Student Spotlight

Meet the students who stood out and inspired us with their stories

WEEK 33

Osama Chaban

@Osama | AND | https://github.com/osama1982/

In early November of 2015, Osama fled his home country of Syria and moved to Sweden as a refugee. He spent about a year-and-a-half in a camp until he able to leave and get started on his own. Shortly after leaving the camp, he joined the Google Udacity scholarship and embarked on the nine month journey of learning Android development. Osama has just graduated and is ready to start his tech career in Sweden.

Read on to get the full story!



Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from?

I'm a hopeful Syrian war refugee living in Sweden trying to rebuild my life in my new home. I spend most of my time learning Java/Spring for microservices, along with frontend and backend materials, in order to achieve one of my dreams and become a fullstack developer. Also, I am learning Swedish and I would love to able to speak it fluently someday. Fun fact: I tried eating Surströmming (a fermented Baltic Sea herring) once and it was hilarious!

Did you have any coding experience prior to this course? What is your technical background?

When I started this course I had basic coding experience in HTML, Java, C, C++ and C# because I worked as System/Network administrator for the most part of my IT career at home. One of my proudest accomplishments was building an IT department from scratch with the help of my co-workers.

What impact on your life has this Scholarship had professionally and/or personally? What has your Scholarship helped you accomplish?

Being granted this awesome nine month Udacity Google scholarship has helped me to grow on a professional level by gaining more skills and easing the process of changing my career. Through Udacity’s simple yet comprehensive classes, I've done projects and gotten valuable feedback that's helped me grow.

On a personal level, it's helped me boost my confidence during this career change I am trying to navigate. When I hit the shiny “Finish & Graduate” button, it was amazing. What a journey! Thank you Google and Udacity for granting me this chance to start building my life.

What advice would you give to other students who are finding it difficult to make progress?

If you ever felt stuck somewhere, take a short break and relax your mind. Connect with other students on Slack and in forums. Slack is always full if wonderful people who would love to help you and share resources with you (articles, code examples, etc. ). Don't be afraid to make mistakes or hesitate to ask for help, because all of that contributes to your progress and learning experience and always remember, 'Google' is your friend.

What do you do to relax when you're not working on your Nanodegree?

I like to listen to music (especially Swedish nowadays, since it helps me to learn the language). Also, I watch Japanese anime or stand up comedy, play games with friends, search for new food recipes and sometimes I watch Twitch while working out.

What's next for you once you graduate?

I have few things on my mind. First of all, and most importantly, is to find work and be able to support myself. Then, I need to continue learning Android and Java in-depth and research advanced topics and machine learning. I am aiming to become fullstack developer to create awesome apps and better solutions.

What is your favorite movie/TV show?

Movie: The Godfather. TV show: Game of Thrones. Sitcom: Seinfeld. Band: Aerosmith. Anime: Your Name (Kimi no Na wa).


WEEK 32

Maeva NGUYEN ANH PHUONG

@MaevaNAP | FEND | github.com/maevanapcontact

This week's student spotlight comes from an active community member and FEND student, Maeva. She realized, through her involvement in the community, that she has a love of teaching code. She was recently hired to be a Vanilla/JS and React coach at a coding school in France, allowing her to combine her two new found passions.

So how did she get her resume and LinkedIn in tip-top shape ?

"When I was getting my application materials ready, the career portal helped me build a strong LinkedIn profile and GitHub profile. A recruiter actually reached out to me because they found my profile, which I linked to my Github account."

Read on to get the full story!


Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from?

I am a hungry learner from France. I was previously an artist in the video game industry. I have many passions, but the main one is to learn and teach to others :) Even if I looooove my computer, I can't stay sit down more than 1 hour front of my screen, I need to move everywhere and then I come back and code once again.

Did you have any coding experience prior to this course? What is your technical background?

I did a bit of HTML and CSS 15 years ago. I have also 3 months of C++ experience in the University (10 years ago ^^). Besides that, no real experience.

What impact on your life has this Scholarship had professionally and/or personally? What has your Scholarship helped you accomplish?

This scholarship had a huge impact to me! First, personally, it helped me to really find my way and my passion. It is totally different to code in a complete program with a whole community, than to code alone for yourself on your personal projects! Also, I have discovered that my true passion was teaching, and I couldn't have known that without the community! Professionally it helped me find my first job as JS trainer at the Wild Code School

What advice would you give to other students who are finding it difficult to make progress?

First, I would say it is normal (and good) to find this program difficult. It means you are making progress, and you are truly learning. Then, never give up! It's easy to say and hard to do because we completely lose confidence when we are stuck. But I saw experts who weren't able to complete their projects in the first try, even simple ones. The only ability you need is to learn and persevere!

What do you do to relax when you're not working on your Nanodegree?

I enjoyed taking time away from my computer. The main thing I did was to go for a walk or a drink with friends. It helped feeling better. Also just have fun, there is anything else side to code!

What's next for you once you graduate?

I really wanted to get a job quickly to apply my knew skills. I did the LinkedIn and GitHub profile mainly and searched for a job! I did my website to help me in this task :)

What is your favorite movie/TV show?

Haha, that's hard to say as I don't watch TV at all :) I still love fantasy movies or movies with great VFX (because of my previous career), but I prefer time away from the screen when I don't code.


WEEK 30

Sebastian

@Sebastian | ABND | github.com/bluewarsaw

This week's student spotlight features Sebastian, a graduate who combined his love of photography and the forgotten architecture of his home city of Warsaw, Poland. He used his ABND Project 5: Tour Guide App requirement to make something that he personally cares about.

"Warsaw has beautiful modernism gems located in all of its districts. Unfortunately, mostly they are hided behind billboards and dust, waiting patiently to be discovered by pedestrians. Maybe the Warsaw Modernism Tour Guide will help city dwellers and visitors to see the beauty of the modernist architecture, and the city itself with a new perspective."

Read further to find out more about Sebastian's scholarship journey. Be sure to click the link on the right had side to learn more about his app!


Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from?

Hi, my name is Sebastian and I’m from Warsaw, Poland. Besides coding, I love to explore the world on my bike or take longer journeys abroad. I usually take my camera with me. After a trip, I typically have hundreds of pictures of landscapes and architecture. A fun fact about myself: when I was a student, I really thought that I wanted to be a stock trader. I even did internship at the Warsaw Stock Exchange.

Did you have any coding experience prior to this course? What is your technical background?

I had my first experience with coding when I was 15-years-old. I wrote portal about ski-jumping in HTML. I was administrator of Copernicus Science Center website and, as a System Specialist in Wolters Kluwer, of Workflow business system. Before this Nanodegree, I’ve accomplished RoR and PHP online free courses.

What impact on your life has this Scholarship had professionally and/or personally? What has your Scholarship helped you accomplish?

I see the Google Udacity Scholarship as one of those experiences impacting both my professional and personal life. With this scholarship, I was able to accomplish a guide through forgotten modernism gems in Warsaw. I’ve combined my new coding skills with the hundreds of photographs and short descriptions, and put it all together to Warsaw Modernism Tour Guide App. It's pretty cool because it's already gathered a small community of people interested in modernism, and it’s growing bigger every day!

What advice would you give to other students who are finding it difficult to make progress?

When I'm stuck and feel unable to obtain any new data to my brain, I try to find something else to do. Read a book, categorize photos, go into the forest or listen to music and let myself have time for processing new knowledge. The ideas appearing after even a short break can be mind blowing. Who knows, maybe you will figure out an app changing a world simply walking through woods?

What do you do to relax when you're not working on your Nanodegree?

There is a huge Kampinos backwoods nearby Warsaw where I go for “Shinrin-yoku” - it’s a japanese word for “forest bathing” - you can achieve it by simply walking calmly through the woods. I adore listen to a mellow jazz while sitting leisurely in my armchair with a good sci-fi book.

