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10 Best Udacity Courses & Nanodegrees for 2021

These are my picks for the best Udacity courses and Nanodegrees to take in the fast-changing career landscape of 2021.

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In my in-depth review of Udacity, I took a deep dive into the online learning platform to see what it’s all about. My experiences as a Udacity student turned out to be very positive and after loving the Digital Marketing Nanodegree, I knew I had to give some of their other courses a shot as well.

Before getting into my picks for the best Udacity courses, I’ll summarize the key points from my Udacity review:

  • Biggest strength? Udacity’s superb career services, mentorship, student projects, user experience, and overall high production quality of the course content.
  • What about weaknesses? Nothing major, but it is worth mentioning that as of right now, Udacity still does not have a smartphone app (Really? It’s 2021!). Their courses do work on smartphones though – you just have to use the website.

Udacity does not have a tremendous catalog of online courses like Udemy or Coursera, but if you are interested in a career in data science, business, or artificial intelligence, Udacity is a great starting point. It really is one of the best online learning platforms for tech subjects currently available.

Without further ado, these are the best Udacity courses and Nanodegrees for 2021.

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Best Udacity Courses and Nanodegrees

Digital Marketing Nanodegree

Digital Marketing Nanodegree
The first Udacity course I ever enrolled in, and still one of my favorites. It's s top-notch Nanodegree for anyone interested in learning digital marketing.

Whatever line of business you are in, being good at digital marketing is one of the keys to your success in 2021. But, digital marketing is somewhat of a misunderstood subject. For one, there is a myth floating around that a good digital marketer must be a natural salesman with strong social media knowledge. This is far from true.

In reality, digital marketing is a learnable skill for all people and companies. 

But, how do you master a new skill such as this? Simple, you follow a proven blueprint used by the industry experts of the field. “Become a Digital Marketer” from Udacity is a great Nanodegree program for this precise reason. It gives students a step by step blueprint to success.

Since digital marketing also requires a good amount of creativity, this class will also get your brain synapses firing. The teachers will guide you in creating your own practical digital marketing projects. These projects will be key to using your newly learned skills in real life. So, pay attention and work hard!

The learning experience itself takes approximately 3 months to finish in full. You are required to put in 10 hours per week. But, since the course is entirely self-paced, that won’t be a problem for most learners. The instructors of this Udacity course include experts such as Anke Audenaert and Daniel Kob, and the lessons also include interviews with successful digital entrepreneurs that students can learn from.

So, who would benefit most from this Nanodegree program?

In a nutshell, nearly everyone in creating or marketing businesses. In 2021, having online marketing skills is a must. Whether you want to become better at SEO, advertising, or social media, you will find it all in this class. Plus, it is also super welcoming to beginners. What’s not to love!

User Experience (UX) Designer Nanodegree

One of the best Udacity courses for students seeking to enter into the tech industry through design, user analysis, and creativity.​

One thing is for sure, UX designer salaries are impressive. UX designers with zero to two years of experience can expect to earn anywhere from $66 000 to $102 000. Without question, UX design is a lucrative skill to have, even at the very entry-level. And, at the same time, UX is considered one of the most in-demand career directions in creativity right now.

“Become a UX Designer” is one of the best Udacity courses for several reasons. For one, the instructors are the very top specialists in their field. Just as an example, Shuang Liu and Michael Dedrick (UX designers at Google) are featured as mentors. The fact that you are going to be taught by experts from Google will probably get you excited about the content of the class. So, without further ado, let’s take a quick peek at what students can expect to learn in this class.

In this three-month Udacity Nanodegree program, learners will start by mastering the fundamentals of design research. After this, you will compose a low-fidelity prototype based on your research and data. From this prototype, you will build a high-fidelity design and start improving its performance. 

Sounds fascinating? It sure is. And, since the projects are tutored by professionals, you can also incorporate them into your UX portfolio.

All things considered, “Become a UX Designer” is one of the best Udacity courses currently available. It is beginner-friendly, comprehensive, and led by top experts in their field. It is hard to find a better starting point to the lucrative and captivating world of UX design.

Data Visualization Nanodegree

Data Visualization Nanodegree
This is the best Udacity course for those wishing to drill down into the visualization component of data science.

Our writer Laura recently reviewed the top-rated courses on data visualization. And, the Data Visualization Nanodegree from Udacity was highlighted as the very best course for beginners. So, without further ado, let’s take a glimpse at the many strong points of this class.

In short, the first part of the course is about hard skills. You will learn all the practical skills to put together engaging data visuals for the needs of your specific situation and audience. 

When it comes to software, the focus here is on Tableau.

But, considering that Tableau is arguably the most beginner-friendly data visualization tool, this is great news for beginners.

