January 16, 2023
If you ask Chris Blount from Florida about himself, he could tell you that he was in the U.S. Navy, worked on the bomb squad, studied at SUNY Maritime College — and now, he’s a university graduate. Chris earned a bachelor’s degree from BYU-Idaho, supported by BYU-Pathway, but before he even graduated, he started working his dream job as a web developer.
Navy to “Now what?”
When he was in the U.S. Navy, Chris started pursuing a university degree in order to become an officer. He chose to study international business, but that wasn’t his true interest. “I didn’t take school too seriously, because I wasn’t studying anything that I was passionate about,” he said.
Later, he worked as an analyst for an airline’s technology department and collaborated with their web developers. His natural interest in technology led him to want to learn more about what that team did.
When Chris lost his job in 2018, he had the opportunity to explore new options, including web development. A flyer on a bulletin board at his church introduced him to BYU-Pathway, and his path to a new career was launched.
“A totally different learning experience”
To earn a bachelor’s degree in applied technology, Chris completed certificates in computer programming, web fronted, and web development.* While finishing his certificates, Chris used his new skills and education to get freelance jobs, an experience he highly recommends.
“You’re separating yourself from everyone who’s just doing the school work,” he said. “You can put that work experience in your resume and stand out.” This is one reason why BYU-Pathway’s certificate-first approach is so valuable to students like Chris.
While all his education experience is valuable, Chris acknowledges that his time at BYU-Pathway was different. “I loved everything I’ve studied there,” he says. “Web development is exciting and fun for me, so it was a totally different learning experience.”
A spiritual education
Chris was baptized as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 2014, so attending institute introduced him to many gospel lessons. “I was able to learn a lot about the Church and scriptures,” he said. Chris also shared what he was learning with his wife. Though a lifelong member of the Church, she learned new things about the gospel as well. “We grew stronger spiritually together, thanks to these classes,” Chris said.
Another benefit of being a BYU-Pathway student: the constant reminder that you’re not alone in your studies. “Don’t forget you can pray,” Chris said. “It really works. It’s like a miracle.”
Job first, then a diploma
Chris’s hard work is paying off. He accepted a job as a web developer two months before he completed his degree, finishing up one last class while starting his new job.
“I thought I would never finish my degree,” he said, “and it’s even more of a blessing that the skills I acquired pursuing certificates led to a career.”
*Certificate names and their availability in current online degree programs are subject to change. To see what certificates and degrees BYU-Pathway currently offers, visit the degree list.