What's next for you once you graduate?

I’m looking forward to learn more Java and machine learning in future. I’m already upgrading the Warsaw Modernism Tour Guide app with new objects and features. I’ve spent the last two years mostly in Warsaw, but I’m looking for a job where I can work remotely.

What is your favorite movie/TV show?

The Blues Brothers is my favourite movie of all time. I’ve watch this comedy over 40 times and I definitely will do it again. Additionally, I love to put a random episode of The Office (US version) on a background screen when I’m looking for some amusing disturbance.

Get the Warsaw Modernism Tour Guide App

>>HERE<<

Full Medium story

>>HERE<<

WEEK 29

Eman Abd El Salam Zaghloul

@Eman Zaghloul | FEND

Like many of you out there in scholarship land, Eman has recently finished her FEND course. With less than a month until the August 15th deadline, it's either time to celebrate or time to seriously get to work. Wherever you land on the progress spectrum, students like Eman are here to inspire you! Hear about Eman's motivation to join the scholarship and how she plans to use her knowledge to advance in her career. She's a true life long learner.

"I'm a Senior software developer and I joined this scholarship to up-skill in my job. I felt like there was something missing in my knowledge base. In real working life, it can be hard to learn from others. Many times we're focused on delivering at work and not always about learning new things. This course has helped me feel confident and consolidate my web development skills.

This scholarship has the power to change your life and career!"


Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from?

I'm a fighter girl from Egypt, and have a passion to learn and take responsibility since I was a child. I'm a Senior Software Engineer, and Biomedical Informatician with eight years of experience. I like swimming and planting flowers, like Jasmines (Arabian jasmine and berry are my favorites). I also enjoy playing with my three-and-a-half-year-old nephew.

Did you have any coding experience prior to this course? What is your technical background?

Yes, I am senior software engineer, C# .Net technologies. I've worked in many Egyptian and USA companies to build Hospital Information Systems (HIS ) and Electronic Medical Records (EMR) systems. I not only write code, but I understand and analyze the medical content standards. Also, I hold Biomedical Informatics diploma from Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) in Portland, Oregon in the USA.

What impact on your life has this Scholarship had professionally and/or personally? What has your Scholarship helped you accomplish?

I used to have a very deep experience in desktop-back end applications. However, I always felt there was something missing. I was used to doing tasks the hard way. This scholarship helped me to learn tons of very useful courses, and it's helped consolidate my experience to build powerful accessible web sites. My aim was not only just to finish the scholarship, but also keeping this course as a reference to refer back to.

What advice would you give to other students who are finding it difficult to make progress?

If someone else can do it, then you can do it! Hard work beats talent when talent stops work hard. Keep pushing you can do it! Write down you goals to help you achieve them. Use the"S""A""P" – Search, Ask, Post, you will find the answer!

What do you do to relax when you're not working on your Nanodegree?

I love walking, swimming, cooking and baking. I love to take care of our garden and flowers. Mostly, I play with Nour– my nephew . We have a lot of fun playing together, sometimes I feel younger than him! Children are angels. I also love listening to calm music and reading.

What's next for you once you graduate?

I plan to join a much bigger organization and focus my work more as a Front-End developer, in addition to my back end experience. And of course, I want to continue learning.

Hopefully I can join Udacity team in some way, that would be great!

What is your favorite movie/TV show?

King Kong, The Jungle Book (3D animation) movie, Titanic, all Denzel Washington movies, the Oprah Winfrey Show, The Bold and The Beautiful, Prison Break and many more! In addition to cartoon movies Micky mouse, Tom and Jerry, and animation movies e.g Moana.

WEEK 28

Goran Minov

@lineargs | AND

This week's Student Spotlight comes from Goran, a student that's been on a Udacity journey – from initially experimenting by taking a free course, then enrolling into a Nanodegree, and finally entering into the scholarship program where he's now become a classroom Mentor and Project Reviewer!

In addition, Goran has volunteered as a Study Jam student leader, helping his fellow community members get through their AND project questions.

"The scholarship community is a big part of me. The helping that goes on between us all and the idea exchange is is really inspirational."

Check out one inspired idea from the scholarship program: Goran's app available in the Google Play Store.


Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from?

I am a native Macedonian currently living in London (UK), holding a Masters of Information Science in the area of Software Engineering. I am passionate about Android and all the Activity Lifecycles. Whenever I have a chance I like to onPause() the daily activities and onStart() exploring different countries. I've flown over 100k miles so far.

Did you have any coding experience prior to this course? What is your technical background?

I have three plus years Java educational experience, no Android but plenty of software knowledge.

What impact on your life has this Scholarship had professionally and/or personally? What has your Scholarship helped you accomplish?

I am a Classroom Mentor and Project Reviewer in the Android Developer Nanodegree, and this scholarship and the experience mentoring has helped me publish an app on the Play Store. I also have on on the way. Also, I am on the right track for landing an Android Developer job!

What advice would you give to other students who are finding it difficult to make progress?

We all have one thing in common – We TRY. Keep trying!

What do you do to relax when you're not working on your Nanodegree?

I like to go to the Gym but also like to kick back and relax with Netflix.

What's next for you once you graduate?

Hopefully landing an Android Developer job and then take it from there. Definitely a Software Engineering job.

What is your favorite movie/TV show?

Friends - I have rewatched them at least 20 times.

WEEK 27

Ahmed Hamdan

@AhmedHamdan | AND

This week's Student Spotlight comes from Ahmed–a passionate student who is both active in the Google Udacity Scholarship community as well as his local community in Palestine. He's a community member of Gaza Sky Geeks where he shares the skills he's learned in his Android Nanodegree with other eager Gazans. Ahmed's drive to make a difference in the world through his love of coding is an inspiration. Continue reading to get the full story!

Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from?

I was born in Spain, but I am living in Palestine-Gaza. Other than my Nanodegree, I am software engineering student at the University of Palestine. Also, I am an ambassador in Gaza Sky Geeks, where I coordinate events, workshops and I also give some courses to students.

Did you have any coding experience prior to this course? What is your technical background?

Thanks to what I've learned at Udacity, I can call myself a full stack developer!

What impact on your life has this Scholarship had professionally and/or personally? What has your Scholarship helped you accomplish?

Udacity has definitely made a deep impact on my life. I was introduced to Udacity when I took the free Software Development Process course a while back and thought, "Oh my God! This is it! I want to be a software developer!" The scholarship has also been amazing, but really just everything about Udacity has opened me up to a new world and given me the tools and skills to pursue my dreams.

What advice would you give to other students who are finding it difficult to make progress?

Don’t be afraid! Fear kills dreams, fear kills hopes. Don’t give up, keep doing it and keep chasing your dreams!

What do you do to relax when you're not working on your Nanodegree?

I am really passionate about giving back to my community. I try to help Gazans to develop their software engineering knowledge with courses, events and workshops. I write articles in Arabic from time to time to introduce new technology to my people.

What's next for you once you graduate?

I am trying to develop my skills as a freelancer in the Freelancer Academy of Gaza Sky Geeks. My aim is to work as a freelance Android Developer. I want to continue giving back to the community and trying to help everyone who was in the same situation as me.

What is your favorite movie/TV show?

La Casa de Papel


WEEK 26

Nicolas Marcora

@MinimumViablePerson| MWS . https://github.com/minimumviableperson

This weeks spotlight feature is a student who lives in London and is an inspiration for those of you who are looking to make a career change. Hailing from South American and moving to Europe, he's got an interesting story to share. In addition, check out how he's sporting some of the student swag and supporting the Google Udacity Scholarship program! ---->



Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from?

