Woman laptop stock photo

My name is Samantha and I graduated from the Front-End Web Development Nanodegree program. Prior to the Nanodegree program, I was studying management while babysitting in my free time. I had no formal education related to web design or web development but I really wanted to launch a new career. So I studied web development on my own, and wow, that wasn’t easy. I began looking for a well-structured online education program and luckily I found Udacity.

A Complete 180 Career Change

You may wonder why I wanted to change my career path so drastically. Truthfully, I wanted to find a more fulfilling job and have the opportunity to make a significant impact in the world we live in.

I like to manage my own time, so online learning was a perfect solution for me. I disciplined myself every day, but I also came to really rely on the additional support Udacity offers. You see, Udacity is different from other online courses—Udacity provides full-time support, group work, weekly meetings, coaching sessions and more. All of that really helps with the learning process. Even though you are working on projects from home, there is always someone at Udacity willing to help when advice is needed!

Discovering Front-End Web Development

I chose the Front-End Web Development path because my goal was to learn HTML5 and CSS3. And I even surprised myself by improving my JavaScript knowledge significantly by the end!

Most of the projects that I was working on during the program were definitely challenging, which is great! That’s exactly what I wanted. To struggle a little bit, cut the problem down and simply figure it out…that’s how you learn. As I said before, Udacity gives its students great support including weekly study sessions and very active student forums. It’s not just a website providing online courses; it’s a community of passionate people who are happy to discuss problems and are ready to help solve them.

I expected to learn programming skills through Udacity, and I did. And I’m proud of what I learned. What I didn’t expect, was how valuable working and consulting with other students and faculty was for me. As I said, I’m an independent learner, but as a Udacity student, I really became part of a community. I also  gained more confidence, which helped me in doing some freelance work. Before having a full-time job, I helped a couple of small businesses in fixing/rebuilding their websites.

Working For Udacity, Helping Fellow Students

I also worked with Udacity as a Nanodegree Team Guide. Being a Team Guide for Udacity students was a fantastic experience. As a recent graduate, I was able to help other students solve their problems and issues by calling on my own experience with the coursework. And reviewing the material with them helped me reinforce my own understanding of it. My main goal was to encourage students to achieve personal discoveries as well as help them work as a team to keep each other motivated.

Hired In 15 Minutes!

Because my husband works remotely and we were able to relocate, I was lucky to have the opportunity to apply for jobs in multiple cities at once. For my new job, I had an interview online through Google Hangouts. I spoke with the company owner and a Senior Web Developer of the team. We discussed my experience, skills, and expectations. I was surprised how quickly we recognized it was a great fit. About 15 minutes after the online interview, I got a job offer!

My title now is Web Designer / Web Developer. I will be helping build websites for businesses all over the country, from websites to online marketing campaigns. Peers from my job know that I don’t have a lot of professional experience, but they (and so do I!) believe that it’s more important in this industry to have an interest in learning, discovering new solutions, and a passion for the work. They are very impressed with what I have accomplished in the last year, and I am so happy to have been given opportunity to continue this adventure!

Onward and Upward

It’s difficult for me to imagine where I might be in, say, five years down the road given that it’s just the beginning of my career. But I have already come so far, and I just hope that I will have the chance to continue to learn and grow in a positive, supportive environment such as the one I found at Udacity.

In my personal life, I have always been passionate about traveling and nutrition. I hope that in the future I’ll be able to find the perfect place for to work where I will be able to combine all of my interests and passions.

Technology is everywhere around us. With the skills I’ve learned, I believe I can find a job in almost any industry.