Today’s post features two Udacity students, Linda and Spiros, who have created some truly impressive things as part of (or as a result of) what they learned in their Nanodegree programs. Inspired? You can do it, too—really! Enrollment for all six Nanodegree programs is now open, so head on over and have a look.
Udacity students are creating some amazing things. And many are going on to careers as full-time software developers or moving up in their current jobs.
But let’s take a step back.
As part of the Nanodegree experience and after taking online courses, students tackle a variety of projects—with the support of Udacity coaches and students—to show off their new skills. This is a key element in the Nanodegree learning experience because it adds actual application to learned theory. But even better, these projects will make compelling additions to a programmer’s online portfolio, and perfect experience to showcase to potential employers.
We caught up with two Udacity students, Linda, and Spiros, to check out some of the inspirational things they’ve built during or outside of their programs.
I’ve been interested in programming for a long time. Simply put, I believe it’s my passion.
In my case, a teacher in my first programming course was an inspiration. He constantly challenged his students to solve problems. I remember that at the end of the course, I had to build this small game and it was so cool.
I definitely learned technical aspects though, which was my first goal. However, it helped me to remember how it feels working on your own app and all the emotions involved including frustration and excitement. It was definitively a great experience for me and I really want to keep working in my own projects. I’m also in the recruitment process for two companies.
I’ve been interested in the stock market for the last couple of years and thought it would be a great idea to work on a financial app that I could actually use.
For my final project in the iOS Nanodegree, I built an app called “Stock Finder Lite” for iPhone and iPad, a financial app to search and follow stock-market data. Choosing this idea really made the process easier in terms of defining features and keeping myself inspired when building it. Essentially you search stocks and financial instruments and add them to a watch-list. The app also provides finance news, graphs and market summaries.
Before taking the Nanodegree, I was trying to advance my knowledge of programming and computer science, but from the perspective of a language designer. For about a year and a half, I was studying really hard—about 8-10 hours per day—from the book Structure Interpretation of Computer Programming, solving almost all the exercises of the book. I had an early goal of acquiring a PhD in education.
In 2011 I was a accepted in a PhD program at the University of London, but for financial and personal reasons, I had to drop out a year later. From that moment I knew this dream had to wait, and the only thing left to do is to was prepare on my own—however hard it proved to be.
I had always wanted to learn to create iPhone apps, but the idea of constantly searching for tutorials isn’t something I enjoy doing. And Objective-C wasn’t to my liking, but when swift released, I was hooked. From my perspective, there were two ways to seriously learn iOS: Stanford’s open class for iOS and the Udacity iOS Developer Nanodegree, which promises publishing an app upon completion.
Stanford’s videos don’t offer any feedback after doing the weekly assignments, so wanting to get some feedback on my coding skills, I decided to try Udacity. In retrospect, the code reviews were the best part of my experience.
In the Nanodegree, I developed five apps in total. The most enjoyable was the “On the Map” project—you create an app that displays basic information about Nanodegree students including where they’re from. I also loved “Virtual Tourist,” an app we built displaying images that you select by adding a pin on a Map to a specific location.
Shortly after my last project was reviewed, I was offered to work as a code reviewer remotely. Being able to work remotely and having the extra income was really important because for a long time, I haven’t been able to to find a job working in my area of expertise partly because of the fact that Greece is going through economic depression.
For the last project, I created my own app called instaexplorer, which uses the instagram API to display photos on a map and easily display favorites. My goal wasn’t so much to create something that will sell, but to demonstrate my skills in order to find a job.
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