James Smith

Age: 28
Location: South Korea

James Smith is a cryptologic linguist with the U.S. Army, stationed in South Korea. As he prepares to transition back to civilian life, he’s been arming himself with Udemy prep courses for the multiple network security certification exams he plans to take once back in the States.   

James’ adult learning journey started when attended the University of Florida for two years before deciding to enlist in the Army. He grew up in a military family and felt it was a strong alternative to the lack of focus he was feeling in college. Upon enlisting, James went through intensive training in Monterey, CA, to learn to intercept and translate enemy communication. Part of this training involved learning Chinese in just 64 weeks, which proved to James that he was capable of really anything he set his mind to. “If can learn Chinese, I can learn anything,” says James.

James then moved to Fort Hood before being deployed to Afghanistan. While at Fort Hood, James started going to school again but found it very difficult to take classes and meet deadlines given his random schedule of being called to the field at a moment’s notice. Enter Udemy, which “ended up being the perfect solution.” James found Udemy through a Google search for prep courses to achieve certifications. He found the courses offered through the military incredibly dry and was seeking a more engaging alternative. He’s also enjoyed that he is able to access Udemy courses on his mobile device while in the field.

James never had problems with school itself; he just had issues with maintaining attention. He tended to get bored with the learning experience offered through traditional school. Now, through Udemy, he’s created his own curriculum to match his needs, not only in terms of content (what he needs to learn to be successful), but also consumption (when and where he can learn). In doing so, James has seemingly awakened the learner within. James switches the courses he takes every day. He’s currently enrolled in 33 courses, 7 of which he’s completed and 4 of which are soon to be completed.

Udemy offers James a different style of learning. “It puts the ball in your court. You have to make the effort to learn,” he shares. For James, motivation stems from a desire for general self improvement and job security. He feels there’s “only so much to do as a linguist.” Working as a customer service agent translating complaints in Chinese simply isn’t what he wants to do with the rest of his life, so he’s putting in the necessary work now to get where he truly wants to be in the future.

James is working on getting several network and cybersecurity certifications, as well as learning new programming languages, as he prepares to transition back to civilian life within the next four to five months before seeking employment. These certifications include his Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) and Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certifications, just to name a couple. He’s already a Six Sigma Black Belt and well on his way. James says, “I feel that if I act on the information I’ve learned through Udemy, there’s no way that I could fail.”