Udacity Java Web Developer Nanodegree: What to expect

Catherine Cooke

29 March, 2022

Udacity Data Analyst Nanodegree

Udacity is one of the most popular online learning platforms in 2022, and for good reason! The platform boasts nearly 70 Nanodegrees in a variety of subjects, from data science and machine learning to cybersecurity and cloud computing. One of the most high-demand skills right now is web development, so I decided to jump in with two feet and take Udacity’s Become a Java Web Developer Nanodegree.

If you have an interest or curiosity about Java or Web Development, then don’t go anywhere, as we will be explaining all in this detailed article on this Nanodegree.

Udacity Java Web Developer Nanodegree Verdict

Udacity’s Java Web Developer Nanodegree is designed for a learner with some experience of programming and who is ready to take the next step into the practical application of their coding journey. The course shows you the tools you need to apply coding principles, Java and SQL fundamentals to real-world problems. It leaves the student feeling more equipped to get a job and provide value to an organization with their skills.

Udacity’s Java Web Developer Pros & Cons

  • In-depth projects: The coding projects for this course are well-designed and require you to use frameworks and standards that are used across the web development industry.
  • High demand skill: This course teaches back-end web development, which is a skill in very high demand right now, meaning that the Nanodegree certificate gives you a very good chance of getting a job.
  • Offers helpful troubleshooting tips: While many online learning platforms tell you what to do but don’t offer direction if you make mistakes, this Nanodegree is filled with troubleshooting tips for when something doesn’t go right in one of your projects.
  • Helpful section on security: The final section of this Nanodegree goes into detail about security, which often isn’t covered in basic web development courses. Website security is one of the most essential pieces to web development, especially when making websites where financial transactions occur like in the final project of the course.

  • Not a great option for complete beginners: The goal of this course is to help students become a Java Developer and experience real-world web development projects. Prior knowledge of basic Java and its libraries is assumed, so this isn’t the best option for those with no experience.
  • Good bit of memorization required: While this course does a great job of teaching the fundamentals of back-end web development with Java, many of the skills and techniques will come down to memorizing functions and libraries.
  • Purely focused on back-end web development: If you’re considering signing up for this course, it’s important to remember that Java is used for back-end web development, like managing servers and systems, which often isn’t what comes to mind when you think of web development.
  • Many new frameworks introduced: This program is a deep dive into Java web development, and while that’s great in some ways, it can be a lot to wrap your head around. There are many frameworks and programs introduced in the course which can be overwhelming.

Java Web Developer Nanodegree Enrollment

After making the decision to register to the Become a Java Web Developer Nanodegree, you will need to answer some onboarding questions like; ‘How do you intend to study for your Udacity Program?’ or ‘Do you prefer to learn on your own or with others?’ (see image below). Once you have completed the onboarding process you will be given full access to the Nanodegree syllabus and all its resources.

Udacity Java Web Developer Nanodegree Onboarding

What is the Java Web Developer Nanodegree Syllabus?

The Syllabus and overview layout of the Java Web Developer Nanodegree is the same as the Data Analyst Nanodegree which I previously took. So I was very familiar with its interface, the menu bar is on the left where you can navigate through the course material and other helpful resources. It also includes resources to freshen up your basic Java skills or improve your LinkedIn or Github profile.

The ‘Program Home’ is where you go to find anything you will need for the Nanodegree, it serves as its central hub. You can find the Overview, Study Plan, Help and FAQS and a calendar to record how often you work (see image below).

Java Web Developer Nanodegree Program

Welcome to Java Web Developer Nanodegree!

This beginning module of the Nanodegree walks you through the basics of Udacity, this is helpful if you are a complete newbie to Udacity. It shows you the helpful resources you have at your disposal during the course. This includes everything from the peer support community to direct help from one of Udacity’s professional mentors. This is a helpful section for beginners but can probably be skipped if you’ve taken a Udacity course before.

Spring Boot Basics

This section of the course teaches you how to use Spring Boot, a popular Java Web Development tool. The Spring framework helps Java developers make web applications quickly and fluently, and Spring Boot is part of the framework that helps make Spring accessible and useful for beginner Java developers. At the end of this section, you’ll build your first fully functional web application using Spring Boot. I really enjoyed this section because it lets you jump straight into web development; you’ve already learned useful and relevant career skills this early in the course!

Web Services and APIs

As you progress in the course you’ll go through the Web Services and APIs section of the Nanodegree. As stated in the name, this section teaches the fundamentals of web services and APIs, two powerful and common tools for helping different computer programs interact and share data with each other. You’ll use the skills developed in this section to build the back-end functionality for a car website that can track inventory and prices of vehicles. When working on this section, I learned a lot about the different roles that front end and back end web developers take on. The web development work I’ve done before included both front and back end work on the same project, but this section gives a great look at what handling purely back end work looks like.

Data Stores & Persistence

In the fourth section of this Nanodegree you’ll learn about data stores and entity objects, including persistent entity objects. This is an important baseline for being able to understand how a Java program can communicate with a database and utilize information in the web application, even after the database has been deleted. This was the most difficult section for me, but the instructors taught the concept of persistence in a way that made it easy to understand. At the end of this section you’ll build the critter chronologer, a software that provides a scheduling interface for small businesses that take care of animals.

