Meet Rachell, a passionate life long learner who is constantly pushing herself to new heights with Coursera. Rachell is originally from Michigan, but is truly a world citizen, having traveled to many countries while taking several courses in management and programming. Follow along to discover how she was able to switch from teaching to engineering, pick up new hobbies, and enroll in a Masters of Applied Data Science program to further her career.
Hi, I’m Rachell! I have always been someone who challenges myself to raise the bar and reach new goals. From professional development, changing careers, preparing for grad school, or even improving my hobby skills, I always find a good excuse to hop back into Coursera.
My learner journey started a few years ago. I felt stagnant in my teaching career, and was ready to make a change. After some research, I stumbled upon Coursera and decided to take a few classes in classroom management for professional development. After completing several courses, I enrolled in a programming course which made me consider a career change. I was living in Seoul, South Korea at this time, and as luck would have it, I was able to find other like-minded learners interested in Python.
We met every weekend for over a year taking various courses on Coursera to improve our Python programming skills. Because of Coursera and this community, I gained technical skills that gave me the confidence to pursue a new career.
The ability to learn remotely, along with the availability of supplemental courses, led to my success in the Masters of Applied Data Science with the University of Michigan on the Coursera platform. It is very fitting that the first programming course I took, Python for Everybody, was taught by Charles Severance, who later would become one of my professors in grad school.
After building up my portfolio and earning valuable new credentials, I began applying to jobs. I’m proud to say that I’m now officially a software engineer!
Learning on Coursera is a very individual experience, in that you get out what you put in. Some features that I love are the async learning, controlling the speed of videos, and searchable transcripts. There is no way these features could be replicated in the classroom, and having these abilities not only improves accessibility for non-native English speakers or the hearing impaired, but makes a better experience for all.
It feels like I have been hustling for the better part of a decade now. I’ve learned programming, changed careers, and just recently completed my Masters. Now, I’m working on making time for my hobbies like salsa dancing and playing the guitar. I signed up for a guitar course on–you guessed it–Coursera.
I am also excited to get back to being more involved in community events and organizing. My passion for education is not just in learning, but also in teaching and empowering those around me. I am getting involved in local PyLadies and Django Girls events. I also plan to continue work on my graduate capstone project that aims to measure upward mobility across the U.S. with Citizen Labs, a local civic hacking group.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that Coursera has changed my life–not just for me but also for my family. It provided a pathway for upward mobility because I was able to change careers from what I learned as well as pursue hobbies that I love.
For anyone seeking advice on how to succeed using Coursera, remember these things:
- Consistency is key to success.
- Show up, do the work, and repeat until you get it.
- Rewatch the videos if you need to.
- Reach out for help in the course discussion forum.
- Don’t be afraid to repeat a course, or even find another course that teaches with a different approach. Keep going until it clicks.