Working a full-time job while simultaneously upskilling through our Nanodegree programs isn’t an easy task. To make the most out of your learning journey, you should set goals before starting your Nanodegree program. If you don’t have a target to shoot for, your time and effort will be a waste of energy. However, focusing on clearly-defined objectives can help you align your priorities, expand your skill set, and grow your career.
Know Your Expectations
Before you set your learning goals, you will need to know what your expectations are as a learner in your corporate training program. To successfully complete a Nanodegree program before the program deadline, learners typically need to spend around ten hours a week on their course. Your company may also require other commitments, such as checking in with your program manager and supervisor to discuss your progress, roadblocks, and learnings.
Make Time to Learn
In order to meet expectations as a corporate learner, you should prioritize your learning. Some companies give their employees dedicated time to work on their Nanodegree programs. You can also block your calendar a few times a week where you’re not as occupied with your usual business tasks. Scheduling time just to work on your Nanodegree program will help you guard against distractions, stay focused, and be more productive.
Set SMART Goals
To easily track your progress and identify missed targets, you should set SMART learning goals. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. For example, “I will spend a lot of time on my Nanodegree program” is not a SMART goal, as it’s not specific, measurable, or time-based.
SMART goals can look something like this: “I will spend at least an hour a day working through the lessons in my Nanodegree program so that I can graduate within the designated three months. I will take notes and review them on the weekends so that I can be prepared for the projects. If I get stuck, I will ask my peers or reach out to Udacity technical mentors. When I complete a project, I will check in with my manager to discuss the skills I’ve learned and how I can apply them to my work.”
Your SMART goals shouldn’t be so challenging that they’re virtually unattainable. At the same time, they also shouldn’t be so simple that they don’t require much effort. Ideally, your goals should be realistic yet require discipline and effort on your end to accomplish.
Know Your Resources
Being prepared for unexpected roadblocks in your journey is also a crucial step to achieving your learning goals. Life and work demands may sometimes distract you from your Nanodegree program schedule, so knowing what resources are available is crucial to get back on track.
For example, in your Udacity classroom, you can ask questions about course content on Mentor Help, a searchable forum of questions answered by Udacity’s expert technical mentors. You can also talk to your peers on Peer Chat, a real-time chat space comprised of other learners who are also taking your program.
In addition, your organization may also have internal mentors or Udacity alumni who can answer your questions and provide firsthand advice on how you can best succeed in your Nanodegree programs and later apply the skills you’ve learned. If you have access to study jams or office hours, make sure to leverage those as well!
By setting SMART goals for your learning journey and preparing for unforeseen roadblocks, you’ll be able to build practitioner-level skills to accelerate innovation within your organization.
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