Udacity Nanodegree Review: Is A Udacity Nanodegree Worth It?

By: Justina Hwang

Category: Blog, Review

If you’re interested in learning how to code online, you’ve likely looked into a lot of coding schools — from Skillcrush (that’s us!) to Codecademy’s free program, to General Assembly, and more. In this post, I’m going to review Udacity’s Nanodegree program, so you can decide if it could be a fit for you and your career goals.

Why Udacity? Well, it’s one of the first programs to pop up if you’re looking for an online school that can quickly teach core programming skills. Of course we hope that Skillcrush can be an answer to your tech education needs, but we still wanted to give an honest overview of Udacity’s Nanodegree program — so you have all the information you need to make the right decision.

To make things simpler, I’m going to focus on just one of Udacity’s Nanodegree offerings: Introduction to Programming. Like other code schools we’ve reviewed, the Introduction to Programming covers a wide range of foundational programming concepts for beginners in tech.

So let’s take a look: Is a Udacity Nanodegree worth it in terms of time and money?

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To make things easier, I’m breaking this review down into several categories. We’ll look at things like: the cost, how long it takes to complete the program, how long you’ll have access to your course material, whether it’s beginner-friendly, and how many projects you’ll complete. We’ll also look at the community and support available to you and what to know about the refund policy in case it doesn’t work out.

Below, you’ll find the results of my research and be able to see for yourself whether a Udacity Nanodegree is worth it.

Table of Contents

  1. The TL;DR: Is a Udacity Nanodegree worth it for you?
  2. What is Udacity?
  3. What is the cost of a Udacity Nanodegree?
  4. How long does it take to complete a Udacity Nanodegree program?
  5. Do you receive lifetime access to course materials?
  6. How beginner-friendly is Udacity’s Introduction to Programming Nanodegree?
  7. Is Udacity’s course project-based?
  8. Does Udacity’s Nanodegree program provide student community and support?
  9. What are the refund policies at Udacity?
  10. Udacity Nanodegree Key Takeaways

The TL;DR: Is a Udacity Nanodegree worth it for you?

Just looking for a quick summary of whether a Udacity Nanodegree is worth it? Here’s the TL;DR:

If you’re confident you have the time to dedicate to programming and can finish a course on HTML, CSS, Python, and JavaScript in four months to maximize cost effectiveness, Udacity’s Nanodegree program could be worth it for you.

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What is Udacity?

As a student looking for online coding schools, you have a lot of options. While many online learning programs can teach you how to code for free, they sometimes lack the instructor support and career mentorship that a paid online course can offer. If you’re going to pay to learn how to code online, which learning platforms and coding schools can you trust to teach you what you need to know to build a career?

Let’s take a look at how Udacity stacks up. First off, what is Udacity?

Udacity is an online coding school that offers paid and free courses for students interested in learning programming — Udacity offers a free intro to HTML and CSS course, among others.

Here’s Udacity’s mission statement from their About page:

Our mission is to train the world’s workforce in the careers of the future. We partner with leading technology companies to learn how technology is transforming industries, and teach the critical tech skills that companies are looking for in their workforce. With our powerful and flexible digital education platform, even the busiest learners can prepare themselves to take on the most in-demand tech roles.*

Udacity offers many Nanodegree programs spanning different fields, including: Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Systems, Business, Cloud Computing, Cybersecurity, Data Science, Programming and Development. Within these Nanodegree programs, Udacity offers specialized courses including Front End Developer, Full Stack Developer, Android Kotlin Developer, and Java Programming.

Like I mentioned, in order to see how good Udacity’s Programming and Development Nanodegree programs are at fulfilling my criteria for an online coding school, we’re going to look at one specific nanodegree program as an example: Introduction to Programming. I believe the Introduction to Programming course is a good example of a course for beginners in tech because it teaches a wider range of tech skills compared to their more specialized courses.

📌 Interested in other Skillcrush reviews?

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What is the cost of a Udacity Nanodegree?

Udacity Nanodegree programs work on a subscription model. Udacity charges $399 per month until you graduate the program or cancel and a discounted price of $599 for four months of access, after which you’re charged the regular subscription price of $399 per month until you graduate or cancel.

Udacity periodically has promotions for their courses — for example, in mid-May 2021, they had a promotion that included 30 days of free access. At the time of publishing, Udacity is offering a 75 percent off sale with four months of access at $339 per month and $100 per month until you graduate or cancel.

Udacity’s Nanodegree program: Introduction to Programming includes the courses:

  • Intro to HTML
  • Intro to CSS
  • Intro to Python
  • Intro to JavaScript

Scholarships for Udacity courses are available from the SUSE Cloud Native Application Development scholarship program, Blacks in Technology scholarship program, and Bertelsmann Technology Scholarships.

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How long does it take to complete a Udacity Nanodegree Program?

Udacity’s Introduction to Programming Nanodegree course is self-paced — although the school provides suggested course paces, classroom start dates, and project due dates as a general guideline for students.

