In collaboration with ‘Maharat min Google’, Google’s digital skills-building program in MENA, Udacity is launching a Nanodegree program specifically designed for students to learn the skills and tools needed to launch successful freelance careers.

Udacity Digital Freelancer Nanodegree program - MENA

Today marks the launch of an exciting new opportunity for the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region—our new Digital Freelancer Nanodegree program! We are thrilled to be launching this program in collaboration with ‘Maharat Min Google’, Google’s digital skills-building program for Arabic speakers. Together, our goal is to help empower aspiring learners to acquire the skills necessary to succeed in the global digital economy, with a special emphasis on women, and young workers just now preparing to enter the workforce.

Why we are launching the Digital Freelancer Nanodegree program in MENA

MENA has one of the largest and fastest growing populations of young people on the planet, and yet youth unemployment rates are notably high—currently at 30% in some markets. The region also has one of the lowest rates of female economic participation in the world. Given these challenging statistics, it’s clear dramatic steps must be taken to ensure that this vast generation of young talent can participate economically, and has access to the necessary learning opportunities they’ll need to succeed in the modern hiring landscape.

Online freelance work is rapidly emerging as a viable means of employment and economic advancement. As reported by the World Economic Forum in their report The Future of Jobs and Skills in the Middle East and North Africa:

“Across MENA, online talent platforms have the potential to create significant benefits by moving people from informal to formal jobs, by increasing workforce participation and additional hours worked of those formerly under-employed or inactive, by shortening the duration of job searches and by enabling matches that would otherwise not have happened. By 2025, this could result in as much as 945,000 additional full-time equivalent jobs and a US$21bn increase in GDP in Egypt, 799,000 jobs and US$41bn in Turkey, and 276,000 jobs and US$32bn additional GDP in Saudi Arabia.”

The closing prescription in the report advocates for “creating a culture of lifelong learning,” and this is exactly what we wish to encourage through the launch of the new Digital Freelancer Nanodegree program.

Who should enroll in this Nanodegree program

Aspiring freelancers from any background can enroll and learn the core skills necessary to succeed in the world of online freelancing. As a student in the program, you will gain familiarity with the different online marketplaces, and learn how to build up a strong and effective professional profile that optimizes for your fields of focus and expertise. You will acquire a valuable understanding of what it takes to scope out a project, and learn to work efficiently with a range of clients on a range of projects. As you progress through the curriculum, you will complete real-world projects that can demonstrate your skills and experience to prospective new clients.

Success as a digital freelancer requires not just having the skills to complete certain projects; you must also know how to find, win, and manage those projects. You’re your own boss, and while that has a lot of perks—flexibility, independence, mobility, versatility—you must be able to both promote your abilities, then deliver on them. The Digital Freelancer Nanodegree program focuses on the first of these two requirements—if you have skills and experience in digital marketing, web development, mobile development, data science, or any other marketable field of expertise, then this program is ideal for you, because you’ll learn how to leverage your existing skills to build a career as a digital freelancer.

How this Nanodegree program works

The course materials are in Arabic, and the curriculum is tailored expressly to meet the needs of aspiring digital freelancers in the MENA region. The full program consists of one month-long term, at a cost of USD $150. Payment is due before the term begins. The Digital Freelancer Nanodegree program is open to students of any skill level and work background. While all successful graduates of the program will be prepared to launch or advance their freelance careers, the range of professional opportunities available to any given student will depend on their leverageable skills within their chosen field; meaning, if you have entry-level developer skills, for example, you will be prepared to start competing for and winning freelance jobs that require entry-level skills, whereas if you have advanced data science experience and credentials, you’ll be able to start landing freelance roles that demand a high level of expertise.

What you’ll learn in this Nanodegree program

The curriculum for this Nanodegree program was developed with valuable input from Google and Hsoub, the company behind the two largest Arabic freelancing platforms Mostaql and Khamsat. Additionally, because digital marketing skills play such an important role when it comes to advancing a career as an online freelancer, this program specifically includes world-class curriculum components focused on key topics such as search engine marketing, social media, e-commerce, and more, all made possible through our collaboration with the ‘Maharat min Google’ team.

Our goal is to ensure that students learn real-world skills, and emerge from the program with significant career advantages. In addition to our collaboration with Google, we are excited to include contributions from a wide range of program partners, each of whom brings unique and actionable value to the learning experience. Leading UK freelance marketplace PeoplePerHour will be providing program graduates with credit bundles to help them land their first freelance opportunities. Egyptian jobs site Wuzzuf will provide a dedicated badge and page for all program graduates. And Maharati, the “microlancer marketplace,” will offer graduates a whole suite of platform-specific perks, as will Ureed, the translation and editorial freelance specialists.

What these organizations all share is a desire to empower individuals throughout the region to find success in the modern digital economy, and the belief that digital freelancing represents a viable and effective way to compete, succeed, and advance.

Aspiring digital freelancers in MENA, enroll today!

If you are an Arabic speaker in the MENA region who is eager to explore the world of digital freelancing, and you are ready to start marketing your skills to land rewarding freelance opportunities, then you are encouraged to enroll in our new Digital Freelancer Nanodegree program today. You’re just one month away from launching a successful career as a digital freelancer!