Android Development Nanodegree Program Completion
I am excited to announce that I have recently completed the Android Development Nanodegree through Udacity! There were many months and many hours spent learning and completing the projects required for graduating with this degree. The opportunity of enrolling in this program at no cost to me was provided through the Grow with Google Developer Scholarship. It was offered to me after completing a previous phase and being selected from a larger pool of people. With a few different options, I narrowed my choice between Full Stack Web Developer or Android Development.
I have a lot of interest in full stack web development but also realize the importance of app development for Android and iOS devices. I have seen data that indicates most people spend time on their phone in mobile apps rather than mobile web. These same trends I notice when in observation of myself and my peers.
My Steep Learning Curve
I have already done a lot of dabbling in full stack web development but had barely touched Android development. Android development always seemed a little more daunting for me to get into because of their many API levels of their operating systems spread across their user base as well as the initially confusing activity life-cycle. I was bombarded with onCreate, onStart, onResume, onPause, onStop, onSavedInstanceState — they just seemed annoying and unnecessary to me at first. I thought a well-structured course in Android development would be more helpful to me than re-learning some concepts in full stack web development. It also seemed a plus that the course was put together with the help of actual Google employees.
I believe I made the right choice. The learning curve for me in Android development was steeper than any other concept I had previously attempted. Something about its design was not quite clicking in my mind. However, a few weeks into the course I was getting much more comfortable with the material.
I have to say that my absolute favorite aspect of these Udacity Nanodegrees is that the required projects are evaluated with encouraging, professional code reviews! One thing I have always wanted when working on projects is someone to give me feedback on my code. This was something that really legitimized the course for me and implied that I would really be learning what I needed to know to be successful with Android development. Udacity put in a lot of effort in order to ensure that people enrolled in the course would get feedback on their work. There are also many ways to communicate with mentors and other people enrolled in the course for support and networking.
Most Nanodegrees will cost you around $1000 USD for a four month course. If it was not for the scholarship I would not have enrolled in any of their courses at the time because of the plethora of free information already available on the internet. I have also been somewhat skeptical of paid certificates in my perception of their value to employers. However, after completing the Android Development Nanodegree course I feel confident that my knowledge gained and the value of my certification is significantly tangible. I have begun considering other courses offered by them.
As a person in the processes of making a career change to software development, I believe that creating your own projects and solutions is the best way to prove competency to potential employers or clients. It was great that the course provided both a certificate and projects to showcase.
The Final Project
For my final project I created a mobile app to aid people who are studying for the Certified Sommelier exam and blind tasting with the deductive tasting format. I have completed the level 1 course and exam my self and the Certified Sommelier exam is the next in four total levels in accreditation with the Court of Master Sommeliers Americas.
The app guides you through deductive tasting in order to memorize the format as was well as prepare you for the blind tasting portion of the Certified Sommelier examination. The app also calculates its own guess of what the wine may be based on the characteristics input by the user. I still get a little excited every time the app guesses correctly!