Student profile: Marco Almeida

Name: Marco Aurelio Viana Almeida
Location: João Pessoa, Brazil
Age: 38 years
Job title or function: Founder and CEO @ appscg.com

MarcoAlmeidaWhat an amazing time to be alive, when a successful lawyer ditches his career to develop mobile apps! That’s just what Marco Aurelio Viana Almeida did, and he’s never looked back.

Marco didn’t just work as an attorney; he launched a law office in his city and was a partner until 2012. But since childhood, he’s always loved anything having to do with computers. “I thought it was amazing that a machine could do such things and all that was possible by the human mind!” he says.

So, when Marco the lawyer felt he needed software to manage his office, documents, clients, court meetings, and so on, he decided to create a program to do it. He did some studying on his own to write a program using the Delphi language for the first time. This project brought him back to his love of computers, and he thought he might spend more time catching up on current technologies and languages, but he found it “way too difficult to learn from a book, and I had no time to go to university again to study computer science.”

So, Marco reluctantly left programming behind again and focused back on his law practice. Then, in 2011, he discovered that a friend with a video rental business was managing everything using an Excel spreadsheet and first-generation iPad. He offered to create an iPad app to manage the business, which would help his friend and give Marco another chance to learn and have fun with tech. This time, however, he didn’t abandon programming when he’d completed the project. Instead, he dove in deeper.

There weren’t local resources to help Marco jumpstart his programming skills so he turned to the Internet, of course. Marco created an Apple Developer account, watched video from the Apple WWDC, and read online tutorials. He got even more serious about it in August 2012, when he traveled to Belo Horizonte in Brazil to attend a one-week iOS 5 development course at an Apple Authorized Training Center. “That course didn’t help much since I had no computer science background but at least made way for me to search in other places for material,” Marco explains. “Since then, I have been reading and taking Udemy courses, and I am loving it!!!!”

So far, Marco has taken a number of courses from instructor Rob Percival (including iOS and Android development and Ruby on Rails) along with Daniel Autenreith’s “Swift iOS Course: iOS 8 Apps for every Screen Size” and Justin Dike’s “Fantastic Worlds iOS Starter Kit Setup Guide.”

What Marco likes most is how these courses taught him how to build apps, not just learn theory, which was his experience when he tried other online learning services. “Udemy was where everything came true. On Udemy I could go deeper into knowledge and, even more, build more apps using the courses’ examples,” he says. “Being able to build while learning on Udemy is what made me able to create my company and gave me the certainty I needed that switching from law to programming was the right path.”

Marco’s much more than a self-motivated learner. He also likes a challenge and is driven to follow his passion. “I am always open to new things, and it’s no different when it comes to knowledge. All the courses I have taken on Udemy are connected. It’s like I set a path to go through — which is to learn and work with computers, with a focus on programming — and since I love what I do, time is not a problem.”

In just two years, Marco has transformed himself from a successful lawyer to a successful developer running his own company, without ever entering a classroom or getting a computer science degree. Marco put in the hard work to make it happen, but he gives a lot of credit to Udemy too: “Udemy and the instructors I studied with made possible to do what I wanted to do and even go further by creating a business with it.”