Human Resources Essentials Alumni Story: Becoming a Human Resources Generalist A UW Certificate in Human Resources Essentials helped David Jackson land his dream job
Human Resources Essentials Alumni Story: Becoming a Human Resources Generalist A UW Certificate in Human Resources Essentials helped David Jackson land his dream job

For nearly 15 years, David Jackson worked as a network processor at a bank. While he enjoyed his job, he increasingly felt he could contribute more. “I loved the company, but I’d been there for a while and wanted to do something else. I was hungry and looking for the next challenge,” David says.

To explore opportunities, David began to take business administration courses to pursue his associate degree. Along the way, a colleague suggested that he look into Human Resources.

“I love helping people solve their challenges and problems. I’m compassionate and understanding, and the more I looked into it, I started to think that maybe HR would be a great way to use those skills to help others,” says David.

David took a stand-alone, online class, which only whetted his appetite. “After that course, I realized that I wanted to find a program that offered a more in-depth course of study. I found the UW Certificate in Human Resources Essentials, and after that, everything clicked for me.”


The Certificate in Human Resources Essentials is a three-course certificate that provides students with the fundamentals required to succeed in the HR field. The Certificate provides a foundation for people with little experience in HR, which made it a perfect fit for David.

“From the very first class, I found that I was learning useful things. I started to understand how exciting HR can be. And the more I learned, the more I realized that I wanted to be part of an HR team.”

David continued his job at the bank and began to take night classes. “The certificate’s flexibility was key for me,” he says. "I’m a father and a husband and I work full-time, so I didn’t have time to waste or mess around.”

It didn’t take David long to begin putting his classroom learning into practice at work. “Over time, I became the informal go-to guy for a lot of HR-type questions, and I enjoyed that. I took a lot of pride in the fact that what I was learning was helpful for my co-workers and me.”

Another motivating factor that drove David was his family. “I’ve always told my kids about the importance of education and life-long learning. I didn’t want to be someone who said, ‘School’s important,’ but then didn’t follow through and complete my education.”

“I wanted to take this opportunity to grow and learn for myself, but I also wanted to be a real-life example for my kids,” explains David.


David completed the certificate in the fall of 2019, and it didn’t take him long to put his newfound education to good use. A few months later, a position in Human Resources came open at the bank where he’d been working all along.

“I knew something was going to come along, that I hadn’t gone to school in vain. And when this position opened, I went straight in and applied,” says David.

In addition to the classroom knowledge, the certificate also prepared David to succeed in the interview process. “When I interviewed for this job, I was really confident because of everything I’d learned in the program. That confidence came through, and I think it’s a big reason they decided to hire me.”

David also believes that University’s reputation increased his chances. “You show someone a certificate with ‘University of Washington’ on it, and they’re impressed. That name holds weight and people associate it with greatness.”

"I felt like I had this gold trophy in my hands that was going to open doors for me that wouldn’t have been open before,” he says.

In His Own Words

Alum David Jackson explains how the Certificate in Human Resources Essentials helped him land his dream job.



David got the job and has worked as a human resources generalist ever since. He loves his new position and the opportunities it provides him to help others. He’s on track to finish his bachelor's degree and has completed several other certificates.

Looking beyond his own personal growth, David hopes to inspire others looking to make a change. “I think it’s important people realize that it’s never too late to make a change,” he says. “It’s never too late to follow your dreams, and there’s always a way to make them come true.”

"I’m proud of the work I put in and how things have turned out, and I hope others can look at me as a real-life example that anyone can make a change for the better.”

For more alumni stories from UW Professional & Continuing Education, visit the News & Features section of our website. To learn more about our certificates, specializations, degrees and courses, explore your options or contact us.

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