There’s still time to apply for the third round of the Udacity Technology Scholarship Program – applications are being accepted through Nov 30. In an interview with BENET (Bertelsmann Intranet), Bertelsmann’s Chief Learning Officer Steven Moran talks about how both the company and its employees benefit from the digital initiative – and why Bertelsmann employees shouldn’t miss out on this opportunity.
Applications for the third and, for now, last round of the “Udacity Technology Scholarship Program” have been open since the beginning of October (see below). In this digital initiative, which is also being promoted outside the company under the hashtag “#50000Chances,” Bertelsmann is awarding another 15,000 tech scholarships for Udacity courses in the fields of Cloud, Data, and Artificial Intelligence. Steven Moran, Chief Learning Officer (CLO) at Bertelsmann, looks back at the recently completed first two rounds of the program and explains how the current round of the Udacity Technology Scholarship Program differs from those of previous years, and why participation is a good investment in the future, both for Bertelsmann and for the employees themselves.
BENET: Mr. Moran, in the first two rounds, more than 105,000 people applied for the Udacity Tech Scholarship Program, of which a good 4,000 were Bertelsmann employees. How high is the level of interest halfway through the application phase of the current third round?
Steven Moran: Those are terrific numbers, and we were very pleased about them. We continue to see a high demand for tech skills around the world, and that is precisely the case for our companies in the Bertelsmann Group as well. This understanding – that these skills are a minimum requirement for future corporate success – has been taken on board both internally by our colleagues and outside the Group, and is also reflected in the high number of applications. This year, compared to the previous round, we are primarily offering courses that require some prior knowledge. We did this in the first round as well. We’re seeing that the number of applicants is currently at around the same level as in the first round.
BENET: To date, 30,000 students worldwide have completed the Udacity Technology Scholarship Program. What makes the scholarship program so successful?
Steven Moran: One thing in favor of the Scholarship is that the courses offered are truly “state-of-the art.” For example, this year’s program once again includes the “Azure Cloud Architect” degree, a Udacity Nanodegree that isn’t even available in the normal Udacity course catalog yet. Another factor, and this is a very important point, is the way the content is delivered. Every course in the Udacity curriculum was developed by tech and industry experts, with the explicit goal of going beyond theory to teach specific, application-based skills. While students have to invest some time to learn these skills, they gain essential knowledge in a relatively short period of time that they can immediately apply in the real world. I would say that Udacity offers a high return on investment – especially considering that the costs are borne by Bertelsmann and you only have to contribute your own time.
BENET: Why does the three-year digital initiative always involve courses in the fields of Cloud, Data and Artificial Intelligence?
Steven Moran: Tech-based business models form a substantial part of Bertelsmann’s diverse portfolio. They are driven to a large extent by technologies such as Cloud, Data and Artificial Intelligence. It is therefore essential that we all keep developing our skills in precisely these areas – not just to make data-based decisions and develop these businesses further, but also to be fit for the working world of the future, in which we will be able to apply tech-based tools. So every year we offer courses in the fields of Cloud, Data and AI; of course, the course content and requirements keep changing and from year to year. And so, at this point we even have some “repeat offenders” who are already participating for the second or third time. As CLO, I am of course especially pleased about this, because it shows our colleagues’ willingness to keep acquiring new skills.
BENET: What changes to the content and features will we see in this third round of the Scholarship Program?
Steven Moran: For one, the prior knowledge requirements I mentioned earlier. For example, in the field of Data, the “Business Analyst” course and matching Nanodegree can be mastered even by beginners. It is aimed in particular at those interested in working on projects where decisions are made using data. The “Introduction to Machine Learning with Tensor Flow” Nanodegree in Artificial Intelligence is an advanced course for users of that technology. The most challenging course, “Azure Cloud Architect,” is aimed at experts who are responsible for ensuring a reliable cloud infrastructure and want to have their high level of expertise certified with a nanodegree. Another change is that we have pared down the length of the introductory “Challenge Course” from three and a half months to two months, and selected the content of the subsequent Nanodegree courses in such a way that they all require roughly the same amount of effort, for six months, while learners are still easily able to complete them alongside a full-time job. Finally, we’ve adjusted the selection process for who can participate in a Nanodegree course after the “Challenge Course.” Selection is no longer based solely on course progress and qualitative contributions in the learner community. Instead, the focus is now on what has been learned in the “Challenge Course.” This is so that those who would rather learn on their own are under less pressure to prove themselves.