In addition to getting an arsenal full of practical skills, you will also improve your data storytelling. Remember, good narrative skills are key for building a visual statement and motivating the audience in your desired direction. Luckily, the whole second part of this Udacity course is dedicated to data storytelling skills.

By attending the course 10hrs/week, you can expect to finish the class in approximately four months. The class does not have prerequisites regarding data visualization. Still, students are expected to have basic data analysis skills to get the most out of this class.

All in all, if you are looking to learn how to visually communicate using data, start here. It is a great all-around course for getting familiar with the basics of data visualization.

Introduction to Programming Nanodegree

Introduction to Programming Nanodegree
A superb Udacity course aimed at students without any programming knowledge. It's an excellent stepping stone towards other, more specialized Nanodegrees.

Let’s continue with “Introduction to Programming”, the best Udacity course on programming. What makes this program so great is that it is super-friendly to beginners. So, even if you have never written a single piece of code, feel free to dive right in!

There are no prerequisites in this class. As long as you have basic computer skills such as managing files and running programs, you will be fine. Yes, some background in algebra would certainly help. However, it is not a strict requirement by any means.

As with most of the Udacity Nanodegrees, you are expected to attend approximately 10hrs/week. Put in these hours, and you will comfortably finish the learning program in 4 months.

Let’s also take a look at what you can expect from the content. At the start, you will dip your toes into HTML. You will learn the very basics and also write your first line of code. Spoiler alert, you will be hooked!

After this, you will learn how to style your HTML code with CSS. This part will teach you how to make your HTML code come “visually alive”. In the second part, students will also be learning the fundamentals of JavaScript and Python. These two are arguably two of the most commonly used programming languages. Needless to say, mastering them is a necessity if you want to understand programming in-depth.

So, to summarize, who is this class for? 

In short, it is for those of you who have previously been daunted by learning programming. Getting well versed in the basics is surprisingly easy. And, who knows what the future holds, you just might be the next great software engineer!

AI Programming with Python Nanodegree

AI Programming with Python Nanodegree
This is the very best artificial intelligence course on the market - as long as you know a little Python beforehand.

Let’s continue on a similar note. “AI Programming with Python Nanodegree” is what we will be looking at next. It is currently the best Udacity course on artificial intelligence. And, considering that it is both comprehensive and beginner-friendly, it is also easily one of the best online AI courses currently available.

First things first, to get the most out of this class, you should have basic knowledge of algebra and programming. If you have no previous programming experience, take “Learn to Code” first and you will do just fine.

The course lasts 3 months (10hrs/week) and will cover all the foundations of artificial intelligence. Here, you will be learning the essential programming tools of AI, such as Python, NumPy, and PyTorch. You will also be studying the mathematical foundations of AI, such as calculus and linear algebra. And, of course, you will be studying the key neural network techniques.

As you see, the course gives you a very comprehensive introduction to this fascinating field.

So, if you are interested in diving deep into the very fabric of the future, be sure to enroll in this Udacity class. It will give you a very detailed overview of all aspects of AI programming.

Business Analytics Nanodegree

Business Analytics Nanodegree
Business is all about data, and this Udacity program will teach you all there is to know about analyzing business data.

Data is everything. Nowadays, all the major business decisions in the world are made by looking at big data. So, needless to say, having data skills in your arsenal makes you a very prized asset in the modern workforce. But, ill let the facts speak for themselves. According to Udacity, employees with strong data skills make in the range of $85-$92k

Luckily, learning fundamental data skills is entirely possible via an online course. And, “Business Analytics” is one of the best Udacity courses for learning these skills. It is a highly practical online course that will show you how to gather, analyze, and manipulate data in the business context. The course is universal, meaning that whatever industry you are in, you can use the skills learned here in real life.

To give you a quick detour on what you could expect, let’s run down some key components of the content. The first half is mainly dedicated to introductory data theory and learning Excel in-depth. You will be developing Excel skills to help you manage, manipulate, visualize, and analyze data in Excel. You will also be building Excel models that predict all the possible outcomes of a business.

The second part of the class will introduce you to SQL for data analysis. If this term sounds unfamiliar, do not be intimidated. This course is entirely suitable for beginners to big data.

During the last module, the course ties the knots by familiarizing the students with the key fundamentals of data visualization.

The course follows the standard Udacity Nanodegree format, taking approximately 3 months to finish with an expected attendance of 10hrs/per week.

So, since the course has no prerequisites and takes only 3 months to complete, why not try learning one of the most in-demand skills of 2021.

Data Analyst Nanodegree

Data Analyst Nanodegree
This is the top Udacity class for becoming a data analyst.

We continue with “Become a Data Analyst”, yet another familiar course. We recently rated this online Udacity program as the best certified online data science course.