I'm Nicolas. I'm originally from Argentina, but I'm half Italian and have been living in England for the past 15 years. I'm currently working as Head of Support and will soon be transitioning to a new role as Lead Web Instructor at a school in London. Before I decided to learn programming, I was an English teacher. I enjoy singing and playing the acoustic guitar..

Did you have any coding experience prior to this course? What is your technical background?

I had done very little programming in college, about 15 years ago. Back then, I felt programming was not for me and chose to learn languages instead. I decided to give programming a second chance 2 years ago and I've been loving it since.

What impact on your life has this Scholarship had professionally and/or personally? What has your Scholarship helped you accomplish?

I have learned a lot, I have helped others, and in the process I've met a lot of nice people and grew in confidence enough to realise that perhaps I could really do this for a living, and have a blast while I'm at it.

What advice would you give to other students who are finding it difficult to make progress?

- Work hard on your skills, learn to learn without any handholding, it will boost your confidence, and it will be the best long-term investment you can make.

- Help others as much as you can, this will not only feel great, but it will also help you consolidate your knowledge, and level up your soft skills.

- Feel the fear, everyone feels it, but do it anyway.

What do you do to relax when you're not working on your Nanodegree?

Spend time with my family, help other students, help build an open source programming podcast web app, try programming stuff out for fun.

What's next for you once you graduate?

I have recently been offered a job as a Lead Web Instructor, so my plan is to keep challenging myself and growing, and try to pass all of that on to my students.

What is your favorite movie/TV show?

Gladiator!

WEEK 25

Diana Vilé

@Diana Vilé | FEND

This week's spotlight is a someone who already has big plans on how to continue her education after the program ends on August 15th.

"I decided to apply for Rails Girls Summer of Coding challenge to get experience in pair programming, and to work more close to @Violeta // FEND from the scholarship community , a coding friend I met several times in Barcelona from FEND meetups.

I would never have thought about even applying for this scholarship if it weren't for the Nanodegree. This is a great way to apply the knowledge I've gained from this nanodegree to put into practice ."

During this summer challenge, @Diana Vilé and @Violeta // FEND will be contributing to an open source style guide, but more details on that below. Read on!


Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from?

I am a Dutch woman, living in Barcelona Spain working as a content manager for a European web hosting company. I take care of five WordPress websites during the day, and then take care my child in the afternoon and weekends. I love coffee, chocolate, coding and learning.

Did you have any coding experience prior to this course? What is your technical background?

Nope! I knew a little HTML for newsletters and editing blog articles in Wordpress, but that's it.

What impact on your life has this Scholarship had professionally and/or personally? What has your Scholarship helped you accomplish?

It is a life changing experience! I love being part of a great community with nice people who share the same interests. Many people are always ready to help each other out. I also love learning new things and constantly improving myself and my code. This has been one of the best experiences in life until now, honestly.

What advice would you give to other students who are finding it difficult to make progress?

I would say create notes in markdown, and upload them via Github. Also make sure you code along with the videos, that helps a lot. Ask when you can, try a lot of new things. I would say always have the Google Dev Console log open, too. It is truly your best friend while coding.

What do you do to relax when you're not working on your Nanodegree?

I like to play with my three-year-old girl, watch Netflix series and hanging out with friends. I also enjoy spending quality time with my husband. It is too short, so I really try to enjoy it

What's next for you once you graduate?

I'm doing the 'Summer of School Coding Challenge for Ruby on Rails' together with @Violeta! We are both super excited. We're going to learn Ruby, and Ruby on Rails. and collaborate with the open source project that we were selected. You can check it out here!

I want to give a thanks to a few other community members @aberdeen, @jose and @AmandaCavallaroUK who really helped and supported us during the application process. They were so kind to reach out within their network to help us find people that could be our coaches through the application process for the coding challenge. We have a team of 3-4 coaches now, who are specialists in React, Ruby on Rails and Ruby. This community has really helped me grow in so many ways. We never thought that we would be selected because we are still just beginners, but really, this Nanodegree has made our wildest dreams possible!

What is your favorite movie/TV show?

Big Bang Theory, Silicon Valley and The IT Crowd are my favourites.

WEEK 24

Violeta R

This week's student spotlight is the fabulous Violeta. She studied art and curation at university, and has worked as a creative before arriving in the Google Developer Scholarship program.

Violeta is finding her way through this program with real drive and energy. Read further to see how she's connected with her local community to immerse herself into the coding world.

Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from?

I am from Argentina, I moved to Spain last year to start my life over, and I am changing careers. I have a degree in curatorial studies and art management, I also went to college for Photography and Filmmaking. I did all this while I was working as a self-taught graphic designer and freelance web master. I want to become a full time front end developer, so I am trying to learn everything I didn't during my college years! I currently work as a web designer making mock ups for developers to code in a big company. I love going to museums, watching 70s / 80s movies, playing videogames and going on long walks with my dog. Fun fact: I love items that have some kind of manufacturer defect. I.e.: I have a jacket which left pocket has been swed backwards which makes it impossible to put your hand in it!

Did you have any coding experience prior to this course? What is your technical background?

I knew html and the basics of CSS. I touched a bit of databases (SQL) and PHP, as I worked with Wordpress. I also know a bit about hardware.

What impact on your life has this Scholarship had professionally and/or personally? What has your Scholarship helped you accomplish?

I was very overwhelmed with everything I need to learn and I felt like I could definitely not do it, especially at 29-years-old without a tech background. Apart from the career perspective, it has really helped me on the process of moving abroad. It helped me focus on something productive when I was completely alone in the city and it has connected me with many cool and awesome people! Thanks to it, I also teamed up with a classmate and applied together (and got!) another scholarship for the summer. I am now involved in the Women Who Code community and I am meeting regularly with some classmates from different tracks.

What advice would you give to other students who are finding it difficult to make progress?

I also find difficult making progress. I didn't want to even look at the Memory Card Game because I felt I couldn't do it and I saw a lot of people struggling. I was waaaay behind. It really helped me look for other resources and talk to people. Talking to people was key. I actually finished the game thanks to teaming up with another classmate from Hungary. We would get on Skype three times a week and try to solve the memory card game together, at some point another student who was more advanced joined and helped us through it. If you team up with other people or just talk about your troubles, you start thinking about problems differently which makes you find new ways of solving them.

Another thing that really helped me since day one was using a whiteboard and writing down what I thought could solve the problem, even if the syntax wasn't ok or if I didn't know how to code it, just write the steps and try to make sense out of it. Can't recommend enough to watch some tutorials on the debugger, life saver.

What do you do to relax when you're not working on your Nanodegree?

I play Overwatch, I talk to my fiance a lot, I go on walks and I sing and dance like crazy. I also like to play with my dog or take long baths if I am really really stressed.

What's next for you once you graduate?

I'm getting my first Front End Developer Job! My ultimate goal in the next 5 years is to find a company that is related to art with an awesome team so I can mix all my skills together.

What is your favorite movie/TV show?

Psycho by Hitchock


WEEK 23

Alain Cadenat

@Alain | FEND | https://github.com/Alain91530

This week our spotlight is featuring Alain Cadenat, a student from France likes teaching and helping other students, just as much as he enjoys learning himself.

"When something is wrong it's my duty to provide the proper hints to help the student, not giving them the solution, but giving the the right track to find it himself."

Alain is Study Jam student leader and will help FEND students work on P4 this Saturday, June 9th. But that's not all! Alain has recently become a code reviewer for Udacity. Continue reading for the full story...


Bonjour, Alain! Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from?

I am from the south of France, but exiled in Paris. I do freelance work and my passion is motor biking in the desert!

Did you have any coding experience prior to this course? What is your technical background?

I have a computer engineering degree, but from a long, long time ago. I used to code in C and Assembly language. Everything I learned in this scholarship program was new, but I already had the state of mind and logic for coding, which I found to be helpful.

