Haider was unemployed, shy, and unsure of himself and his career path—but he knew he was passionate about visual art. After completing Michigan State University’s Photography Specialization on Coursera, he got a full-time job and saw his work featured in MSU’s first-ever Coursera Capstone exhibit. Here’s his story:
I’ve always had a knack for drawing. When I was a child, I used to draw things in thin air, and then I would take that rough idea and put it all on a blank piece paper. As I grew up, I began playing with computer software like Photoshop, and my interest in design and photography started to grow.
I’d been designing and taking photographs for years before starting courses on Coursera—but to get an official professional title, I needed to learn the practical skills more systematically. I started with the first course of the Photography Basics and Beyond Specialization from Michigan State University, and I’m so proud to say that I’ve now finished the entire Specialization with grades above 90% in every course. I was even invited to help other learners as a Mentor in some of the courses, and of course I was excited to accept.
My Photography Specialization Certificate helped me get my job as a photographer and graphic designer at the Foundation for Arts, Culture & Education (F.A.C.E) here in Islamabad, Pakistan. That really means the world to me—I was unemployed when I started the Specialization, and now I’m earning great a living and supporting my family. Plus, I had the honor of having my photograph displayed in the Coursera Capstone Alumni—Kresge Art Center Exhibit at Michigan State University. It was absolutely amazing to have my work being featured among one of the most awesome photographers from around the world.
Before these courses, I was the epitome of an introvert. Now, I am confident in my skills and in myself. A great example of my success would be my Instagram profile. All of my photography work has significantly improved—I now have about 16 thousand followers on my Instagram profile (@haidertonight).
Learning design and photography on Coursera opened the floodgates of creativity for me. Art is everywhere—you just have to slow down and look around. There is so much magic in our surroundings.11