Student profile: Amitav Mishra

Name: Amitav Mishra
Location: Kolkata, India
Age: 43
Job title: Stay-at-home dad preparing to rejoin the workforce

Amitav Mishra’s Udemy queue has nearly 500 courses. No kidding. This is a man for whom learning is akin to living.

Throughout his life and career, Amitav has followed his curiosity, and it has taken him in some interesting directions. He received a bachelor of commerce degree, which required study of economics, math, accounting, statistics, and corporate law, but when he got out of school, his first job was as a site supervisor for a construction company. Why? He was simply curious to understand the industry better, and he used his time in that position to learn as much as possible from his civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering co-workers.

Next, Amitav tried his hand as a medical sales representative for a pharmaceutical company. Then he worked at a call center, just to have that experience and see what it was like. After that, Amitav was with American Express for 10 years, but he moved through various departments every couple of years to try new things. For example, while he was in the analytics department, he worked with the software quality testing team and put in overtime on “consultative projects” for them in addition to his regular responsibilities. Later, when an opening for a software quality testing lead opened up, Amitav got the job because he already had project knowledge and showed he was qualified, despite his lack of a technical degree.

That’s how Amitav rolls — “I gainfully utilize my time whenever I have it to keep learning.” Currently, he has more time for learning while he cares for his daughter, who’s almost two. When Amitav and his wife discovered they were going to become parents, they agreed he’d take a “mid-career break” so she could continue in her career.

With an eye toward starting his own business eventually, Amitav is using this break to steep himself in learning. But that doesn’t mean he’s limiting himself to business-related courses — just the opposite, in fact. He’s enrolled in so many Udemy courses “because I want to develop my knowledge, from piano to cloud computing to Chinese tea ceremonies. I must experience anything and everything as a person to be a better person tomorrow.” He means this quite literally. Here’s a sampling of the course subjects in Amitav’s queue: data analytics, affiliate sales, Java, Python, Ruby, HTML, Android, Ajax, Javascript, PHP, Linux, SQL, logo design, Microsoft Office, project management, SEO, social media marketing, Airbnb hosting, community management, vocal training, mathematics, Arabic language, and so on. He’s also enrolled in a course called “Don’t Break the Bank Having a Baby,” for obvious reasons.

Given Amitav’s virtually boundless interests, Udemy’s broad course library was the first thing that attracted him to the marketplace. “It’s like a library that I can walk in and choose whatever I want,” Amitav says. He loves having the freedom to go at his own pace, and he appreciates being able to learn from different instructors on the same subject. So, how does Amitav even decide what course he’s going to take? In the case of web design, “it had been on my mind for a while.” He was just curious (of course) about how websites were created and how much it cost, but when he asked a bunch of people he couldn’t get a clear answer “so I decided to tackle it head-on and design a site myself,” with the help of instructor Rob Percival’s “The Complete Web Developer” course and others. One of Amitav’s favorite instructors has been Bhalchandra Gholkar, from whom he’s learning “Demystifying C Programming Language.”

These days, when he’s not tending to his daughter, you can find Amitav on Udemy. She’ll start daycare soon, and then Amitav will be ready to jump back into full-time work. As he considers what he’ll do, he explains that “it’s not about money or even the job but about learning and enjoyment.” He plans to pass along his all-consuming love of learning to his daughter too. He hopes she will “get as much education as possible throughout her life, and I’m willing to support that, just like my parents did for me and my grandparents did before that.” Udemy’s model suits him because there are “no rigid boundaries to get in the way of knowledge and growth,” and he wants his daughter to have that same experience.

“I want her to learn music, how to fly an aircraft, how to cook, how to dance — anything and everything!” Amitav says. For developing her sense of curiosity and passion for learning, she’s lucky to already have the best possible teacher.