Code2Lead — Leadership preparation for experienced Android developers (My Upskilling experience with Android Developer Nanodegree projects)

Code2Lead by Udacity
Learning is a never ending process

Especially in the field of computer science and technology, it is very important to stay top with trending skill set. As the need for learning and updating the skills/knowledge increases, the same way opportunities to update the skills also getting increased.

This blog post is about how Udacity courses helped me to up-skill, get recognized and increase my confidence. I do follow many other sources to keep my skills updated, But this blog post is only about Udacity courses that played a big role in my upskilling process.

I have been developing Android applications since 2010. It is almost 7 years of Android application development. From the beginning of my career, there were a lot of improvements in Android SDK each and every year. Every phase has pushed me more towards believing that we should never stop learning. With the platform going through tremendous developments horizontally and vertically, the updates and improvements rapidly increased.

The need for adding more discipline and perfection in coding standards, designing, tools utilization, testing, release processes, bug reporting, performance monitoring, analyzing, user retention and growth hacking…etc requires everyone to learn new skills regularly. It is very important to learn and practice the new techniques and new methodologies for developers especially like me. Subsequently, it is important to get recognized by proving the skills.

When I say developers like me, I stressed it because I work for a product based startup from last 6 years. The developers who believe in a product Idea and settles in a company for the long term may not have many applications to list under their portfolio.

As like the fellow Android developers around the world, I also do follow Google’s announcements on Android very closely. The SDK and it’s best utilization formula can be explained better by the creators itself to the developers like me. So, I always prefer to learn from Google’s materials and Google developer advocates open sourced advice's and techniques.

Back in 2013, I came across Udacity courses for Android in one of my favorite Android developers Meetup BAUG(Currently referred as GDGBlrdroid) from Amrit Sanjeev. I realized that the gap between Google (The creators of API’s) and developers (The consumers of API’s) is reduced now and these courses will make both works more closely than before.I saw this as an opportunity to hone my skills and started utilizing the free materials created by Google and Udacity. The materials helped me in a lot of ways and kept me going on my Android development up-skilling. Most of my perfection with Android development improved from these course materials.

Thank you Google and Udacity.

Free materials to Code2Lead:

The materials that Udacity allows us to access looked ample to develop skills. But at times I felt peer programming mattered to me to become confident in what I am good at (That’s because most of the early stage in my career, I worked as an Individual contributor).

I was looking for a right time to get enrolled and get peer reviews for the projects involved in Nanodegree Program. That will help me to get some more insights into my coding standards.

May 2017, seemed to be the right time as Udacity introduced a new program called Code2Lead. It looked like a perfect fit for me at the expected time. As I was looking to get recognized and looking to get more exposure with more projects, I immediately applied for the program.

Finally decided to show up with the right opportunity

As the program is designed to compete from the very beginning, I got more interested to start ticking the milestones and challenges in the Code2Lead program. Here are the phases that I have gone through in this competitive program,

  • Eligibility to apply is 3+ Years of full-time work experience.
  • The application goes under Udacity’s scanner to pick the right kind of candidates for the program.
  • The scary part in the very beginning was, Udacity Code2Lead allows only 25 Candidates to be shortlisted.
  • Code2Lead is for 5 different areas(Android, iOS, Full-stack Web, Machine learning, Data analyst). So totally 125 candidates get shortlisted to compete.
  • Starting from June 2017, participants need to finish the course and certified before 31st October 2017.
  • After the Nanodegree course completion, certified participants will get invited to compete in Hackathon.
  • Two winners of the hackathon from each Nanodegree will be announced as Udacity Technology Leader. (Apart from mentioned in the beginning, one more Interview process has been added here for us).
  • From the ten winners, there will be one more round of shortlisting process Interview. The two winners of this Interview will get a chance to go a trip to Silicon Valley.

So that is the recognition that I strive to get from this Code2Lead program.

My journey: My journey with Code2Lead was full of excitement as I was climbing steps one by one by getting shortlisted. I was happy to see When I received a mail for my application approval and shortlist confirmation to participate and compete. When Udacity mail read “You are the kind of disruptor thaw we look for”, obviously I have no reasons to not get excited.

The learning: Each and every course process was amazing with interesting learning in each time. With hands-on projects, it looked really energetic process for me. I enjoyed each project milestones and reviews. I did not try to do anything extraordinary apart from the course materials. Because the outside world learning with blogs and open source projects were different from the course materials. It was a good unlearning and relearning for me.

Hack before hackathon: Slightly I had to tighten the process during October end. As per the program guidelines, candidates should have finished the course and have to get certified on or before October 31st. So, my final project along with a previous project were each 24 hours continuous hack.

October last week looked exactly alike.

Eligibility for hackathon participation: The hackathon shortlists results were announced in November 1st week. The Invitation to participate in the hackathon made me feel the fruitiness of the course completion hard work.

Forgot to mention, Yes I got certified. Android Developer Nanodegree certificate.

So the date of Nov 18th is the hackathon day. The same time, Nov 17th Udacity conducted Udacity Propel (a hiring event). As both Hackathon and propel happened in Bangalore, I had the chance to attend both. But for me, from the second week of November was a Hackathon preparation week. As I was keen on staying until the end of Code2Lead as Winning participant, I did not attend the propel on 17th and kept my hackathon preparations going on.

Hackathon: The problem set for hackathon and arrangements in 91SpringBoard, JP Nagar, Bangalore was really good by Udacity. Managed to happily finish the 12 hours hack by completing mandatory hack requirements, Good to have requirements and Advanced level requirements. The level of hack in 12 hours was really a good experience for me.

Hackathon shortlists: One more shortlist mail from the hackathon results received from Udacity and I was confident enough to see my name gets included in it. It happened as expected.

The expectation towards the recognition: Received an Invitation to go through an interview process with Udacity India MD Mr. Ishan Gupta.

Excited and eagerly looking forward to the interview day. So far I like the toughness and level of process that Udacity follows to filter out the right candidates to shortlist. Udacity keeps on tightening the competition all through this program.

Finally, I am still waiting to get surpassed two more goals to achieve the final recognition.

  1. The result of technology leader recognition by Udacity.
  2. The result of final winners to Silicon Valley trip.