Transforming Lives Through Education

Teaching has the power to transform not only learners lives but also instructors’ lives. With over 69 million learners and 75,000 instructors, finding a remarkable story of transformation within the Udemy community is not hard. Here, instructor Diego Davila shares what motivates him to teach and a recent life-changing trip to meet learners in the Amazon rainforest. 


Ten years ago, my life took an unexpected yet transformative turn. My career started in a world far from teaching and inspiring others through learning. I was a network and systems engineer. My daily routine was a never-ending cycle of troubleshooting and stress management. 

Picture this: the network’s down, email’s not working, and I’m the go-to guy to fix it. “Is the internet down, or is it just me?” I lost count of how many times I heard that. While I liked the challenge and working in tech, the constant state of emergency started to take its toll. Working every day in that environment was not for me. I wanted to work in something that I loved, that could help other people in a big way.

That’s when something happened that shifted my perspective and set me on a path I never imagined for myself. It all started when I got an email from Udemy. To be honest, I had no clue what Udemy was at the time, but something about that email caught my eye. I clicked on the email and started watching a promo video for a course by an instructor who was a regular person — a guy sharing his knowledge. That was when the gears started turning in my head. “Hold on a second; if he can do it, why can’t I?” It was like a switch flipped. I started to see a whole new world of possibilities.

But transitioning from a network engineer to an online instructor didn’t happen overnight. Talking to a camera as if it were a person initially felt strange. Then, there was the whole trial of figuring out the tech side of content creation – from choosing the right microphone to mastering the art of video editing. It felt like my career was back at square one, learning a new business from scratch. But it’s been a journey of growth, learning, and, most importantly, transformation.

With every video I made, I got a little better. With every course I published, I became more confident. I realized that these challenges were not roadblocks but stepping stones. Each step forward was a step toward transformation for me and every potential learner on the other side of that screen.


A trip that changed everything

In early 2024, Udemy offered me an opportunity that was pretty out there, even by my standards. They invited me to Peru, but it wasn’t for some fancy conference or a chill vacation. Nah, this was about diving deep into the Amazon rainforest to meet two of my learners. Imagine that — from the comfort of my desk to the heart of the Amazon!

I’ve been teaching for 10 years, but nothing prepares you for meeting learners in such a raw, unfiltered environment. These weren’t just any learners; JJ and Roy had taken what I taught and used it to uplift their lives and communities. And they’re using their newfound skills to save the Amazon rainforest. Yeah, you read that right. I discovered my courses are indirectly helping to save the planet!

The experience in Peru was intense for me, and I had a huge realization. All this time, it was like I’d been wondering if I was making a real difference. Sure, the positive reviews are nice, and the occasional thank-you message always warms my heart. But seeing the tangible impact of my work? That was a whole new level of fulfillment.

With the odds stacked against them, these learners leveraged the power of online learning to improve their lives and contribute meaningfully to their communities. It was a humbling and inspiring moment to see the ripple effect of sharing knowledge. This trip wasn’t a pat on the back from Udemy; it was a vivid illustration of the power of education. It showed me that what we do as instructors goes beyond the screen; it reaches into the very fabric of societies and can even play a part in the monumental task of environmental conservation.

That realization hit me hard. Here I was, a network engineer turned online instructor, playing a tiny part in a much bigger picture. It was a reminder of the potential we all hold, the impact of our work, and the responsibility that comes with it. This trip reshaped my understanding of my role as an educator. It wasn’t about teaching skills anymore but about inspiring change and fostering growth in ways I had yet to appreciate fully.


What makes Udemy stand out

When I first started, the idea that someone from the other side of the globe could learn from me was mind-blowing. But that’s exactly what Udemy brings to the table — the ability to reach people anywhere, anytime, even if they live in the middle of the Amazon rainforest.

Think about it: Udemy can connect learners from remote corners of the world to courses they’d otherwise never access at home. Whether in a big city or a quiet town, as long as there’s internet, there’s a way to learn. This global classroom isn’t simply a concept; it’s a reality on Udemy. My courses have reached learners I could only dream of connecting with before, from places I’ve never been.

