My Android Developer Scholarship from Udacity and Google is a love story in two parts. Why? Because the scholarship I want to write about today is not the first one I got.

Android Scholarship Love Story Part I

Last year I was one of the super lucky Udacity students to get a scholarship for the Android Basics Nanodegree. Meaning I got to do the whole Nanodegree with the help of experienced mentors and an awesome community of fellow learners. I had applied without really believing I could get in. My job has nothing to do with coding and my efforts of learning to code so far had been a lot of fun. But they were very far from being proficient. Anyways, I got in.

It was an amazing experience! The learning, the community, the feeling of accomplishing things I didn’t think I could do. Every week! It was addictive. So when I received my certificate for completing the Android Basics Nanodegree, I knew that wasn’t the end of it.

My Certificate of completion of the Android Basics Nanodegree (ABND)While my cohort was finishing the scholarship, there were rumors about a new one for the next step: The Android Developer Nanodegree! Maybe you have to be geeky like me or have gone through the experience of a Nanodegree to understand what that made me feel. Thinking to finish that degree and taking the certification to become an Associate Android Developer gave (and still gives) me butterflies! Naturally I kept my eyes peeled for any tweets, e-mails or other signs of another scholarship.

Trouble in paradise: Is my Android love story over?

When I finally got wind of where to apply for an Android Developer Scholarship, I was thrilled. And it didn’t take me long to apply. Or write my application. By now I knew what excited me about this opportunity. In the meantime I kept working on my own app and started taking the first courses for the Android Developer track on Udacity. (In case you are wondering: the courses themselves are free, you can start learning anytime! The free version just comes without the very valuable mentor support and all the other cool support functions I had the privilege to enjoy before…) And then that e-mail came. Telling me I didn’t get in…

Paper robot holding a broken heart after not getting the Android Developer ScholarshipI won’t lie. I was quite sad about that. Not necessarily because I had lost the opportunity to learn. No, as I said above, I was already learning the contents of the course. And I was determined to finish it as well. What was upsetting about this was that mean little voice inside that I had known from before. And now it came back full force: “You are probably just not good enough for this. They just know that you won’t be a proper coder anyways. You don’t have what it takes. Forget about your app, you don’t even have a Google Play Developer account yet.”

You know this voice as well, don’t you? What helped me get out of this mood was to remember what our teachers had told us in a live hangout in the Android Basics Nanodegree. They had told us about impostor syndrome, how even those among them who have coded professionally for years have it. How it’s normal to have it. And how you should never give in to this silly little voice. So I didn’t.

Reviving the romance

Without giving much more thought to not having gotten the Android Developer Scholarship, I chipped away at my own app. Funnily enough, the biggest challenge was the content creation, while the coding part went easier and was a lot of fun. It was amazing to see how many things I could do without even checking any documentation. How much I had learned about making a “real” app, by taking the “Basics” course. So obviously I also wanted to soak in all the content of the next course, getting even better. And then I saw it again: another possibility for getting a scholarship from Google and Udacity: the Google Android Dev challenge 2017! As now I knew I could survive another “No” without it impacting my morale to much, I went for it. And just a little later (Don’t be fooled, it felt like MONTHS!):

My heart still beats faster when I look at this! So happy! So grateful!

Now let me tell the next few weeks of my rekindled Android romance in tweets:

It was like the first time all over again. Amazing community on slack and in the forums, learning difficult concepts made so easy by the instructors, this feeling of getting over yourself when you think you’re not clever enough for this – and then you do it anyways!

I finished the challenge course a little ahead of time. And felt empowered enough to finally register for my Google Play Developer Console.

(FYI: It’s just a few clicks, the gravity of the registration is in my head!)

Does the Android love have a future?

Yesterday, the first part of the Android Developer Scholarship ended. And it will be one week until we get to know who advances to the next stage. Am I a little anxious about the result? Of course. Do I worry about it impacting my Android future? Not really. I will finish the course anyways, just probably much slower without the mentor help and community support. I will publish an app. And learn loads in the process. And be proud of myself for learning so much, for becoming part of that special group of people who can build a little part of our world.

Why did I tell you so much about my Android Developer Scholarship romance?

I wanted to share this so as many people as possible can take away the following three messages:

  1. If at first you don’t succeed, just try again. You got nothing to lose and so much to win!
  2. Do not ever listen to that little voice telling you you can’t learn something new! Or do something out of your comfort zone! You can do it!
  3. You don’t have to build houses anymore to be a builder. You can learn to code and make your own things! No matter your background or your gender. (Shoutout to my favorite Android scholarship slack channel #women_techmakers!)
  4. Udacity’s Android courses are awesome. Seriously. If you cannot get a scholarship and cannot afford to pay for the Nanodegree, take the free version. You will learn a new skill well enough to use it in real life.

Thank you for reading this pamphlet. If I inspired just one person to go for it, I have already reached my goal.

All about my Android developer scholarship