Security and DevOps

The final section of this Nanodegree is definitely one of the most important sections, as it’s where you’ll learn how your job as a Java web developer will interact with IT and cybersecurity roles. While looking through the job market for back end developers I realized how important being able to interact with other roles is, as no project constitutes just back end web development. This information is crucial to working as a back-end web developer, and fills in the final gap needed for your skillset to be applicable to a real job. The final project takes place at the end of this section, and walks you through creating a secure eCommerce store.

Conclusion

This syllabus is a comprehensive look at all the major skills needed for a career in back-end web development. Personally, my favorite section was the unit on Web Services and APIs, because for me I feel like that’s where Java programming basics start really coming together into something that seems applicable. This section’s project, building the backend system for a car website, also seemed to me like a very realistic example of a project a beginner Java web developer could take on in the job field.

The course as a whole felt like a huge amount of knowledge packed into a relatively short time period, which is what a Nanodegree is all about! Although this had fewer sections than the Data Analyst Nanodegree, each section and the whole course felt robust; I felt like no important details were skipped over.

Java Web Developer Nanodegree Extracurricular

From the syllabus page you’re able to navigate to a page titled ‘Extracurricular’ which has helpful content that isn’t necessary for completion of the Nanodegree, but in my opinion really rounds out this course nicely. The Extracurricular page has two sections, Intro to Java Programming and Career Services. While some Java programming experience is a prerequisite for this course, if you sign up for it without any prior knowledge this is essentially a whole embedded course about how to code in the popular Java programming language.

The Career Services page gives you helpful tips for how to optimize your LinkedIn and Github profiles, and once you’ve completed the process there’s a project that will let you submit your profile for review by a Udacity professional. Learning applicable web development skills is only one part of the puzzle, and working to perfect your personal brand can be another huge piece to helping you line up future jobs.

Udacity Extracurricular Career Services

Will Udacity’s Java Web Developer Nanodegree help my career?

This Nanodegree program has one significant advantage over a college degree. While a 4-year degree will cover a vast array of topics, the Nanodegree is a deep dive into how you can do one specific thing (back-end web development) with one specific language (Java). This course perfectly primes you for an entry-level job as a Java developer or Software engineer, and with the current high demand for back-end web development there are over 100 thousand current job listings like this on Indeed.

You’ll be looking for a position like ‘Junior Developer’ or ‘Junior Programmer’. This is a great place to start for anyone new to a programming career, and after a few years of work you should be able to move up to a senior position.

Udacity’s Java Web Developer Nanodegree Costs

The cost of Udacity’s Nanodegrees aren’t the cheapest option for learning online. Saying that I think it’s important to consider what goes into its Nanodegree programs. Each one is built in partnership with top organizations and are designed to help land you a job. The best way to look at it is as an investment towards your future.

There are a couple of ways to pay for a Nanodegree either with a Monthly Access or via Pay As You. In the case of the Java Web Developer Nanodegree you have the option of a 4 Months Access for $1356) working out at $339 per month or the Pay As You Go option for $399 (see image below).

Udacity Become a Java Web Developer Costs

Udacity Become a Java Web Developer Payment Options

The best way for you to decide on the right payment option is to ask yourself: How much time you can commit weekly? and How big is your budget? If you have more time than the recommended 5-10 hours a week then the Pasy as you go option may be your best beat as you can finish it quicker than the 4-Month Access and save yourself a few cent.

Udacity Java Web Developer Nanodegree: Last Thoughts

The Java programming language is well known for being fast and highly versatile, and the application skills you’ll learn in this Java Developer Nanodegree can be implemented in anything from back-end web development to big data development or even Android app creation. If you can see any of these things in the future of your tech career, this Nanodegree could be a great option for you. Some of the main takeaways I got from the course were:

  • Make use of resources that are available for beginners. The Spring Boot framework, for example, makes beginner Java Web Development significantly easier than trying to jump straight into Spring.
  • Web development is about more than moving elements on a pag. I was amazed by the amount of work that goes into server-side web development, and this could be a great career option for someone who feels uninterested in front-end web development.
  • Focus on the fundamentals, but once you have them down learn as much practical application as you can. My relatively limited Java skill seems like not enough to create anything useful or meaningful, but with proper practical application and the right guiding frameworks tons of opportunities and projects open themselves up.
  • Related Nanodegrees Once completing the Java Developer Nanodegree you may want to continue your learning journey with related Nanodegrees like Full Stack Web Developer Nanodegree or the AWS Cloud Architect Nanodegree.

> Check out Udacity Java Web Developer Nanodegree here

Please, leave a comment below if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to help you out.

Review Updates:

29/03/22 – Java Web Developer Nanodegree Costs

20/03/22 – Article Published

Catherine Cooke

Hey. I am Catherine and I have been working as a freelancer for many years now. In 2005, I graduated from a BA honours in Art & Design from BCU and then went onto complete a Master’s Degree in Teaching from UEL. The skills I gained from learning and teaching have led me to create Upskillwise, a place for learners like myself to find the best possible resources and courses to train and upskill themselves, either personally or professionally. If you have a question, please feel free to ask me anything or leave me a comment.
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