For the Introduction to Programming course, Udacity suggests it will take students four months studying for 10 hours per week to complete it. A start date is recommended but not required for their Nanodegree programs — they have suggested start dates to sort students who start at the same time into community channels.

Although Udacity Nanodegree courses are self-paced, because Udacity operates on a subscription-based model, if you need to take longer to finish the class you sign up for, you might end up needing to pay more in subscription fees than you originally budgeted.

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Do you receive lifetime access to course materials?

Udacity Nanodegree gives limited lifetime access to course materials.

Per Udacity’s website, “Students will have access to non-updated classroom content and read-only access to Udacity’s Knowledge Q&A system but will lose access to unsubmitted projects, community channels, project reviews, workspaces, labs, or quizzes one year after their last billing cycle or term end date.”

For more detail on access to Udacity’s course materials, see here.

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How beginner-friendly is Udacity’s Nanodegree program?

According to Udacity’s Introduction to Programming Nanodegree program page no programming experience is required, but

“You will need to be comfortable with basic computer skills, such as managing files, running programs and using a web browser to navigate the Internet. You will need to be self-driven and genuinely interested in the subject. No matter how well structured the program is, any attempt to learn programming will involve many hours of studying, practice and experimentation. Success in this program requires meeting the deadlines set for your term and devoting at least 10 hours per week to your work. You will need to be able to communicate fluently and professionally in written and spoken English.”

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Are Udacity’s courses project-based?

Udacity’s Introduction to Programming course has students build three projects: a CSS project, a Python project, and a JavaScript project. Students will make an animal trading card that uses HTML for structure creation and CSS to style, a Python adventure game, and a pixel art maker project using JavaScript.

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Does Udacity’s Nanodegree program provide student community and support?

Udacity’s Introduction to Programming course provides technical mentor support as well as career support. Per their website, Udacity’s “knowledgeable mentors guide your learning and are focused on answering your questions, motivating you, and keeping you on track.”

Along with mentor support, Udacity also provides class support with project reviews and unlimited project feedback from reviewers, a Knowledge wiki system where students can search for questions asked by other students and connect with mentors, and a classroom chat interface.

Udacity offers career support where students “have access to resume support, GitHub portfolio review services, and LinkedIn profile optimization to help them advance their career and land a high-paying role.”

📌 Related: See what Skillcrush alum Ellie Solorio has to say about the role a supportive community played in her path to becoming a full-time developer.

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What are the refund policies at Udacity?

With Udacity’s Nanodegree program, per their website:

You can cancel and unenroll within the first 2 days from your first month’s subscription purchase date in order to be eligible for a full refund. Unless you have graduated from the Nanodegree program, single paid course, or Executive Program within this timeframe.Only one refund may be granted per student per Nanodegree program. If you cancel your subscription and subsequently re-enroll for the same program or course, you will not be entitled to an additional 2-day refund period. Following the 2-day refund period, there will be no further refunds, including no partial refunds for termination during the fixed, multi-month term, or during any monthly automatic subscription periods following the initial fixed, multi-month term.

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Udacity Nanodegree Key Takeaways

Here’s a brief list of the key takeaways for Udacity’s Introduction to Programming course:

In terms of Affordability and Cost, if you have ten hours a week for four months to learn HTML, CSS, Python, and JavaScript, $599 is affordable relative to other online coding schools. If price is your first priority and you only want to learn these four languages, Udacity’s Nanodegree program could be worth it for you.

If we’re looking at Pacing, if you can learn HTML, CSS, Python, and JavaScript in four months for $599 paid upfront, a Udacity Nanodegree could be a great fit. If you can’t graduate in four months with Udacity, it will cost you $399/month until you do (excluding any offers they might be running), making it potentially more expensive in the long run.

When it comes to Lifetime Access to materials, you can see only static course materials on Udacity for a year after your enrollment.

Udacity is Beginner-Friendly and there is no prior programming experience required.

If you want a program with lots of Project-Based practice, Udacity does offer almost one reviewed project per course in their Introduction to Programming Nanodegree.

Udacity provides Student Support and a Student Community.

If you’re prone to buyer’s remorse, note that Udacity offers a two-day refund period with conditions.

If you’d like a deeper dive on the curriculum, you can see what former students think about it on sites like SwitchUp and CourseReport.

There is no “right” answer when it comes to which online coding school is better. You need to consider what you’re looking for and which program can provide the better fit for your needs. In the end, the program that matches your budget and goals more is the one you’re going to get the most value from.

*In the interest of transparency, all information about Udacity’s Nanodegree program Introduction to Programming is paraphrased or quoted directly only from publicly available information from Udacity’s website or syllabus and is accurate at time of publication.

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Justina Hwang

Justina is a Content Manager at Skillcrush. When she's not learning how to code or having deep conversations about life with her cat, she can be found dreaming up travel adventures on a comfortable sofa somewhere around the world.