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Dustin Guichet breaks down problems and builds up solutions

Time management has inspired countless books and articles (including on this very blog!). Why? Because it can spell the difference between achieving your goals and not.

Take Dustin Guichet (BSIT, 2023), for example. As an application developer for ISC Constructors, Guichet works full time in a hybrid-remote role that has him and a team of seven others supporting thousands of users with custom software solutions. He is also pursuing his Master of Science in Data Science, launching a YouTube channel and completing a book, all while supporting his family of four going on five.

How does he do everything? He schedules it.

“It’s not that you don’t have time,” he says. “It’s that you need to prioritize the things that are important to you. If you want to get something done, put it on the calendar and live by your calendar.”

Guichet has taken this philosophy to heart. As a result, he has been able to grow his career and focus on doing what he does best: solving problems. 

Detour to data science

Guichet wasn’t born knowing how to prioritize. In fact, he took the scenic route to the success he enjoys now at 29.

He grew up living with different siblings in different states and territories. He witnessed his brother-in-law have a massive heart attack, which inspired Guichet to consider medicine as a career. Perhaps he could suss out why such things happened, he reasoned, and prevent them from happening to others.

So, after graduating high school in Louisiana (where he currently lives), Guichet tried going to a traditional university. The party culture, however, derailed those plans, and he joined the Army National Guard instead. About this time, he embarked on a sales career, which was fun, but not as much fun as computer programming, he says. 

University of Phoenix alumnus Dustin Guichet (BSIT, 2023)

Dustin Guichet
BSIT, 2023; Master of Science in Data Science (in progress)

“I was in sales for about a decade before I wanted something more challenging,” Guichet explains, “and that’s when I discovered my love for programming. … I could solve more problems designing computer solutions than I could individually with a person, so I felt like moving into software engineering would have a greater impact.” 

This notion of solving problems is important to Guichet, who has been known to open his home to those in need after a hurricane and who devoted upward of 30 hours a week volunteering to help kids learn robotics.

Back then, however, he didn’t have the time or money to invest in a college degree. Instead, he had a growing family who depended on him. He started to research his options, the same way he’d researched how-to videos on programming, which helped him build video games but left him in what he calls “tutorial hell”: He could build a program in a paint-by-numbers way, but he couldn’t innovate from the ground up. He needed knowledge in a conceptual, fundamental way, and he found it in a software-development boot camp that is now known as Apprentice Now.

The program Guichet signed on to involved three months of education followed by a six- to 12-month apprenticeship.

Guichet, who is the sole provider for his family, stopped working and focused on learning. He took in some contract work on the side to make ends meet, and he kept his eye on the prize of a career change.

“They were long, long days,” he says. “They were 16-hour days.” The payoff was more than just a placement at a company where he could (and did) acquire employment. It also provided him with knowledge that, in some ways, left him hungry for more.

Investing in himself and his future

“I never wanted to pigeonhole myself into someone else telling me how much I need to make, so I decided to get a college degree for reputation and refutability,” Guichet says.

University of Phoenix cleared the path for him to achieve this. Guichet’s apprenticeship and military experience translated to college credits at UOPX, enabling him to earn his Bachelor of Science in Information Technology with a software development specialization in less than a year.

It wasn’t easy. Guichet had to learn how to own his educational process rather than rely on an instructor or anyone else to tell him what he needed to do. That, he says, made him stronger both in the classroom and on the job.

It also seems to have stuck. He’s currently using tuition reimbursement from his employer to pursue his Master of Science in Data Science.  

“Once upon a time, I believed that I didn’t necessarily need a degree, and I would attribute a lot of my success to University of Phoenix specifically because of the things that it taught me,” Guichet says. “I would also say that it’s not the perfect system, but nothing is perfect, and it is what you make of it. … I mean, at the end of the day, the quality is up to you.”

In Guichet’s case, he’s committed to making the most of every class, every opportunity. In 2022, he joined ISC for the opportunity to build apps and software from the ground up. “It’s not your standard 9-to-5 job,” he says. That’s a good thing. He loves meeting with stakeholders, researching their problems and then building solutions.

“It’s a matter of perseverance and looking at problems from different angles,” Guichet says. “That unknown is the excitement. It’s like, ‘Well, what am I going to face tomorrow?’”

Guichet’s mentor, Jim Andrews, can vouch for Guichet’s enthusiasm. Andrews is the executive director for S&P Dow Jones Indices, and he has learned to identify certain predictors of success. 

Jim Andrews, Executive Director for S&P Dow Jones Indices

Jim Andrews
Executive Director for S&P Dow Jones Indices

“In my 25+ years of experience in the industry, I have witnessed a positive attitude and passion toward one’s work to be two of the biggest drivers of success,” Andrews says. “Regardless of the challenges he has faced, Dustin approaches each task with enthusiasm and optimism. I’m sure this positive mindset boosts his own productivity.”

If Andrews is right, Guichet is poised for success not just at work but with his side projects. And there are several significant side projects. In addition to writing a book, Keep It Simple: Own Your Mistakes, Guichet has started a company called Razor Concept that seeks to find or build solutions to complex problems.

He likens this to the how-do-you-eat-an-elephant cliché. Solving problems usually means breaking them down into smaller challenges. As he says, “Don’t overcomplicate it. If you can’t explain it to a 5-year-old, then you don’t know it well enough to even talk about it.”

In Guichet’s case, simple solutions — whether to time management or stakeholder challenges — have formed a pathway to success.

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Portrait of Elizabeth Exline

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Elizabeth Exline has been telling stories ever since she won a writing contest in third grade. She's covered design and architecture, travel, lifestyle content and a host of other topics for national, regional, local and brand publications. Additionally, she's worked in content development for Marriott International and manuscript development for a variety of authors.

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