What impact on your life has this Scholarship had professionally and/or personally? What has your Scholarship helped you accomplish?

I feel like I clearly proved something to myself: I was able to learn the new technology of the web and use it everyday. It's a really rewarding feeling. I also am now a code reviewer for Udacity for some of the FEND projects.

What advice would you give to other students who are finding it difficult to make progress?

Have three best friends– 1.) the community of other students, 2.) Google to search and find help on difficult technical points, and 3.) the dev tools of your browser. I see many questions on Slack which can be solved by a proper use of dev tools. Also a special lesson should be made about the basics of debugging.

What do you do to relax when you're not working on your Nanodegree?

I like to go to the theater and also motorcycling.

What's next for you once you graduate?

I would like to carry on learning SQL and Python, maybe another Nano Degree

What is your favorite movie/TV show?

I am a big fan of the Star Wars saga (pre Disney, of course), 2001 a Space Odyssey and the Kill Bill saga are my favourites

You've just become a code reviewer for Udacity. Can you tell us what that's like?

I was scared doing my first review–scared of missing something, either right or wrong. Added to that I learned the new tools that Udacity provided for doing the reviews. It's not very complicated but well, it's something new to learn while you concentrate on the code you review. In a general way I feel a big responsibility, I know that not accepting a project will give some more work to the student but on the other end. I want to help as much as I can!


WEEK 22

Imane El Mejdoubi

@Imane El Mejdoubi | FEND

Imane, like many of you, decided to make a change with her life when she joined this program. Before the scholarship, she was working at a senior level in the business sector, comfortable and confident in her role. Yet, she decided to scrap it all and do a 180. Brave move, right? So how did she do it?

" I was initially scared to do that move because I did not know what to expect, and did not want to fail. But, I believed in myself and I said : if we do not try it how we can know if we will fail or not"

Perseverance, discipline and belief in herself was what pushed her to graduate and land a job as a junior developer in her new home in Poland.

Read on to find out what tips she has on how to get through difficult lessons, how she connects with her classmates, and how to get over the first day-on-the-job jitters.



Imane, tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from?

I am originally from Morocco, but currently living in Poland.

Did you have any coding experience prior to this course? What is your technical background?

I have a bachelor degree in management. I started learning coding for about a year before enrolling this course.

What impact on your life has this Scholarship had professionally and/or personally? What has your Scholarship helped you accomplish?

The courses are well constructed. I am learning a lot of the things that i missed through learning by myself.

What advice would you give to other students who are finding it difficult to make progress?

Repeation is a great tool to learn. Persistence and hard works pays often

What do you do to relax when you're not working on your Nanodegree?

I watch series!

What's next for you once you graduate?

I will continue learning, maybe doing other nano degrees programs.

Fun Question: What's your favourite movie/TV show?

Silicon Valley.

What was your first day on your new job like?

It was exciting and I felt ready . The people were nice and they helped me as they know that I am junior and I need time to catch up to them. I took one month into learning the framework they are using and then they introduce me to the project and my team.

Every day is a learning day.

Week 21

Oya Canli

This weeks Student spotlight is hi-lighting Oya, a student with grit and determination who, after switching careers, having two kids and moving abroad, makes it a point to help out and her fellow Android students so they too can learn and grow .

Oya will be one of six Student Leaders for the very first Study Jam on May 19th.

Here's what @Aditikb, a slack Coach, has to say about Oya's collaboration style:

"There’s hardly a day when I do not see her helping out others on Slack. She just doesn’t take what mentors/other students say for granted, but verifies them.

This to me is a very good quality of a developer - who is eager to learn and challenges what’s being taught. From how she interacts with other students, I do get a strong feeling that she is getting better and better everyday."

Okay Oya, tell us a little about yourself.

I’m from Turkey. I am 34 years old. I have always been a very good student. I have studied industrial engineering in a top private university in Turkey with full scholarship. But after marrying to a Belgian, moving abroad and having two kids, I ended up being a stay-at-home mom, not to say a desperate housewife!

Did you have any coding experience prior to this course? What is your technical background?

In industrial engineering we had seen some introductory programming concepts: introduction to java, basic sql and some CNC coding (coding the behavior of an industrial machine/robot) But, they were only basics and it was 15 years ago and I never used them later.

What sort of impact on your life has this Scholarship had professionally and/or personally? What has your Scholarship helped you accomplish?

Ever since I’m stuck at home with kids, I was saying ‘I wish I had studied computer science instead. Then perhaps I could work from home’. Then I saw the advertisement for this scholarship and jumped in! That was a perfect opportunity to change my career, but it also made me discover my potential as a coder. And it soon became a passion!

What advice would you give to other students who are finding it difficult to make progress?

If something seems complicated, I begin from the beginning, take small steps, read line by line. I know that I’ll understand it in the end, so I never give up! I don’t let the time limitation stop me. I learned to use even very small opportunities. I watch course videos while I’m cooking or while I play seek-n-hide with kids I continue reading in the place I hide

What do you do to relax when you're not working on your Nanodegree?

I don’t, really! Ever since I began challenge I don’t sleep much and I use even the smallest breaks for studying. If I’ll have extra time by chance, I’ll either sleep or study. I stopped using Facebook and watching series. There is too much to learn, so little time. So no time for distractions!

What's next for you once you graduate?

Since I’m in Android Basics, I’ll continue with advanced courses. And I want to learn web development as well. I still have one year until my younger son begins school. So my plan is to learn as much as possible up to then and then find a job.

Fun Question: What's your favourite movie/TV show?

I used to watch Big Bang Theory and Grey’s Anatomy but I don’t have time anymore. But my all time favorite series is Friends.

WEEK 17

Benjamin Lotze

@Bendroid | AND

Meet this week's Student Spotlight extroidinarie: The one and only Benjamin Lotze! Like many, Ben found himself at a roadblock in his course progress and found himself stuck.

But, with the determination to not give up and with attending our Android Hackathon, he's back on the path to success! He's here to share with you why giving up is NEVER the answer! And also how a little combination of music and anger brought him into the world of coding.



Ben, tell us a little about yourself.

I'm Ben. Born in Berlin, living in Berlin. And I guess I will die in Berlin. But not yet, I just got 35. I love tech, gadgets and nature. And my girlfriend. Not in that order.

Did you have any coding experience prior to this course? What is your technical background?

I studied computer science and philosophy in Berlin to become a teacher and finished with a master degree giving me the funny title "Master of Education".

Fun fact: I studied computer science but never really learned "real" coding in university. Sure, the background and knowledge helped a lot to learn coding since I already knew about object orientation and a bit of Java, but I would say that what I know today about coding is mostly a result of self-paced learning.

When I think back, what may have actually brought me to coding was anger. Some years ago, after I had already finished university and before I started my teacher training, I was looking for a certain functionality in a music player but could not find anything that really worked for me. After days of searching and tinkering around this got me very angry and I was raging so hard that I thought: "Ok then, so I'm going to do it myself!"

I failed miserably. Without a deeper understanding of Java, it was very tough to just dive into Android development and code an advanced app. I wanted too much and too fast. But this made me realize that I should take one step after another to reach my goal.

So I grabbed my first book about Java programming: "Head First Java". I loved it. It made me think a lot about the concepts and taught me many fundamental things. During the teacher training after university, I realized more and more that this was not the right job for me for the rest of my life. I started to improve my Java knowledge by reading books and doing some video tutorials on YouTube.

Then I decided to change career paths.

I found a job in a small company where I develop a self-designed system to manage and automate auctions and product pages on different marketplaces based on a custom product database.

So to sum it up: When I started this first round of this program in November 2017 I had around 18 months of Java and SQL experience from my job and some more experience from reading on my own. Ok, and that master degree.

