Last week, New York Times’ columnist Farhad Manjoo wrote about the success of Udacity, the online teaching start-up that offers what it calls, “nanodegrees,” in highly sought after skills like mobile programming, data analysis, and web development. Students pay by the month, work at their own pace, and Udacity refunds them half their tuition if they successfully complete their mini-degree.
The company’s founder, Sebastian Thrun, calls it, “upskilling.” And by working with companies that need workers with these skills the Times article says there is some evidence that people are actually gaining employment after completing their nanodegrees.
Thrun, a Stanford University specialist in artificial intelligence, believes this type of vocational education will become increasingly necessary. As he told Manjoo, “It’s a mistake to think that a single college education can carry you for a lifetime. To keep pace with change, your education has to be done throughout your life.”
First thought: If you didn’t think instructional design was a hot career before reading this you have to believe it now. Most courses in Udacity’s catalog list the name of the instructional designer who helped create the course.
Second thought: Is there a Udacity for budding instructional designers? We’re big fans of the eLearning Guild and they offer courses both online and at their events. The Association for Talent Development (formerly ASTD) also offers courses. We would like to hear from instructional designers and those that employ them about what you’ve tried and what advice you have for people with complimentary skills (a training, education, technical writing, or web development background) for getting into the instructional design field.
We are always in the hunt for instructional designers. So, if you are coming across our site for the first time, and interested in Raleigh/Durham-based employment opportunities, please take the time to fill out the form. We’d love to get to know you!