from the school-is-for-squares dept.
Eduardo Porter writes at the NYT that AT&T and Udacity, the online education company founded by the Stanford professor and former Google engineering whiz Sebastian Thrun, have announced something meant to be very small: the "NanoDegree," intended to teach anyone with a mastery of high school math the kind of basic programming skills needed to qualify for an entry-level position at AT&T as a data analyst, iOS applications designer or the like. "We are trying to widen the pipeline," says Charlene Lake, an AT&T spokeswoman. "This is designed by business for the specific skills that are needed in business." Nanodegrees are designed to be completed in less than a year, at a cost of just $200 a month. Udacity's non-accredited nanodegrees aim to be a series of what CEO Sebastian Thrun calls "stackable" programs that complement different skills. "By putting in half a year of work, less work that you put in for a regular degree, we can get you from one point to another," said Thrun in an interview. "For instance, if you're a skilled programmer, we can turn you into a mobile programmer, and for mobile programmers, there's an endless number of open jobs right now. Or we can take you from programmer to data scientist."
"We are designing nanodegrees as the most compact and relevant curriculum to qualify you for a job," says Udacity. "The sole goal is to help students advance their career: whether it's landing their next job, their next project, or their next promotion. It should take a working student about 6-12 months to complete without having to take time off. We will teach all the necessary skills together with why those skills matter along with career guidance. In other words, you won't just learn *how* to code, but also *why.*"