What sort of impact on your life has this Scholarship had professionally and/or personally? What has your Scholarship helped you accomplish?

This scholarship got me started to take the next step. The reasoning behind learning Java and MySQL was from the beginning to get myself working on mobile apps. Considering my first frustrating Android attempt some time ago, the scholarship made me realize the progress I made in the last 2 years. There is still a whole universe of knowledge out there and I know that I just scratched the surface of Android development, but the scholarship gives me the constant impression of progress by giving a short insight into multiple fields of Android. By now I developed the confidence that with enough time and work I can transform my ideas into apps that I will then publish in the Play store.

If it wasn't for this scholarship I may have grabbed a book about Java or design patterns. Starting to learn Android development is no longer something that I will do sometime soon, but something that I actually do now. And for that, I am very grateful.

What advice would you give to other students who are finding it difficult to make progress?

Even if you have absolutely no time: Spend at least 10 minutes each day on something scholarship related. This makes it more unlikely to forget things you just learned. And if you are super stressed and have really, really, really no time at all: Go to sleep 10 minutes later, maybe re-watch the last videos or read an article about the same topic. Then try to fall asleep while thinking about those last impressions.

If you have the time, maybe start to work on an own project (not scholarship related) to try things out and repeat the same contents in other contexts. Read articles about concepts from the course to get a better understanding from other perspectives.

And the most important advice: Do. Not. Give. Up! If coding is something you really want, then keep learning, even if you can only take small steps. The good thing about coding is: If you break something, you can fix it. Well, at least if you don't code algorithms for spacecrafts ;-) Try to understand the problem, read online articles about it, and ultimately fix it! Believe me, in the end, you will always fix it, even if it takes you days. And whenever you reach this point, you will feel a lot of satisfaction.

What do you do to relax when you're not working on your Nanodegree?

I like escape games, riding my bike, climbing, playing E-bass, listening to music with great guitar and bass lines, reading, coding and meeting friends. And sunlight. Enjoying the sun is a great way to relax.

What's next for you once you graduate?

I will search for a new job as an Android or Java developer in Berlin. Additionally, I plan on doing more certificates and become Google certified Associate Android Developer and Oracle certified Java programmer.

And by the way: I still need to write that music player ;-)

WEEK 16

Noha M. Farid

@Noha | ABND

Meet this week's Student Spotlight extroidinarie: the lovely miss Noha M. Farid. As a former Deputy General Manager who took a leap into the unknown world of coding, she's a real inspiration for us all!

She's got tenacity, she's got brains and she's big future plans. Continue reading further to get the full story on her career change and how she finished her ND in just two months!

Noha, tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Noha and I'm Egyptian. I worked for several years, and had achieved a lot of success, as a Project Manager Engineer and Deputy General Manager for a French company. Eventually, however, I discovered that my passion relies in coding and programming! I'm the kind of person that once I believe in something, I go for it. So naturally I followed my passion and started learning to code.

Did you have any coding experience prior to this course? What is your technical background?

I'm Structural Engineer, which has nothing to do with coding. As a first step, I decided to test myself in taking web development course, where I made sure that I like coding. I always feared the word "Java" and never imagined that one day I would learn it! But thanks to this Nanodegree, it went smoothly.

What sort of impact on your life has this Scholarship had professionally and/or personally? What has your Scholarship helped you accomplish?

It's really hard to make a career change when you are in your 30s , especially when you're successful and comfortable in your job. Yet, I wanted to learn how to code and make a change in my life. This Nanodegree helped me a lot, and gave me hope and confidence in achieving my dream. I proved to myself, and to all the people who opposed me in this decision, that I can do what I dream of. As long as I have the desire, the plan and the path, anything is possible!

What advice would you give to other students who are finding it difficult to make progress?

Make SMART planning, and stick to it! Never, ever give up–even if you mess up, you can still get back on track and keep yourself motivated. Also, when you feel stuck, take a break and release your brain.

During my projects, I got stuck many times and every time I thought, 'I won't find the solution!' , but in that frustrated mood, I would take a break. And you know what? It's like magic. I'd restart with a peaceful mind, and I would always find the solution.

What do you do to relax when you're not working on your Nanodegree?

I read a lot in all kinds of different subjects, I hang out with friends and listen to music. I release the pressure by walking on the treadmill, watching movies and motivational stories on TED and getting outside to get some fresh air.

What's next for you once you graduate?

My next step is to take the Android Advanced Nanodegree to be more advanced and more job ready. In the future, I wish to work at Udacity or Google.

This week's special question: What helped you to finish the course so quickly?

Although it was so tough finishing the program in two months, I managed to enjoy the journey :) What really helped me was determination and motivation. I never gave up or let go of my goal. I dedicated and focused most of my time to the Nanodegree, and I had this target to finish because I want to catch the Android Advanced Nanodegree , which starts at the end of April.


WEEK 15

António Bastião

@António Bastião | AND | github.com/CurtesMalteser

We are only two months into the course, and we already have a full-grown Developer in our midst. And he hasn't even graduated yet!

People told him he wasn't good enough, people told him he will never be a developer, people told him that he shouldn't even dream about it.

Haters gonna hate, but this week António showed everyone (and himself) that everything is possible with enough determination – and landed his first job as an Android Developer!

And this is without a formal degree, without tons of spare time, without an application that exactly matched the job description, and without even finishing the course yet! He didn't wait for everything to be perfect.

Read António's full story HERE.

Congratulations, António! We all are super proud of you!


António, tell us a little about yourself!

My name is António, I'm Portuguese and living in Switzerland. I just started working in the vineyards as a seasonal worker, and will start my job as a Junior Android Developer in a few days! I'm very very shy, but when I'm talking about code I forget that. :)

Did you have any coding experience prior to this course? What is your technical background?

I tried to learn about coding since I was a child, so I was always reading about Java, web-dev, game-dev and 3d artwork (Blender). I was in the military for eleven years in the Portuguese Navy, and since 2013 I worked in agriculture, and also had a job in a supermarket and in one cooperative of agriculture products.

What sort of impact on your life has this Scholarship had professionally and/or personally? What has your Scholarship helped you accomplish?

The scholarship made me feel I was on the right track to become a real developer, because I felt I had a good understanding about the topics we approach. So Udacity got me a job because with the Mentors' and other students' help I changed the way I code. I stopped using AsyncTasks or super Activity classes, and started utilising RxJava, Retrofit and Architectural Patterns – and that is what companies are searching for!

What advice would you give to other students who are finding it difficult to make progress?

First take a break. When we relax, there's a chance that our brain will find a solution. Planning is everything, so you absolutely have to have a plan when you start a project. If someone gives you a task list, that's not the same thing. Pick this list or rubric and start planning! Check what you need for your app, the libraries you can use, and make your mock. I'm not an artist so my apps look horrible, but I know what I want to do. Implement small steps in a way that these can be tested one by one. Don't start with the UI. Logcat is your best friend, and as we learnt in Phase 1, UI should be polished in the very last modules.

What do you do to relax when you're not working on your Nanodegree?

I read, listen to music (Seinabo Sey these days) and watch series (one episode maximum), to avoid all kind of notifications and distractions a little. And also I enjoy watching videos by Hadi Hariri "coding without a mouse" (Kotlin), Lyla Fujiwara (Achitectural Components), and Jen Person (Firebase Cloud Functions).

What's next for you once you graduate?

After the Scholarship I plan to start the iOS ND, to keep learning Kotlin and Python.

Fun Question: What's your favourite movie/TV show?

"Schindler's List" because it shows the worst and the best in the Human Nature. A lesson that shouldn't be forgotten. And the Matrix Trilogy, due to the philosophy about our free will paradigm vs. a world dominated by machines.

And this week's special question: What helped you to land the job?

