The realm of education is drastically shifting with online programming brought into the mix. It can leave many prospective students unsure of which path to take, which options are available, and which learning program would best suit their learning style and desired outcome.
Traditional higher education can provide in-depth theoretical knowledge and a formal degree that holds weight to employers. At the same time, coding bootcamps have direct access to the industry network that can provide cutting-edge insight, as well as connections to employers. So, which is the right way to go?
upGrad was created as a response to this dilemma. Founded in 2015, upGrad was created to address the need for professionals working in the ever-changing tech industry to stay on the cutting edge of their skills set. UpGrad is unique in that it works with universities to grant masters, executive, and certificate degrees from its programs, while also bringing in industry professionals to provide up-to-date practical insights.
Made for people with undergraduate degrees in search of their next move, upGrad has a wide range of degree-granting programs that usher students to the next level of their chosen field.
Do Degrees Still Have Value?
Something that students in the bootcamp space are often wondering is whether a degree is still a worthwhile thing to pursue. While it may depend on your long-term goals and career aspirations, there are certainly benefits to having a degree in your back pocket when entering the job market.
In its experience, upGrad has noticed that hiring managers and recruiters still often filter candidates to those with degrees. Degrees also set a good baseline foundation of learning, so if you need to learn specific skills such as programming languages, it will be easier to pick up once you’ve become accustomed to high-density learning with a foundational degree.
Degrees also help build soft skills and critical thinking skills, versus a program that is purely focused on practical skills, which is an asset in the workplace. Degrees also often come with the benefits of being an alumnus and access to other university resources.
upGrad makes the process of obtaining a degree much simpler with low cost and flexible schedule options.
What exactly can you learn at upGrad? UpGrad offers a variety of degree-granting tech-related programs, each run through a university partner. They include Liverpool John Moores University, IIIT Bangalore, IU Germany, IIM Kozhikode, IIT Madras, IIT Delhi, IMT Ghaziabad, Duke CE, MICA, Deakin University, and Swiss School of Business Management.
There are upwards of 20 programs offered, giving students plenty to pick from. The length and accreditation differ based on the type of program selected.
For those looking to venture into data science, upGrad has partnered with Liverpool John Moores University, IIIT Bangalore, IU Germany, and IIM Kozhikode to offer three types of programs: Master’s Degree, Executive PG Program, and Advanced Certificate Program. The course length ranges from seven months to 24 months depending on the level of degree.
There are three types of Machine Learning programs you can take through Liverpool John Moores University, IIIT Bangalore, and IIT Madras. You can dive deep into Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence with a Master’s Degree program or explore NLP, Deep Learning, or Cloud with an Advanced Certificate Program. An Executive PG Program is also available. The course length ranges from six months to 18 months depending on the level of degree.
upGrad offers two Professional Certificate Programs, one Product Management Certification Program, and one PG Program from four universities. The length of the course ranges from 15 weeks to 11 months depending on the program.
Those looking to brush up their marketing skills can take advantage of upGrad’s Advanced Certificate in Digital Marketing and Communications Program. It is offered by MICA and takes between 6.5 months to 11 months to complete.
Software and Technology
UpGrad works with IIIT Bangalore and Liverpool John Moores University to offer one Master’s program, one Executive PG Program, and five Advanced Certificates covering different areas and specializations. Programs take between 7.5 months to 19 months to complete.
upGrad also offers Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) programs through three different universities. They require between 18 months to 36 months to complete.
upGrad’s Unique Blended Education Style
upGrad has a unique education style that differentiates it from both traditional degree-granting programs and traditional bootcamps. It uses a blended education format—a style that was curated to meet their students’ theoretical and practical needs.
upGrad’s idea was to take the best of what a university can provide and supplement the theoretical coursework with the help of industry professionals, who can vouch for and demonstrate how they use these theoretical ideas in their day-to-day jobs. For example, after students have finished course material on regression, an industry professional will have a session explaining how they use that theoretical knowledge at their job at Tesla.
