When Joe Dayvie was let go by his employer, he decided to embark on a career change by pursuing his life-long interest in web development. So Joe seized the opportunity and dedicated himself to learning with Treehouse. Joe soon found himself encouraged by the engaging online community of beginners and experts in the tech industry and he began looking for local designers and developers to meet up with offline. Although there was plenty of interest online, Joe found the challenge was finding people within his local area. This sparked the idea for Joe’s first side project for his portfolio, Program in Person (PiP), a community that connected web designers and developers in the same area.
Although PiP started as a small-scale private project, Joe saw a demand from the community and decided to launch the site. Within only two weeks, there were over 50 users in 15 different countries signed up to PiP and the community is steadily growing. Joe has found the experiences of learning to code and building PiP have guided him onto an exciting new career path. He’s still learning with Treehouse daily to improve his skills, as well as continuing to work on PiP. His long-term goal is to become a full stack Ruby on Rails developer.
We caught up with Joe to hear more about his learning experience, Program in Person and the advice he’d give to new Treehouse students.
What first drew you to the tech industry?
From the age of fourteen, I have always been interested in web development and computer programming. For twelve years, I would occasionally code and find myself sitting down for eight to ten hours continuously without a break. I’ve never experienced a passion like this before. Critically thinking to create (or resolve) artwork is inspiring and never-ending. With the continuous changes technology brings, there are always new things to learn to keep the brain sharp.
When I made the decision to seriously learn web development, I was completely shocked by the warm welcome from everyone within the field. Whether I spoke to a first-day learner or a veteran of over twenty years, everyone was kind and wished me well in my education. The community has kept my sanity intact through many difficult and stressful times.
What work were you doing when you first joined Treehouse and what encouraged you to learn with us?
In August 2014, there was concern that my position at my employer would be let go and I decided I needed to make a change into another career. This is when I made the conscious decision to begin my journey into learning web development. Ultimately my position was held and I lost focus for a few months until April 2015. This time I would not be so lucky and my company let go 40% of the staff, including my position. I unpaused my Treehouse account and furiously began learning all I could to get into the field. I knew this would take time, but it was crucial for me to begin and not quit.
Choosing Treehouse was quite easy after reading the various success stories and educational style. Being a visual learner, I enjoyed the guidance of all the videos while having quizzes and challenges to complete. Students are able to go through various courses within a Track or pick which areas to focus on individually. Additionally the community within Treehouse is massive and offers a variety of help from newcomers to those in the field for over 20 years.
After three months of learning, you built Program in Person. Tell us a little about the project and the experience of building it.
Since I began seriously learning in April, I have always been told to create projects from scratch and not only through tutorials. During the course of learning, I would always try to find other programmers within my area (Las Vegas, NV) but the results were shockingly empty. Unless I wanted to join a larger meeting, there was no way for me to connect with others. Being new to the field and still learning, I did not feel comfortable going to meet a larger group of people in a random location about once a month. While researching, I noticed there were many other individuals asking the same question “Who lives in this area?” This sparked the idea to create a community to accomplish such a task and I decided upon the name of Program in Person.
Program in Person (PiP) was originally created as a side project for my own portfolio; however, as I began speaking to other developers/designers, they became interested and wanted to sign up. After a few weeks of developing, I launched the site and people began to sign up. Just two weeks after deployment, there are 50+ users in 15 different countries! There are users living near one another, making new friendships, starting professional relationships and most importantly putting themselves out there. While we are still building up a database and a plethora of content/features, come check us out to connect, collaborate and challenge one another locally.
The process of creating Program in Person has been stressful on various levels, but I have learned more than I could have using any tutorial(s). Not only have I learned knowledge for building applications in Rails, I have become familiar with various resources and communities when I am unsure of an answer/process, which is just an important. It is not possible to know everything about everything in this field, so it is beneficial to find communities and resources to go to for help, guidance and assistance.
What has the value of a Treehouse education meant to you?
What are your plans for the future, and what’s up next on your learning path?
As with most things in life, I am taking web development day by day. My current plans are to continue working on Program in Person, begin working on a website for a friend of mine and continue learning more with Ruby on Rails and databases. The long-term goal is to become a full stack Ruby on Rails Developer so I will continue down that path.
Is there any advice you’d like to share with new students?
I still consider myself fairly new to everything. Although I am working on two projects right now (still non-paying), I visit Treehouse and various resources for specific information.
Ultimately I would suggest the following, as it is what I did (and continue to do):
- Code every day, even if for 15-20 minutes.
- Take a short break when overwhelmed, as it will be easier for you to return and resolve issues.
- Never, ever give up. Someone once told me that as long as you do not give up, you are already ahead of many other individuals.
- Learn from resources but then create your own, unique projects. You will learn details that tutorials may not generally explain.
To read more awesome student success stories, check out the Treehouse Stories Page