Nanodegree Plus Offers Guaranteed Jobs
Written by Sue Gee   
Thursday, 14 January 2016

Udacity has just introduced what seems like an enticing offer to career-oriented potential students in the United States: Get hired within six months of graduating. or tuition refunded.


Udacity's existing Nanodegree program is already employment oriented and its promotional content features graduate success stories explaining how completing the program enabled them to land a job that matched their new expertise.

Now Udacity founder Sebastian Thrun had taken a further step in this direction. In his email introducing the new Nanodegree Plus programs to those already signed up for past or current courses he writes:

At Udacity, we believe the ultimate objective of your education is a job you love. By guaranteeing this, we hold ourselves to the highest possible standard. You’ve made the commitment to advance your career and improve your life. We will match this commitment step for step ... Now, we are prepared to guarantee that the skills you learn will earn you a job.




This guarantee extends to four of the Nanodegree programs all of which we've reported on previously:

Nanodegree  Expected to take
(Minimum 10hrs per week)

 Android Developer 

  6 - 12 months
 iOS Developer   6 -   9 months
 Machine Learning Engineer  10 - 12 months
 Senior Web Developer   9 - 12 months


The new "Plus" element is that the:

programs are aimed squarely at finding you rewarding employment either in the tech industry, or in a role that draws on your new-found technical skills

"Plus" also means that the tuition fee goes up - to a subscription of $299 per month, rather than the $199 for the existing Nanodegree program  - and in return students receive enhanced services for job preparation and placement with what Udacity is calling its Career Adviser program and Career Concierge services. The guarantee is that a graduate of the plus program who doesn't get a job within 6 months of graduating or receive a 100% tuition refund.

Given that the ordinary Nanodegree program offers you half your tuition back for graduating within 12 months the premium students will pay for the Plus program and the support from Udacity's enhanced career services is around $1500 - and of course it is restricted to the United States in the first instance.

References to Udacity's partnerships with Google, AT&T, Facebook and GitHub make it sound as though enrolling in this program will land you a dream job with a high rate of pay. Once you look into its terms and conditions it doesn't seem quite as attractive: 

Udacity guarantees you a job offer as an employee or a contractor within 6 months from receiving your Nanodegree Plus credential (the Job Placement Period). Further, in your new job Udacity guarantees that your gross income from such job will be in excess of your cost of tuition (pre-tax) within a 3 month period following job placement.

Consider also the following which make it clear that Udacity isn't simply going to find the job for you and if you don't like what you are offered it makes the guarantee null and void: 

  • Graduate is active in their job search and demonstrates this activity by submitting a minimum of 3 applications per week.
  • Graduate is responsive to outreach from the Udacity Placement Team within 72 hours. An example of communication is to confirm/deny interest in a given role from a partner employer.
  • Graduate has not rejected any job offers.

You also have to put in quite a lot of work to ensure you are eligible for reimbursement:

  • Graduate tracks all applications submitted and is able to furnish details and communications relating to their job search upon reimbursement request:
    • Including: the employer, position, date of submission, and all application materials for each position applied to within the 6 month program period.
    • The application materials must show clear good faith effort and be tailored to the role and company.
    • Applied positions meet the skill level obtained through the Nanodegree program.

Reading the small print has led detractors so suggest this is a scam and something to be avoided. However the small print has to be strong enough to protect Udacity itself from scams and it is a matter of balance.

On the other hand what Udacity is offering for an outlay of around $3,000 is a package of training that meets existing and expanding demand for those skills together with targeted personalized help in job seeking. It has also lined up suitable job vacancies with its partners so that those who enroll in the Nandegree program are put at the head of the queue. 





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Last Updated ( Thursday, 14 January 2016 )