The blended education style means that students learn in-depth theoretical concepts in their field through pre-recorded lectures and videos that are short, to the point, and impactful. This way students aren’t spending hours watching lectures but are getting quick hits of valuable content. These pre-recorded sessions are then accompanied by live sessions by industry professionals to bring students up-to-date information.
upGrad focuses on outcomes-driven learning. Its model boasts an 87 percent completion rate. upGrad believes that this double level of educational style adds a lot of value to the learning experience. According to the school, it’s not “a quick and dirty solution”, but rather a thorough learning process that will take students further, if they’re willing to commit to the long-term success of their career. While it takes more time and effort on the student’s end, they are bound to acquire more skills and become experts in their field.
UpGrad runs a program called 360 Career Assistance. This is comprehensive career support that helps students transition smoothly into an exciting career.
360 Career Assistance offers one-on-one career mentorship for students, where they will work with a mentor to guide them on their next steps. Depending on the learner’s aspirations, a career coach switches their discussions across topics in order to drive maximum impact.
upGrad career coaches work with students to customize a development plan based on their desired outcomes and existing skills. A career coach for upGrad notes that aspirations are usually in the form of a job switch, a promotion, or gaining professional confidence. Career coaches also help learners position themselves better for internal growth discussions.
upGrad also helps students build and improve CVs, resumes, and even their LinkedIn profiles. It prepares students for interviews by running mock interviews and questions. One career coach notes that they “instill in learners the skills to develop their own personal brand,” which is valuable when positioning themselves to be hirable.
This career coach notes that the 360 Career Assistance program is an important part of the whole upGrad process. “There is a high level of personal satisfaction for upGrad career coaches to call upon their vast years of domain knowledge and UpGrad career coaching experience,” they said.
Finally, upGrad will conduct employability tests at the end of the course, to see what a student has learned and project how well they will do in a field before graduating. It’s similar to a technical test and will help both parties understand the position the student is in for starting their career. One of the career coaches notes that the process helps in “identifying areas of improvement, ensuring that our learners can improve on areas where they lag behind industry expectations, and work to polish their strengths.”
“upGrad To The Rescue!”
One former upGrad student shares the story of how upGrad helped her pursue her goal of acquiring a business degree while allowing her the flexibility and versatility to maintain the lifestyle she wanted.
“I’ve always been inclined towards getting a business degree from a renowned university,” she said, “And I wanted to figure out a way to do this to advance my professional career but without breaking the bank. upGrad to the rescue!”
This student pursued a postgraduate degree without leaving her current job. “You can do it from anywhere around the world,” she says, “And of course at much lower prices than you otherwise would spend on campus.”
What she particularly enjoyed about the program was the intuitive platform upGrad uses, noting that it is very responsive with an easy interface to navigate. She also likes the way that the content is presented. The five to seven-minute videos for theory “make grasping concepts effortless.”
The schedule was also a plus for this student, noting that the weekly modules generally require five to seven hours of commitment, which she found can be accomplished during weekdays or weekends.
On the mentor support, this student noted that every learner is provided with a mentor that is “basically your go-to person for everything. He motivated me to study, meet my deadlines, encouraged me that I could do it, and assisted me with any doubts at any point in time.”
She did note that upGrad requires both time and energy commitment, and as such, needs to be taken seriously. “I had deadlines to meet every week, but it was accommodating of my schedule.”
What is she up to after graduating? “I’m a full-time project manager at IBM and a full-time mom handling two teenagers. I took upGrad’s course as an investment in my self-development. Thanks to upGrad, I was able to achieve my dream of completing my Masters in Data Science 20 years after completing my undergraduate degree.”
Whether you’re looking to advance in your current workplace, fine-tune your resume and skill set to get hired at a new job, or make a career jump, upGrad offers a wide range of courses with degrees offered through renowned universities. This blended educational model allows students to upskill at a much lower cost with flexible schedules. Its programs also come with industry-leading practical guidance. If this blended model seems like the right fit to elevate your undergraduate credentials to the next level, start by exploring which course is right for you.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.