Going Further, Exploring On Her Own: Lucia Gonzalez’s Nanodegree-Powered Career Change

A move from London to California offered a great deal of excitement for Lucia Gonzalez and her husband, but getting her career going in a new country proved harder than expected—and then she found Udacity!

Lucia Gonzalez - Udacity - Career Change - Student Success

When Lucia Gonzalez’s husband was offered an exciting new job in San Francisco, the couple leapt at the chance to start a new chapter in their lives. They packed up everything in London and headed to the US. But while they loved their new home, Lucia couldn’t land a job in her field. She searched for six months without success.

Lucia felt stuck, so she started looking outside her comfort zone. It being the Bay Area, tech was everywhere, and she started to think about learning programming. It was a new field, but Lucia was curious. She took some free programs, learned a few basic skills, and was quickly hooked. At the same time, Udacity announced its new Grow with Google Scholarship, offering the opportunity to earn a full scholarship to Udacity’s Front-End Web Developer Nanodegree program. Lucia applied immediately and was ecstatic when she got accepted.

Half a year later, Lucia is a Nanodegree program graduate, and she has landed a Front-End Developer role in the San Francisco Bay Area! We spoke with Lucia recently to hear how she successfully navigated the experience of transitioning careers.

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Two Years, Four Nanodegree Programs, and a New Career!

In just two years, Ricardo Diaz executed an almost impossibly rapid career transformation. Today, he has a new career as a Machine Learning Engineer in Peru, and this is his story.

Ricardo Diaz - New Career - Student Success - Udacity

Ricardo Diaz is a machine learning engineer. He works for a great company in Peru, and he’s a graduate of no less than four Nanodegree programs! By all measures, he’s a success. But just two years ago, it was a different story. He was still in Venezuela, struggling to learn new skills. He was short of money, and his prospects for making a full-time salary weren’t great.

How did he manage such a rapid and complete career transformation? We chatted with Ricardo recently to find out.

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A Career in Motion: Darien Martinez Torres, and the road to Autonomous Systems

A passion for learning sent Darien Martinez Torres back to the classroom after twenty years as a developer. Today, this two-time Nanodegree grad works on drones and flying cars!

Darien Martinez Torres - Udacity - Student Success - Autonomous Systems

Darien Martinez Torres has nearly twenty years of experience as a software developer. For much of that time, he has worked as a contractor—jumping from role to to role as opportunities have appeared. He enjoyed the new challenges each job brought, but he also had a nagging sense there was something more out there for him.

When he heard about the Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree program, he recognized an opportunity to reconnect with subjects he’d learned about years before—such as image and sensor processing. It sounded amazing, but also a challenge—he’d need to balance studying with the demands of work; not to mention family life with three children! Nevertheless, he enrolled and committed to studying hard, collaborating closely with a group of fellow students. He quickly realized that much in the field had changed, and there were many new skills he’d need to learn anew.

Darien has now graduated from two Nanodegree programs, and he’s doing something incredible—he’s collaborating with a group of fellow graduates to put his new skills into immediate practice, and he’s building out his own idea for a platform to share advanced experiments.

We chatted to Darien recently to hear about what drives his passion for learning, and to learn more about his exciting new collaboration.

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Building A Blockchain Career

How two-time Nanodegree program graduate Marie Leaf transformed her mindset, and launched a new career in a transformational field.

Building a Blockchain Career - Marie Leaf - Udacity - Student Success

Marie Leaf describes herself as a lifelong Udacity learner, and we’ve been so impressed and inspired not just by her incredible thirst for knowledge and self-motivation, but by all the ways she’s connected her learning experiences to her career advancement. Marie has built a unique career path that has led her to an exciting role in the blockchain field, and in our interview below, she discusses how learning with Udacity helped transform her mindset, and how she felt empowered to pursue the technology-centric career she really wanted for herself.

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Xi Palazzolo’s Journey to Career Success

From veterinary studies in China, to machine learning algorithms in Detroit, this two-time Nanodegree program graduate has been on a remarkable career journey.

Xi Palazzolo - Career Success - Detail

Xi Palazzolo was going to be a veterinarian. She completed her training in China, then moved to the US to study for a Master’s in Epidemiology. She planned to practice when she graduated. But her hopes were dashed when she discovered few clinics were willing to sponsor her work visa. What was she going to do? She had to find something else, in a different field entirely.

Fate intervened when Xi met her future husband. They moved to Detroit for his job, and she found a role at a university, evaluating the impact of the institution’s programs. She enjoyed the work, but she wanted more for her career.

She sat down with her husband and took a hard look at her situation. What transferable skills did she have? What investments of time and money would different career paths require? What fields genuinely excited her? Data was the answer for Xi, so she started working to build her skills. She enrolled in the Data Analyst Nanodegree program, and started learning the programming languages—like R and Python—she’d need to succeed in the field.

We’re happy to share that Xi recently landed a new role in data, and what’s more, she’s graduated from a second Nanodegree program in Machine Learning! We spoke with her to hear about how she landed an amazing new job in an industry she loves.

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She’s Passionately Curious, and She Works On Self-Driving Robots.

This Nanodegree program grad describes herself as “passionately curious.” That curiosity has taken An Nguyen to an amazing new career as an Embedded Systems Engineer, working on self-driving robots!

An Nguyen - Udacity - Student Success - Self-Driving Robots

In her LinkedIn profile, An Nguyen includes a famous quote from Albert Einstein:  “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” She feels this quote really describes her, and while we respectfully disagree with the first half, “passionately curious” is absolutely right.

When she graduated college with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, An landed a great job as a design engineer for a transportation company in Ohio. She did well at the company, got promoted, and worked on high-profile projects. But her curiosity wouldn’t allow her to rest on her laurels. She’d been reading about exciting new technologies that were predicted to change the world, and she was feeling the lure of new career challenges.

She started looking at online programs, found Udacity, and decided to enroll in the Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree program. It was as if a light bulb went on as soon as she started studying.

Today, An is an Embedded Systems Engineer for a Forensic Engineering company. She works on software and hardware related to self-driving robots, and she loves her company. We spoke to An to hear about how she made it happen.

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This Lifelong Learner’s Passion for Social Change has Powered a Remarkable Career Journey

Jamaal Davis will be speaking at Udacity Festival 2018 about learning new skills, crafting your own journey, and advancing your career—subjects he knows a great deal about!

Udacity - Student Success Career Journey - Digital Marketing

Jamaal Davis has always been driven by a strong desire to help others. He has worked on community outreach projects with disadvantaged communities, and taken on the challenge of teaching coding to teenagers. Now, after graduating from Udacity’s Digital Marketing Nanodegree program, he has landed an exciting opportunity to put his skills to positive use yet again—working as a Digital Coordinator for Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

We spoke with Jamaal to hear about his passion for social change, and how it has inspired his career journey.

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