BENET: What advice do you have for anyone who is still on the fence about whether or not to apply?
Steven Moran: Anyone who is still mulling it over should just make a move now. Together with Udacity, we’ve designed a website for the scholarship initiative where anyone interested can find out more about the respective courses and then proceed directly to filling out their application. My recommendation is to simply approach the respective supervisor or local HR department directly and discuss with them how participation in the Scholarship Program can best be combined with your job. At the same time, for example, you can also consider whether and to what extent the newly acquired knowledge can be integrated into your day-to-day work. There is still a little time left, as the application deadline is November 30. Of course, we hope that as many Bertelsmann colleagues as possible will take advantage of this final opportunity for now and apply – or reapply, as the case may be. Interested parties can now apply online via the attached link for one of the 15,000 scholarships. (benet)
Udacity Technology Scholarship Enters Final Round
Bertelsmann is once again promoting IT and tech talent: In the third round of the Udacity Technology Scholarship Program, which starts today, interested parties can apply for one of 15,000 scholarships in the areas of cloud, data, and artificial intelligence.
Digitalization and the accompanying technological developments require the development of new skills at all levels – worldwide, and at Bertelsmann as elsewhere. For this reason, two years ago the Group launched the “#50000Chances” digital initiative, in which a total of 50,000 tech scholarships from the online education provider Udacity in the fields of cloud, data, and artificial intelligence are awarded over a period of three years. The opportunity is open to all Bertelsmann employees and also to interested parties around the world outside the Group. As participants in the second round complete their Udacity Technology Scholarship Program with a Nanodegree (see former news post), Bertelsmann today launches the third and final round of the scholarship program: Interested parties can now apply online for one of the 15,000 scholarships in this round.
“The pace at which tech-based business models are developing is increasing all the time, and the pandemic has further accelerated this trend,” says Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Rabe. “At the same time, the need for skilled workers in this field is growing exponentially. Bertelsmann believes it has a responsibility to give as many people as possible access to online learning opportunities in these tech fields. We want to promote participants’ tech skills and support a transfer to the workplace. Well-trained employees with digital qualifications contribute significantly to advancing Bertelsmann on its path to becoming a technologically leading media, services, and education group. The overwhelming response to the first two rounds of our scholarship program encourages us to once again inspire thousands of people to ‘up’ their technology skills.”
‘Seize the opportunities this initiative offers’
In the first two rounds of the scholarship program, more than 105,000 people from all over the world had applied for the 30,000 available slots. Around 4,000 of the applications came from Bertelsmann employees. “A Udacity degree is an important building block for them to take advantage of the momentum of technological change and use the acquired tech expertise to play a decisive role in shaping the future of our company,” emphasizes Bertelsmann Chief HR Officer Immanuel Hermreck. “In this way, they have the chance to develop personally and build up future-relevant skills that open up excellent career opportunities. So I’m proud that so many of our colleagues already participated in the past rounds, and at the same time I once again invite them to seize the opportunities this initiative offers.”
The scholarships cover introductory “Challenge” courses followed by in-depth “Nanodegree” courses, in which, as in previous years, about ten percent of the “Challenge” course graduates will be able to participate. Interested parties can choose one of three subject areas:
- Data – with the “Business Analytics” nanodegree course, suitable for beginners without prior knowledge.
- Artificial Intelligence – with the “Intro to Machine Learning with Tensor Flow” nanodegree course, suitable for advanced learners with prior knowledge.
- Cloud – with the “Azure Cloud Architect” nanodegree course, for experts with advanced prior knowledge.
The Udacity “Challenge” courses offered in this third round last two months and, with a time commitment of two to four hours per week, can easily be managed on a part-time basis. In comparison to previous years, this time “Nanodegree” participants will be selected solely based on their fundamental understanding of the subject matter. More information about the Udacity Technology Scholarship Program is posted at www.udacity.com/bertelsmann-tech-scholarships (recommended browsers: Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome); applications will also be accepted at this link from now through Nov 30. The “Challenge” courses start in December. For all interested parties, Bertelsmann University and Udacity are offering an online information session in advance. (benet)