Last September, Bertelsmann launched the Udacity Technology Scholarship Program, a new, comprehensive scholarship initiative. Upon completion of the initial Challenge Course, the top ten percent of graduates received a scholarship for a full-fledged Udacity Nanodegree program in the fields of cloud, data or artificial intelligence. Employees of all Bertelsmann companies were also eligible to qualify for one of the three Nanodegree programs as part of the professional development initiative. In an interview with BENET, some of them talk about their experience with the “Udacity Technology Scholarship Program".
In this second installment, Nele Hülck of Bertelsmann in Germany, Jonathan Papworth of Arvato Supply Chain Solutions in the Netherlands, and Candice Chua of Arvato Supply Chain Solutions in Singapore talk, among other things, about what they learned in the “Data Analyst” Nanodegree program, how they can apply the acquired knowledge in their jobs, and what they especially enjoyed about the course.
Nele Hülck: The Udacity Technology Scholarship Program is a great opportunity to independently pursue one’s development and develop one's skills. It is a good way to try your hand at programming. Even though you might not be able to apply it in your current job, there will certainly be an opportunity in the future to show what you have learned.
Candice Chua: It was a really good and nice opportunity to study part-time - my university day were really long ago. Being able to learn something new is a privilege. It is very encouraging that Bertelsmann supports and promotes lifelong learning and the path to digital transformation.
BENET: How did the start of the Nanodegree program go for you?
Candice Chua: Like many others, I was very excited about the starting phase in particular, because I didn't really know what to expect. What I did know, however, was that it would require a great deal of time and commitment to complete the Nanodegree.
Nele Hülck: I personally found the start was very well organized. In addition to the kick-off event, you could exchange ideas with your fellow scholarship holders about the content and procedures.
Jonathan Papworth: It felt great to begin a new chapter and seize the opportunity to study and learn new skills for future career opportunities. On the first day, the Slack exchange platform was buzzing with student messages and activities, and everyone was eagerly waiting for the course to officially start.
Jonathan Papworth: In all the projects, we learned how to gather, assess, clean, and analyze data and share the findings. We used the Python programming language, which can be used to obtain insightful statistical information and perform calculations to find correlations between data.
Nele Hülck: The Nanodegree is divided into four thematic blocks, each with about six sub-items. The "Introduction to Data Analysis" block presents the tools necessary for the program. In the "Practical Statistics” block, the basics of statistics are reviewed. The "Data Wrangling" block deals with the programming and preparation of data, and so does the "Data Visualization" block.
Candice Chua: In some projects we also worked with the Jupyter Notebook application. This was a useful introduction to the world of coding for me.
Jonathan Papworth: The best thing about the course is learning in the Udacity community. It allows me to make contacts and work with people to find different approaches to solving a problem. A big challenge for me was learning how to code in order to gain insights. But the new knowledge has shown me even more options in the area of data analysis and machine learning, or data science, as these are closely related.
Nele Hülck: The Nanodegree is an excellent introduction to the world of programming. These days, data processing and the preparation of data are becoming increasingly important. The Nanodegree gives you an opportunity to further educate yourself in this field and to master digital challenges in your everyday working life. The program enables me to carry out my tasks, which previously ran on Excel, more efficiently using programs I write myself. The hand-in assignments are actually the biggest challenge, because they ask you to apply all the knowledge from the preceding unit in a single assignment.
Candice Chua: To me, the Nanodegree is especially attractive and helpful for working adults because of the projects. They gives application and practicality to the theory video lessons by the Udacity course trainers. I also learned the Anaconda and Python coding languages, which were new to me.
BENET: How do you manage to complete the Nanodegree program alongside your job?
Jonathan Papworth: My recommendation: Learn every day, even if it’s only for 30 minutes – those 30 minutes can easily turn into longer study sessions. Study in a space where there are distractions from family, friends, or the TV. Put your phone on silent or turn it off and put it out of reach. Be sure to keep a glass of water nearby. And do take breaks during your sessions to reflect on what you've learned.
Candice Chua: I prioritized my studying on weekends, and made it a point to complete the Nanodegree as quickly as possible. With focus and this kind of time management, I managed to complete the program.
Nele Hülck: I mostly work on the Nanodegree program mainly in the evenings and on weekends. The success of having the right result appear after a long, self-written code, motivates me to keep going. The program can easily be completed alongside a job - but you should plan to commit an average of ten hours per week. If you invest more time during the first few weeks, you can complete the program in less than six months.
BENET: How are you able to use the knowledge from the Nanodegree program in your everyday work?
Nele Hülck: In my current position, the Nanodegree can help me to automate processes. I am thinking especially of reporting or some background processes in existing programs.
Jonathan Papworth: I can apply this knowledge in many areas of my job, for example in reviewing and visualizing datasets.
About the Udacity Technology Scholarship Program
Over a period of three years, Bertelsmann is funding 50,000 tech scholarships on the Udacity online education platform (see BENET report). Each year, the initiative awards 15,000 scholarships for the “Challenge Course” in the fields of Cloud, Data and AI, followed by 1,600 scholarships for the Nanodegree program.
In the second round of the scholarship initiative, Bertelsmann will offer the Cloud Nanodegree with a focus on the cloud computing provider Azure, the “Predictive Analytics for Business” Nanodegree program, and the “AI Product Manager” program. Applications for these programs will be accepted starting September 15, 2020. The scholarship is aimed equally at people with and without programming or IT experience.
If you would like to be notified about the start of the application phase, please click on the following link to register for an automatic email notification: https://createyourowncareer.de/udacity/reminder (benet)