Android Basics by Google
In this Udacity Android Basics Nanodegree review, I will talk about how Udacity will help you learn to develop android apps
Udacity is offering personalised discount.
I completed the Android Basics Nanodegree back in April.
If you’re reading this review of Udacity android basics nanodegree, you’re likely trying to decide if the Android Basics Nanodegree by Google is right for you, before handing over your credit card details.
You’ve probably read the Android Basics course outline several times, scanned Reddit or Quora for answers, and compared a handful of other cheaper, rival programs, and scoured the internet for discount codes.
Ignoring the price tag, the Android Basics Nanodegree program seems almost too good to be true.
It gained hundreds of five star reviews and has been described as “life changing” and the “best resource on the internet”, in the glowing feedback left by former students.
By the time you’ve finished reading all of Udacity’s associated marketing collateral, you’re almost sold.
This is the program that’s going to get you building apps right away, helping you to get noticed by recruiters, and open up new job opportunities.
It seems like the perfect fit.
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Udacity Android Basic Nanodegree Cost
Then you click on ‘enrol now’ and pause at the checkout page. The course is priced at $399 per month, and Udacity recommends that you sign up for at least three.
That’s $1,197 to learn the basics of Android app development.
Now you’re not so sure. Can you really learn how to build attractive, functioning, Android apps in just three months? Or is this just a clever marketing gimmick?
Udacity promises that by the end of their program you’ll have created six portfolio-worthy apps, earnt a ‘Nanodegree’, and enjoy access to a range of career support services.
But is the Android Basics Nanodegree program worth it?
What’s a Nanodegree anyway?
And will prospective hiring managers acknowledge the certification, or should you think twice about enrolling?
I will try to answer all your questions in this Udacity Android Basics Nanodegree Review.
Overview of Udacity’s Android Basics Nanodegree
The Android Basics by Google Nanodegree was one of the earliest collaborations between Udacity and Google, designed to teach complete beginners how to build their first Android app.
Like most of the programming Nanodegrees offered by Udacity, the program is a curation of the company’s best, free of charge courses laid out in a logical order.
The Android Basics Nanodegree is broken into six different stages, including both an introductory and a career services module, with mandatory projects bookending each set of classes. This includes:
- Welcome to the Nanodegree: an introduction to your teachers
- User Interface: How to build layouts in XML
- Project: Build a Single Screen App
- User Input: Java and general programming concepts such as strings and variables
- Project: Score Counter App
- Project: Quiz App
- Career Services: optional projects to improve your LinkedIn and GitHub profiles
- Multi-Screen Apps: More practice with Java, plus new concepts such as loops and using arrays to store information
- Project: Musical Structure App
- Project: Tour Guide App
- Networking: Learn about control flow and conditionals in Java, as well as JSON parsing and HTTP networking
- Project: News App
Instead of hour-long lectures, the modules are spread out over different lessons, which are further broken down into classes.
The vast majority of the classes are five to ten minute long videos, which are followed by multiple-choice quizzes.
The program was designed with newbie programmers in mind, to gently ease them into XML and Java, hence the reliance on short, lighthearted videos and quizzes, and the technical support offered by mentors and project reviewers.
Why Should I Enroll?
It’s well known that skilled developers, including Android developers, are in high demand.
They’re scooped up quickly by top tech companies, offered competitive salary packages and benefits that range from equity to student loan repayments, from ample vacation time, to health insurance, and the option to work remotely.
It’s a trend that has been well documented in Forbes, CNN, Entrepreneur, and USA Today – software developers in the United States now earn close to double that of the average American worker, as a result of companies such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Google all competing for the best talent.
As a result, hundreds of online programming courses of varying quality have sprung up, providing students and non-technical employees the ability to study software development and reboot their career.
There’s no denying that if you want to learn more about Android development, Android Basics is a good place to start.
It’s one of the highest rated paid programs on Udacity, and was developed in conjunction with Google.
Upon completion, the e-learning giant claims that you should have “the real-world skills you need to know how to build and accelerate your journey towards becoming a professional Android Developer.”
And while Udacity has not commented on the number of Android Basics students which have gone on to become freelance or inhouse Android developers, there are numerous stories of students who later completed the follow-up Android Developer Nanodegree securing internships and full time roles with companies such as Google, Facebook, and ING.
Hope you are enjoying this Udacity Android Basics Nanodegree review.
Does The Program Accomplish Its Goals?
Students who complete the Android Basics Nanodegree will build six apps as outlined, but not without being provided ample starter code to get started.
Due to the vast amount of information and new concepts introduced over the course of the program, most students will only gain an awareness of what is required of an Android app developer, and basic ability when it comes to XML and Java.
This is not the same as fluency, as three months of part time programming is simply not long enough for a complete beginner to truly master Java.
