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Udacity Doubles Down on Jobs of Tomorrow. Announces School of AI, Udacity Universe, and a Robot Learning Lab.

News from Udacity Intersect 2018 conference.

In Class Central‘s 2016 year in review for Udacity, I wrote about how Udacity has pivoted from “Be In Demand” to “Jobs of Tomorrow”. When I wrote that article, Udacity had just over 3000 Nanodegree graduates. Now the number of graduates has crossed 30,000, a 10x increase, according to Vishal Makhijani, the CEO of Udacity.


I was at Udacity’s Intersect conference last week where these numbers were announced.  At the same conference, the company made announcements which further shows their intention of moving in the “Jobs of Tomorrow” direction.

School of AI

Udacity announced four new Nanodegrees in the field of AI and Machine Learning. These Nanodegrees are as follows: AI Programming With Python (which I am so tempted to sign up for), Natural Language Processing, Computer Vision, and Deep Reinforcement Learning. The first three Nanodegrees have already launched and are open for registration. Udacity packaged these Nanodegrees and previous Nanodegrees like the Self-Driving Car Nanodegree into the School of AI.

Udacity Universe

Udacity Universe is a “massive shared simulation environment” that is available to students of their Self-Driving Car Nanodegree and Flying Car Nanodegree. In Udacity’s own words:

Udacity Universe is a shared virtual world where students will control a variety of vehicles in a lifelike, smart environment; it is an interactive simulator where students will develop and coordinate self-driving and self-flying fleets to tackle complex mobility and transportation challenges; it is a testing ground for systems thinking and forward-thinking urban planning; it is a playground of the mind, where one explores the possibilities of a world where the borders between road and sky no longer exist.

Udacity Intersect 2018

I got to ride around in Udacity’s self-driving around the parking lot of Computer History Museum.

All the other major MOOC and online providers have their own conferences, but they are usually targeted at their partners and not students.  Udacity’s Intersect conference, on the other hand, is a conference dedicated to learners. As part of the conference, Udacity also hosted a career fair with over 25 hiring partners including the likes of Facebook and Samsung. Current Nanodegree students and Nanodegree graduates flew in from all parts of the United States as well as a few from other countries. Speakers for the conference included silicon valley stalwarts such as the previous CEO of Google Eric Schmidt and Founder of Intuit Scott Cook. Udacity Founder and CEO of flying car company Kitty Hawk, Sebastian Thrun, also interviewed a few guests on stage.

Other announcements included KUKA Udacity Robot Learning Lab at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), and a WeChat Mini-Program Development Nanodegeree. You can find a detailed list of announcements here and session videos from the conference on YouTube.

Update: I signed up for the AI Programming With Python Nandoegree!

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Dhawal Shah

Dhawal is the CEO of Class Central, the most popular search engine and review site for online courses and MOOCs. He has completed over a dozen MOOCs and has written over 200 articles about the MOOC space, including contributions to TechCrunch, EdSurge, Quartz, and VentureBeat.

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