My experience as a Google India Challenge Scholarship recipient

Photo by Jan Losert on Unsplash

In the month of December last year, an email from Udacity India appeared in my inbox. Given the brand name of Google and Udacity in the technology and education fields respectively, it was a big opportunity ahead. I proceeded to fill up my application without thinking twice, only to be encountered with thought-provoking questions such as why I should I be considered for the scholarship, my interests and my involvement in my other personal goals.

The questions were not difficult actually to answer, I have been considering of beginning my journey into web development for quite a while then. I didn’t exactly know where to begin exactly. There are so many resources, I simply felt overwhelmed. I started to do freeCodeCamp tutorials but wasn’t getting the required depth in the topics. One fine day, a notification popped in my mail displaying my acceptance in the front-end development program. I was thrilled surely, but I knew I had to put regular efforts in pursuing this web track.

The track has four parts,
- HTML
- CSS
- Javascript
- Jquery

The process :

Udacity has reserved 10,000 seats for the beginner track. Out of which 350 candidates who have proven their mettle will receive the scholarship to pursue the Front-end Development Nanodegree.
The performance of a candidate is based on

  • successful completion of all the coding exercises (must)
  • his involvement in the Slack and forum discussions. (written about it later).

The duration to complete the course is 3 months.

Since it began on 14th of February, 14th of May is the last date to complete all your work.

You can expect that results for the scholarship will be declared on 29th of May. This will determine whether you have been selected for the second round. Source : https://discussions.udacity.com/t/what-is-the-last-date-for-completion-of-this-course/642086/3

Further details: https://in.udacity.com/google-india-scholarships (Don’t forget to check out the FAQ section, it’s important!)

The truth!!

Helping the community :

One thing that truly makes the course valuable is the fact you get to interact with people from all walks of life. People from diverse backgrounds have come together to make the learning experience a wonderful and enriching one.

Most of the doubts and questions are discussed thoroughly, often a thread receiving more than 4 replies to support, counter and complement facts. I have received help from people even at 3 am!

With time you make friends with whom collaborate to make cool projects. After completion of the course, candidates make their own quizzes and encourage others to solve them. People come up with innovative techniques to put what we have learnt to use. It’s really an amazing community to be a part of. Lastly, most started making projects on Github like TaskMaster and JeevanRakht to do something to help others with the knowledge gained.

I cannot deny the contributions of the Udacity mentors too. They motivate us to work harder and come up with surprises in #announcement channel of Slack.

Slack vs forum?

  • Slack is good for getting instant help. Small doubts, normal conversation and motivational stuffs are mostly exchanged here. It is useful for reaching out to more number of people.
  • Forum is a more formal and standard way of asking questions. Topics that need different opinions and considerable length of discussion are more suited to this. Also you can search answers easily here.

Further details : https://discussions.udacity.com/t/forum-vs-slack-explain/634675/4?u=srinjoy_s

In order to help others I wrote a script in Python to quickly access the answers and help with the relevant details.

My journey :

On 14th February, I began the track when most of my friends were having fun (you know what I mean!). I was acquainted with a bit of HTML and CSS so it didn’t take much time to complete those. Among the books, I liked Jon Duckett’s HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites.

Javascript was a different game altogether. Having some prior experience in a programming language like C, I thought Javascript would be easy. I was so wrong. Though Javascript has mostly the same syntax, there are too many OOP concepts to learn. The course provides a brief view of the most useful parts of the language, leaving yourself to explore more.

Jquery part was a bit tough to comprehend. It wasn’t that the videos were not good, the part is really tough. I was able to finish the relevant parts of the course but didn’t have the required level of confidence. I still need practice particularly on the topics of DOM Manipulation and Event Listeners.
I’m still working on my Pixel Art Project, will complete it after my end-semester examinations.

I used Brackets editor mostly. I’m a fan of the live preview it provides. I explored Atom too. It is superior at many respects to the former.

Useful resources :

Track related :

HTML/CSS/Javascript:

CSS :

Javascript :

Jquery :

Brackets editor:

Check this extension for shortcuts (becomes really handy sometimes)!

Compilation of wonderful web resources :

The journey ahead

I am relatively less active in community engagement. I am barely able to manage both my college course load and devoting time in helping others. There are far more deserving candidates who have really worked their asses off to be where they are today. Even if I don’t get the scholarship, there will be no hard feelings.

Well, I did learn a lot of things in such a short time. It wouldn’t be possible without this well-conceptualized course. Nevertheless, I understand now that this was just a stepping stone towards a front-end web development. I am also interested in exploring back-end web development.

A map showing different aspects of front-end web development (Source: https://learntocodewith.me/web-dev/front-end-developer-skills/)

Here’s my portfolio website (still under construction) I made using the things I learnt in these weeks of accelerated study.

You can checkout my blog where I write upon a variety of topics.

Don’t forget to show your appreciation with claps and responses.

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