Udacity Android Developer Nanodegree Review, Is it Worth it ?
Ever thought about joining the exciting world of app development? There is an app for everything these days all of which attempt to make life easier and a little more entertaining. If you have what it takes to develop apps, you have endless opportunities to work with some of the top tech companies all around the world. If you’re interested and are looking to study flexibly, you can try out the Android Nanodegree Program from Udacity which offers an all-inclusive course. If you haven’t heard of Udacity, they are an online academy specializing in degree programs and trainings including data science, AI and digital marketing. They may have a reputation for excellence and a great staff on board but, how is the course and is it worth your time and money? This is what we will answer in this review along with a look at the job market.
First up, let’s look at what the course aims to deliver. This course was developed in cooperation with Google, and is said to be a gateway for those wanting to take their programming skills to the next level. This is said to be an intermediate course and the academy recommends that learners have some prior programming experience. There are four sections each one helping you build up your knowledge piece by piece. Each section includes projects that allow you to apply the knowledge learned making sure that you can put them to use in real life situations. Up next, we’ll take a deeper look into the sections summarizing what you’ll learn in each along with the type of project you’ll be expected to do.
First up, let’s take a look at what you’ll need to get started. While the prerequisites are not required, they are highly recommended for your success. You will need to have some experience with an object-oriented language like Java, Udacity recommends at least a year. You will also be using quite a bit of Git and GitHub so you’ll need some kind of experience with it. If these are not something that you have worked with before, there are courses offered to help you learn and most of them are free. You can find a list of the more introductory courses here:
Step by Step App Development
Right off the bar you’ll start building apps. You’ll work alongside instructors as they build an Android app connected to the cloud step by step. After you get the steps down, you’ll have three chances to practice and put your new skills to work. You’re given a few details and them set off on your own to create pieces of fully-functioning apps for Android devices.
More Advanced App Development
Here, you’ll add on to what you learned in part one digging in deeper to all the details that make apps go from good to great. You’ll learn the ins and outs of creating user experiences that will keep clients happen and keep you in demand in the market. You’ll end off by building a baking app of your own. You’ll get to make an app where step by step video instruction helps users bake yummy good embedding proper programs and app necessities to make it easy to use and visually appealing.
Gradle for Android and Java
You’ll take a step away from the designing and learn how to test apps to make them more efficient. You’ll get to see the difference between paid and free apps and learn a bit about creating libraries. After you get a grasp on the knowledge within this section of the course, you’ll get to roll your sleeves up and get to work making both a free and paid version of an app. You will be doing exactly what those in the profession do sending you off to your first job with confidence.
Material Design for Android Developers
Now, you’ll get a grasp at what it takes to make apps more appealing. You will see the full potential of the visual language of Android diving in deeper to transitions and graphics that will make your apps pop. Afterward, you’ll apply these design principles to freshen up an outdated app. You’ll get to change the entire vibe based on the profile provided to you, getting a feel for how to make apps that will please your future clients.
Now is when you can spread your wings into the world of app design. You’ll have a chance to get creative, bringing your ideas to life and publishing them to Google Play. The project is set up into two parts, the first where you will design and the second where you will build.
How long does it take?
As an online course, you’ll have the freedom to take as long as you want but, you want to stay on track, so that you can keep your newly learned knowledge fresh to complete your projects faster. Udacity estimates that if you dedicate only 10 hours a week, you can finish the course in a total of 6 months. Still, this is only an estimate, and every person will be different going at their own pace.
While the curriculum may go in-depth and introduce important concepts to Android app development, your instructors are going to be the ones to drive the points home. For this course, there is a long list of instructors with killer credentials. Most of them have years of experience in the field and have made waves sharing their expertise first hand. We have listed them below along with their most noteworthy accomplishments.
A creator of several web development courses and the head of the bunch. With many years of experience in the field under his belt, Williams has seen it all, providing learners to capture a bit of his knowledge publishing the book HTML5 Game Programming.
