After his father suffered a heart attack last year, 16-year old Ayan Saha had to quickly look for a job to support his family. Living below the poverty line in the state of West Bengal, he didn’t have the three-to-four years required to pursue a college degree. As he had some knowledge of Java from his government-school education, he sought opportunities in the field of technology.
An online search led him to Udacity, a global for-profit educational organisation whose online academy he joined post-class 11. With relatives lending a helping hand, Saha took two Android Developer courses, or nanodegrees, over eight months.
Today, the youngster works as an Android app developer for the West Bengal government. His Rs14,000 ($219) monthly investment has made him qualified enough to earn over Rs30,000 ($470) each month. His next goal: a nanodegree in machine learning.
Saha is among over 8 million global students, including 800,000 Indians, to have taken a course with Udacity in the last few years. At any given time, more than 40,000 people are enrolled for its nanodegree courses.
Nanodegrees are micro-credential certification courses designed to make learners job-ready through module-based learning, online video lessons, and hands-on projects. These courses are “hyper-focused” and “make candidates go through the last mile required to be job-ready,” said Sudeep Sen, assistant vice-president at TeamLease, India’s largest staffing company.
Three types of users train on Udacity. “One, working professionals with three-four years of experience who are continuously looking to upskill. Second, third- and fourth-year engineering students seeking a good start to their careers,” Ishan Gupta, Udacity’s managing director in India, told Quartz. “The third category is entrepreneurial people trying to build tech skills.”
Convinced of its potential, even companies like Infosys, Wipro, Honeywell, and JustDial have sponsored Udacity programmes for their…