Nanodegree programs

Nanodegree 101: What is a Nanodegree Program?

This blog post was last updated on July 21, 2021.

What is a Nanodegree program? 

In this post, we’ll try to answer this question by looking at what it means to offer a skills-based approach. Then we’ll highlight some important program details, including our hiring and curriculum partnerships. We’ll follow that by breaking down four key ways a Nanodegree program is uniquely valuable and then presenting some use cases organized around experience levels. 

Finally, we’ll explore the distinction between tech skills, and being “in tech,” and show you why the skills you learn in a Nanodegree program are applicable across a wide array of exciting fields.

An Online Learning Credential Program

To begin, a Nanodegree program is a credential program. In the simplest form, you enroll, you meet a series of expectations, and you receive a credential affirming your successful completion of the program.

More specifically, a Nanodegree program is a project and skills-based educational credential program. You enroll, you learn a suite of skills, you successfully complete a certain amount of projects that demonstrate your mastery of these skills, and you receive a credential affirming your mastery of these skills.

Learning in a Nanodegree program takes place primarily online, so it can be said that a Nanodegree program is an online learning credential program.

The Udacity Nanodegree Program

Here are some important features that set our Nanodegree programs apart:

Four Reasons Why a Nanodegree Program is Valuable

The value of a Nanodegree program can be broken down into four main categories:

  1. Skills
  2. Community
  3. Credential
  4. Employment


Virtually all companies prioritize capability. The importance placed on culture fit generally varies from company to company. The importance placed on skills generally does not. You need skills to begin, to advance, and to succeed. This is why at heart our focus is on demonstrable skills mastery.


The importance of community cannot be overstated when it comes to career success. Your engagement with, and membership in, communities related to your chosen field will inform the entire lifecycle of your career. Every step of a Nanodegree program is taken in the company of supportive community members.


As the penultimate affirmation of your achievement, your Nanodegree credential has intrinsic value. It is proof of your success. However, when it comes to your career, your credential is only as valuable as the opportunities it affords you. 


Our President and Co-founder Sebastian Thrun has often stated his belief that the ultimate value proposition of education is employment. We believe that if you choose Udacity as your learning partner, and your goal is career advancement, then job success is the final barometer of whether we’ve met our obligations to your future. We do everything in our power to see that you land your dream job after you graduate. 

Nanodegree Program Use Cases

Here are some general descriptions of why you might choose to enroll in a Nanodegree program, organized by skill/experience level:


You have little to no programming skills, you do not consider yourself to be a “techie,” but you feel that to compete in today’s hiring landscape, you need to equip yourself with more modern skills. You’re not thinking about a career path yet, but you want to emerge from your first Nanodegree program qualified to choose a career path.


You’re functionally adept with valuable technical skills, but you’re not yet where you want to be in your career. You may be trying to land your first role in your chosen field. You may be attempting a lateral promotion into a position with the kind of opportunity you’re seeking down the road. You may be instigating a career change. You may be re-entering the workforce after a period away. In all these instances, you need to refresh or upskill to achieve your goals.


You’re ready to make the leap from fully skilled, to incredibly valuable. You want to master the most cutting-edge skills, compete for top roles at the most innovative companies, and start delivering real value on Day One. You want to learn the skills and techniques used by the most advanced technology companies in the world.

Technical vs. “In Tech”

Today, there is a critical difference between having technical skills, and working “in tech.” We believe the skills you learn in a Nanodegree program enable you to work virtually anywhere, in any field. Not just in tech. As just a few examples, when you master technical skills through a Udacity Nanodegree program, you are in a position to bring value to:

  • Companies that have web properties that must be built, maintained, and upgraded.
  • Companies that need to build, maintain, and upgrade their apps.
  • Companies that produce data that must be analyzed, and rendered strategically actionable.
  • Companies that need to automate portions of their operations through the use of sophisticated algorithms that can be trained to increase efficacy.

Find Your Ideal Nanodegree Program 

When you enroll in a Nanodegree program, you will master in-demand skills, build and design amazing projects, all while earning a valued credential.  

Once you graduate from a Nanodegree program, you’ll be positioned to launch your career and be in high demand thanks to your newly developed skills.

The ultimate goal of a Nanodegree program is to teach the skills you need for the career you want, so you can build the life you deserve.

Ready to get started on the Nanodegree program that’s ideal for you?

Explore Udacity’s Nanodegree program catalog.  

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Christopher Watkins
Christopher Watkins
Christopher Watkins is Senior Writer and Chief Words Officer at Udacity. He types on a MacBook or iPad by day, and either an Underwood, Remington, or Royal by night. He carries a Moleskine everywhere.