Meet Michael. From window cleaning to design engineering in one year after studying with OpenClassrooms

At OpenClassrooms, we help people change their lives, making professional and personal goals attainable with accessible education and job search resources.

It’s one thing to talk about what we do. It’s another to hear from our students and feel the real impact an OpenClassrooms program can have on someone’s life.

Today, we’d like to introduce you to Full-Stack Developer Program alumnus, Michael Holmes from the United States Midwest whose story puts what we do into sharp focus.  

Michael shares his journey.

“Prior to OC, I owned a small window cleaning company and was also working as a customer service rep. Living outside Chicago, married and expecting our first child, my wife and I were in the process of purchasing our first home.

“I had arrived in my early 30’s and was grappling with some big life questions. My current career path, where is it going? How am I preparing for the future of supporting my family?



“That’s when OpenClassrooms came into my life. I didn’t choose OpenClassrooms, it chose me. Well, sort of.  It came highly recommended by a family member, and I was immediately intrigued by the education model that appeared to get you job-ready so quickly. And I can attest, it really worked for me.

“I started out on the Backend Developer: Ruby Program in December 2017. And then decided to transfer up to the Full Stack Developer Program. I completed my last project in October of the next year. And by December 2018, I was offered a new job at twice the salary I was making before the program.

“The decision to enroll in an OpenClassrooms path truly changed the direction of my career and my life. And I saw big, tangible results faster than I could have ever expected.  

Along the way

“Juggling my day jobs with my studies was hard at first but soon I found a balance. We planned our situation so I could focus on the schooling full-time for a few months. From January to June I studied 8-10 hours per day.  When our baby arrived it really changed everything and things got much more complicated. I resumed work and had to focus as much as I could on the evenings and weekends to complete the studies.

“At OpenClassrooms, I appreciated the mentorship because the mentor knows what you are experiencing as well as they have real world experience to help you figure out how to address the problem(s) in the workplace.

“I also really appreciated the way OpenClassrooms challenges students with their independent learning approach.  Sometimes a task or project was very simple and logical to work on. The courses leading to the project provided a clear map to how to complete it.

“For other projects,  you learn the basics in the courses, but in order to complete the project you have to fill in the rest yourself. This way of learning challenges you to learn how to be independent.

“Especially now in retrospect, I really appreciate this teaching model because that is how it is in the real world, at a real job. You don’t have a textbook or user-manual explaining how to solve every problem and provide every solution.   You have to figure out how to identify the problem, search for a possible solution then figure it out. But during your studies, you are not all alone as you have your mentor and the internal student network to rely on.

“OpenClassrooms teaches you to be resourceful, diligent and resilient.

Securing the job

“My last project was approved by my mentor on Oct 31st. At that point, I stopped studying and focused my attention on finding a job.  Honestly, I believe I lost some of the first job opportunities I interviewed for due to a lack of confidence. But as I worked with my OpenClassrooms career coach, my technique improved.

“A few weeks in, I saw a job posting for a “computer programmer” at a company that makes software/hardware for the RV industry, being able to control the RV remotely or via an app. I applied, and interviewed for the position. Three days later, I got a phone call from the CEO of the company letting me know the role had been filled, however they really wanted me in the company.

“The CEO told me they would like to create a new position of design engineer that would include communicating with companies directly. That meant I would bring together my customer service experience with what I learned at OpenClassrooms.   

“As far as a learning curve,  his reasoning was that if I was resourceful enough to get through my OpenClassrooms program, and had the ability to learn and push through, those are the qualities I would bring to this position.

“I currently work alongside the CEO and the programmers. Since I started here, it has been a lot of:  ‘Here are these projects due in a few days’. Then I need to find a way to get it done, learn the program and have it meet all the required standards.  

Looking ahead

“OC has taught me I can do it!  With enough focus and strength, I can learn and expand my horizons.  My salary has doubled from when I started school, my wife no longer has to work due to that increase.  She can stay home and be with our daughter – which means the world to us.

“For the future, my goal is to get more comfortable being uncomfortable always learning and growing, and not only working with what I know.  The current position I have right now pushes my limits everyday and helps me to be a better version of myself for tomorrow.

Would you recommend OpenClassrooms?

“I would recommend OpenClassrooms especially in the United States as the mentor and the learning model really help you to learn and grow – not to mention earning the diploma and find a job. And in the United States, a bachelor’s level qualification is considerably more than $300/month for twelve months (or less in my case).“

Thank you Michael, for sharing your story with us. We have no doubt your journey will inspire others to change their careers and their lives with OpenClassrooms.

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