The Android Basics Nanodegree will show you what you can achieve as an Android developer, and what you need to work on in order to develop your skills.
What you do next depends on your own personal goals, your own degree of motivation, and to some extent your ability to continue funding your learning.
You will be able to build the most basic of apps with your new found abilities, and decide if Android app development is right for you.
However, you’ll need weeks if not months of further practice to build on the concepts covered in the modules.
As an Android Basic graduate who entered the program with a digital marketing background, I can attest that I learnt a considerable amount about Android development in a short space of time.
Here’s one example of it.
However, I would not be able to design and develop an app fit to add to the Google Play Store yet.
Most of the projects that I completed in order to earn the certificate partly, and sometimes largely, reused code that Udacity had already written.
The starter code came with detailed instructions, so it was a little like painting by numbers.
While I made, for example, a score counter app, very little of that code was built from scratch.
It was more the product of following a combination of video lessons and written instructions which detailed how to build the XML layout and then the scorekeeping .functionality with Java.
Udacity states that it takes students 120 hours on average to complete the Nanodegree, which averages out at ten hours a week over three months.
You can finish the program faster if you are already familiar with programming, and opt to rush through the projects by only completing the bare minimum of what is required to pass.
I completed the program in under 30 days, to make the most of Udacity’s ‘free access for a month’ promotion which ran in May-June 2020.
Prior to enrolling, I already knew a little about programming, and had completed eight other Nanodegrees.
This meant that I was well versed in how Udacity’s project reviewers operate, and knew what to concentrate on to avoid the frustration of multiple rounds of small revisions.
Tip: follow the marking rubric to the letter!
If you’re new to programming, Udacity’s timeline is reasonably accurate.
The projects are the most time consuming aspect by far, and become progressively more difficult as the program continues.
Is it Worth the Price?
It’s subjective. For most people looking to either retrain or to enter the workforce for the first time, $1,197 is a significant investment and not a decision to be taken lightly.
Sure $1,197 pales in comparison to the cost of a traditional degree, but for a MOOC the course is still highly expensive without a guarantee of career advancement or a pay increase.
Whether these features are worth $1,197 is up to you, but here’s a quick rundown:
Features of Udacity Android Basics Nanodegree
1. Curated lesson content
The curated content kept the program concise and easy to follow.
It’s easier to feel as if you’re learning and developing your skills when you reach particular milestones within the course and complete the projects.
There are free workarounds available, if you don’t mind skipping the more gamified parts
2. Student forums
Most find these helpful, especially in regards to the projects, however I could not access them during the free month promotion
3. Project reviews
In my experience the reviews came back between four and 24 hours later, depending on the project.
Great if you want feedback on your work.
Some of the reviewers suggested ways in which I could improve my code, while others did not
4. One-on-one coaching
I didn’t use this service as it seemed to be blocked off during the free month promotion, and probably wouldn’t use it even if it was available due to the timezone difference
5. Career coaching
I skipped this completely as I didn’t want to change my LinkedIn profile to look like an aspiring Android developer
6. Nanodegree certificate
Nice to have, but not useful in the long run.
Not one hiring manager or recruiter has ever commented on any of the Udacity certificates on my CV, perhaps because the company is not as well known outside of the states.
This could change in the future, but it’s far from guaranteed
The program is a great fit for people who know they would like to pursue Android app development, but are unsure of how and where to start.
You’ll graduate from the Android Basics Nanodegree with the ability to think like a programmer, which is probably the key benefit.
Other gains will depend largely on your goals, and how much work you put into the program.
I first spotted the Android Basics by Google Nanodegree on its release back in 2016, but I wasn’t fully convinced that it was worth a try until four years later, when the world went into lockdown and Udacity offered one month of learning free of charge.
I’m certainly not part of Udacity’s target audience, as I wanted to learn how app development worked, not specialise in it.
Am I grateful for the experience to complete a Nanodegree worth $1,197 without paying a cent upfront?
The program instructors are upbeat, evidently very skilled, and have a great sense of humour.
The overall learning environment is upbeat and welcoming, and one of the main reasons as to why I have spent hundreds of hours on the Udacity platform.
But if I was set on becoming an Android app developer, I think I would first cover the basics on my own, skip the certificate, and then pay for the more advanced Android Developer Nanodegree.
This way I could maximize the value of the technical advice and mentoring, plus the project review system, without spending an excessive amount of money on more basic content that is freely available elsewhere.
However, as I have no plans to work in Android development anytime soon, my experience will likely differ from yours.
If you have the savings tucked away and the passion to really master Android app development, then why not give the Nanodegree a try?
It might just be the start of something great.
You just read the Udacity Android Basics Nanodegree Review by Alice Bedward.
Digital marketer & Content writer currently located in Den Bosch, the Netherlands