My experience with Udacity Full Stack Web Developer Nanodegree

My experience with Udacity Full Stack Web Developer Nanodegree

#mooc #review #udacity

 Introduction

 In the summer of 2017, I started getting interested in web development and I wanted to learn more. After comparing various full stack web development courses I decided to take the Udacity Nanodegree and have successfully completed it within 6 months and this is a short blog on what it is and my experience with it.

About the course

Prerequisites

The prerequisites for the course is fluent English, experience with Python or other object-oriented programming languages, JavaScript, Git and HTML. You should be fine with knowing just the basics.

What does it cover?

The course covers version control with git, web protocols and networking, SQL databases with Python, Flask framework, OAuth, and deploying to Linux servers. That's just the gist of it.

 To find out more, read the full syllabus here.

How long does it take?

 According to the syllabus, the course requires 160 hours of study time and the program is to be completed in a term of 4 months. This is different from when I took it where it states that most learners would finish the course in 6 months time, which is the amount of time I took to finish it. Looking at the syllabus it seems that they have rearranged the order of the contents but the learning outcome appears to still be the same.

How much does it cost?

 At the time when I was taking the course, I was lucky enough to get the promotion where the subscription price for the first two months were half off. In addition to that, when I completed the Nanodegree I was able to get a refund for half of what I paid for. Sadly, you can no longer get this now.

The current pricing at the time of writing for this course is USD999 for a term of 4 months.

My experience

What I knew before taking the course

I had some experience with basic programming and knew some basic HTML, CSS, JavaScript and Python before taking the course but not anything in depth.

How I felt after taking the course

What I like most about the course is how it teaches you the most barebones way to do something, e.g. constructing an HTTP request from plain text, before moving on to a higher level tool to do the same job but easier. This way you actually understand why you do something and that it is not magic. Many other courses teaches you how to do something but it doesn't teach you why, so you only have a vague understanding of what is happening under the hood and I think this is what I like the most about this course.

The course also heavily emphasises reading through documentation to find out how to do something, which I am sure is an essential skill to learn to be a successful programmer.

After taking the course, I didn't feel like I had absolute confidence to create a web application from scratch, but it did give me enough knowledge that I know what I need to do.

Would I recommend it?

I would say for most people, no, I would not recommend taking this course. I did learn a lot from the course and felt that it was worth it for me at the time, but at the time of writing the cost of the Nanodegree is much higher than previously and compared to similar courses on the other platforms. So if you are on a tight budget, then I would recommend learning full stack web development on websites such as FreeCodeCamp which is completely free, or on other MOOC websites such as Coursera which is much cheaper.

Of course there are reasons to take the Nanodegree course. Udacity provides some features that other platforms do not. The most important ones are that you will be assigned a mentor which will help keep you on track and help you if you get stuck, and also the code review where your code will be graded by a professional. It also teaches you to use Git, read documentation and follow a coding style which are good habits to learn early on. On top of that, there are also extra curricular courses such as resume writing, interviewing, improving your LinkedIn profile, and more. If you plan to use those additional features and find that the cost is worth it and you can afford it, then I would recommend the Nanodegree.

There is no doubt that this course helped kickstart my career as a developer and I hope that this blog provides you the information that you are looking for.