Joe Marani

Five years ago Joe Marani’s mutual fund was bought out and his department was laid off. Ten years out of school and without work Marani, of Marshfield, MA,  decided to pursue an untapped passion for art and design, and enrolled in a 3D Animation and Interactive Media Certificate Program at Boston University. A year later, certificate in hand, Marani was ready to re-enter the workforce. There was only one problem: 3D Animation studios weren’t doing much hiring. And Marani realized that if he wanted to be marketable he would have to develop a wider skill set–ideally one that would allow him to continue honing his creative side while still being able to pay the bills.

That’s when Marani found Udemy. A post on Facebook led him to Infinite Skills’ Building Custom WordPress Sites from Scratch. It was just what he needed. The instructor Geoff Blake was engaging, down-to-earth, and effectively explained the subject material. “I was really impressed,” Marani said.  Even better, Udemy’s online, video-based lectures suited Marani’s learning style. “In a classroom,” Marani said, “I like to ask tons of questions. With Udemy I can take the whole class and then rewind it. I might spend 9 hours watching a 3 hour lecture course. And I can even use the course as a reference later on.” After the WordPress course Marani was determined to learn all of the web development basics and eventually completed courses on HTML5, PHP, Java, and Javascript. “My world is changing all around me,” Marani said. “I just want to keep up.” Along the way Marani found work as a freelance web designer for various local businesses.

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Marani used WordPress to design the website for a local Solar Hot Water Firm.

Today Marani, now 36, serves a variety of clients–from local athletic leagues, to a T-shirt screen-printing company, to a Solar Hot Water firm, and does everything from their IT to web design–all skills he learned from Udemy courses. Marani credits Udemy with giving him stability in a difficult economy and the confidence to eagerly take on any kind of work. When, for example, a client asked if he could make a website optimized for mobile Marani said “Sure. I can do that,” and promptly enrolled in the course Building Professional Mobile Websites with WordPress.  Marani has even found time for 3D animation. With the help of the course Unity 3D Master Class – Game Development For Beginners, he spends his evenings working with his 7-year-old son developing a video game based on his son’s sketches. “Udemy is my reference for pretty much everything,” Marani said.

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Marani is working with his son Morrison to create a video game from scratch.