The Treehouse Dean’s List is where we highlight some of our extraordinary members in the community and share with the world people who are passionate about learning, bettering themselves and making a difference.This edition of the Dean’s List features Digital Developer and long-time Treehouse Member Graham Davidson . In Graham’s own words: “ I have what you would call an eclectic mix of skills, and perhaps not those of your typical web developer having been both a marketing manager and business development manager in the past. Failed businesses led us to being made bankrupt and essentially living on a caravan park, however with the work I do at Plus One and without question the help of Treehouse we are turning things around. We now have a permanent home and I have a great career and these two things are in no small way attributed to Treehouse. I recommend it to everyone I ever talk to about Websites.”
What drew you to the web industry and to becoming a developer?
Ever since the days of Spectrums with their rubber keys – I was also the proud owner of a zx81 back in the day I have had a fascination with computers (it probably harks back to sci-fi and the cool things that computers could do on Star Trek etc). However back then the internet did not exist (I think most computers were gas powered). Long story short I tried everything from being an accountant, marketing manager, business development manager and ran my own print and design agency dabbling in a few web projects – over 10 years ago now. Web development is something I sort of fell into as I had my fingers very badly burned with print work it seemed to be something that I could do in my pjs from home and I was lucky enough that my current employer liked the skills I had at the time and took a chance on me.
How has Treehouse helped you get to where you are now?
Like you would not believe although maybe you would. The amount that I have learnt from Treehouse and the connections that I have made have been not much short of life changing. I am now in an industry that I love doing something that I love. The help I get from not only the peeps at Treehouse but the other members really does make all the difference in the world. The only problem comes from there never being enough hours in the day to learn everything that I want to.
Tell us a little about your experience working on the Tiger J Chocolates website and the evolution of the project.
The Tiger J Project came about as a result of my sisters story. She was mauled by a Tiger when she was younger working in a Zoo she now has a lovely catering and wine business and one of her side projects is raising money to help this endangered spices. She already had a site but we both knew it was not really working for her. To demonstrate this I posted the link on the Treehouse forum (facebook at the time) and got some great feedback which demonstrated without shadow of a doubt the need for a new site (and as it turns out new product photography too). I was lucky enough that I was left with a complete free hand which never happens for everything from design to functionality. This was my first real attempt at an online store and so far everyone has been really pleased with the result. Although the curse of the internet there is always more you can do.
When you feel stuck while programming, what do you do to motivate and inspire yourself to get coding again?
I have two strategies that I use when I am stuck. Number 1 (without fail) – talk to someone on the Treehouse Forum or one of the pals I have made through Treehouse it is rare that one of them does not know the answer. Although can be a pain in the nuts when you need America to wake up and your problem is at 9:30GMT. Number 2 (make a cup of tea) – the number of times walking away from the machine and then coming back to it is almost scary but it seems to work – so cookie time here we come.
What is your favourite programming language to code at the moment and why?
From your learning experience, what advice would you give other Treehouse members?
Learning on the job is great as it gives you real world problems that you need to find solutions too. Sometimes they are not the best solutions. Also if you dont have a lot of work on just design and build for the sheer hell of it. I cannot think of anything else I want to do now – don’t tell my boss but I would almost do this for free. I have a 2.5hr commute to work each day and there have been times when I have almost ran to the office I am that excited to be working on a project.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the community?
Just love what you do and if you can make a living from it then how cool is that?
We’d like to say a huge thank you to Graham for not only being a fantastic Treehouse member over the past years, but also for sharing openness to sharing his story and experience with the Treehouse community.