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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Udacity Machine Learning Nanodegree Udacity Connect in-Person Experience

First day (last Saturday), I started my Udacity Connect experience. For a discounted price, the Udacity Machine Learning Nanodegree and a plethora of in-person help, office hours, and study sessions become available at students' disposal. The classroom is a rather simple and gloomy windowless room at Cogswell College (a digital arts, gaming school) in San Jose. The staff is very friendly and our session lead was extremely friendly and energetic. My classmates are on the older side. Many worked for giants of the previous dot-com boom. My first observation is that the course material is new but still "patched" together - they re-used many Udacity courses, video clips and exercises. Unfortunately, recycle and reuse does not always lend the material more clarity. Officially the prerequisites are brief. Like all Nanodegrees, this one just requires some prior knowledge of math, data and coding. The reality is I find myself scrambling to review Linear Algebra, Statistics, Probabilities, Python, data analysis, data science, basic courses on machine learning, AI. The course does not have all the materials one need to succeed even if one does not mind burning time on the course (this situation has changed significantly at the time of this update July 2017. The early lessons are now great and tailored to students). You will find yourself jumping from branches to branches and googling a lot. While this is a "learning experience" per Udacity, it can be overwhelming for beginners. Just watch out. The experience does mimic real world on the job experience. It was challenging and rewarding. It is still a recommended. See our blog for more Udacity Connect reviews.

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