It was my attitude! My attitude was always to enjoy and learn the maximum! When I was in the Phase 1, I didn’t know if I was going to be selected to the next Phase. I was humble to try to learn as much as I could with everybody, and reviewed my lessons almost three times! I tried to do an entire project in Phase 1, and I almost finished it. In Phase 2 I went further and learnt many additional topics and work processes not covered by the course. It's nothing that we don't know by common sense – but it makes such a huge difference. In my technical interview I was able to explain some workflows (which weren't even asked) – and to impress my interviewers!

But what brought me here was the Scholarship Program. My point of view about coding changed. I used to make apps, but even if they worked perfectly fine, the code wasn't ideal. I wasn’t using any libraries or implementing any Architecture Pattern. But I owe a lot of my progress as a Developer and all the encouragement to the Mentors (especially Dagger), the Coaches (José and Salih), and from all my fellow students. Also the career resources in the course were excellent. I followed the tutorials and the projects in the career section, and the interview was pretty close to that. It made me feel very confident and definitely helped me make my dream to become a Developer come true!

So it's a lot of hard work, but I'm enjoying it, and it's certainly pays off in the end!

Landing a job is no magic! It's all about the know-how.


WEEK 14

Pascal Meers

@Pascal | FEND | github.com/Calexxxxx

We're not even two months into the Nanodegree yet, but Pascal is already working on his final project!

What is the secret to such an amazing progress? Is it superpowers? Is it extraordinary intelligence? Is it spending every waking moment on doing the course?

Not at all, according to Pascal. All you need, is just to know how to work right.

And Pascal is so eager to share his tips and tricks (or simply methodology), that he created this super useful PROJECT PLANNING TUTORIAL.

Pascal, tell us a little about yourself.

Hello, I'm Pascal Meers, 34 years of age, born in The Netherlands and now living in Germany close to Aachen. I live here together with my girlfriend and our German Shepherd.

Did you have any coding experience prior to this course? What is your technical background?

Before the Nanodegree I made a production planning app with angular 5 and firebase. My actual technical background is in construction engineering. But after finishing my education I went directly into the army where I served several years. After my service I started building stages and festivals like TomorrowLand, Red Bull Crashed Ice and Red Bull Knockout. This was a fun period, traveling a lot for work.

What sort of impact on your life has this Scholarship had professionally and/or personally? What has your Scholarship helped you accomplish?

Before this scholarship I was dealing with the so called impostor syndrome, I think many people have this feeling. But during the scholarship this changed by helping others find the correct answers to their problems. This is when I realised that I know more than I thought I do.

TIP: If you have this feeling try helping others with their problems you will be amazed. And most important! I realised again how fun learning is after all these years.

What advice would you give to other students who are finding it difficult to make progress?

Step outside for a bit and take a walk and get some fresh air. Coding is challenging. See it as your first steps. You probably don't remember them, but I bet you tumbled often. By practicing each day you will get better at it. Start with small things, don't try to build the next Instagram … this will be too much and eventually discourage you in learning.

What do you do to relax when you're not working on your Nanodegree?

I like to be in the nature. Go camping and hiking. Luckily I live close to the Eifel where all this is possible. I do this with my girlfriend and our German Shepard. He loves this too, especially the mud and running after his ball.

What's next for you once you graduate?

Just before I got the email that I got the scholarship, I set myself a goal to become a full stack developer. But before that I want to improve my skills in a few frameworks first. Luckily I was approached about a week and a half ago on LinkedIn with a job opportunity where I'm having my interview soon. I'll definitely post the outcome of this in the career-change channel for those who are interested.

Fun Question: What's your favourite movie/TV show?

This will be Band Of Brothers and Schindler's List. These people are heros to me, how they put other people's lives above their own lives.

And this week's special question: What helps you make progress with your course and projects?

When I start a project I first take my time reading the requirements and write the keywords down. Make a list of them and start thinking how to implement that in code. When I'm not sure I do a Google search about the thing I want to achieve and write the best fitting results down. Then I create a flowchart and try to puzzle everything together.

When something is new, I always think my project through first.

TIP: try to break your project down in really small pieces.

Find out more on how to do it the right way HERE.

Want to speed up your progress and avoid blockers?

Learn HERE how to approach your projects in the most quick and efficient way possible.

WEEK 13

Mila Kovalchuk-Lehtimäki

@Mila K-L | FEND | github.com/MilaK-L

What makes this gem of a person from FEND outstanding is not only her last name (try saying it out loud five times fast), but also her tremendous contribution to building a vibrant local Udacity community in Munich, Germany.

Mila organised a series of some very successful meetups of Udacity Students, Scholars, Alumni and friends in Munich, which culminated in this week's Intersect Viewing Party.

So we asked Mila to tell us all about herself, and to teach us how to make a local community happen.

Mila, tell us a little about yourself.

Originally from Ukraine, I've been living in beautiful Munich for several years. I'm still trying (read: “struggling”) to improve my German. I’ve been working in IT for more than 10 years, and have a Quality Assurance and Project Management background. I've always worked with developers, and although I was helping to deliver better products, I never created anything on my own. I'm passionate about technology, visual design and always have dreamed about building beautiful and exciting websites and web apps. My hobbies are landscape and dog photography, and both of which I'm trying to bring into professional level. Additionally, I'm constantly looking for more ways to express my creativity, so that’s how I recently started this journey into web development.

Did you have any coding experience prior to this course? What is your technical background?

If SQL and a few attempts to get into test automation count, then yes. I never really coding myself until the beginning of the Udacity Google Scholarship. I worked as a QA Engineer for awhile, and I could definitely distinguish different coding languages from each other. I tried to get into automation testing with Selenuim + Java and Ruby, but it didn’t stick to me for long. When I learn about Udacity Nanodegrees, I applied for FEND, and prepared myself for very hard work, long hours of boredom and a lot of stress and frustration. That’s what I thought programming was! However, starting from the very first lessons of this course, I realised it's totally different story! It is actually super interesting, exciting and very creative! No way I am coming back to Selenium after I learnt that programming can be actually fun! =)

What sort of impact on your life has this Scholarship had professionally and/or personally? What has your Scholarship helped you accomplish?

In the beginning, I thought that web dev skills will help me in my career, and maybe with my photography. What I didn’t expect was such a big impact on personal life– I unlocked a whole new world! I’ve never been as excited about a topic before, and I'm now enrolling in more classes in UX and web development.

One of the key inspirations I found has been the awesome Udacity community. There's so many talented and interesting people, exciting and inspiring stories and of course endless help and support. I got pretty hyped when I started seeing photos of Udacity student meetups, and wanted to do the same thing in Munich.

After asking around in different channels, I realised there is quite a big interest of meetup in my city. I found people from the mobile web specialist track, too, so we teamed up and threw a badass event at the beginning of January. There have been a few since then, and we have more scheduled to come! This course not only made me fall in love with programming, but also “gave birth” to me as a new meetup organiser ;)

What advice would you give to other students who are finding it difficult to make progress?

I think making progress is always a combination of doing what you have to do, and doing what you are passionate about. If there passion in whatever you are doing, you will be able to make progress. I find inspiration in people around me and in discussing my projects, goals and next steps.

What do you do to relax when you're not working on your Nanodegree?

I have a few strong hobbies which all combined together result in one big passion – landscape photography. I love mountains and wild nature, and try to go to mountains as often as I can for hiking, mountain biking, etc. I'm so lucky to live close to the Alps and experience so many incredibly beautiful views, I feel that I need to share it with the world through photographs.

Another big love is my dog, who joins my husband and me for almost every trip we take. I love to do dog photography with the breathtaking landscapes of our travels in the background. That pretty much my lifestyle - me, my dog, a heavy photo bag, sometimes a bike, and always on the way to or from the mountains :P

What's next for you once you graduate?

