Although Prushni Jani had been working in Android development since 2012, she wanted to gain more confidence in her skills. While living in Maharashtra, India, she chose AcadGild’s online Android course to dig deeper into her mobile development skills and build projects with the guidance of a mentor. Now, Prushni runs Connect2Android.com to create Android apps and Code Kaksha to help others learn Android mobile development! Read about her experience learning online with AcadGild and her thoughts on being a woman in India’s tech scene.
Tell us about your educational and career background before you attended AcadGild.
I majored in computer engineering and graduated in 2012. I took the traditional training route in Android because there was a boom in the market. In 2013, I started working as a developer on real-time applications in Android, and after a year, I decided to start working as a freelancer. I worked on different mobile projects and created a team of people to help me.
When did you attend AcadGild and what made you get more training?
I was already working in Android development since 2012, but I was not fully confident in my skills, so I joined AcadGild. I attended AcadGild in October 2016 and I finished the course in February 2017. This course ranges from about 32 to 48 hours online, but it really depends on the cohort and how much you interact with the mentors. I took a little more time because, in my cohort, we had more queries and more assignments.
When I was freelancing, I didn't have full confidence in my coding abilities and felt I needed the help of the professionals at AcadGild. I am a self-taught developer. Even though I had received a computer engineering degree, I wanted to be taken seriously as a freelancer and entrepreneur.
What made you choose AcadGild? Were you considering any other courses?
I am a self-learner and I saw how AcadGild’s online course could help me minimize my 10 lines of code down to 5 – this was the main benefit and the reason why I joined AcadGild.
There are many online courses in the market, but I thought that AcadGild was the best coding course because it provided online training, certification, and their mentors are very good. Also, there was support 24/7 – they helped me with my many questions related to my projects. It was the best online bootcamp that I found in the market.
Why did you choose to build your skills online versus an in-person training?
I’m a mobile development trainer myself, so I wanted to explore what it would be like to learn online. For in-person training, I felt there were too many people. With AcadGild, there were seven to eight people in a cohort. They made sure that everyone had one-on-one help. Sometimes people think that in online courses they are not able to learn, but in fact, many learn better online. I felt like I got special attention because they provide you with tools if you have any doubts. If you’re an introvert and don't want to speak out, you can just write it out using chat options instead of having a discussion in class.
What was that application and interview process like for you? Was it hard to get into AcadGild?
No. In fact, they helped me a lot. I’m convinced that even if I was not from the IT field, or if I was not an Android developer, it would’ve been an easy process to enroll. I didn't have to do a coding test, I just showed what projects I had previously worked on. Based on your work, AcadGild chooses what kind of mentor you will need. You can also attend AcadGild if you had no coding experience.
When you were learning at AcadGild, did you interact with the other students online?
Yeah, we did interact. We decided what projects we wanted to learn and what type of strategy we wanted to make so that the mentor could teach us properly. If there were some topics that were very hard for us, we had to strategize to get the most practical use out of our mentor.
What was the learning experience like at AcadGild? What was a typical day? How did you interact with the instructors and mentors online?
The day started with receiving a link to what we’d be learning. When the session started, we had very good coordinators to help us. For example, if I had a problem with some online tool, they would help me with providing more resources. We also heavily interacted with instructors. We could “raise our hands” in the online portal when the session was going on to ask questions, and they would give very good answers about a topic. They gave us the practical knowledge that we needed to develop projects and applications. It was a very good experience with them because they were very friendly. Even if we had a problem at midnight, there was 24/7 support.
Do you prefer to learn online? How do you stay motivated?
At first, I had no idea what it meant to learn online. This industry is booming. AcadGild told us about Android development, what the market is up to, and how it will be in future. It was really good experience because they had us working on real-time problems. I was very motivated because of my IT background.
The most important thing is that you should Google and research online training. If you are learning online, you get recorded sessions, you get assignments, and you get projects. And you can get hands-on practice. There are many benefits and I received the confidence I wanted when I completed the course.
Do you have any advice on how to stay focused when learning online?
Yeah, you have to be up-to-date with your learning. If you’re going to learn any topic, you should be aware of when you’ll need to use that subject/topic in a real-time application. Stay focused on your learning goals and have an outline of the frameworks you want to know. If you want to create a specific mobile application, you should be focused on that. Once you are focused on that goal, you will be able to learn the topics more easily.
For example, let's say I want to create an application like Facebook. From the first day of the session, I should be focused on that topic so that by the end of the day, I can start implementing.
Did you have a favorite project that you built during your online class at AcadGild?
Yeah, I had many projects. I created an application that I had developed for a local blood bank. So if users wanted to know which people had a blood group of B+, just open the application, click on B+, and you’ll get a list of people from nearby places who have that blood group. I implemented the app in such a way that with a click of a button you can directly call or SMS the organization.
That’s fascinating. Did you create that project on your own or did you work as a group?
No, this was totally done by me. Whenever I faced a problem, support from AcadGild was there to help out. The Android application is called Akola Blood Donor.
Tell me about your transition into the industry after finishing AcadGild.
By the time I completed the AcadGild course, I felt a different type of confidence. I thought, "If this one course can change my life, then I would like to change the lives of other developers and students too." There was a great opportunity for me to teach people online. I am a social person – I wanted to do some social service in the society and help people learn Android, especially girls and women.
I know that you weren't necessarily looking for a job after AcadGild, but I'm interested to know does AcadGild help with the job search?
They do give help to students, but my focus was not to find a job. I always wanted to start new businesses. I only took help from the support team for my project, but they do help students with the interview process and resumes. AcadGild also sent me some links to different job vacancies. Mentors are really helpful and will guide you.
Describe your two companies Connect2Android.com and Code Kaksha.
At Connect2Android.com, we create Android applications for various individuals and companies. At Code Kaksha, we train students to become Android developers. For example, there are some students who were project managers but had no experience in coding. So they focused on learning Android to safeguard their careers. There are also students who are from the non-IT and IT management field.
We also do social services with our night course training. For instance, in the month of June, I gave a free training because there are some developers that were not able to pay, but they wanted to learn. So I created a batch and I taught them for free.
As a female entrepreneur, it’s hard to survive in this market. No matter how long it takes, I know I’ll be very successful in my field because whatever I do, I do it with honesty. It's my policy to be very honest with my career and to be honest with the students who are learning from me. I want to be beneficial for my society.
Since you mentioned it, what’s been your experience as a woman in the technology space?
It's hard to work in this society as a woman entrepreneur. When people found out that I was a woman starting a company, and that I provided very good Android training services from my end, they were actually happy. In Bangalore, the IT sector is very famous and I am in a women’s club there. It’s an international club for women entrepreneurs and they are all so encouraging. Even though it is very far from where I live (it takes 24 hours by train), I go there every 2-3 months to have that support system.
Would you recommend AcadGild to other students who want to learn to code?
Yeah, definitely. Their support team is very good. They really helped us and the team is very nice.
Do you have any other advice or tips for anyone thinking about becoming a developer?
You have to trust your process and focus on real-time projects so that you can be successful. You need moral support and most times that can only be given by yourself. Only you can help yourself. There will be no spoon feeding in this field.