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It’s never the wrong time to decide to transform your career. When Michael Grandori, a military man, decided to explore a new career path in the field of programming, he trusted Udacity. A two-time Nanodegree graduate, Michael believes that he is all set to enter the job market when he exits military in 2020.

About yourself 

My name is Michael Grandori. I am a 29-year old living in sunny Southern California stationed on MCB Camp Pendleton. I am a Sergeant in the Marine Corps with 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment. I am currently pursuing my Masters degree from Arizona State University’s ‘4+1’ program in Graphic Information Technology (GIT) with a web development focus. 

When and why did you enroll for a Udacity Nanodegree program?

I came to the conclusion that employers want multifaceted candidates. Just learning design principles, the Adobe Suite and basic HTML and CSS is not enough. I felt that while making a wireframe or mock up of a site or application I should have a deep understanding of the code that will bring it to life. That is when I decided I should supplement my web authoring classes from ASU with a more comprehensive and code-focused curriculum that Udacity offered. I started with the Intro to Programming nanodegree to understand core concepts and eventually moved to the Front-end Web Development program that was more geared towards my career goals and introduced me to a variety of technologies.

You are an active duty military member. What motivated you to move towards programming?

Military life can be very rewarding but is almost always physically demanding and has a very unpredictable schedule. Some of my goals in life require me to have more flexibility. I have missed out on many holidays, anniversaries, birthdays and other family events due to operational commitments. I hope that a career in programming will allow me the flexibility to make up for that lost time. Lastly, but most importantly, coding has become my outlet for creativity and sense of accomplishment. A day almost never goes by that I don’t come up with an idea and realize, “wait… I can create that.

What changes have the Nanodegree programs brought in your life?

Both programs I completed have added a core skill to my arsenal. Intro to Programming gave me a feel for Python and object oriented programming fundamentals. It taught me to think like a programmer. Front End Web Development exposed me to a multitude of technologies and helped build my portfolio, while also connecting me to several great individuals who I plan to collaborate with and use as support as I continue to learn. I believe when I exit the military in late 2020 I will be healthily equipped to land the job I want. I also complete web authoring classes on my degree program with relative ease and lots of confidence.

What is your favourite Udacity Nanodegree experience?

My favorite experience was learning how to manipulate the DOM with Javascript during my Front-End Web Development Nanodegree. I remember watching the mentor’s (Matt) live video stream and all of a sudden, it clicked. I was able to get my Match Game project markup dynamically created that night using what I had learned and although it was a small part of the project overall, it was a huge victory for me. Learning to manipulate DOM elements opens up many doors for a front end developer and gives you the option to generate content dynamically as well as make a site more interactive and visually appealing. It was then that I became absolutely sure I wanted to continue to pursue programming as a career.

Anything that you would like to add.

I truly feel accomplished after I finish a nanodegree. I think what is great is everyone’s experience is different and you are able to hone your strengths and expose your weaknesses. Being brutally honest with yourself and your skill level is something the military has taught me and it is no different with programming. I want to be challenged, I want to push through problems until I master them. Udacity has helped me to do that. 

We wish you all the best for all your future endeavours.

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