Lifelong Learning and the Future of Work

Lifelong learning, Udacity

Job opportunities continue to grow in emerging spaces such as virtual reality, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and autonomous vehicles. At the same time, existing roles in fields from healthcare to finance are changing dramatically as new tools and technologies are adopted. The concept of lifelong learning is accordingly transforming from a discretionary aspiration to a career necessity. No longer is it a supplemental luxury to learn new skills, and no longer is learning new skills something you do only when you’re pursuing a significant career change. Being relevant, competitive, and in-demand in today’s fast-moving world requires an ongoing commitment to lifelong learning regardless of your role or career path.

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From Grand Challenge to Nanodegree Program

Udacity Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree program

In 2004, DARPA held the first Grand Challenge for an autonomous car to drive 142 miles through the Mojave desert in under 10 hours. Fifteen cars participated, none finished. In 2005, the Challenge was repeated and 23 cars entered. Four finished under 10 hours and our car “Stanley” won in 6 hours and 53 minutes—11 minutes ahead of the next car. Then, in 2010, the Google self-driving car navigated 1,000 miles of public roads in California, an unbelievable advance from that first challenge.

Today, six years later, autonomous cars have become one of the hottest areas for innovation. The Boston Consulting Group estimates the market for autonomous cars will hit $42 billion in 2025. The World Health Organization reports there are 1.2 million traffic fatalities globally every year and driverless cars could be poised to save no less than 1 million lives per year.

Technology companies, automotive manufacturers, media giants, and start-ups around the world are rapidly pushing new advances in this space, whether it be hardware or software. And, they all need talent.

This is where Udacity comes in. Today, we are announcing that our Udacity Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree program  is open for students to apply. It is the first and only program of its kind where most people with an internet connection—from Detroit to Damascus and from Adelaide to Aleppo—can learn the skills they need to work in one of the most amazing fields of our time.

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All I Ever Wanted In A Job: The Mangalambigai Sivaramakrishnan Story

Mangal, Udacity, Student Success

Returning to the workforce after taking time off is challenging, and the hurdles get progressively higher the longer you’re away. Technology presents unique obstacles in this regard, because in addition to the usual challenges of reentry, you also have to contend with the almost inevitable likelihood that your skills are out-of-date. For Mangalambigai Sivaramakrishnan, this was exactly the scenario she faced. How she took those challenges on, overcame the obstacles, and drew on her Udacity experience to build a new career for herself, is the story we’re so excited to share with you today.

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Celebrating Good Work, Celebrating Labor Day!

Celebrating Labor Day

Like many a holiday, Labor Day’s origins have become somewhat obscured by a modern understanding informed by commercialization. Today, it’s largely a day of sales and barbecues, and a shared agreement that summer is ending.

Even for those who do connect the day’s meaning to labor (as in, doing work!), it’s not uncommon to see differences of opinion as to how the holiday should be celebrated. Perhaps because Labor Day is an “official” holiday—and accordingly a day off from work, at least at the federal level—most seem to think the idea is to celebrate workers by simply giving them a three-day weekend.

This doesn’t quite align with the original intention of the holiday. Labor Day was in fact originally established as a means of honoring and demonstrating the caliber and contributions of the American worker. It wasn’t meant only to be a reward for good work, but also a showcase for it.

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Soft Skills Make Firm Foundations: Building Your Candidate Brand

Udacity, Students, Job Seekers, Candidate Brand

Data-driven hiring models are increasingly able to include and assess soft skills, so it’s critical that students and job-seekers understand how this impacts and informs the process of building a successful candidate brand.

Hard skills are generally defined as those teachable skills that can be measured and quantified. Soft skills, on the other hand, are understood to be more subjective—these are the qualities and attributes we tend to think of as comprising “people skills.” Traditionally, soft skills are considered much harder to quantify.

So can soft skills really be assessed using data? The answer is: Yes.

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