student spotlight with a photoshop class project by student pedro almeida

BYOL Student Spotlight: Pedro Almeida

Daniel Scott

@dan

For this student spotlight, I am thrilled to introduce Pedro Almeida. 

Pedro has always been a creative soul but as an adult, his creative aspirations took a backseat. When he stumbled across BYOL through my YouTube channel, he began to rediscover his creative side. Pedro started with my Photoshop Essentials course and from there started to explore my Illustrator courses. Pedro is currently working on achieving Adobe Professional Certification for Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and Premiere Pro and hopes to open his own design studio one day. I hope you find Pedro’s story and positive attitude as inspiring as I do! 

Ready for more? Become a BYOL member!

Explore 30+ Essentials and Advanced courses in Figma, Photoshop, Illustrator, Lightroom, Premiere Pro, Webflow, and more. Enjoy personalized support, earn certificates, connect with other creators and tackle exciting community challenges.

START YOUR LEARNING JOURNEY
icon all courses benefit

Unlimited access to ALL content

Instant access to all of our courses and exclusive content while you're a member.

icon support benefit

Priority advice and support

Ask us anything! Our amazing Teaching Assistants are here to support you

icon certificate benefit svg

Certificates of achievement!

Celebrate and share the milestones in your learning journey

Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

Hi! I’m Pedro, I’m 46 years old and live in Portugal! 

I have loved creating since the day I first held a pencil in my hands. I started drawing comic books and writing short stories very early. To be honest,  I wasn’t very gifted, but the seed was there, hidden, but full of life!

When I was about 11, I was the editor, reporter, and designer of my school’s only newspaper. I did all of this with my first typewriter, if you can believe it!

In my high school years, I was drawn to music as a songwriter and that led me into writing poetry and short stories. As a young adult, photography and image editing were my passions. Then, life got in the way, and it all stopped. 

Over 20 years later, during the Covid lockdowns, I realized I was no longer happy with what I was doing. Maybe I wasn’t even happy with myself.

One day, I was scrolling through YouTube, and I found a Photoshop video tutorial with this guy Dan…  

I discovered BYOL and have been hooked ever since!

Tell us about your career path. What was your very first job? How did you get to where you are today?  

My first job has been my favorite job of my life thus far. I worked at a Blockbuster store in Lisbon. The manager had this contagious positive energy. The whole staff was great, it felt like we were childhood friends and I loved talking to our customers. I knew their names, I knew their families, and I loved cinema, so I tried to share that passion with them and provide them with the best possible experience every time they watched a movie.

A few years later, I worked for a private security company, once again working with customers. I suppose I could have become a good salesman, but it just wasn’t my thing. But I did like talking to people and, whenever I could, coming up with something new, an idea, some kind of innovation. That was what made me get up in the morning.

Another few years later, I started working for a travel agency, and I’ve been there for over 15 years. I have had the opportunity to work in different departments, develop skills in travel management, corporate communication, sales, and business intelligence.      

black and white vector image of geometric bats flying in front of a full moon

Pedro’s first project uploaded to the first course he took at BYOL, Illustrator Essentials.

 What role has BYOL played in your life?

This may sound a bit exaggerated, but it’s the truth: BYOL is the best thing that has happened to me in the last couple of years.

I had just finished Google’s UX Design Professional Certification program and I was blocked. Full of doubt, fear, anxiety… You know, one of those existential “what am I doing” moments? As I said, one day I came across a BYOL Photoshop tutorial on YouTube and I thought to myself - “wow, this guy has my kind of energy, I thought I was the only relaxed and funny dude that taught people something.” After a couple of videos, I had to know more about BYOL, so I signed up for my first course, Illustrator Essentials. Since then, BYOL has been my go-to design school. 

From BYOL, I have felt that sense of community that I found in my first job at Blockbuster. The staff are amazing - true friends and mentors. It’s been incredible to connect with the BYOL community, day by day, I see bonds and friendships building and that’s a beautiful thing!

before and after image editing of a poison ivy composition in Photoshop

Pedro’s Photoshop class project with background and model edits to produce a dark and moody Poison Ivy scene.

What is your favorite BYOL class? Why do you like this BYOL class?

This is the toughest question! My favorite BYOL class is the one I’m taking today - Illustrator Advanced Course. I’m really passionate about creative design, so all classes are about my own personal improvement and having fun as I go. I never thought I’d say this but even homework is great!

What advice would you give to someone looking to make a career transition?

There is a lot I could say about this. Things like “believe in yourself”, “study hard and practice harder”, “don’t give up”, or “follow your dreams”. This is all great advice, I’m sure, but I want to share the short and wonderful clip that really got me thinking that the time had come to take the first step. All it took was one word. Two letters. Nothing more.

image of a vintage laptop computer over giant typography

Pedros’ challenge submission of a vintage poster displaying BYOL’s values.

What is next for you? What are some future goals you have career wise?

Right now, I have two short-term goals: first, achieving Adobe Professional Certification for Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and Premiere Pro – one by one, not all at once, of course. Second, creating a strong design portfolio, including UI and UX, and applying for jobs – building up real-life skills. There is also a long-term goal: starting my own design studio. See you there!

Anything else you would like to share that we should have asked you?

I need to stop now. I’m like that guy in a Tim Minchin song: “I talk too much and play too long”.

Just a heartfelt thanks to a few people: Mary, Victoria, and Astrid, for the challenges and valuable lessons. John and Stephen, for making me feel from the start that I still had it! My friends and peers, Manu and Kotryna, for being part of the crew that hangs out after school, sharing thoughts and dreams, always pushing each other forward. Love you guys! And Dan, of course, for everything!

I really hope the ones I leave unmentioned don’t feel badly – you’re all here, close to my heart. Thank you for the inspiration!

image of the phrase time to get creative over  fire trail in front of dark background

A wallpaper to remind us everyday that it’s always a good time to do some creative work.

Thank you, Pedro! All of us at BYOL are thrilled to have you as part of the community and we are excited to support you as you continue pursuing your dreams. 

Ready for more? Become a BYOL member!

Explore 30+ Essentials and Advanced courses in Figma, Photoshop, Illustrator, Lightroom, Premiere Pro, Webflow, and more. Enjoy personalized support, earn certificates, connect with other creators and tackle exciting community challenges.

START YOUR LEARNING JOURNEY
icon all courses benefit

Unlimited access to ALL content

Instant access to all of our courses and exclusive content while you're a member.

icon support benefit

Priority advice and support

Ask us anything! Our amazing Teaching Assistants are here to support you

icon certificate benefit svg

Certificates of achievement!

Celebrate and share the milestones in your learning journey