Last September, Bertelsmann launched the Udacity Technology Scholarship Program, a worldwide scholarship initiative. In an interview with BENET, some of them talk about their experience within the Udacity Technology Scholarship Program. In the first part, Simrandeep Palia, Technical Consultant at Arvato Systems in Malaysia, and Deepak Arora, Senior Software Developer at Arvato Financial Solutions in Norway, tell, among other things, what they learned in the “Cloud DevOpsEngineer” Nanodegree program, how they can apply the acquired knowledge in their jobs, and what they especially enjoyed about the course.
BENET: What content does the “Cloud DevOpsEngineer” Nanodegree program cover?
Simrandeep Palia: The Nanodegree deals with the basics of DevOps tools that can be used to automate software deployment, testing and quality control. The program has a lot of interesting content that helps me understand how I can build a pipeline using Jenkins software and the cloud computing provider AWS Services – exciting!
Deepak Arora: The nanodegree course is spread over five phases, and each phase requires you to create and submit a project. This makes for a lot of hands-on learning, with step-by-step instructions for completing the projects to help you gain experience. The program is full of videos and texts that explain the content very well.
BENET: How does the Nanodegree differ from the preceding Challenge Course?
Simrandeep Palia: The “Challenge Course” gives an overview and a bit of in-depth knowledge about the workflow. In the Nanodegree program I now have the opportunity to really understand many of the things we have learned before. To give an example, in the Challenge Course I get to fly on a plane, whereas how exactly the plane flies - understanding its engines, wings, autopilot, etc. – is taught in the Nanodegree.
BENET: What do you like about the Nanodegree, and what are the challenges for you?
Deepak Arora: I like the well-organized structure of the course. Also, the pace of the program and the community of course-mates all learning at the same time. And the mentors also have a very good knowledge of the subject matter.
Simrandeep Palia: I personally like the content and the realistic examples that the mentors use for us. I like how the mentor takes us to a very detailed level to make sure that when the quiz comes, we will be able to answer the questions in all possible ways. One challenge is the time constraint, I generally spend my weekends doing the learning for the Nanodegree program, so sometimes I missed a deadline. I submitted one of the project on its last day of deadline. I think it should be flexible.
BENET: How are you able to use the knowledge from the Nanodegree program in your everyday work?
Deepak Arora: We are gradually shifting our systems to the Cloud and using the latest technologies for cloud-based systems and services. This nanodegree is a very good start and gives me confidence to venture into the cloud shift.
Simrandeep Palia: Being a developer, I sometimes encountered questions like “why did a pipeline fail here,” or “why do we use a Powershell script here”? The knowledge gained in this program certainly helps me to better find answers to and resolve many questions that I face in my everyday work.
BENET: How do you manage to complete the Nanodegree program alongside your job?
Deepak Arora: The course work and projects require extra time to complete after work. I had to spend extra hours on it in the evenings or sometimes on the weekend. But the way the course is presented and the pace of the program keeps you engaged and motivated. And my team in the office was supportive of my learning and completing it.
Simrandeep Palia: It’s quite challenging to complete the program while also working your job. I literally submitted one of the Nanodegree projects on the last possible day of submission. I learned that working on it only on weekends isn’t enough. It’s better to spend a few hours every single day.
BENET: How did you experience the Udacity Technology Scholarship in general?
Simrandeep Palia: The scholarship program is very helpful. I especially liked the random quizzes and questions that were asked in the middle of the lessons, and being able to communicate with other participants on Slack. In the videos, some topics were split into several short films, which helped me to understand the different steps much better than having to watch one long video.
Deepak Arora: I have done lots of courses in my IT career, and I especially liked the structure and content of this program. It’s a very nice mode of learning.
About the Udacity Technology Scholarship Program
Over a period of three years, Bertelsmann is funding 50,000 tech scholarships on the Udacity online education platform. Each year, the initiative awards 15,000 scholarships for the “Challenge Course” in the fields of Cloud, Data and AI, followed by 1,600 scholarships for the Nanodegree program.
In the second round of the scholarship initiative, Bertelsmann will offer the Cloud Nanodegree with a focus on the cloud computing provider Azure, the “Predictive Analytics for Business” Nanodegree program, and the “AI Product Manager” program. Applications for these programs will be accepted starting September 15, 2020. The scholarship is aimed equally at people with and without programming or IT experience.
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