I don’t have a very solid plan, but I think I will start working on my dev and photo portfolio. Along with that, I would say it'd be a good time to start talking to employers or clients who are looking for a junior web developer. I will try to stay in the freelance field, as it suits my lifestyle much more, but I am open.

Fun Question: What's your favourite movie/TV show?

Believe it or not, I can't answer that! I often watch Netflix in the background , but I don’t actually pay attention. If I can work and pay attention to what’s on TV, I usually watch some video tutorial about photography or programming, or livestream from any tech conference. I know… that must be the most boring answer... but that's who I am!

And this week's special question: What helps you to make progress? (in projects, in organising events, in life!)

One word, 'community'! After moving to Munich I realised how active and interesting the tech and IT community is , so I joined many meetups (e.g. GDG, GDG Android, iOS etc). Since then, I've been attending tons of very cool meetups, hackathons, workshops and conferences. I always meet interesting people who are doing/making/building so many exciting things in different areas. This greatly inspires me to progress in my projects, or even start a new ones! Exchanging my ideas with like-minded people helps me in stay on track and motivated.

WEEK 12

Abbie Turner

@AbbieTurner95 | AND | github.com/AbbieTurner95

A devoted Scholar and an outspoken member of the AND community, an aspiring Software Engineer – and a real go-getter!

Following just a short exchange during an AMA Session (every Wednesday at 4pm CET), Abbie collaborated with a bunch of Scholarship friends (AKA: Squad) and in no time they brought to life the super-duper cool Student-generated Swag Initiative!

Not only the T-shirts are designed, selected and produced by the students themselves, but all the proceeds from the sales will go to a charity! Now that's a noble goal to pursue.

Kudos, Abbie and her Squad!

Hey! I’m Abbie Turner, 22 year old Software Engineering student from Sheffield, UK! Im a 5 ft 2 (that's pretty petite in Metric) Disney fanatic with a pet chihuahua called Blue (Surprise, he’s actually grey).

Did you have any coding experience prior to this course? What is your background?

I started to code around 3 years ago now and I am very thankful for the opportunity Udacity has given me, which has helped me find my passion for creating Android apps!

What sort of impact on your life has this Scholarship had professionally and/or personally? What has your Scholarship helped you accomplish?

The impact this scholarship has had on my life has been amazing! Not only did it help in getting me a year long internship, but I have finally found the path I wish to take my life long career down, and its given me a huge kick start in that direction.

What advice would you give to other students who are finding it difficult to make progress?

Everyone has their ups and downs, so power through it will be worth it in the end! Remember if it was easy, everyone would be doing it! :) You've got this!

What do you do to relax when you're not working on your Nanodegree?

Spend time with my friends and family, forget about work completely. I find a refreshed and relaxed brain helps motivate me more when I eventually come back to work.

What's next for you once you graduate?

Get some amazing apps published on Play Store, and hopefully land a job in Android Development.

Fun Question: What's your favourite movie/TV show?

My favourite movies would have to be anything Disney/Marvel, and my favourite TV show is 100% the BBC version of Sherlock!

And this week's special question: What helps you to achieve your goals?

I’m super organised, so before I start any projects I write down a timeline of events and doings that need to be done to achieve my final goal. I gather the correct resources I may need when facing particular problems, and make sure I know where to go for help! I think every so often its also important to look how far you’ve come to remind yourself how well you’re doing!

Join the Student-Generated Swag competition NOW!

WEEK 11

Asher Khan

If you spent more than 5 minutes on Slack, good chances are that you've come across this Wonder Boy from FEND. Some people say he is never not online, some people think he works for Udacity, some people even wonder whether he is not actually a bot – but there is one thing everybody agrees on: @Asher is practically Legendary.

In our virtual class, Asher is the Head Boy. He keeps our community in order, he makes sure AMA Sessions are top notch, he helps everyone to find their way around, and now he also works on some super cool swag initiatives. So it's only natural that this week Asher was also selected as a Student Leader. He was made for this role.

In the spirit of this week's theme of Leadership, we wanted to uncover the person who pretty much embodies this concept.

Ladies and Gentlemen, meet the man behind the legend!

Whenever he is not being a rockstar on Slack, Asher is actually a Computer Science student and a self-proclaimed product designer from Manchester, UK.

What brings you to the Scholarship Programme, Asher?

At some point of the academic year, I realised that I enjoy designing UI and working on improving other people’s experiences. After some searching, I figured that a product design role is perfect for me, so I practiced Sketch, InVision and Photoshop in my own time. Eventually, I discovered that front end is an important aspect and always wanted to fully improve my HTML/CSS knowledge.

When I came across the scholarship programme, I literally worked day and night perfecting my application and made sure to double-check before the end date. And then, like many of you in FEND, I also received the ‘mistake’ email of not being accepted. Oh Udacity, how you tugged on my heart strings… I'm glad to be here and am honoured to be selected as part of the student spotlight.

Did you have any coding experience prior to this course? What is your background?

My basic foundation for programming came from learning C and Pascal at College. This eventually lead to my obsession for web development as I learnt the basics of HTML and CSS in my spare time as a hobby before starting higher education. As we speak, I am currently learning C#, C++, Java and Android at University.

What sort of impact on your life has this Scholarship had professionally and/or personally? What has your Scholarship helped you accomplish?

I originally didn’t realise this, but the course really has rekindled my passion for learning! I feel I’m making progress every day, and this is reflected when working on my projects. The scholarship has given me an opportunity to learn the foundation of web development the right way, refreshing my memory and discarding any bad practices I knew before. As a product designer, front end is a valuable asset to have since you’re aware of the limitations and technical aspect, it also gives you a new way of thinking about design and user experience.

Now, this is between you and me, but contrary to popular belief, I’m not a very strong programmer nor am I profound at academics. I’ve applied to over 30 internships and haven’t had the green light compared to my peers that are currently being interviewed at large companies. Am I sad about this? Yes… Should I be? Maybe… Do I give up? NEVER!

This experience has taught me something very valuable. Although I realise that I’m still young and haven’t experienced the big world yet, but that’s literally my strength right there! I have time to grow, improve and strive to be successful. There’s always a bright side to everything: do you want to take a guess? Yep, it's the scholarship! It has given me one of the biggest opportunities I will come across and I can’t waste it by sitting around and moping on why I couldn’t get that internship. This is my chance, not to prove to others, but to myself that I can succeed if I put my mind to it. The end of the academic year is drawing closer, and while I watch students my age working 9-5 commuting from far away, I’m going to be having fun working on my projects and talking to amazing people in this community, and that makes it completely worth it!

What advice would you give to other students who are finding it difficult to make progress?

Take a deep breath, in and out, okay, good. Another thing that always helps is talking to someone: a friend, study buddy, mentor, community manager or even me (@Asher). I’m at the important stage of the academic year (exams), so I’ve made slower progress with the course, but that obviously won’t stop me from completing the course and it shouldn’t stop you! Take a step back and look at how far you’ve come from the start of the scholarship, you made progress right? Exactly. In order to overcome a challenge, you need to believe in yourself and realise that you are capable of succeeding like everyone else. Besides, you’re not alone on this one. Over 6,000 students are with you, not to mention your mentor and the fantastic community managers are here to support you every step of the way!

What do you do to relax when you're not working on your Nanodegree?

Video games. I’m currently playing Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and I must say, its fantastic! Other games I play are Fortnite or Overwatch with my buddies. Most of the time I spent is with my family, at University, or observing Slack.

What's next for you once you graduate?

I’m interested in a classroom mentorship role at Udacity, perhaps a content developer like José, but for the front end track. Due to time constraints, I may return for the final academic year at University but I’m still going to try and use as much of the career section as possible to land a front end or product design job with one of Udacity’s hiring partners in Europe.

