New Country, New Skills, New Career

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New Country, New Skills, New Career

After moving to a new country, she discovered she needed to learn new skills. She has a great new career now (and she’s on her third Nanodegree program!)

Suhasini Gadam - New Skills New Career - Udacity

Suhasini Gadam has always believed in education as the foundation of her career. She has studied, worked hard, and excelled. She graduated from her MBA program, moved from India to the US, then completed a Master’s in Engineering Management. But then her career path hit a wall. For all her educational achievements, she couldn’t find a rewarding job in her new country. But Suhasini didn’t give up. Instead, she thought about what her resume was missing, identified the skills she needed, and enrolled in her first Nanodegree program. Now she has an exciting new job in marketing. This is her story.

We’re excited to talk with you today, Suhasini. Can you start by telling us about your educational background, and where your experience with Udacity started?

I did an MBA with a focus on marketing in 2013, before moving to the US from India. When I arrived, I did a Masters in Engineering Management, which I graduated from last year. When I moved to the US, I found everything very different. The work culture was different, even the way that I had been taught about things in my previous studies. My education had always focused on the same textbook content, year after year. And that didn’t seem to be what was needed in my new home. I was struggling to find a job, and interviews I’d done led me to think it was because I didn’t have the skills and approach to work that recruiters were looking for. Then a friend recommended Udacity, told me about its focus on work-ready skills, and I decided to enroll.  

It sounds like you had a strong resume already, and yet you understood you needed to add some new skills. What were your goals for your studies with Udacity?

I think with learning, you should always build on what you’ve already got. My aim was to combine the marketing experience and education I already had, with the practical knowledge of tools and technologies that I could see companies were looking for in job postings. I thought Udacity’s Digital Marketing Nanodegree program was the place most focused on those specific tools and technologies, with the added benefit of the projects that would help me build my portfolio.

What aspects of the Udacity learning experience did you find most beneficial?

I think the community aspect—the student forums, the mentors, everything—was very helpful. I definitely used the community as a source of information when I had a question. I found it really useful to search through previous questions from other students to see if anyone else had asked the same thing. In fact, whenever I did that, I always found the answer to the problem I was stuck on!

And you landed a new job shortly after graduating?

Yes. I’m now a product marketing manager at an automotive company. I’d been applying for jobs before I started my Nanodegree program, but after I started, I was really able to step-up my efforts. I understood how to select the most important parts of my experience for my resume, how to reach out to recruiters, how to prepare for interviews. This really helped me land my new job. Now, I’m helping the company generate a lot of content and build up their digital marketing efforts. I’m working on so many projects—from blog content, to webinars, to corporate partnerships.

Did your company’s recruiters ask about what you’d done in your Nanodegree program?

They did! And when I told them about what I’d been working on, they were very impressed. They were really impressed by the projects I’d worked on, and it gave me a lot to talk about. For example, I gained so much from a project I worked on with Facebook and Google ads. It was more than just learning to use tools, it helped me understand how to target the right people with the right message. It meant I could talk about my experience with things like keywords and working with different marketing assets.    

Have you used your new skills in your job already?

Yes, even very early on, I was able to use everything I had learned to help the company’s marketing efforts. For example, when I started, my company was managing to get around 1,500 impressions each month on LinkedIn. In just a few months, we took that to around 100,000 impressions per month! It was amazing what we did, and it was all skills I’d practiced in the program.

“More than just skills, I’ve brought a mindset from the program into my work—I feel enabled to use my own creativity and apply it in many different situations. I’m not only confident using the skills I learned, but more ready to add to those skills when I need to work with something new.”

Your new role sounds great, but it hasn’t stopped you learning. Can you tell us about what you’re studying now?

I think today, being a marketer isn’t enough. You need to have a lot of other skills. And I feel that data skills are what a lot of people and companies are looking for—so many companies are looking to use data analytics now. So after I graduated, I enrolled in the Data Foundations Nanodegree program, to get an understanding of whether data was something I was interested in. It convinced me it definitely was, so I finished that, and then enrolled in the Data Analyst Nanodegree program soon afterwards!

Making the move to studying data was certainly challenging at first. When I started, I had almost a phobia of programming and code. I really didn’t think it was for me. But as I started doing projects and increasing my understanding, I realized I just hadn’t been taught it properly in the past. I found that the more I did, the more I really liked coding and really wanted to get into the technicalities of it!

You sound like you really enjoy studying with Udacity. That’s great to hear. Are you planning to try any more of our programs?

I’m really keen to try one of the programs on Artificial Intelligence (AI) next. It feels like everyone is talking about AI right now, but if you asked them to explain it, they wouldn’t be able to. I really want to understand how AI works. I’m not somebody who is going to sit down and write a lot of algorithms, but I would love to have the knowledge and skills to be able to write about how AI works, and help others understand about the technology.

Great to talk to you Suhasini! We’re so happy that you’ve developed the skills and experience you needed to land the career you always wanted. We’re impressed by your intellectual curiosity, and inspired by your readiness to take on new learning challenges wherever you see an opportunity to grow. Your success demonstrates why this is so important—you’ve overcome a fear of coding, you’ve forged a successful career in a new country, and you’ve developed a new mindset where your creativity can overcome any challenge. Congratulations! We can’t wait to hear about your next successes.

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