Another author on the list, Meier is writer of Professional Android Application Development. He has worked years in the field becoming a leader in developer relations for Google.
With more than 10 years in the field, Galpin has worked on almost every piece of the puzzle when it comes to mobile gaming. While he may have a wide range of knowledge to share, he prefers to focus on enhancing performance of Android apps enhance user experience.
Becker is a pro when it comes to google APIs. Since 2004, she has been helping learners understand the use and power of the technologies required for development.
With more than 9 years of hands on experience as a software engineer, Samak has a lot of advice to pass on to his pupils. He is not only an instructor for this course but also a content developer for the academy and also an instructor for many of the Java courses that are a part of the Udacity portfolio.
On top of the course material and instructors, Udacity offers learners a few extras to try and rise above the competition. We have listed them below along with a bit about what you get out of each.
Real Projects from Real Companies
This program was created with help from Google. It should come as no surprise that this course delivers, giving learners all that they need to learn the actual practices adopted by those in the business. Looking at the curriculum above, most of the projects within the course offer introductory level applications. It is not until the capstone where you’re on your own and able to let your imagination run wild.
Your Very Own Mentor
There are mentors there to help no matter what the problem may be. Whether it is something technical or keeping you on track, your mentor is there. This is a great perk, especially when questions or concerns pop up.
This is our favorite extra. Not only will you get help on your resume from experts in the industry but, you will become part of the database where top companies are on the hunt for fresh additions to their team. On top of that, you can run through a mock interview to get you prepped and ready to confidently face your potential new employers face to face.
Last but not least, you get to bask in the opportunity to go at your own pace and complete the course in your own time. This is a great extra to have but, one that you should use with caution. We say this because it can be very easy to get off track from time to time and put off work. Plus, you’ll want to try and finish in the time recommended as the cost varies by access.
The course cost total depends on the amount of time you take. This is because the way the Udacity academy is set up, charging a monthly rate. If you choose to pay as you go one month at a time, the cost is $359 per month. We mentioned above that the academy estimates that it will take 6 month and they have a slight discount for those that want to take advantage of a one-time fee. This brings it to $1974 total, where you can purchase more monthly access if needed.
It is important for an academy to have good reviews. Often times reviews are a make or break for potential new students. Taking a look from afar and grouping up reviews together, the course has an overall rating of 4.7 out of 5. Plus, there seem to be common pros and cons that previous learners seem to have in common. We have broken them up and listed them below for a quick summary.
- In-Depth concepts introduced
- Lots of hand on experience
- Step by step app building
- Great instructors
- Conferences and live chats with actual Google staff
- Great mentorship
- A bit expensive
- Self-learning is required for some sections of the course
- Capstone difficulty on the more advanced scale
What Kind of Job Market can I Expect?
Android is a big name in tech. They are head to head with giants, Apple, coming out with new and innovative technologies to enhance mobile phone use. One thing that goes hand in hand with mobile devices these days are apps, something that everyone is on the hunt for. This means that the skills necessary to build and create applications are in demand and this trend is only expecting to stay that way. A recent analysis of the market by ADT Magazine, there is not only a spike in demand expected in the years to come but also a hike in the amount of starting pay.
This is not the only aspect that makes this kind of career attractive, also coming with the opportunity to work remotely or even do freelance jobs making a name for yourself as a developer. If these are what you’re looking for as a career, a course that offers you the chance to get a good grasp on this knowledge and build a strong foundation to jump start your career.
Is it worth it?
After taking a look at the course, extras, cost and reviews, we give this course a big thumbs up. While it is not recommended for those who don’t already have some experience with programming languages, it can be something to look forward to once you break into the world of IT. Those who have experience and are wanting a career change couldn’t have picked a better time to jump in, scoring the skills ahead of the curve to hopefully become an asset when the peak hits.
While we do think it is worth it, you can get the best bang for your buck the faster you make it through the course. Setting up a schedule that you can follow successfully can make all the difference, helping you to finish and become part of a team faster than you think. Get Started