Ken Haile

Location: Grand Junction, Colorado, USA
Job title: Data analyst

Can a decades-long career change for the better in a matter of days? It can if it’s Ken Haile learning web development on Udemy.

Ken launched his IT career in the late 70s, and over the course of many years, he’s had a hand in hardware, business analysis, management, and programming. He’s seen a lot of changes in the world of work and his own career, but his fascination with technology and love of learning have always been constant. He came on the scene before the rise of digital technologies but has never let that stop him from staying current with the IT skills demanded in today’s workplace.

That hasn’t always been easy. Ken lives in a small town in Colorado without much in the way of local resources for maintaining technical currency. He mostly relied on YouTube videos until he found Udemy. “Up to that point, I felt like I was stuck unless I wanted to move to Denver or pay a lot of money for a bootcamp, which was out of the question,” he explains.

Ken works in a school district testing department and aspires to becoming a freelance web developer. He was tasked with developing a web application that would build a database to help teachers, principals, and support staff set learning objectives for their students. He was excited by this new challenge but also knew he needed to bone up on Internet skills to get it done.

He clicked a YouTube ad for a Rob Percival web development course, discovered the full breadth of Udemy’s library, and proceeded to enroll in dozens of courses on topics including HTML/HTML5, CSS, Javascript, MS SQL Server, Microsoft Visual Studio, and Visual Basic.Net — all of which he ended up using for his work project. “Before, I didn’t really know where to look or who to ask,” Ken says. “Now, I have some of the best instructors in the industry. I’ve raised the bar on my goals because I can see that with Udemy, they are possible to achieve.” His next mission is mastering Visual C# on Udemy.

Having taught English as a second language himself, Ken appreciates how hard it can be to put together an effective course, especially online, and how Udemy’s format lets him hit the ground running fast with his newly acquired skills. He considers himself a discriminating learner with very high standards but reports he’s had nothing but great experiences in his Udemy courses. “Udemy instructors are my ally in learning,” he says. “They’ve given me the courses at the level I need to better control where I wish to be in my profession. I’m writing code in weeks now that, on my own, would’ve taken several months to learn.”

Ken loves being able to control his own learning experience, taking courses when it fits his schedule, wherever it’s most convenient, as opposed to having to be on a physical campus at a set time. He also has benefited from Udemy’s project-based approach, which ties everything together so he can really absorb the material, “as opposed to ‘this command does this and that command does that’.”

While Ken started out on Udemy with tech courses, he’s discovered he can “tap into a world of opportunities that I never would’ve been able to otherwise.” Courses related to his personal interest in transformational psychology have included “The Power of the Mind in Health and Healing,” “The Neuroscience of Reframing and How to Do It,” Sharon Ramel’s “Spiritual Shamanic Initiation,” and other reiki courses. These, too, are esoteric subjects he couldn’t study through local resources, and even after searching online he was dissatisfied with the lack of depth and quality of available material. He’s thrilled that Udemy delivers a wealth of relevant content whenever he wants it and connects him with other people who share his interests.  

“Now, the sky’s the limit for what I can learn for myself and my profession; Udemy has broken the geographic and time barriers,” says Ken. He strongly believes the future of adult education for people in all fields lies in online and on-demand courses, not the traditional institutions of higher ed, which simply can’t offer as many courses or keep them as current as Udemy.

“Before Udemy, my job was pretty routine,” Ken says. “Now I’m happy to get to work to practice what I’ve learned the evening before on Udemy!”