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Better Equipped for the Future Thanks to a Udacity Nanodegree

As part of the Udacity Data Science Scholarship Program training initiative, Bertelsmann employees could qualify for the “Business Analyst” Nanodegree among others. Three of the graduates talk to BENET about their experiences with the Udacity program. They were particularly impressed by its quality and flexibility.

Last year Bertelsmann, Google and Udacity launched the Udacity Data Science Scholarship Program. As part of the continuing education initiative, employees of all Bertelsmann companies were given the opportunity to qualify for one of Udacity's three Nanodegree programs. After the participants of the “Data Foundations” program described their impressions, three colleagues are now sharing their experience with the Business Analyst Nanodegree: Gianni Latorre, a web programmer at Penguin Random House, Jan Haubrock, Senior Project Manager at Arvato SCM Solutions Consumer Products, and Christian Richter, Senior Operations and Process Manager Digital Distribution at Universum Film.

BENET: What motivated you to participate in the Udacity Data Science Scholarship Program?

Christian Richter: About a year ago, I learned the programming languages Python and SQL and started using that knowledge for work projects. The more I learned about data analysis, the more I was interested in it, because it helps to solve a lot of problems and gives us more insight.

Gianni Latorre: I wanted to consolidate my college knowledge about data and learn useful new skills.

Jan Haubrock: For me the motivation was to learn new techniques and get the chance to apply them in everyday business.

BENET: Could you please briefly describe your learning experience for us – how satisfied were you with the content and methods?

Jan Haubrock: The lessons are well prepared and easy to follow, and the quizzes serve to dive deeper into a topic. But for me the real part of learning is doing the projects. Here the study groups can be helpful if the content causes problems. I really liked the flexibility of the online program. Whenever I had the time and wanted to, I could log in and continue with the course.

Gianni Latorre: I have an hour-and-a-half commute, so I used that time to study. I'm only going to take digital classes from now on, because I see it's the same quality learning, but much more flexible. 

Christian Richter: I really loved – and sometimes hated – the projects because they were always been challenging and I really feel that I learned the most by trying to handle them by myself. I think this online course has been way better than any classroom further training I've had. Being part of a community where you help each other was a big advantage. I've used other online learning platforms before, but in terms of content and teaching, none was as impressive as Udacity.

BENET: What were the biggest challenges for you?

Christian Richter: It wasn’t easy to find enough time for learning or doing the projects since I have two kids and a demanding job. Besides, nearly every project was a challenge, but that made it feel all the more amazing when I had finally completed the course successfully. 

Jan Haubrock: Sometimes it was also tricky to get into the new programs as some of the features weren't as intuitive as expected. 

BENET: What benefits do you expect from the Nanodegree – both personally and professionally?

Gianni Latorre: It has probably helped my general understanding of data processes. I also expect that it will open up new opportunities in my job.

Jan Haubrock: I learned techniques for segmentation & clustering data that will be useful in my everyday tasks, for example in optimizing websites or CRM mailings. The knowledge will help me to better advise clients and to generate additional value by enhancing existing processes as well as creating new ones.

Christian Richter: Thanks to the nanodegree, I feel more prepared for the future and I've already expanded the spectrum of tasks in my job. The company has already benefited from my new knowledge. While I was taking the course, I worked on two big projects for my work and programmed tools that are very helpful to us in analyzing the daily revenues. I will continue to bring in my new knowledge to help our team go even further. (benet)

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