In 2021, Udacity consolidated its position as a now largely enterprise-facing company whose focus is on corporations and governments rather than learners like you and me.
The refocus, initiated last year, comes in the wake of a few tumultuous years at Udacity. In 2018, they faced a downturn that prompted the CEO’s exit. In 2019, they carried out a restructuring plan punctuated by large layoffs. In 2020, amid a pandemic and under new leadership, they doubled down on B2B. And in 2021, they’ve settled in this position.
In the process, Udacity stopped making waves. Last year, we wrote five articles about the company. This year, by contrast, this article will be the first and last. And it’s not because we stopped paying attention. At Class Central, we’ve completed a bunch of Nanodegrees. Udacity has been on our mind. But Udacity’s mind isn’t on their consumer segment anymore.
For Class Central’s complete analysis of Udacity’s 2021, keep reading. For previous years’ analyses, follow the links:
As Udacity’s focus turned away from consumers and toward business, the company also became less transparent. Most notably, Udacity stopped sharing clear growth numbers.
At Class Central, most of our analyses are based on data we’ve curated ourselves, either by hand or through web scraping. But when a figure can’t be inferred from data available online, we may ask companies directly — for instance, to prepare our end-of-year series. This year, our email to Udacity remained unanswered, hence the largely empty 2021 column above.
Udacity: New programs per year — note the 2019 increase
One of the salient measures of Udacity’s all-encompassing plan for putting the company back on track to profitability was to speed up Nanodegree rollouts. In 2018, they launched just 9 Nanodegrees. Since then, they’ve launched on average 16 each year. More specifically, in 2021, Udacity launched 15 Nanodegrees and 1 Executive Program. Below is the complete list.
Note that as Udacity’s offering has kept growing, it’s become increasingly specific (and their names, increasingly long), often targeting particular tools and vendors rather than broad topics. For instance, there used to be just one machine learning Nanodegree; now, there are five:
Udacity: Scholarships and Nanodegrees funded per year
For individual learners, perhaps a silver lining of Udacity’s closer dealings with companies is that it seems to have attracted more scholarship partners. In 2021, Udacity launched 9 scholarships, funding close to 10K Nanodegree programs, almost three times more than in 2020.