Google and online education platform Udacity have launched an IT course and scholarships in India in an effort to develop the nation into an Android application development center. The Android Developer Nanodegree takes up to nine months to complete and costs Rs. 9,800 per month, or about $147 USD. Half of tuition will be refunded on the successful completion of the program.
The two companies have teamed up with Tata Trusts, an Indian conglomerate business, to offer to millions of software developers in the country the opportunity for a new Android developer job, a promotion or a way to improve their income while at university.
Clarissa Shen of Udacity said that through the new partnership Google and Tata will offer 500 scholarships each for the Android Developer Nanodegree, which will help students without the financial means to take the online course. Shen added:
"Graduates of our Nanodegree program will also be invited to a career summit in early 2016 hosted by Google where they can meet Google and other prospective employers."
In the same vein with other Nanodegrees, Udacity will refund 50% of students tuition when they graduate. Udacity has plans to set up several operations in India, hire new staff and announce further partnerships with local Indian companies in the next couple of months.
The initiative by Google, Udacity and Tata will boost Android's market share as local Android developers will be able to cater directly to local demand.
One of the key barriers Udacity has to overcome is that of language. According to Peter Lubbers, senior program manager at Google:
"We are working on translations and captions for videos on YouTube. We have been already providing it in 12 languages across the world, but are yet to start working on Indian languages."
IDC predictions estimate that by 2017 India will overtake the United States to become the second largest smartphone market in the world, which supports why this initiative is a good move for Google and Udacity, ITWorld says.
Android devices dominate the Indian smartphone market with Samsung enjoying the biggest market share with 23% and Micromax with 12% with their Android-running devices.
"While India has millions of software developers, we still lag behind in creating world-class apps," Google India managing director Rajan Anandan said.
Siddhant Ghatge of Trak.In, echoing Anandan, commented on the Nanodegree and how there's room for improvement:
"There couldn't be a better online trainee for a country like ours which has a base of over 3 million software developers. â¦.Though they are plenty in numbers, not a single app from this Indian community is on the list of top 100 at the Google Playstore."
Already, India is the second largest market for Udacity with about 7 in every 100 students coming from India. With the Nanodegree, Google wants to turn India into a global leader in mobile application development.