frogger

Projects are at the heart of our approach to learning. We believe you should learn by doing, and when you’re a Udacity student, projects are what you do. They’re how you learn, and they’re how we assess your learning. Ultimately, they’re also how you’ll demonstrate what you’ve learned. From the moment you enroll, to the moment your portfolio earns you the job offer, it’s all about projects.

Udacity projects can be hard work, and the stakes are often high. Expert project reviewers are standing by at any hour of the day, ready to deliver detailed assessments of your efforts. Between you and your Nanodegree credential, there is a path marked with projects that must be mastered before you can advance. You’ve got your work cut out for you. Sound fun?

It is! And to prove it to you, we’re going to look at five different projects from five different Nanodegree programs that are really, really fun!

We’ll begin at the literal beginning, and consider a project from our Intro to Programming Nanodegree program.

Nanodegree Program Projects: Example #1

Build a Mad Libs Game

This is where you’ll learn how to program. You’ll learn a programming language called Python and you’ll use it to write instructions that the computer can understand and execute. After this stage you will have incredible power: you will be able to automate almost any repetitive task that can be done on a computer. In the project checkpoint you will write a program in Python to build a reverse Mad Libs game.

Learn Python with Mad Libs? Now you’re talking! And in case you’re not familiar, Python is a pretty big deal:

“Python is everywhere at ILM. It’s used to extend the capabilities of our applications, as well as providing the glue between them. Every CG image we create has involved Python somewhere in the process”
—Philip Peterson, Principal Engineer, Research & Development, Industrial Light & Magic.

Next up, from our Front-End Web Developer Nanodegree program, is a little something for the old-school video gamers. Remember Frogger?

Nanodegree Program Projects: Example #2

P3: Classic Arcade Game Clone

You will be provided with visual assets and a game loop engine; using these tools you must add a number of entities to the game including the player characters and enemies to recreate the classic arcade game Frogger.

Not a bad way to start mastering Object-Oriented JavaScript and HTML5 Canvas, right?

Here’s another one that involves a little looking back into history. Remember Enron?

“You don’t want another Enron? Here’s your law: If a company can’t explain, in one sentence, what it does… it’s illegal.”
—Lewis Black

“I take full responsibility for what happened at Enron. But saying that, I know in my mind that I did nothing criminal.”
—Kenneth Lay

Back before The Great Recession, back before the whole subprime mortgage thing, Enron was THE corporate scandal to beat all corporate scandals, and Kenneth Lay was THE public face of corporate scandal. For our third Nanodegree program project example, which comes courtesy of our Data Analyst Nanodegree program, we take advantage of the now-public Enron financial and email dataset to go back in time and make some weighty deductions!

Nanodegree Program Projects: Example #3

P5: Identify Fraud from Enron Email

Play detective and put your machine learning skills to use by building an algorithm to identify Enron Employees who may have committed fraud based on the public Enron financial and email dataset.

If you’re at all like me, we had you at “play detective!”

Now, for our fourth example of a really fun project, we’ll travel over to our iOS Developer Nanodegree program, and enjoy the opportunity to be a “Virtual Tourist!”

Nanodegree Program Projects: Example #4

P4: Virtual Tourist

Tour the world without leaving the comforts of your couch! This app allows you to drop pins on a map and pull up Flickr images associated with that location. You will store the locations and images using Core Data.

If this sounds pretty simple, be forewarned; it’s somewhat deceptively so, in that what you’re learning about is working with core data and persistence—critical skills for any iOS developer.

For our final fun project example, we turn to our Machine Learning Engineer Nanodegree program!

Nanodegree Program Projects: Example #5

P0: Titanic Survival Exploration

In this project, you will create decision functions that attempt to predict survival outcomes from the 1912 Titanic disaster based on each passenger’s features, such as sex and age. You will start with a simple algorithm and increase its complexity until you are able to accurately predict the outcomes for at least 80% of the passengers in the provided data. This project will introduce you to some of the concepts of machine learning as you start the Nanodegree program.

Summary:

Learning by doing can be hard, but it’s ultimately very beneficial, for many reasons. At Udacity, learning by doing is achieved through working on projects, and working on projects at Udacity can mean everything from Mad Libs, Frogger, and corporate scandal analysis, to virtual tourism, and famous sea disasters in history.

In short, programming projects can be fun. Really, really fun!

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