As the world evolves with new technology, so do the skills people need to succeed in both existing and new sectors. But a digital skills gap exists, and we need to provide everyone with the opportunity to learn these skills.
Since 2016, the Google Developer Scholarship Challenge—in partnership with Udacity—has awarded 73,000 scholarships to budding developers across Europe to help them find a job or start their own business.This is a part of Grow with Google’s ongoing commitment to equip people with the skills they need to succeed in the digital economy.
In February, 6,000 of the Scholarship Challenge top performers from 36 European countries received scholarships for a six-month in-depth Nanodegree course hosted by Udacity. Over 26,000 projects were submitted over the course of the program. We caught up with four scholars to find out how the Google and Udacity Nanodegree impacted their lives and unearthed new career options for them.
Melinda: the working mother who built a life-saving app
Melinda, from Hungary, is a mother who runs her own business. She's a two-time Google scholar who during her Nanodegree, began building to build BloodDroid, an app that helps people find their nearest blood donation center and sets alerts reminding them to give blood. Each blood donation can save up to three lives so the app has the potential to make a huge impact.
Melinda and her team of fellow scholars pitched the app to the Hungarian National Blood Transfusion Service, and are to release it as a commercially-viable service on Google Play.
“It all seemed impossible for me,” Melinda says, “And now here I am, building an app with amazing guys I met during Udacity scholarships, and having two apps at Google Play,” she says.
Osama: a fresh start for a Syrian refugee
Osama came to Sweden from war-torn Syria looking to build a new life. After 19 months in a refugee camp in Sweden, he began his scholarship while simultaneously learning Swedish. “Being granted this awesome nine month scholarship has helped me grow on a professional level by gaining more skills, while on a personal level it’s really helped boost my confidence," Osama says.
"Through Udacity’s simple yet comprehensive classes, I've done projects and gotten valuable feedback that's helped me grow.”
Already a basic coder, he's now training to become a full stack developer through the scholarship and credits the programme with helping him navigate this big career change in his life.
Kristine: from health worries to top internshipKristine, from Latvia, received her Udacity Android scholarship after overcoming major health issues and recovering from brain surgery. The program empowered her to find the hope she had lost at a difficult time in her life.
“Thanks to the program, I was doing what I enjoyed and I was getting help. That helped me stay motivated and focused."
Kristine was offered an internship a week after graduating as a Junior Android Developer at TestDevLab, a software testing company in Latvia. The experience she’s gained through the Nanodegree has given her the confidence to continue pursuing her career dreams in coding.
Maeva: community leader turned top coding school instructorMaeva, from France, stood out as a community leader in the scholarship program. Early on in the course, she built a popular app that helped students manage their time better and accelerate their learning.
"This scholarship had a huge impact on me,” she says. “I have discovered that my true passion was teaching, and I couldn't have known that without the community.”
It was through helping her fellow students that she found her own love for teaching code. As a result, she was offered a job as React instructor at the Wild Code School, a web development school in France.
We're inspired by these students’ stories— they have each taken the practical experience learnt from the course and have used their knowledge towards advancing their dreams. We can’t wait to see what other graduates achieve using their new digital skills.