|01 November, 2018

The new Digital Freelancer Nanodegree program launches in MENA

This new Nanodegree program will help empower aspiring learners in the region to acquire the skills necessary to succeed in the global digital economy

In collaboration with ‘Maharat min Google’, Google’s digital skills-building program in MENA, Udacity is launching a Nanodegree program specifically designed for students to learn the skills and tools needed to launch successful freelance careers.

Udacity today announced the launch of a new Nanodegree program for the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region—the Digital Freelancer Nanodegree program! The program was built in collaboration with ‘Maharat Min Google’, Google’s digital skills-building program for Arabic speakers. This new Nanodegree program will help empower aspiring learners in the region to acquire the skills necessary to succeed in the global digital economy, with a special emphasis on women, and young workers just now preparing to enter the workforce.

MENA has one of the largest and fastest growing populations of young people on the planet, and yet youth unemployment rates are notably high—currently at 30% in some markets. The region also has one of the lowest rates of female economic participation in the world. Given these challenging statistics, it’s clear dramatic steps must be taken to ensure that this vast generation of young talent can participate economically, and has access to the necessary learning opportunities they’ll need to succeed in the modern hiring landscape.

Online freelance work is rapidly emerging as a viable means of employment and economic advancement. As reported by the World Economic Forum in their report The Future of Jobs and Skills in the Middle East and North Africa:

“Across MENA, online talent platforms have the potential to create significant benefits by moving people from informal to formal jobs, by increasing workforce participation and additional hours worked of those formerly under-employed or inactive, by shortening the duration of job searches and by enabling matches that would otherwise not have happened. By 2025, this could result in as much as 945,000 additional full-time equivalent jobs and a US$21bn increase in GDP in Egypt, 799,000 jobs and US$41bn in Turkey, and 276,000 jobs and US$32bn additional GDP in Saudi Arabia.” 

The closing prescription in the report advocates for “creating a culture of lifelong learning,” and this is exactly what Udacity wishes to encourage through the launch of the new Digital Freelancer Nanodegree program.

Aspiring freelancers from any background can enroll and learn the core skills necessary to succeed in the world of online freelancing. Students will gain familiarity with the different online marketplaces, and learn how to build up a strong and effective professional profile that optimizes for their fields of focus and expertise. They will also acquire a valuable understanding of what it takes to scope out a project, and learn to work efficiently with a range of clients on a range of projects. As they progress through the curriculum, students will complete real-world projects that can demonstrate their skills and experience to prospective new clients.

Success as a digital freelancer requires not just having the skills to complete certain projects; one must also know how to find, win, and manage those projects. Graduates will become their  own bosses, and while that has a lot of perks—flexibility, independence, mobility, versatility—they must be able to both promote their abilities, then deliver on them. The Digital Freelancer Nanodegree program focuses on the first of these two requirements—if students have skills and experience in digital marketing, web development, mobile development, data science, or any other marketable field of expertise, then this program is ideal, because they’ll learn how to leverage their existing skills to build a careers as digital freelancers.

The course materials are in Arabic, and the curriculum is tailored expressly to meet the needs of aspiring digital freelancers in the MENA region. The full program consists of one month-long term, at a cost of USD $150. The Digital Freelancer Nanodegree program is open to students of any skill level and work background. While all successful graduates of the program will be prepared to launch or advance their freelance careers, the range of professional opportunities available to any given student will depend on their leverageable skills within their chosen field; meaning, if they have entry-level developer skills, for example, they will be prepared to start competing for and winning freelance jobs that require entry-level skills, whereas if they have advanced data science experience and credentials, they’ll be able to start landing freelance roles that demand a high level of expertise.

The curriculum for this Nanodegree program was developed with valuable input from Google and Hsoub, the MENA-focused Arabic web advertising platform. Additionally, because digital marketing skills play such an important role when it comes to advancing a career as an online freelancer, this program specifically includes world-class curriculum components focused on key topics such as search engine marketing, social media, e-commerce, and more, all made possible through Udacity’s collaboration with Google and the ‘Maharat min Google’ team.

Udacity’s goal is to ensure that students learn real-world skills, and emerge from the program with significant career advantages. In addition to the collaboration with Google, the program features contributions from a wide range of program partners, each of whom brings unique and actionable value to the learning experience. Leading UK freelance marketplace PeoplePerHour will be providing program graduates with credit bundles to help them land their first freelance opportunities. Egyptian jobs site Wuzzuf will provide a dedicated badge and page for all program graduates. And Maharati, the “microlancer marketplace,” will offer graduates a whole suite of platform-specific perks, as will Ureed, the translation and editorial freelance specialists.

What these organizations all share is a desire to empower individuals throughout the region to find success in the modern digital economy, and the belief that digital freelancing represents a viable and effective way to compete, succeed, and advance.

If an Arabic speaker in the MENA region is eager to explore the world of digital freelancing, and they are ready to start marketing their skills to land rewarding freelance opportunities, then they are encouraged to enroll in Udacity’s new Digital Freelancer Nanodegree program today.

When they do, they’ll be just one month away from launching a successful career as a digital freelancer!

-Ends-

About Udacity

Udacity was founded in 2011 by Sebastian Thrun. Udacity is a global, online, lifelong learning platform connecting education to jobs and providing students with skills to advance careers. Udacity Nanodegree programs provide credentials earned through a series of online courses and projects in an array of subjects from self-driving cars and AI to data science and digital marketing. Udacity collaborates with more than 120 global employer-partners including AT&T, Google, Facebook, Mercedes-Benz and NVIDIA to close talent gaps. Headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., the privately-funded company has operations in Brazil, China, Egypt, Germany, India and the United Arab Emirates. Its investors include Bertelsmann, Andreessen Horowitz, Charles River Ventures and Drive Capital. For more information, please visit www.udacity.com 

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