Udacity Blockchain Developer Nanodegree Review
If you know anything about banking, investment, or cryptocurrency, it’s likely you’ll have at least heard the term “blockchain.” Blockchain is the record-keeping technology behind the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, and it’s taking the online world by storm.
Blockchain allows companies to design a database to suit their daily activities while resting assured that sensitive customer and company data is kept safe and secure. Blockchain Developers work alongside companies to help them reach their digital goals and run their business efficiently.
Learning blockchain development is no easy feat, and it can seem pretty complex on the surface. You might even feel that this is a topic reserved for computer science college courses. However, you’re wrong, as this is where Udacity’s Blockchain Developer Nanodegree comes in.
A nanodegree is a shorter version of a full three or four-year course, and usually takes a matter of months to complete. This makes it ideal for anyone who works full-time and needs a flexible learning environment to fit around their daily work schedule.
In this article, we’ll be reviewing Udacity’s Blockchain Developer Nanodegree, explaining the key modules covered by the program, the instructors who teach the course, the prerequisites, reviews, as well as the job market and future of the blockchain industry.
About the course
Udacity’s Blockchain developer nanodegree program teaches the fundamentals of the blockchain platform. Through the course, you’ll cover five modules that will enable you to explore the Ethereum platform, and use Solidity and smart contracts to develop your own decentralized app. You’ll create your own private blockchain to secure a digital asset using blockchain identity.
Udacity’s courses are always based around real-world experiences in some way, and the blockchain nanodegree is no different. You’ll engage in real-world projects designed by industry experts that will prepare you for a future career in blockchain development in an industry that’s still very much finding its feet…which makes it all the more exciting!
Not only will you learn the fundamentals of blockchain technology and development, but the program also considers your next steps after the course: you’ll get technical mentor support throughout, access to career services, and will even get a Github portfolio review and LinkedIn profile optimization to help you take your career to the next level and land your dream job.
Meet the Instructors
Udacity’s courses always offer a great line-up of teachers, from industry experts and specialists to highly-trained teachers with years of experience under their belts, and the Blockchain Developer nanodegree is no different. You’ll be taught by seven equally innovative and experienced instructors. So let’s get to know them a little better…
Brandy is the curriculum lead for the Blockchain Developer Nanodegree program, and previously she was Lead Technical Project Manager for Udacity, so she has plenty of experience in online education and curating course material. She is also the founder of Network Designs, which specializes in creating innovative software solutions.
Jessica graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Biomedical Engineering and went on to develop and deploy enterprise healthcare technologies. She has also taught on Udacity’s popular Android Development nanodegree program.
Joe Nyzio has a degree in Neuroscience from Temple University. Previously he worked as a content developer on Udacity’s Data Analyst, Tech Entrepreneur, and Business Analyst Nanodegree programs.
Rachna has an impressive academic background, holding a Bachelors in Electrical Engineering and a Masters degree in Software Management. She also has years of experience in software and hardware engineering, having previously worked for big names such as Intel, AMD, Cypress, and Xilinx Semiconductors.
PK is Founder and Chief Blockchain Officer at LINCD, where he specializes in blockchain strategy and distributes ledger infrastructure services. His focus is on creating the next generation of Crypto Machine Intelligence-based businesses.
Nik is an entrepreneur and blockchain architect. He has a vibrant portfolio of work, having co-founded WhenHub where he is also CTO, and also works as a creator of the interface micro-contracts dApp. He’s also a Microsoft MVP, as well as the founder of TryCrypto and Walkstarter.
Elena is currently working hard on developing a new privacy cryptocurrency. She has previously worked as a Software Engineer at Airbnb, Tilt, and Microsoft. In 2014, she graduated with a degree in Computer Science from Virginia Tech.
What are the prerequisites?
While you’ll learn the fundamentals of Blockchain Development in this nanodegree, it requires some prior knowledge and experience before enrolling. In a course like this, it’s pretty easy to feel overwhelmed by the topic if you’re not familiar with some of the basics.
Udacity recommends that you’re familiar with the following topics before signing up for the Blockchain Development nanodegree:
- 1+ years worth of experience with an object-oriented programming language
- An understanding of how servers are built
- Knowledge of client-server models
- Proficiency with remote API
If you think you need to brush up on these areas before enroling, Udacity recommends the following programs:
- Intro to Computer Science
- Programming Foundations with Python
- Intro to Programming Nanodegree program
- Full Stack Web Developer Nanodegree program
Course breakdown (modules)
This introductory module will teach you the basics of how the blockchain data model works and gives you the opportunity to create your own private blockchain using Node.js and Leveldb.
Ethereum Smart Contracts, Tokens and Dapps
Take your blockchain skillset up a notch by becoming familiar with the second generation of blockchain services with smart contracts utilizing the Ethereum network.
In this module, you’ll learn all about blockchain architecture and the advanced concepts surrounding this such as privacy, security, and utilizing decentralized file management.
Dapp with autonomous smart contracts and oracles
Here you’ll develop a decentralized application (Dapp) that will handle payments and perform actions based on external triggers.
