Student profile: Brian Denmeade

Name: Brian Denmeade
Location: Cary, NC
Age: 46
Job title: IP support specialist

“In my humble opinion, any resource that puts educational material within the reach of the average person, allowing that person to achieve a better tomorrow, is a very good thing indeed!” These are the words of Brian Denmeade, IP support specialist, self-described tinkerer, and Udemy student.

Brian’s been living by those words his whole life, taking control of his ongoing education and encouraging others to seize opportunities by staying curious and always learning new things. He attended trade school and college for electronics, but as industry jobs where he lives were increasingly outsourced to other countries during the recession of 2008, he had to look at other options. He was already messing with computers on his own and decided to shift into that field. He could’ve gone back to school full-time but instead opted to use books and the Internet. He set up a home lab with seven computers (his parents were not happy about the electricity bill!) and worked on his own to earn the required certifications. This was much better for Brian than being in a classroom.

“There were times when I was in school when the educational environment wasn’t actually conducive to education. I’m more hands-on,” Brian explains. “I don’t want to hear someone drone on for an hour without getting into the meat of things. I want to be able to touch it and manipulate it.”

Today, Brian works for a company that manufactures security equipment, such as network recorders, video software, and cameras. Late in 2015, a client wanted a solution that combined their own existing alarm system with additional equipment from Brian’s company, but they couldn’t get the cameras to communicate over the wireless network. A colleague in engineering suggested a solution that would use Raspberry Pi.

At this point, Brian “didn’t know what Raspberry Pi was besides what you eat!” When confronted with the unknown, Brian’s response is to research, and the more he read about it, the more he wanted to tinker with Raspberry Pi for himself. He found a great package deal for a starter kit that included the hardware as well as discounted Udemy courses, such as “Introduction to Raspberry Pi,” “Python Programming for Beginners,” and “Introduction to the Internet of Things (IoT) using Raspberry Pi 2.”

This was Brian’s first foray into learning via online video and, as someone more accustomed to books and lecture halls, he was apprehensive at first. Then he started going through the courses and it clicked for him. He really liked being able to watch as much, or as little, of a lecture as he wanted and do it at home, at his own pace. “I still have the classroom ability to ask questions and get answers from instructors, so there is interactivity,” Brian says. “But I can also walk away, spend 5 minutes applying what I just learned, go back, fast-forward through the parts I already know, and so on.”

Brian’s using Udemy courses now both on the job and for his overall professional growth, and his newly acquired skills have not gone unnoticed by management either. At his most recent performance review, his boss said he wanted to move Brian toward doing more project management activities, an “unofficial” promotion. “Because I went in and did the work to teach myself, did the research, and came back with an informed recommendation, my boss recognized I had this additional skill set they weren’t tapping into,” Brian says.

In his expanded role, he’ll still get to play with technology and do the things he loves, but he’ll also have more influence on how products are developed. “With what I’ve learned on Udemy, I can offer more resources when designing solutions, which is a real feather in my cap here when it comes to promotions.” He also got a raise and “can’t complain about that!”

All of which reinforces how Brian already felt about education: “If you’re not learning, you’re standing still.” But Udemy has made it so much more convenient, affordable, and fun for him to be a lifelong learner. “Education is so powerful, but it needs to catch up to the modern lifestyle and work routine.” For Brian, Udemy is the answer.