How Udacity & Google scholarship made me dream again

A short story about one e-mail and countless unexpected possibilities.

Most people hate newsletters. These unwanted e-mails are annoying, they clog the mailbox and take away valuable minutes from our work day. And how do they get our e-mail address anyway, right? However, I personally find some of these newsletters interesting, especially when they’re sent from companies I admire. From time to time I find some really precious gems inside. That was the case with the Udacity newsletter I obtained late autumn last year.

I don’t remember when exactly I subscribed but it had to be when I bumped into their Android Development for Beginners course by Google. Immediately I became interested in the idea of learning Android programming. I even started playing around with the course, but I decided to postpone it for later.

Day 0

Then came an e-mail mentioning the scholarship. Udacity and Google offered a 6-moths long Android Development course in two parts for absolute beginners, filled up with projects, mentors’ help and access to a wonderful community of other newbies in programming. All I had to do was answer a few questions about my background, hopes and plans and write a short essay explaining why they should choose me for the scholarship. I remember sitting on my bed still in pajamas, writing all of this in excitement. I knew the rivalry was huge for this scholarship. Android Development is a competitive industry and Udacity is one of the best known places to learn on-line (for more on this you can check my article about on-line learning).

A few weeks later the results were in my mailbox! I has been chosen to be in the 1st round of the scholarship, together with 10,000 others lucky ones selected from 70,000 applications. January 12th was the first day of the course. Now was the time for three months of hard but exciting work, mastering new skills, developing projects and collaborating with other beginners.

Here’s where the adventure begins!

I can’t count those sleepless nights, gallons of coffee or hours of work when the only outcome was that one working line of code. And guess what? Coding really IS hard, but this is also one of the most exciting, rewarding and a little bit magical occupations in the world. I was hooked immediately on that.

This is my very first app trying to be my future business card

When I first started the program, I wanted to broaden my horizons by learning basics to be able to create my own apps for personal use and amusement, but day after day I was starting to realize, that coding is becoming my true passion and I’d love to make this my career one day. I wasn’t expecting that at all. Being in my thirties, I was sure it was too late for me to start this demanding job. We all know those brilliant hacker kids in movies, and I was already far away from being a teenager.

However, thanks to a great course from Udacity & Google, I started to believe in my abilities and to dream about something more. I realized I can still achieve what I want and I should aim high.

And so should you with your dreams!

Maybe one day I will become a paid Android developer and you will be a medical doctor? Or a private jet’ pilot? Or maybe the new Stephen King?

Of course it won’t all happen overnight. As Bill Gates once said:

“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.”.

The key to success is to be persistent, positive and confident that you can do it.

There are still few days of the Android scholarship for my group — 12th of April is the deadline for all projects. Then 1,250 out of 10,000 will be chosen to participate in the next stage — another three month of Nanodegree Android Development course. This is a real deal! It’s a whole new level of initiation, giving you the right to dream of being a professional programmer.

My very simple Java code. Looks good, isn’t it?

This is just the beginning

I won’t know if I am accepted until the 18th of April (see update below!) but no matter the outcome, I’ve found the Android scholarship to be a life-changing experience. I have learned so much, achieved things I’ve never dreamt about, and met tons of amazing people from all over the world. Even if I’m not selected I will continue to study Android on my own, benefiting from the vast number of on-line resources (including Udacity of course!) and I believe that nothing can stop me now.

So let me wish lots of luck to my fellow Udacity students and to all of you in pursuing your own dreams. Be excited and work hard — it will pay off one day!

If you like this article and want to show some support please don’t hesitate to click that little heart below, leave a comment and share this wherever you want. Let’s spread the faith in dreams together!

UPDATE: I got accepted :) Can’t wait for the second round to begin! Good luck to all my fellow students — we really have rocked that!

Java/Android developer. “Soft skills developer” on FB. Winner of Google & Udacity scholarships.