“Become a Data Analyst” is, in many ways, similar to the previous course on business analytics. There are key differences, though. For one, this Udacity course is much more in-depth. So, to succeed, you should have experience programming with Python and SQL.

However, for taking the next step on your skill level, this course is great. It comes with a ton of quizzes, hands-on projects, and personalized feedback. And, everything is put together in accordance with the real-life trends and demands of modern data science. 

Does this mean that one could potentially kickstart a data science career after enrolling? Yes! In fact, the class also includes career services. This means that in addition to getting a job-ready skillset, you will also receive invaluable advice from industry experts.

With 10hrs/per week, you can expect to finish the Nanodegree program in 4 months. After the 4 months, expect to blow through messy datasets with ease. 

Data analysts are highly sought-after in the modern business world. So, even at entry-level, a certified data analyst can earn a considerably lucrative income.

Deep Learning Nanodegree

Deep Learning Nanodegree
Master the art of neural networks with the best Udacity class on deep learning.

Deep learning is one of the key techniques of machine learning. It is a fascinating technique that teaches computers to learn by example.

At first, deep learning might sound futuristic and inaccessible to even some veteran programmers. However, you might be surprised to hear that it is entirely possible to study deep learning online.

And, a course on deep learning is what we will be looking at next.

“Deep Learning” from Udacity is one of the best beginner-level AI-classes online. By attending 12hrs/per week, learners can expect to finish the class in 4 months. During the first modules, you will get a beginner-friendly overview on neural networks. After this, students dive deep into the specifics of convolutional neural networks and recurrent neural networks.

But, getting this Nanodegree will also acquire you to get practical. In 5 hands-on projects, students will learn how to set up neural networks on their own.

While the course is generally welcoming to beginners, it does come with certain prerequisites. Having a basic knowledge of Python programming language, calculus, and linear algebra would be preferred. 

Both the practical and theoretical parts of the course are led by some of the most renowned experts in the world. For example, you will get tutored by experts from Google and leading STEM universities in the world.

All in all, “Deep Learning” from Udacity is a great introduction to one of the fastest evolving branches of machine learning.

AWS Machine Learning Engineer Nanodegree

Machine Learning Engineer Nanodegree
When it comes to machine learning, this Udacity online program has it all.

After familiarizing yourself with deep learning fundamentals, why not take your skillset even further. Next, we will be looking at this Udacity course on machine learning.

“Become a Machine Learning Engineer” takes 3 months to finish (10hrs/per week) and is intended for advanced learners. The course has a prerequisite of knowing intermediate-level Python and machine learning algorithms.

If you have no prior experience with ML algorithms, I would suggest taking “Intro to Machine Learning with PyTorch” first. This class was also chosen as the best beginner-friendly ML course in our list of best ML classes.

For those already comfortable with ML algorithms and Python, this Udacity course is be great choice. Here, you will be taking the next step and learning advanced ML techniques and algorithms. You will also be packaging and deploying your models to a production environment. Like all the best Udacity Nanodegrees, the class comes with personalized feedback and practical exercises.

By the end of the class, expect to have the skill set of an intermediate level machine learning engineer. And, needless to say, such a qualification will make you a supremely prized asset in the modern workforce.

Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree

Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree
A unique Udacity online course that teaches students how to develop self-driving cars.

Of all the Udacity courses listed here, this one is quite possibly the most challenging of them all. To attend, the learners should have basic knowledge of linear algebra, calculus, statistics, and physics. Students are also expected to have intermediate level knowledge of Python or C++ programming languages. Luckily, Udacity also offers an introductory program for the same class. So, if your skills are not quite there yet, make sure to attend the introductory program first.

However, if you feel comfortable with your skill level, dive right in. You will soon find that this Udacity course is as good as it gets. At least when it comes to online courses on self-driving car engineering. 

The curriculum hits a great balance of practical and theoretical material. Plus, all the modules are led by some of the top experts from the field. For example, you will be mentored by experts from the likes of NVIDIA and Mercedes-Benz.

The course itself is split into 8 modules and takes approximately 6 months to complete in full. So, the class is considerably longer than most Udacity online courses.

But, the payoff is also immense. By the end of the class, expect to be at the forefront of the transportation revolution. Big words? True. But self-driving cars really are the future. And, this class will give you expert-led practice and knowledge in this fascinating field.

As a cherry on top of the cake, the course comes with a capstone project. In the final module, learners will be working on Carla, the Udacity self-driving car. That’s right. You will have the chance to get hands-on engineering experience with a self-driving car.

I could keep singing praises for this course, but I figure it’s time to stop. In a nutshell, for people interested in self-driving car engineering, this class is an invaluable experience.