Learning a new set of skills, changing careers, or taking on a new project can often seem daunting, until, you’re able to see an achievable outcome. Kevin Scott, a recent Full Stack Web Developer Nanodegree program graduate, successfully changed careers after redefining his expectations about acquiring new skills and what it takes to become a programmer.
Meet Andrew, a graduate of Udacity’s Front End Web Developer, Mobile Web Specialist, and Design Sprint Nanodegree programs. In 2018 he won a full Grow with Google scholarship in the Mobile Web Specialist track. He works full time remotely as a Front End Developer for a small company called Kynectiv, which helps clients implement simulation-based training. When he’s not programming, he runs a mastermind network for high-performers and blogs about personal development and travel. He’s a full-time digital nomad, based in Chiang Mai, Thailand at the time of this interview. We caught up with Andrew to learn more about this nomadic life and to answer the most common questions that he gets about his lifestyle.
What’s your travel schedule like as a digital nomad?
I like to really get to know a place when I travel! For two to six months I pick a “home base” and use it as a launching point to explore a region. I also think about what skills an area is best known for, and I’ll practice some of them for as long as I’m based there. For example, while I’m in Thailand I’m practicing Muay Thai, Buddhist meditation and Thai cooking. These learning “challenges” feed my curiosity and stretch my comfort zone. Taking these skills with me for the rest of my life is far more valuable to me than any souvenir.
Marc Andreessen famously said, “Software is eating the world.” And there’s data to prove it: According to a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were more than 1.25 million software engineering jobs in the US in 2016 alone, and those jobs were growing at a rate of 24% per year. On top of this growth, software engineers enjoy an average annual salary of nearly $100k!
But what does it take to land a job as a software developer? Having a deep and practical understanding of data structures and algorithms is key to acing the job interview and growing your technical career. Whether you want to become a web developer or set a foundation in software development to move into roles like machine learning engineer or data engineer, understanding data structures and algorithms will help you get there.
Today, we are excited to announce the Data Structures and Algorithms Nanodegree Program! From evaluating which data structures to use when you’re building a website, to selecting the right algorithm for a self-driving car, every software engineering problem requires an intuitive understanding of these tools. This is why all software engineering job interviews emphasize data structures and algorithms during coding interviews.
Students will practice solving everything from very well-defined problems, like how to calculate the efficiency of a specific algorithm, to more open-ended problems, like building your own private blockchain or writing a web-crawler. With the launch of this program, anyone with an Internet connection and intermediate Python skills can practice these in-demand interview skills with over 100 problems.
During this program, students will complete four courses and over 100 practice problems. Throughout the program, students will start by practicing with well-defined problems and then move into open-ended problems that will require them to make design trade-offs. All practice problems and projects require that students have intermediate Python knowledge.
Having a deep and practical understanding of data structures and algorithms is key to acing the job interview and growing your technical career.
Here’s a course-by-course breakdown:
In celebration of Women’s History Month, we’ve introduced you to numerous women who are balancing their dedication to re-skilling, growing their careers and the demands of everyday life. Marcy Bursac has successfully made a mid-career change in the midst of raising a family.
When Marcy realized she wanted greater balance in her work-life schedule to allow for more time with her kids and husband, she was faced with a dilemma about her career. She took the time to reimagine what she had done previously, and what she could do next. Over the course of a year, she enrolled in an intensive local tech program, the Udacity Front End Nanodegree program, and became involved in the local tech community. Her experience is marked by motivation, dedication, and hard work. We recently chatted with Marcy to learn how she changed the direction of her career in the midst of an active personal life.
Thank you for chatting with us, Marcy! Can you start by telling us a little about your educational and professional background?
Hi Caroline! As we chat, I am in my home studio having just finished the final assignment for my first MBA course, Accounting. Milestones are so fun!
After receiving an undergraduate degree, I began work in a non-profit pediatric clinic. I was immediately taken with non-profit work, and thus began an incredibly meaningful chapter in my life. I spent the next 12 years working with several organizations on behalf of underserved populations such as individuals who were homeless and individuals who were unemployed or under-employed. It was during my time with one organization, Dress for Success Midwest, that I learned about the underrepresentation of women in various STEM-related fields. I was intrigued.
At the same time, a friend of mine worked at MasterCard Foundation, and we were able to collaborate to create a local non-profit tech program with the mission of aiding single moms to rapidly propel their career into tech jobs, to achieve a living wage much more quickly than through a traditional college degree. Seeing women who had never coded building their own program over just a few short weeks, I found my own interest in the tech sector, coding, in particular, growing. In the evenings, I began a free online program which lasted a few lessons until I was lost and I totally put that wild idea to the wayside.
This year, we are honored to celebrate Women’s History Month throughout the month of March and International Women’s Day on March 8 by introducing you to three of our students. In keeping with this year’s International Women’s Day theme of “balance for better,” we hope you find inspiration in each student’s journey, and their ability to balance busy lives with their desire to progress in their career and better the balance of women in tech roles.
Flavia Izquierdo began her career as a software engineer. She excelled in the role, working for a number of exciting companies in Spain and Germany. But, after six years in the industry, she began to feel unfulfilled with her work.
“I just didn’t feel like it was interesting enough and I wanted to change, but my next thought was—what can I do? I’m not that young.”
At the same time, Flavia had to consider what would be more fulfilling? One of her first thoughts: data. Whenever her projects involved working with data, she found herself drawn to the possibilities and conclusions one could draw. She let this interest lead her. After researching data analyst jobs and looking for relevant online learning options for gaining these skills, Udacity’s Data Analyst Nanodegree program stood out.
“It just felt right. The structure, the projects, content…and the fact that you started from the very beginning and built analytical skills from the base all the way up to data wrangling—it seemed like a program that gave you a well-rounded set of skills.”
As her passion for data grew, she realized trying to balance data study and work didn’t feel right for her. She wanted to invest even more time in the program, so took the leap and quit her job as a software engineer. Flavia spent the next six months steadily learning the industry skills she had seen on numerous data analyst job descriptions.
Since 2016, more than 73,000 people across Europe have explored new career opportunities with the Google Developer scholarship; 21% have already landed new jobs in tech.
Since Google and Udacity first launched the groundbreaking Grow with Google scholarship in late 2016, an astounding 73,000 scholars from across Europe, the Middle East and Africa have learned new cutting-edge skills in a range of Udacity’s programs. It’s an incredible figure that provides a real insight into the positive gains Google and Udacity’s initiative is making to address the digital skills gap in Europe. Most importantly, it has supported many individuals to learn new skills, grow their careers, and change their lives. This is a part of Google’s program called Grow with Google, a series of training, tools and events to equip people with the skills they need to succeed in the digital economy.
20 years of hard-earned experience managing the logistics of military relocations led to a programming career helping other military families move more easily!
While it’s not necessarily thought of as a conventional “career,” 20 years of organizing regular house moves for her military family (including four children!) has been a LOT of work for Kimberly McCaffrey. She has managed a constant cycle of organizing movers, schools, housing, and logistics, in whatever location the Navy sent them next. When her husband decided to retire, Kimberly knew everything was about to change, and so she started on an exciting new journey—embracing her childhood fascination with computers and launching a career as a programmer. Along the way she won a hackathon, and is now building a new app focused on a subject she knows very well—helping military families relocate!
We were lucky enough to chat with Kimberly to hear about her experiences learning to program, and what she plans to do next.