Why I Did A Udacity Nanodegree Program & Three Learning Principles That Helped Complete It
ALX-T Cloud DevOps Engineering Udacity Nanodegree Program: Motivations & Learning Principles
3 min read
I recently completed the ALX-T Cloud DevOps Engineering Udacity Nanodegree Program. Thanks ALX Transforms Tech programme for the scholarship.
I did the programme to gain tech skills that'll enable me to create more value - as my tech skills advanced, I realized having cloud skills is essential in:
- shipping products,
- renting required resources rather than buying and managing them locally (especially for some applications of AI/ML/Data Science) and
- deeper participation during tech product discussions at work
The Nanodegree taught the fundamentals of the above and equipped me with a background to learn further and keep up to date with new trends.
I also appreciate that the programme was part-time, enabling me to upskill while working full-time.
A few transferrable learning principles that helped me complete the programme (beyond grit & a growth mindset):
1. Better questions -> Better answers
The better questions you ask, the better the answers you're likely to get. While it's okay to ask all questions, especially when new to something, some ways of asking questions lead to better answers.
Three tips on asking better questions:
1. Try to solve it yourself first
When learning, it's better to ask for help after you've tried solving it yourself - but balance this with not getting stuck when someone can accelerate your progress - we all see further when we stand on the shoulders of giants.
2. Ask in relevant forums
Is the question relevant to the topics and complexity level of the forum?
If the forum doesn't have a specified complexity level, it's okay to assume it's for all levels. Most people are willing to help; getting alternative perspectives can be helpful, and others can learn from your question.
3. Be precise and informative about your problem
- What are the symptoms?
- Where/when does it occur?
- What research have you done to understand the problem?
- What steps have you taken to try to solve the problem?
- If possible, provide a way to reproduce the problem in a controlled environment.
2. Tap into collective intelligence
We used the Nanodegree Slack group as our own Q&A Platform by asking & answering questions and sharing knowledge - this helped us advance. There was a comment that the Slack Group became our Stack Overflow & Google.
3. Document your progress
Documenting your progress creates a path for yourself and others to navigate concepts. In tech, knowledge of version control systems such as Git helps greatly. You can also consider alternative ways to structure your notes e.g. networked notetaking and utilizing tags using software such as Obsidian, Logseq, Joplin, etc., and file version management and collaboration software like Google Drive or OneDrive.
I hope this helps someone else's learning journey - onwards and upwards. 🚀