It’s Day Six of #6DaysOfiOS, and we’re giving away six Apple devices: two iPhone 6s, an Apple TV, an Apple Watch Sport, an iPad, and a Macbook Air! If you enroll in a free trial of the Beginning iOS App Development Nanodegree program between October 13th at 12pm ET and October 26th at 12pm ET you’ll be entered in a random drawing to win!

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My name is Khang Vu and I’m originally from Vietnam. I am currently an iOS developer, and this is my story.

Khang Vu blog

The Beginning

I came to the U.S. six years ago and spent my first two years in community college earning an associate’s degree in engineering. I love math and science, and eventually began working as a math tutor. English was the biggest challenge for me at that time because I didn’t really speak or write English when I came to the U.S.

“Hello. How are you?” That was about all I could say.

I transferred to the University of Arizona in my third year. Initially, I wasn’t sure which major to choose for my career path. I thought about math, engineering and physics, but none of them really sparked a true interest.

A Big Change

I remember a day when I saw a few senior students in my dorm coding on their laptops. I was impressed even though I didn’t really know what they were trying to do. That was the moment when I started realizing that a computer can be used for so much more than just social media or entertainment. So I decided to give it a try.

“I never planned my career this way, but eventually everything fell into place.”

Soon, my motto became, “Code hard, think hard.” I quickly learned how to deal with challenges including program crashes and bugs, and I worked on my coding skills daily and played fewer video games. It vastly changed my lifestyle and way of thinking!

My First Brush With iOS

Time passed and I tried to learn as much as I could because I only had three years as a transfer student. I was always on the lookout for new opportunities, so I jumped at the chance to join the iOS development group at the University of Arizona.

However, the research was incredibly difficult from both the language and development side. At that moment I thought developing mobile apps might not be an appropriate path for me. So I stopped developing iOS apps after more than five months and moved my focus to another field. Interestingly, in my last semester before graduation, I stumbled upon a course about developing an app with my classmates using a programming language of choice.

I was again inspired. And as it turned out, we chose building an iOS application because I had some experience with iOS development. It was still very challenging for me to code in Objective-C at that time, but eventually, I caught up and we completed the app right before the deadline. The best part? We got all As.

After graduation, I joined Pearson Education as an automation QA engineer and worked there for a year. My job was to develop scripts using Java and the Selenium framework to test Pearson’s websites. Interestingly, one of the projects I worked on didn’t have any mobile applications at the time. So the company decided to make one for the Android platform.

Enter Udacity

Unfortunately, the company had not decided to invest in iOS platform yet, but I did get to do some great work exploring and pitching in on an Android application. I thought of this as my opportunity to think about my career, and that was when Udacity’s iOS Developer Nanodegree program launched. I enrolled right away. The first course went really well (I built an app called Pitch Perfect) and I loved the way Udacity organized online materials, which similar online courses were lacking.

Suddenly, I Was an iOS Developer!

Right after I completed that first course with Swift, I was contacted by a company called Axxess about an iOS developer position. I figured I’d apply since I had nothing to lose. And after about two weeks of interviewing, I got the job! As the company continues to grow, I see this as an opportunity to grow along with them.

Obviously the iOS Nanodegree program was a huge help, even before graduating. And so far, I have completed three out of five projects, and at my job, I’ve helped implement one big feature with the Axxess iOS app and am currently working on a second feature.

Everything Falls Into Place

I never planned my career this way, but eventually everything fell into place. A big reason was engaging with iOS slowly, and Udacity really pushed me to the limit and gave me more motivation to keep improving my iOS skills as a professional.

Want to share your Udacity story and be featured on our blog? We want to hear from you! Drop us a line at social@udacity.com.