Another thing I like about Udemy is that it helps instructors by providing tools to help them create, launch, and promote their courses effectively. When I started, figuring out what to teach was a big question mark. But, with Udemy’s Marketplace Insights, I can see what skills are in demand and tailor my content to meet those needs. And if you’re teaching with Udemy Business, you can also use the Udemy Business content opportunities tool to learn about what enterprise customers want.


Advice for new and established instructors

If you are reading this and planning to become an instructor or have already started your journey, I have some tips from my decade of adventures (and misadventures) in online teaching.

First, scratch the idea that this is some side gig or hobby. Treat this like a business. You’re the CEO of your own little empire. There’s no fixed salary waiting for you at the end of the month, but guess what? There’s also no cap on how much you can earn. The sky’s the limit, literally.

Here’s the deal: consistency isn’t just the key to success; it’s the lock, door, and building. You can’t post a course and vanish into the sunset while expecting the dollars to roll in. You need to keep creating, keep engaging, and keep showing up. Every new course is a chance to reach someone new, to change another life. And believe me, when you get that message from a learner about how your course helped them land a job or start a business, it’ll all be worth it.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor will your Udemy success story happen overnight. It’s going to take strategy and patience. Dive into Udemy Marketplace Insights and your Performance dashboard. See what’s trending, understand what learners are looking for, and how you can fill that gap with your unique skills. And then, give it time. 

Don’t be that mysterious instructor who never interacts with their learners. Engage with them in the Q&A and educational announcements, answer their questions, ask for feedback, and show that you genuinely care about their learning experience. Building a community around your courses boosts your success on Udemy and enriches the whole teaching and learning journey.

I love being an Udemy instructor because I get to work on what I’m passionate about on my terms. You have an amazing opportunity to share your knowledge, work from anywhere, and set your schedule. And the best part? You’re making a real difference while you’re at it. It doesn’t get better than that.

So, to all the aspiring Udemy instructors, remember: this is more than teaching. It’s about creating, sharing, and impacting lives across the globe. Jump in with both feet, give it your all, and watch as you and your learners transform.


The road ahead

Here I am, a decade down the line, and what a journey it’s been on Udemy! Hitting nearly 1 million learners is a milestone, but guess what? It feels like I’m just getting started. Thanks to Udemy’s global reach, millions of future learners are out there, each with their dreams and goals, waiting to discover what I’ve got to share. And that, my friends, is an opportunity I can’t wait to dive into.

Looking ahead, my mission isn’t simply to teach; it’s to inspire others, to change their lives, and to make a real difference in the world. It’s about taking what I’ve learned about life, growth, and transformation and packing it into every lesson, every course, and every interaction with my learners.

But here’s the real kicker: my mission isn’t only about reaching more learners. It’s about deepening the impact. I’m talking about creating courses that teach skills and inspire action. I want learners to finish my courses equipped with new knowledge, motivation, and confidence to tackle their challenges, whether in their personal lives, communities, or protecting our planet, like JJ and Roy in the Amazon.

I know I’m not alone in this mission. Udemy has an incredible community of learners and teachers, each with a unique story. As we look to the future, I see us all coming together, sharing our stories, successes, challenges, and dreams. Because together, we can do so much more. We can reach more people, inspire more change, and maybe, just maybe, leave this world a little better than we found it.

So, as I gear up for the next chapter, I’m not focusing only on the numbers. I’m focusing on the stories, the transformations, and the lives we’re all touching. And I’m inviting you to join me. Whether you’re a seasoned instructor or starting fresh, there’s room for you here. Let’s do this. Let’s make a difference — one course, one life at a time. 


Share your story!

Big or small, everyone has a story to tell. What transformations have teaching on Udemy unlocked in your life or for others? Tell us about your story today. We’d love to share it with the world to inspire and empower others like these stories have.

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