How One Udacity Student Turned Her Curiosity About Programming Into A Whole New Career
Every day, we experience new things. New ideas, new people, new concepts, new technologies. Our curiosity gets triggered, and we make mental notes to investigate further. But how often do we actually follow up? What if we acted on just a few of those notes-to-self? What opportunities might we uncover for ourselves? Curiosity is the gateway to growth, but we must be vigilant, and encourage ourselves to act.
Kaisa Martiskainen got curious about tech when she began working alongside programmers at a video game company doing community management. Her prior experience included marketing, translation, and localization testing, but this new role had her interacting with many of the technical teams at the company, and she soon felt as though she should know more:
“It’s pretty embarrassing to admit that I knew absolutely nothing about programming at that point, but the daily exposure to different technologies and the proximity to the game development team sparked my interest. I wanted to learn how to code but wasn’t sure if I could do it.”
Learning New Skills
Kaisa began researching ways to learn computer programming, but she wasn’t sure she could master a whole new set of skills:
“Could I really make the switch from spoken languages and literature to programming languages? At the time I had no idea, but I decided I’d give it a try.”
She was looking for something that would enable her to learn programming while maintaining her current job. Her research led her to Udacity, and she opted to enroll in the Front-End Web Developer Nanodegree program:
“A Nanodegree program seemed like an investment I was ready to make, and I was eager to give the non-traditional online learning approach a shot. The experience wasn’t easy, but it taught me a lot of valuable skills.”
The Udacity Experience
Over the course of ten months, Kaisa dedicated herself to her Nanodegree program. She struggled with some of the concepts, but she continued to study. She relied on forums for support, and drew strength from the conviction that her newfound skills would change her future for the better. Her self-motivation, her drive to learn, and her ability to persevere in the face of difficult projects, ultimately brought about exactly the changes she was hoping for:
“Above all, my Nanodegree program experience forced me out of my comfort zone, and that’s when some really exciting things started happening. I was able to get a contract gig as a front-end developer while I was still finishing my Nanodegree program, and I’m now employed at SAP as a user assistance developer.”
A Successful Career Change
Kaisa is working as a developer now—a complete career change. Acting on her initial curiosity was a risk, but one she knew she needed to take. Most importantly, once she began her journey, she didn’t let fear or doubt keep her from pursuing her goals. Her confidence in her abilities grew with every achievement:
“Udacity gave me the knowledge and the confidence to apply and successfully get hired for jobs that I thought were out of my reach. Needless to say, I’m much better at problem-solving these days.”
The next time you make a mental note to follow up on something that intrigues you, take that next step, and take a deeper look. What you discover could change your life, as it did for Kaisa Martiskainen.
Congratulation to you Kaisa, on following your curiosity into the unknown, learning brand new skills, and building a new career for yourself! We can’t wait to see where your curiosity takes you next!