Student profile: Tomek Osuchowski

Name: Tomek Osuchowski
Location: Poland
Age: 40
Enrolled in more than 20 courses

We talk to students all the time who couldn’t find jobs after graduation. Sometimes they discover college didn’t actually teach them marketable skills or they have no idea what they even want to do with their careers. Sometimes it’s just a bad economy. For Tomek Osuchowski, it was a case of bad timing; he graduated from college in 2008, just as the global recession hit.

Tomek, a native of Poland, earned his degree in business administration in New York City and did his postgraduate studies in Scotland. By the time he hit the ground to find employment as a programmer back in Europe, the economy had tanked and he was competing against legions of laid-off candidates who had real industry experience. In such an intense environment, people were even having to go on 2-3 interviews to get a job as a cafe barista! Tomek felt stuck.

Since he wasn’t getting any traction in his desired field, Tomek changed course and found work doing customer service at London’s Heathrow Airport. It was a steady job but clearly not what Tomek wanted to do with his life. He was still determined to establish himself as a programmer. So he quit and moved back to Poland.

By this point, Tomek felt his degrees were “obsolete.” He’d been away from programming for five years, and countless new technologies had come and gone during that time. His friends working in programming told him exactly what skills he’d need in order to become qualified for the kinds of jobs he wanted, so Tomek decided to be proactive and learn on his own for a year. That’s what he’s working through today, with Udemy courses on Java, Spring and Bootstrap frameworks, along with various web development technologies.

At first, Tomek didn’t realize how much he’d need to know in order to be successful, but he is “intrinsically motivated to learn” and “self-learning was quite natural.” He came upon Udemy through a Google search and has enrolled in more than 20 IT and programming courses. He’d previously been relying on books but found them time-consuming, whereas on Udemy, “a video lets you get into it much quicker.”

Tomek is confident he’ll be ready to pursue jobs as a professional full-stack developer with the skills he’s learning on Udemy. In the meantime, he’s very pleased with how far he’s already come and feels rewarded as his skill set grows, even if he isn’t putting it all to use at a job yet. In addition to many courses on Java and object-oriented programming, he’s going the extra step with business courses that “will enhance my understanding of how software is used.” He’s excited that Udemy is letting him refresh what he learned in college about finance and accounting without having to go back to school. “A certificate isn’t worth much, but having a level of skills is perceived as valuable.”

As he progresses through his self-driven tech curriculum, Tomek is enjoying the convenience and affordability of Udemy courses, particularly the ability to access his courses any time, from any device, as much or as little as he likes. “I can watch a video for 20 minutes while preparing a sandwich or riding the bus,” Tomek says.

Tomek fully expects to stay active on Udemy once he is working full-time, even if it’s just “a few hours to improve my skills, no matter what.” He finds it both demanding and exciting to be in a profession that requires continuous learning to stay current and marketable. “High achievers all share a trait for moving forward when others stop,” he says. “I always have motivation because the more you know, the more competitive you are. In today’s world, nothing is secure.”

Considering how computerized every aspect of life has already become, Tomek knows up-to-date coding skills will always be in demand, and he has every intention of being part of that trend for the rest of his career.