For your capstone project, you’ll put all of the above skills to use as you build a decentralized property listing application.
How long does the course take?
Most people take around 4 months to complete the course, but that’s with putting in 10 hours a week. You can increase or decrease the amount of time you spend on the course but this also depends on how many months’ access you pay for – which we’ll explain in the next section.
This course, like all of Udacity’s programs, is designed to be flexible and you’re free to adapt your learning to a pace that best suits your schedule. However, you should also bear in mind that some projects will come with deadlines that you’ll need to complete in time. This means it’s important that you plan accordingly and give yourself plenty of time to complete projects.
What is the cost?
Udacity offers two different payment options when it comes to the cost of the course, and the idea of this is that it opens up the program to different budgets. As well as this, Udacity often has special offers on their courses that offer up to 75% off the usual cost.
Pay Per Month
Your first option is to pay per month, which means you can simply pay for the course as you go along. This is ideal if you think you’ll be able to complete the course in less than four months, or if you believe it’ll take you longer than this period to complete it and you want the extra flexibility.
Each month will cost you around $359 if you choose this option, so it’s worth bearing in mind that the cost could easily add up if you don’t complete the course at a reasonable pace.
This option is based on Udacity’s estimation that it will take you four months to complete the course, so you purchase four months’ access and Udacity reduces the monthly cost. This is definitely the most cost-effective option, particularly in combination with Udacity’s promotion, which will bring the cost down to just over $200 a month. The main drawback of this is that you have to pay the cost upfront, which not everyone will be able to afford.
What have other learners said?
One learner praised the depth of the course and the focus on not only blockchain development but other areas of programming:
“I’m very impressed… Not only am I getting a deep understanding of the blockchain technologies, the implementation requires a good understanding of programming that has made me a much better developer in a short time. I do wish we had a few more things like peer programming sessions and TDD projects. But I also think not having the tests forced me to really understand the code for it to work. Overall, I’m hoping to become an expert and add value to great projects in the near future!”
Others also praised the real-world projects and in-depth feedback:
“Unlike other online Blockchain courses, this is the best online Blockchain program I’ve attended so far. This program helps master the blockchain development skills by working on real-world projects while offering great support and detailed feedback on project assignments.”
Another learner identified how this course is great for anyone looking to finesse and improve their knowledge of blockchain development:
“This is a lot better than generally just “following updates” on blockchain technologies via so many other sources. I have learned a lot more in just the 10 days since I’ve started this course, than in the ~7 years since I first dabbled around in bitcoin!”
-Prashanth Aditya S.
If you’re new to blockchain, don’t worry. This complex topic is easily and effectively broken down in Udacity’s nanodegree, as one learner explains:
“I think the most important thing is, how the blockchain fundamentals have been structured. I didn’t have any blockchain knowledge before this program, and now, i have a better understanding of this topic.”
-Nelson Ivan F.
Learners also loved the integration of real-world projects into the course which allows you to gain real experience and a portfolio of work:
“Great!! Learning so much and feel like this can be career-changing. Love being able to build a portfolio too.”
How is the job market?
Now is a great time to be learning blockchain development, as this technology is yet to enter its prime, and the powers of blockchain are very much in their early stages still.
The more complex, reusable algorithms that are developed, the more possibilities that will arise. Blockchain demand is skyrocketing, and the market is expected to grow at a rate of over 60% per year.
More businesses are turning to blockchain solutions, and not only is the demand for specialist skills in this area increasing rapidly, but individuals who are skilled in this area are few and far between, making blockchain developers highly sought-after and as a result, extremely well paid.
Blockchain-Counsel suggests that a Blockchain Developer can expect a salary in the range of $150,000 to $250,000. Investopedia has also noted that the number of jobs in this area has increased by 300%!
As technology evolves, blockchain developers will have to continually build upon their skills, meaning this is a pretty exciting career path to embark upon as blockchain is yet to enter its prime. The great thing about this is that it means this trend can only head upwards, and as a result, the industry is embracing skilled and innovative developers with open arms.
Having a qualification such as Udacity’s Blockchain nanodegree would demonstrate specialist knowledge in an up-and-coming area and would also show a dedication to blockchain development which could set you apart from a person who has simply taught themselves or has “dabbled” in Bitcoin.
Is this course for me?
If you’re somebody who has knowledge of programming but limited experience of blockchain development, this program could be the perfect opportunity to solidify your knowledge, familiarize yourself with the fundamentals of blockchain, and put your skills to the test in real-world projects.
Udacity’s courses are constantly updated, so you can rest assured that you’ll graduate from the program with the latest knowledge that has been taught to you by industry experts.
The flexibility of the program and the short duration make this ideal for those with work or family commitments who want an in-depth course that won’t take years to complete.
It’s also ideal if you’re looking for a career change or even want to upskill in your current role, plus, you’ll unlock a whole range of career services when you enroll on the course, including continual support from mentors, resume advice, and LinkedIn optimization. So you’ll not only become familiar with the fundamentals of blockchain development, but you’ll be prepared to take the next steps to enter an exciting new industry, too.