Today’s post was written by Cheryl Court, a Udacity Front-End Nanodegree student who gained the confidence to apply for and land a job at a startup called Localize. Read on to find out exactly how she did it.

Cheryl's AHA moment.The earliest memory I have related to programming is sitting down with my dad back in the 80s and writing out some programs in BASIC on our Tandy Colour computer. We had these monolithic books that listed every line of a program; we typed one in and it displayed a series of color pictures on our television.

I thought that was pretty neat.

I was quite young at the time and gazing at the massive size of those programming books I remember thinking, “I don’t want to have to read these.” So I didn’t really think much about programming as a career until I was in college.

Even though I had all this experience and was doing a good job and potentially amazing things I never really felt that way until submitting projects to Udacity.” tweet

In my first year of college I was in the Engineering program at the University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada. I didn’t really like my courses—I absolutely hated chemistry and the only course I actually liked was a programming-related course. It was very simple: we were given code snippets in our labs and we had to debug them to figure out where the errors were. I would always be done within five minutes and then I’d use my remaining time to help out my classmates.

People seemed to be struggling with a task I found to be second-nature. That was my “Aha!” moment. I transferred to Computer Science and it was the best decision I made in college. I graduated from the honors program with a B.Sc. in Software Engineering and a minor in Germanic Studies. There are so many things about software development that I absolutely love that it would take another whole article to list out and then some.

My career, up until recently, mostly focused on enterprise application development and, while I had dabbled in web development here and there in the past, I felt that any web development skills I had were largely out of date and there were so many possible directions to go if one is learning on their own without any mentorship. So I thought it was time for an update through some focused courses.

I kept getting a pretty consistent message of, “You are awesome,” and it made me feel really good about myself.” tweet

I was initially drawn to Udacity because the courseware was free with the option of subscribing for additional services. I also liked the idea that a Nanodegree is created in partnership with companies who were giving direction on what it is they were looking for. It seemed like a very practical and mutually beneficial approach. Enrolling in my first web development course through Udacity was a very positive experience. This experience continued when I also later enrolled and worked through the projects in the Front-End Nanodegree. I still go back and read the feedback I received on past projects because it’s like reading a pat on the back and sometimes one needs that.

I think where the real value lies in Udacity’s approach to learning is how the people at Udacity make you feel about your accomplishments. They do a good job at helping people learn new things, but for me, how great I felt and the confidence that resulted from the program was the more important benefit. I kept getting a pretty consistent message of, “You are awesome,” and it made me feel really good about myself. I think that translated into how I carried myself outside of the program as well: at work and during interviews.

I think where the real value lies in Udacity’s approach to learning is how the people at Udacity make you feel about your accomplishments.” tweet

Even though I had all this experience and was doing a good job and potentially amazing things, I never really felt that way until submitting projects to Udacity. Sometimes we can forget how great we are and it has been my experience that the folks at Udacity do a good job of reminding us.

My experience with the Front-End Nanodegree gave me the confidence to apply for a job that I didn’t feel comfortable applying for a year earlier (same company, same position that came up) and now I’m working at a company that aligns more to my core values and philosophies. Localize is a startup that connects local food producer information with consumers through community invested grocery stores. It allows consumers to know more about where their food comes from, and I love the idea of arming people with sought-after information so they can make more informed choices.

So even before graduating from the Nanodegree, my accumulation of skills and confidence helped me land this job as Senior Software Developer at a great company working with a great team of people.

Want to share your Udacity story? We want to hear from you! Drop us a line at social@udacity.com.