Data Scientist - Intro to Programming Nanodegree program - Programming - Student Success

Student Story – Ivanna

Every month we will showcase a student from one of our Nanodegree programs to show how their Udacity experience has impacted their life.

This month, we talked with Ivanna.  As Lead Mobile Developer for World of Mouth, Ivanna is based in Latvia. She enjoys traveling the world, her favorite destinations so far are Italy and the United States. She loves movies and has a passion for programming.

For passionate foodies who want to discover the tastiest parts of the world, World of Mouth is an independent restaurant guide powered by a global community of culinary experts. Read on to learn more about Ivanna’s experience with Udacity. 

Why did you choose Udacity?

I first heard of Udacity when I saw a Google ad for the Udacity scholarship cohort in 2017 and applied for a scholarship for Android basics which I have successfully completed. Having a love for coding, I have also completed Nanodegrees in Data Foundations, Data Analytics for Enterprise, and Machine Learning.  

What did you think of the hands-on concepts?

It was good to have the hands-on projects from my Udacity studies because I was able to show my progress through my portfolio. In April 2020, I participated in a data analytics coding competition sponsored by Google Cloud, and I won first prize which immediately grabbed the attention of recruiters.

After winning the contest, I was considering the option of which way my career path could go – mobile or data science, and then Covid shut down the world. I used the time to focus on my coding and I released my first mobile app using Flutter.

How did you balance your day-to-day demands with your Nanodegree program?

I was already working as Director of Operations for a firm before I pivoted over to tech.  Many of the soft skills and work ethics were already established from that career and transferred over.  I knew I needed to get the training for the hard skills and then everything would fall into place.

I had a passion for coding as a child and my hobby was learning coding.  I’d buy “Hacker Magazine” and read it cover to cover every month. I love that I was able to turn that hobby into a career.

How was the Nanodegree different from university studies?

Udacity’s flexibility is great for anyone who has work, family and personal responsibilities.  I didn’t have the time for full-time studies. So many students who spend 2-3 years in a university program only to discover this is not what they thought it would be.  It’s a big investment in time and money when you can’t decide what to pursue career wise without even being in the field.

What was the most challenging part of your program?

The most challenging part of my program was juggling my time to work and study.  Any free time would be dedicated to my studies.  If you are going to do a Nanodegree, you have to set time aside to do the work and the projects.

Did the Udacity experience change how you are advancing in your path?

Completing my Nanodegrees allowed me to win several coding competitions and fully transition into a software engineering career. I am able to use concepts learned in my Nanodegree programs as I navigate through my projects at work.

What motivated you during your studies?

Initially I had a passion to learn more about the projects and materials.  Later I was excited to improve upon the capstones to use in my portfolio.  I believe showing what you can do is what gave me the opportunities I’ve had. Computer science is my childhood passion, so it was easy to get into the flow.

What advice would you give to prospective learners?

I’d say celebrate your hard work as you go through the program. You need to reward yourself for the sacrifices and dedication you have put in during the time you did your Nanodegree.  When I finished, I printed out my Nanodegree and went out for a little lunch in a nice rooftop restaurant in Riga.

Do not give up when your studies start getting more difficult – remember your goals and focus on one step at ta time. While being talented can help, it’s the dedication to training and show up every day that ultimately makes a champion.

Interested in becoming a Mobile Developer?

Ivanna’s passion for coding as a child started her path to becoming a Lead Mobile Developer.  If you are interested, consider starting out with Udacity’s Android Basics or Data Foundations Nanodegrees.

Monique Roberts
Monique Roberts
Monique enjoys traveling, photography, and connecting with Udacity students around the world in addition to writing about digital transformation, career upskilling, and innovative technologies.