UPDATE: As of mid-May, Dawoon has transitioned from his internship and accepted a full-time position as a web developer. Congrats, Dawoon!
I feel as if my story is unique. Yes, I went to college but I didn’t study computer science or anything programming-related. For 17 years, I played golf. I started playing when I was a mere seven years old. Back then, it was the only goal in my life—my parents included—and that was my purpose, with the ultimate goal of becoming a professional golfer.
I realized a long time ago that golf wasn’t for me, but my family and I were obsessed with it being my career path simply because I played for such a long time. It felt like it was a waste of all those years of experience and training to stop playing golf. But two years ago, I realized that I needed a change.
I started programming a year and a half ago. I’ve never programmed before.
When I stopped playing golf, I had to figure out how I was going to work. It wasn’t easy to find a job. I knew how to speak English better than most Korean people, primarily from traveling to other countries to play golf. So I found a job that utilized my knowledge of English to make money, but it was just a stopgap.
Around the same time, I found an article about tech companies and the growth of places like Facebook. I figured there was a good opportunity to study programming; ultimately I wanted to be an entrepreneur and start my own company. Back then, it was all about making money and getting something off the ground. But now, I’m all about programming: it’s really fun, and I’m primarily focused on learning how to become a better programmer. Much of that is thanks to Udacity.
Around the time I began researching programming, I read an article about MOOCs, including Udacity, EdX, and Coursera. The Udacity course that really drew me in was How to Build a Startup, but I quickly realized I had zero programming experience. So I enrolled in Intro to Computer Science at Udacity. The class was really fun; it was my first Udacity course, and I learned so much just from that single course.
I instantly related to other Nanodegree students who didn’t have much of a programming background…
Around that time, I started thinking about enrolling in the Front End Nanodegree. But initially, I really did have my doubts. Being a new program at the time, I was one of the very first students to enroll, so I was doubtful of the entire web development path and if it was right for me. I wasn’t sure exactly how it would end up and where it was going to take me.
But during Intro to CS, I become friends with a few coaches at Udacity, and they encouraged me to start the Nanodegree, assuring me that I would get a lot out of the program. And when I started, I met a lot of awesome people both at Udacity and fellow students, and I still connect with them to this day, providing a lot of insight post-graduation.
I instantly related to other Nanodegree students who didn’t have much of a programming background, and found out that many of them also wanted to get jobs in web development and programming. One of my friends and former classmates got a job in the U.S., and I’m just so happy to hear that. And people at Udacity really do care a lot about students and provide plenty of support. Honestly, I love that.
You should definitely get involved with other students and the community…once you start helping people, you realize how far that knowledge really goes.
There’s a good amount of career development help, too, including an event to help improve your resume and LinkedIn profile, as well as training on how to prepare for job interviews. Before the Nanodegree, I had no idea how to create a resume or flesh out my LinkedIn profile…and I never had a formal job interview. These events were so helpful, and other students also got plenty of help from them. Udacity course managers even provided feedback on my resume and profiles. It really did help me and other students get as prepared as possible for the job hunt and interview process.
Of course the Nanodegree is challenging, but I wouldn’t call it frustratingly challenging—I think it’s just the right amount. The key thing is that if you enroll, you should definitely get involved with other students and the community. Have conversations with students (and coaches); help others with what you have learned and they will help you back. Once you start helping people, you realize how far that knowledge really goes. Doing plenty of research along the way definitely helps, so it’s good to remember that. When I first started the Nanodegree, I realized that all us students had similar and very diverse skills, and everyone felt very welcomed by the community.
And the good news: I recently began an internship as a software engineer. Considering that I only started programming 15 months ago, I think I’m incredibly lucky to be where I am today. I still have a lot more to learn, but I’m so happy that I could share my experience and help inspire future students.
Want to share your Udacity story? We want to hear from you! Drop us a line at email@example.com.