The Dean’s List feature is our way of highlighting some of the extraordinary students in the Treehouse community and sharing with the world people who are passionate about learning, bettering themselves and making a difference.
This edition of the Dean’s List features Christoph Rumpel, a dedicated Treehouse scholar and passionate web developer for Liechtenecker in beautiful Austria. He loves his job, learning new skills, being part of the dynamic community on the web, and sharing his experiences and knowledge with others. You can see some of what Christoph does on his website, hear more from him on his blog, or say hello on Twitter.
How were you first introduced to the tech industry?
I guess it all started way back when I was a kid and my family got their first PC. At that time having a computer was something very special and I was excited about it right from the beginning. Since that moment I was interested in computers and some years later the web too.
What drew you to the industry and what has your experience been like so far?
Music has always been a passion of mine and I started a band when I was fourteen years old. We spent all our time practicing our instruments and writing music, and had a great time releasing three full-length albums and playing over 150 shows in Europe. As a band you are always confronted with flyers, videos, websites and shirts, and a lot of stuff you had to do on your own. That was why I first dove into design and programming. It’s funny because I’ve heard that’s how many designers and developers started their careers.
Unfortunately no matter how hard we tried, we weren’t able to make our passion pay our rent.
During these years I had several little jobs besides the band and I went to University too. Unfortunately back then there were almost no good opportunities for an education dealing with the web. Additionally it wasn’t as easy as now to learn programming on your own with platforms like Treehouse. So I tried a lot of different stuff like business informatics at a university and a brand new multimedia college. But I just didn’t know where I belonged.
In 2009 I started studying media technique at a university of applied science in St. Pölten in order to learn digital audio and video. The first year we also had some mandatory lectures on interactive media, and that was when I fell in love with web development. I immediately changed my focus and started spending a lot of my free time experimenting with technology. It was like I suddenly knew where I belonged.
Tell us a little about a project you’re working on at the moment.
After graduating in 2012, I started working as a freelancer and did lots of different projects, but my biggest one was the redesign of my own site. There is something very special about working on personal projects, especially your own site as it’s how you present yourself to the world. I rebuilt my site completely from scratch and thereby learned a lot of new stuff. I always try to test as many new things as possible when working on private projects or low-paid jobs.
My site is a responsive WordPress site with a custom theme I designed. Performance was very important to me too. I wrote an article describing the whole process of the redesign in order to help others who are finding themselves in the same situation.
What would be your dream job for the future?
This is a tough one. Since there is so much in web development that I’m interested in, I just don’t know where my journey will take me, but I know I want more than a standard job. I want to work on cutting-edge technology, trying new stuff and searching for new ways. Furthermore I would like to make the web a better place and help others discover their love for it, too. Paul Irish and Harry Roberts are two of my web dev heroes. I hope I will be able to enrich our community like they do, too. By the way I think it is very important to have heroes. There are so many great people out there we can learn from and we should embrace that opportunity.
Work environment is also of great importance to me. It doesn’t matter how much you love what you do when you can’t get along with your colleague. I am also profoundly convinced that happy employees will do a significant better job. It is a win-win situation and something I think Treehouse does very well.
How do you keep yourself motivated and inspired?
Motivation and inspiration are not a problem for me. Maybe it’s because I am not the youngest anymore, but I feel a little pressure to keep up with so many really young developers out there. It just took me some time to figure out what I wanna do in my life, but now I know and that’s what counts. I really think it’s a great time to be a web developer, as there are so many exciting changes in our industry happening every day even I have to admit, it’s quite overwhelming sometimes. But it is important to find a balance between improving your skills and learning new stuff. Just go step-by-step and concentrate on what you are doing right now.
How has Treehouse helped you get to where you are now?
For me Treehouse is doing two things perfectly. Firstly, they are providing great courses on web design and web development. Even if you already know a lot about a certain topic you can still learn something in every course. Secondly their passion is just inspiring! You just have to love Treehouse for all the little details they put in their their work. We are like a big family where everyone can learn from each other and where everyone just loves what they do.
Personally, I am using Treehouse to learn new stuff and to improve my skills. When doing project work, it is not always possible for me to focus on that. I like the teachers and the way knowledge is equipped. It just fits my needs. When you are trying something new it is important to know where and and how to start, and for me that is where Treehouse comes into play.
From your learning experience, what advice would you give other Treehouse students?
Enjoy what you do and never give up your dreams. It sounds quite cheesy but it is true. Do what you love and find a way to pay your rent from that passion. Sometimes this seems difficult at the beginning, but if you are good at what you do you will find a way.
Concentrate on a subject. You can learn everything you are interested in, but you need to concentrate on one thing at a time. These special skills will make the difference. I still find myself struggling with this tip and It depends on your work too. As a freelancer it is definitely easier than when you work in an agency.
Another bit of advice is to always work on little side-projects. It doesn’t matter if they are for yourself, your uncle or a friend. There are always opportunities for work. Use these projects to learn new stuff. It is good to read blogs or listen to podcasts, but you need to work on a real life scenario in order to become a better designer or developer.
Lastly I totally recommend having a blog. You can share your experiences and simultaneously archive your knowledge. Again a win-win situation. Even if you are just starting to learn there will always be people interested in what you write and you can help them, I promise.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the Treehouse community?
I would like to say thank you to everybody here at Treehouse. Your are all doing an amazing job. Please keep up the good work! I also like say thank you to everybody who has been supporting me over the last two years. We really have an awesome community which we can be proud of and I hope together we can make the web a even better and faster place on all devices.
We would like to say a huge thank you to Christoph for being such a fantastic student and valuable member and contributor to the Treehouse community. Keep up all the great work! We can’t wait to see where your journey on the Web takes you from here.