The Future Is Digital Challenge

Gain digital skills to prepare you for jobs of the future


Looking for a new career opportunity? Ready to join the digital workforce?

The Center on Rural Innovation (CORI) has teamed up with Udacity for the Future Is Digital Challenge, an initiative focused on training rural Americans interested in learning new skills to help them participate in the nation’s growing digital economy.


How It Works


The Future is Digital challenge invites rural residents to sign up for one of Udacity’s three Nanodegree Program tracks in either business analytics, digital marketing or front-end web development.

Learn the skills and knowledge needed to enter the digital workforce.

The best part? There are no prerequisites to starting this challenge—it is for everyone.

Phase One: Udacity’s Foundational Courses

In the first phase, participants will choose to learn the fundamentals of one of Udacity's nanodegree program tracks: business analytics, digital marketing or front-end web development.

About the foundational course:

  • Self-paced
  • Supportive online community of peers and mentors
  • 40 hours total (10 hours per week for one month)
  • Enrollments begin September 22, 2020 and continues on a rolling basis. Learners must complete their course within 4 weeks of enrollment in order to get certified. Learners who enroll between September 22 and October 5, 2020 will enjoy a full 4 weeks to complete the course. Those who enroll after October 6, 2020 and throughout the month of October (e.g. October 15, October 22, etc), will need to complete the full course before November 5, 2020 in order to get certified.

Completion of the foundational phase requires passing a Certification Assessment. Once you pass the certification assessment, you will be awarded with a Certificate of Completion from Udacity and the Center of Rural Innovation.

Foundational Course enrollment is open to all learners.

Phase Two: Udacity’s Nanodegree Programs

Participants who pass the certification assessment in Phase One and get certified, will be eligible to try out for Phase Two. To try out, certified participants must register and sit for the Final Assessment, after which top scorers will be awarded with a scholarship in one of Udacity’s practitioner-level Nanodegree Programs.

About the Nanodegree Program:

  • Self-paced, flexible schedule
  • 10 hours per week for ~3 months (self-paced and can finish earlier if desired)
  • Hands on experience through working on real world projects
  • Supportive online community of peers and mentors
  • Graduates receive a Udacity Nanodegree Program Certificate

Learners who complete the Nanodegree program will have the skills and knowledge needed to pursue an entry-level job in digital marketing, business analytics, or front end web development.

Nanodegree Program scholarships are limited to 300 learners.


Which foundational course are you interested in?

**Scholarship eligibility is dependent on whether applicants currently reside in one of the Rural Innovation Network communities’ service areas.

Eligible Counties


Phase One: Udacity’s  Foundational Courses


Learning Outcomes:

  • Define what KPIs are and who are the best personas that fit a marketing strategy
  • Learn how to think in different marketing personas
  • Know what a value proposition is

Learning Outcomes:

  • Understand the different steps of the data analytics process
  • Calculate summary statistics using spreadsheets
  • Ask questions and answer them using data
Learning Outcomes:
  • Create and style web components
  • Position and display website elements
  • Debug HTML and CSS code
  • Build a responsive website layout

All participants will learn how to manage themselves and others in a remote work setting and in remote teams

Phase Two: Udacity’s  Nanodegree Programs


Udacity’s Digital Marketing Nanodegree program will teach you to create marketing content, use social media to amplify your message, make content discoverable in search, run Ads campaigns and advertise on Facebook. You’ll also learn how display and video ads work and how to market with email, and measure and optimize with Google Analytics.

Udacity’s Business Analytics Nanodegree program teaches you how to analyze data and build models with programs like Microsoft Excel, query databases using SQL, and create informative data visualizations with Tableau.

Udacity’s Front-End Web Developer Nanodegree program equips learners with the unique skills they need to build and develop a variety of websites and applications. Graduates will be able to construct responsive websites using CSS, Flexbox and CSS Grid, develop interactive websites and UI (User Interface) applications using JavaScript and HTML, and connect a web application to backend server data using JavaScript.

Good News For Your Future


Throughout your entire journey and across both phases, you will have access to an online community platform, where you will get to ask other students and tutors for support to help you through any learning difficulties or even to network!

Have questions about the challenge? Visit our FAQ page or contact us.

Or drop us a line at support(at)