Student profile: Jed Byers

Name: Jed Byers
Location: Washington, D.C.
Age: 31
Job title: Management consultant

Jed Byers perfectly illustrates how, in today’s workplace, even the best-educated can never stop learning. He got his undergrad degree in history from the University of California at Berkeley and a dual MBA and master’s degree in international development from American University. In between, he served in the Peace Corps in El Salvador and taught English in a few Latin American countries.

Today, Jed has a great job with a management consulting firm in Washington, D.C., helping federal government agencies solve business problems with IT solutions. He’s also an avid Udemy student. Just as he was very directed about translating his passion for public service into a position working to improve the effectiveness of government, he’s now taking a methodical approach to adding more tech skills to his toolkit.

Jed’s work has him interacting with developers and other IT people all the time. “I appreciate how integral tech has become; when you talk about developing a solution to a problem, it always involves tech,” Jed explains. “You need to understand it or it’s hard to figure out a way forward.” His MBA was very valuable in giving him a strategic mindset and building his management, communications, and negotiating skills, but Jed believes he and his peers needs to be more well-rounded professionals these days and dig into the technical side too. “I have to tech up to be a player in this space,” he says.

For one particular project, Jed needed to understand financial forecasting, so he searched various online platforms for “R programming basics” and found Udemy. In fact, he found a whole bunch of data science courses from R-Tutorials Learning. “Whenever you pay money for something on the Internet and are ready to invest your own time, there’s always skepticism and apprehension about whether it will be worth it and hold your interest,” Jed says. With R-Tutorials, Jed was able to hit the ground running and saw actual results very quickly. He was able to do the financial forecasting for his federal client.

Jed soon discovered there were “all these other great-sounding courses on Udemy” related to his many interests. Next, he dove into instructor Jose Portilla’s “Complete Python Bootcamp.” He was pleased with the high-quality, on-demand course content, the reasonable prices, and the ability to learn on his own schedule without the stress of due dates and deliverables. The Python course was “very step by step and designed for someone without a programming background so it was perfect for me.” Jed feels confident he’ll be able to tackle real-world assignments with what he’s learned so far. He’s also taken “SQL for Newbs: Beginner Data Analysis,” taught by two Udemy employees.

Another aspect of Udemy Jed really likes is being able to relate to his instructors. “They speak like it’s an actual conversation, and it feels more personal” than on other MOOCs he’s tried. “That has a lot of power.”

Jed plans to continue learning about data science and gaining more technical skills. He’s thinking about how big data can be applied to healthcare and what opportunities might exist for him there. Regardless of where he ends up, “the onus for learning emerging technologies will fall on you,” Jed says, and that’s where having an accessible, convenient resource like Udemy comes in. His innate curiosity — and the demands of his profession — will always motivate him to expand his knowledge.