Do what you love and love what you do.
Am so happy to share that after 6 months of hard work, a few sleepless night, I completed the Android Basic Nanodegree by Google. And if I had to compare it with my BSc(Hons) degree, I have to say, I am most proud of this one, as it not only made me more confident, it has also aspired me to use my new knowledge and skills to make a difference.
When the opportunity to apply for the Scholarship landed in my lap on November 29th, 2016, thanks to Google’s Digital Garage where I was learning Google Analytics at the time, I happily jumped at the opportunity, really hoping I would get selected.
I am and always will be Team Android. I was always curious about how all the apps on my phones worked but thought you needed to have a Computer Science or Software degree to build one. So when I got the email in January 5th, 2017, I was so excited. Out of 70,000 people that applied, I was one of the lucky 10,000 people that were chosen. I was in Tokyo at the time, I when out and treated myself to a celebratory shoe shopping at Shibuya.
I was selected to study the beginner path as I had no prior knowledge of Android Development. The course was only for 3 months period and if I completed the beginners path successfully, I was in with a chance of qualifying for an additional Scholarship to learn the programmer path where I would earn a certificate from Google. As the top 1,250 students who successfully completed the beginner path will receive an additional 3-month scholarship for the Android Basics Nanodegree by Google. It will be awarded based on the evaluation of the progress made in the Android Development for Beginners, participation in the forums and Slack community, and the original scholarship essay submitted as part of the application.
When I started the beginner’s path in January, I was so excited. Getting the Scholarship helped me come to a few career decisions and I decided to not go back to work and actually focus on learning and developing my digital skills.
The Beautiful thing about life is that you can always change, grow and get better. You can be anything or anyone you want to be.
I remember when I launched my first Hello World app on my phone, and how amazed I was. My first app was a birthday app which I made for my nephew using just XML, at the time it took me about 2 days to complete. However now, I can write a more complex XML layout file in just an hour or two.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step - Lao Tzu.
The six months definitely wasn't all smooth sailing for me. There were times when I would come across a problem and felt like giving up. Imposter Syndrome definitely is real, however, my fellow students were definitely there to support me when I needed it, thanks to the dedicated Slack channel created for us.
The moment you want to quit is the moment you need to keep pushing.
While not working was definitely a breath of fresh air that I needed, I also had to make sure I made learning a priority, as it was really easy just to stay in bed all day just watching anime’s, TV shows, a movie or just napping. I had to stay organised and I even started learning other free courses on Udacity.
I learned about the Linux Command Line Basics, Version Control, Git and GitHub. I also completed the Material Design for Android Developer course and refreshed my memory on Web Development and completed the Intro to HTML and CSS. And I didn’t stop there I was also learning from a variety of online schools, tutorials, and resources.
I have to say learning via Udacity has definitely been a highlight in my education journey. Udacity Teaching materials really went above and beyond most education journey that I have ever taken. While they were teaching us new skills it was very easy to see that they were also preparing us for jobs using the taught skills.
They gave us loads of opportunities to learn by ourselves, opportunity to also process all the new information, read documentations and do our own research, thanks to the numerous quizzes in each lesson, lesson reflections and the projects we had to complete. And sadly, I know this kind of process is something that currently missing from most educational journey that I took, from High School to University. Udacity didn’t just want us to learn the skills but they also gave me confidence in myself, a good problem-solving outlook, a good foundation to also be successful and good at it while out in the world.
In just the six months I was learning Android Development, I have created over 10 apps, some of which I will be completing and releasing to Play Store soon. My GitHub account has grown to 31 repositories in just 4 months.
Firstly, I learned how to designs an app layouts using the XML markup language, and use Views and ViewGroups which are the building blocks of an Android app’s UI (User Interface) to display images and text.
Secondly, I learned how to harness the power of Java, using variables to add interactivity to an app, and learned object-oriented programming.
Thirdly, I learned how to show multiple screens in an app, and add audio and images to an app, including how Android handles touch events, and how to make visual changes to add polish to a fully functional app.
Fourthly, I learned how to utilise the power of Web APIs and how to use them in apps, and learn the basics of networking in Android, including HTTP networking, JSON parsing, and threads.
Lastly, I learned about the importances of data persistence when building an Android app, about SQL databases and how to work with SQL databases and Content Providers, which help keep app data bug-free and allows me to share my data storage with other developers.
I have also learned programming concepts such as Debugging, Camel Case, IDE, Variables, Data Types, Objects and Constructors, Intents, Methods, Control Flow statements, Loops, Interface and Event Listeners, Hierarchy, Arrays, Adapters and Loaders, Operators, Custom Classes, Memory Management, Libraries, Fragments, Localisation, Synchronous and Asynchronous callbacks and Activity Life cycle.
The best part is that I not only learned all these concept and teachings but I have also utilised them all in my apps, which can be found on my GitHub. And am excited to say this is not the end for me, only the beginning. Now when I open an app on my phone, I am able to understand some of the concepts behind the app.
Firstly, I want to say thank you to Google and The Digital Garage for giving me the opportunity and chance to realise my potential.
Secondly, thanks to Udacity for your amazing teaching styles and videos, staffs, and engaging resources.
Thirdly, thank you to the teachers, your passion for teaching shines through greatly in each video. The way you made everything fun and engaging was the best, I wished all my course in University were taught this way. Some names off head are Katherine Kuan, Kunal Chawla, Lyla Fujiwara, and Jessica Lin.
Fourthly, thanks to my follow student, Gmiller, Mandi, Muir, Essian, Bart, Vicky, and others for your feedback's, comments and help when I needed it, and Congratulations also.
Lastly, thank you to my mentor Nisha Shinde who help supported me during the second half of my scholarship. Thank you for not telling what I needed to do but for pointing me in the right direction and allowing me to build a good debugging and problem-solving foundation. And also to my project reviewers, thanks to you all and I loved all the emoji’s, congratulations Gifs and feedback's I received.