15-year-old Harry James had always been intrigued by technology. So when a school program required him to choose a new skill to learn, Harry decided to seize the opportunity and learn to code.
Harry signed up for Treehouse with zero coding experience. Over the upcoming months, he began to confidently work through beginner content and moved on to more advanced languages. When the first Android courses were then added to Treehouse, Harry was one of the first to jump at the opportunity to learn the Java programming language and start to build Android apps.
Support and encouragement from the Treehouse Community also played a valuable role in Harry’s learning experience as he excelled through courses and soon Harry found himself helping other students in the Community. Before long he was promoted to a Treehouse Forum Moderator.
Harry was then able to take on an exciting Work Experience opportunity at Campus North, a local tech hub. There, the team mentored him and helped build a weather app to teach younger kids the fundamentals of programming and app development.
Today, after only a year and a half of learning, Harry can confidently program in multiple languages and is continuing to add to his skill set. He’s excited by the tech industry and the prospect of harnessing his skills into a career in the future.
We caught up with Harry to hear more about his learning and work experiences and what advice he’d share with students who are just starting out.
… A couple of minutes a day with Treehouse can change your life forever so thanks to everyone for making it possible.
I’ve always had an interest in all aspects of technology since a young age and loved trying a bit of everything – from photo editing, video editing, production and more. I’d seen bits of programming around the web, but it looked way too scary to jump into, it was literally a whole new language!
I started back in May 2014 when at the time I had just started my DofE (Duke of Edinburgh) here in the UK, which is a reward scheme that not only is great fun to complete but also looks great on your CV. For this scheme, I needed to learn a new skill and that’s when I decided I’d take the plunge into programming and ever since, it’s what I’ve wanted to pursue as a career in the future.
I started off on the Android track back when Eclipse was the main IDE to use and made my way through all of the new courses Ben was bringing out. I often had questions about different aspects of what I was learning and took to the Community section to ask for clarification on parts I didn’t fully understand. The community was great and both Ben and the other students were there to further explain the concepts to me.
It got to a point where I started to understand both Android and Java pretty well and, I wanted to give back to the community what they had given to me! That’s when I started browsing the Community and answering questions. Of course, there would be questions that I didn’t understand but rather than just ignoring them, I would try and find the solution myself. That way, I would improve my knowledge and answer the students’ question. In November last year, I was then picked out by the Community to become a Forum Moderator, which was pretty incredible! Since then, I’ve continued to help out in the Community with the perk of having Moderator status. 🙂
Recently, I undertook Work Experience over at Campus North, a tech hub in Newcastle, England and had a time I will not forget! Everyone there was incredibly helpful, more than happy to greet you and the Ignite team who run the Campus put together plenty of events for all the people working there. While I was there, I talked to a few of the developers in the Campus to learn what they’re working on and how they got into the tech industry. They showed me what tools they were using plus gave me some pointers to resources they found helpful and tips on getting into the industry.
Campus North are also the regional coordinators of Code Club here in the UK, a network of volunteers leading after school coding clubs for kids aged 9-11. Whilst I was at the Campus, I worked on a simple weather app called RoboWeather, which the kids can follow along with. The app teaches kids the fundamentals of programming and app development, including how to retrieve and display information from the web. The app is complete, but the guide is still work in progress and will hopefully be released soon. 😉
I’ve also began learning some Python over at the CoderDojo I go to every month, which I’ll continue to expand on. I’m also looking to contribute to some projects on GitHub in the near future to improve my appeal to potential employers.
For any new students that are starting out, I recommend you find your best way of learning. For me, I like going through the videos at a slower pace. I’ll watch the video and write code at the same time, then go through the video again to clarify concepts I didn’t quite get the first time around and take notes. Also, if there’s anything you need rephrased for better understanding or a question that you can’t find the answer to, the Community is the best place to go. Usually one of us will be able to help. When you feel comfortable, you can also try and answer some other students’ questions – the Community doesn’t work without people like you.
Over here in the UK, I was never taught how to program at school; in fact I have never seen a line of code shown to me in a lesson. For me, it isn’t part of the curriculum. Only recently has our government started integrating it into schools. There’s no minimum age for programming and in fact, I think it should be taught from a young age as whether you use it for a career or not, the skills you get out of it will last a lifetime. If you are interested in learning to code, don’t wait for it to come to you – learn it yourself!
Code is a powerful thing and if you’ve ever used something before and been frustrated about the design, the user experience or had an idea that nobody else has created, then it’s perfect for you. Chances are, it’ll be a couple of months before you are able to make your own websites/apps but once you do, it’ll be so much easier to learn different languages. Then, you’ll be able to improve on anything, make things your own, and even turn a hobby into a career.
To read more student success stories, check out the Treehouse Stories Page.