Udacity: Reno pilot shows the future of tech job training

Above: Udacity CEO Vishal Makhijani speaks at the rollout of Blueprint, a VentureBeat event being held Sept. 11-13 in Reno, Nevada

Retraining is often held up as a salve for those laid off when factories close, stores shutter, or when businesses pick up and move overseas. But what if job training was treated not as an event, as in teaching coal miners to code, but rather as a critical, ongoing part of keeping a local workforce employed, one that could lessen the need to retrain fired workers for entirely new careers? Udacity CEO Vishal Makhijani says this challenge arrives at a critical moment for the U.S. economy. “The core hypothesis we have as a company is that society has to embrace lifelong learning,” Makhijani told VentureBeat, describing how his company has partnered with the burgeoning tech community of Reno, Nevada, and how it’s a test case for potential partnerships with other cities.

“I think we have to try not to say ‘How do we save 3,000 driving jobs?’ We say ‘How do we train people to do the next job?’” said Makhijani, who spoke Wednesday at a VentureBeat gathering to launch its Heartland Tech channel and upcoming Blueprint event. Makhijani appeared onstage with Brad Stone, senior executive editor at Bloomberg. The gathering was part of VentureBeat’s editorial initiative to explore the economic and tech divide between Silicon Valley and the rest of America.

“We can educate folks with these skills for $2,500 a pop. We don’t have to spend $50-60,000 or $70,000 a year to do that, and if you think about duplicating that model in a bunch of different categories, we can do this. This is not about the classic cost structure,” Makhijani said.

Known as “The Biggest Little City in the World,” Reno has been staging an economic turnaround of outsized proportions, slashing its 14 percent unemployment rate of five years ago to 3.9 percent as of this April. Last month, the city and the online learning company launched Udacity Connect: Reno-Tahoe, which offers a three month, part-time full stack web developer Nanodegree or certificate. The program involves online classes, as well as in-person collaboration for projects and mentoring, and is specifically designed…

Google’s new free course could help you land a sweet gig localizing apps

Google’s new free course could help you land a sweet gig localizing apps

Localization is a vital, but less talked-about part of the technology industry — and it can lead to a lucrative career, too. Now, to help people enter the field, Google just launched a free course on the Udacity online learning platform called Localization Essentials.

This six-lesson series is fronted by two Google localization professionals, and features interviews, guides and quizzes, and represents a gentle introduction to the localization field. It introduces you to the challenges localization engineers face on a daily basis, as well as the tools they use. The course also gives you a hint of what you can expect from a career in this field.