Norvig teamed up back in 2011. At that time AI was an emerging topic and there was a huge demand from students of all ages and backgrounds and from all over the world to acquire the skills needed to jump on its bandwagon. AI has really moved on in the past decade and this program in which you learn foundational AI algorithms, has the same aim of getting you up to speed. To quote Udacity:

Learn to write programs using the foundational AI algorithms powering everything from NASA’s Mars Rover to DeepMind’s AlphaGo Zero. You’ll master Beam Search and Random Hill Climbing, Bayes Networks and Hidden Markov Models, and more.

Taught by Thrun, Norvig and Thad Starner, this 3-month program has four components, each with a hands-on project:

  • Constraint Satisfaction Problems
    Project: Build a Sudoku Solver

    Use constraint propagation and search to build an agent that reasons like a human would to efficiently solve any Sudoku puzzle.
  • Search, Optimization, and Planning
    Project: Build a Forward Planning Agent

    Build agents that can reason to achieve their goals using search and symbolic logic—like the NASA Mars rovers.
  • Adversarial Search
    Project: Build an Adversarial Game Playing Agent
    Extend classical search to adversarial domains, to build agents that make good decisions without any human intervention—such as the DeepMind AlphaGo agent.
  • Fundamentals of Probabilistic Graphical Models
    Project: Part of Speech Tagging
    Model real-world uncertainty through probability to perform pattern recognition.

The prerequisites for this course are Algebra, Calculus, Statistics and Python and if you need a primer in Python then there's a Nanodegree for that, AI Programming with Python. This is a 3-month program at Beginner Level that introduces the programming tools you need for AI - not only Python but also NumPy and PyTorch). It also covers the math you'll need - calculus and linear algebra - and the key techniques of neural networks - gradient descent and backpropagation.

There are many other options of offer in the Udacity School of  Artificial Intelligence you can move on to once you have this grounding. We've looked previously at the advance-level Deep Reinforcement Learning Nanodegree and for those who want an intermediate-level course there's also a Deep Learning Nanodegree.

One program we've never previously covered is the Natural Language Processing Nanodegree which is being offered in collaboration with Amazon Alexa and IBM Watson and teaches you the skills to get computers to understand, process, and manipulate human language. At advanced level this isn't a course you can just sail into. Its list of prerequisites are "Python, Statistics. Machine Learning and Deep Learning"

Lasting three months it has three components:

  • Introduction to Natural Language Processing
    Project: Part of Speech Tagging
    Learn text processing fundamentals, including stemming and lemmatization. Explore machine learning methods in sentiment analysis. Build a speech tagging model.
  • Computing with Natural Language
    Project: Machine Translation
    Learn advanced techniques like word embeddings, deep learning attention, and more. Build a machine translation model using recurrent neural network architectures.
  • Communicating with Natural Language
    Project: Speech Recognizer
    Learn voice user interface techniques that turn speech into text and vice versa. Build a speech recognition model using deep neural networks.

Another advanced-level option is the Foundations of Computer Vision Nanodegree offered in conjunction with Affectiva and nvidia. It is a 3-month program in which you'll learn cutting-edge computer vision and deep learning techniques, from basic image processing, to building and customizing convolutional neural networks. You'll apply these concepts to vision tasks such as automatic image captioning and object tracking to build a  portfolio of computer vision projects.

  • Introduction to Computer Vision
    Project: Facial Keypoint Detection
    Master computer vision and image processing essentials. Learn to extract important features from image data, and apply deep learning techniques to classification tasks.
  • Advanced Computer Vision and Deep Learning
    Project: Automatic Image Captioning
    Learn to apply deep learning architectures to computer vision tasks. Discover how to combine CNN and RNN networks to build an automatic image captioning application.
  • Object Tracking and Localization
    Project: Landmark Detection & Tracking
    Learn how to locate an object and track it over time. These techniques are used in a variety of moving systems, such as self-driving car navigation and drone flight.

So if any of these programs appeal to you can currently, until November 20th, save 75% on their normal price. 


More Information

Artificial Intelligence Nanodegree

AWS Machine Learning Engineer

Deep Reinforcement Learning Nanodegree

Deep Learning Nanodegree (Intermediate)

Natural Language Processing Nanodegree

Foundations of Computer Vision Nanodegree 

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 22 March 2023 )