My name is Stefanie Gross, and this is my Udacity Student Success story!
When I started the Intro to Programming Nanodegree program, I was in the middle of a full-time internship in Marketing and Corporate Communication in Frankfurt, Germany. It was just one of many internships I completed to ultimately help me find a job that I’m really passionate about.
Although the job situation in Germany is good, it usually takes some time for recent media graduates to get a foot in the door. There are just too many highly qualified applicants and too few positions available, so you have to find a way to stand out from the crowd.
I always try to learn new things and expand my horizons. But as it turns out, it’s quite difficult to find a company in Germany that supports that mentality. I don’t like the idea of feeling as if I’m stagnating. Unfortunately, with a 40-hour week during my internship and some freelancing on the side, there’s only so much time left in the week to take up new challenges.
I first discovered Udacity in a German magazine called SPIEGEL. The company was included in a story about Silicon Valley and the visionary things happening there. At first I felt a bit of a longing to go to Silicon Valley But almost immediately I realized, “Wait, this is the internet! Anybody can do this! I can be part of that vision right now, right here!”
“Thanks to Udacity, that is a unique mix that I now am able to provide in its full variety. And I got the job.”
When I started Introduction to Programming I had almost zero programming experience, but I did have an enormous curiosity and thirst for knowledge. What I really appreciate about the way Udacity imparts content and learning is the structure of the courses. I can learn at my pace, in my way, and this allowed me to manage the workload by doing my coursework on weekends. Learning at your own pace is great, but also challenging. Fortunately, Udacity also sets deadlines and offers a timetable for each cohort.
The individual pace was an essential factor for me in my situation, however, I need deadlines to keep myself on track. Another thing that distinguishes Udacity from other e-learning platforms is the multi-channel communication. We had a forum, which is great because I could to see how my classmates were doing. This allowed me to solve problems with them together or use each other as motivation. We also had office hours, Google Hangouts, Slack, LinkedIn groups and more.
“My new bosses were also impressed that I was able to graduate from the Nanodegree program while working at my new full-time job. It showed – to them and to myself – the effort I’m willing put in to accomplish my goals.”
Putting it All Together
Around the time that I graduated from the Nanodegree program, my internship coincidentally came to an end. I was looking for new opportunities on LinkedIn and other job portals, however, I was aware that I needed much more experience to call myself a web developer, let alone apply for a position as such. It was then that I found an opening for an “online generalist” at a communications agency.
My new bosses were also impressed that I was able to graduate from the Nanodegree program while working at my new full-time job. It showed – to them and to myself – the effort I’m willing put in to accomplish my goals. They also encouraged me to keep learning, and that is exactly what I’m going to do. Next up, the Front-End Web Development Nanodegree program!
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