Fun Question: What's your favorite movie/TV show :D ?

This might surprise you (gasp!) but I don’t actually watch TV or shows on Netflix. I’m still into action, sci-fi, adventure and animated movies though, speaking of animated, can’t wait for the new Incredibles 2 movie.

And this week's special question: What is Leadership for you?

Leadership is very important to me, especially because it ensures organisation and order within a group. By keeping track of the goal and making sure that goal is being achieved, you can support members and become aware at handling different situations. I wasn’t really the leader type, or at-least didn’t realise it at the time. I previously have experience of moderating communities in the past, but soon realised that the community members are everything when it comes to leadership.

I have respect for those in leadership roles (managers, team leads, captains), and am interested in community management aside from becoming a product designer. Leaders can make all the difference in a community to make sure everything goes smoothly and that’s what I love about them.

WEEK 10

The Ladies of the Famous Women App

To celebrate International Women's Day, this week we're featuring not one, but a whole group of amazing Ladies from ABND, who collaborated on the #women-tech-makers channel and created the fantastic Famous Women App. You can read the full story about its coming to life on the Udacity Medium blog HERE.

Now meet the Ladies Who Code!

Aleksandra Mielcarek-Najdek

@Ola | github.com/OlaMN


I'm PLC programmer from Poland. My job is very interesting but I wanted to make a step further. Thanks to the Scholarship I can continue what I really like to do and develop new programming skills. Mobile application development is a great way to learn programming and the final result can be a very useful product. After the Scholarship I would like to continue with new programming skills development and maybe start new career.

Esther Weyinmi Koloh

@Weyinmi | github.com/Weyinmik


I'm from Nigeria, but now I live in Germany. The Scholarship has helped me to define my Career focus. After completing the well taught lessons and projects, I have the Passion and interest to learn more and make more Apps to solve Problems. Now coding is a Thing of interest and Passion, which would make my Future Job and hobby. Also, I have learnt to collaborate and work with others through the slack Channel, Forum and Group Project.

Franciska Kandó

@Franciska | github.com/kafr007


Receiving the Scholarship was a big milestone. I am an economist, I work at the Hungarian tax authority. My younger son was 1 and half year old when I got the scholarship, and I had been studying at home. In this time I thought I finished to learn coding, and I went back to my original workplace. But then I got the scholarship, and I enjoyed coding again. I made some apps and I am proud of them, and now I got my first job in the IT Sector!

Greta Grigutė

@Greta Gr abnd | github.com/GretaGri


I'm from Vilnius, Lithuania. I was so excited to enter this course that I just jumped into it and enjoyed it very much, I never thought that online courses could give so much fun and involvement! I had no idea whether me and coding fit together, and now I know that I like it very much, I believe that this experience gave me my new passion and interest, gave me opportunity to meet so many wonderful people, to learn so many new things and to gain new dream - to create my own app.

Iuliia Rotcheva

@juliar |github.com/IuliiaR


I'm an engineer from Moscow, Russia. Now I feel more confident about myself than 3 months ago. If I face a difficult task, I know that I can solve it. This is the main thing that Udacity and the Google Developer Scholarship gave me.

After I finish my Nanodegree program, I'd like to find a full-time job as an android developer.


Jihane Bernichi

@slimsonik


I'm originally from Morocco and currently live in the UK. Making an app was always a dream, and soon this will become a reality thanks to Udacity! It gave me the proper start to become a developer and gave me the confidence to continue going on. The community is wonderful here and everybody is really helpful. It really feels like one family. My husband is an IT professional, and I always thought that what he does is scary, but now it's no more the case... thank you Udacity!

Julita Wudarska

@Jula | github.com/JulaKula


I'm from Poland, but now I live in Freiburg, Germany. The Scholarship helped me focus on my goal and stay on the track. As a beginner, I felt a bit lost, since there are so many sources to learn from. In the Scholarship, I could clearly see my study path for the next months. Challenges and deadlines helped me better organise my learning schedule and motivated me.

Małgośka

@MalgoskaG | github.com/MalgoskaG


I'm Polish, and I had no previous experience in coding, just as much as Udacity and Google have taught me. Working with other people is a great motivation and allows you to achieve a goal much faster than if you have to pursue this goal alone! After the scholarship I plan on keeping on learning. Learning is an endless process!

Oya Canli-Somer

@Oya Canli |github.com/OyaCanli


I'm from Turkey, but now I live in Belgium. I believe the Scholarship will help me change my career path and find a job. Personally, it has already helped me regain confidence in my capabilities. Since I'm in Android Basics, I'll continue with the Advanced course. I'll definitely learn web design as well. And probably iOs development.. Since I'm a stay-at-home mom for the moment, l plan to learn as much as possible till my sons are in school, and then find a job, and certainly make my own apps and websites.

Saida Sheikh Ahmed

@Saida ABND | github.com/saidabxl


I'm originally from Somalia, but now I live in Belgium. I was a journalist, I'm an author and a social worker. This course encouraged me to learn that I'm capable of coding. If I continue to learn and work hard, I can reach my goals of coding. The course gave me the courage to believe myself. When you have the key, you can open the doors. After the Scholarship I'm willing to teach Girls of my country of origin what I learn from Udacity. Pay it forward to the girls who don't have this opportunity and set example: Girls can code!

Sara Meloni

@Melsara | github.com/Melsara


I am originally from Sardinia, but living in Switzerland. This scholarship made me appreciate the time spent learning something new, because I felt I've really accomplished something! I am now able to do things that I was not able to do before. What I enjoyed the most is also the collaboration between students and being a student representative, helping others to achieve their own goals. After the Scholarship I would like to explore newest technologies, just for the fun of creating (which is addictive).

Girls can code indeed!


The Ladies are featured in an alphabetical order. This is not the full list of participants – Amalia Man, Paula Diana Bacircae and Svetlana Kuzmina took part in the creation of the App as well.

See the full list of contributors HERE.

WEEK 9

Liron Yitshak Alkalay

Slack Name: @Liron YA. | ABND | https://github.com/LironYA/

Meet Liron from Israel. In Phase 1 she was a Student Representative, one of the driving forces behind the ABND #women-tech-makers channel, and one of the most helpful people around on Slack!

She is a video games fan, a local TV celebrity (link here), and since last week also a mother of two! Her wife brought to the world a pair of beautiful twin boys. Congratulations, Liron! Keep up the good work!

Did you have any coding experience prior to this course? What is your background?

I had a very basic coding experience at C and Assembler.

What sort of impact on your life has this Scholarship had professionally and/or personally? What has your Scholarship helped you accomplish?

This scholarship changed my life! Before I got the scholarship, I felt like I always did things that were not my true passion, I always wanted to be a programmer but somehow I never had a real chance to do so and I even felt lost from time to time. This opportunity made me realize that someone believed in me and gave me a real chance! It led me to believe in myself, see what I can do and with the support of the best community I've ever been part of, this was made possible. Now I feel like I have the power to not compromise and truly go after my dream to becoming a programmer! I feel confident and determined to get the job I would choose, not the job that would choose me.

What advice would you give to other students who are finding it difficult to make progress?

Always think about what you are achieving, line by line, bracket by bracket you are doing it! think about the first app you've ever wrote and run it on your phone, that feeling is everything. Persistence is the key and the sky are not the limit. All you have to do is believe that you can do it. If you find it too hard, go do something else, let your mind work on it while you rest, it'll come to you :) And remember that the harder it gets, the more amazing it is to see the outcome!

What do you do to relax when you're not working on your Nanodegree?

Spending time with my family and playing Final Fantasy XIV :)

What's next for you once you graduate?

Write an app of my own and find a coding job.

Fun Question: What's your favourite movie/TV show :D ?

Game of Thrones :)

Read Liron's full story HERE.