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Amanda’s Story: Turning a High School Passion into a Career



A basic web design class in high school introduced Amanda to a passion for the web. However, it wasn’t until 10 years later, when Amanda was stuck in a dead end job that she decided to go back to college to pursue a career in tech.

At 27, Amanda enrolled in an Information Studies degree at university. During the first semester a web design course reaquainted Amanda with her passion for web design and confirmed that it was the next career path for her. With limited web design and development courses included in her major, Amanda turned to online learning resources. Treehouse was the perfect fit for her learning needs and goals.

This month, Amanda started her exciting new career as a web developer and is finally doing what she loves.

We asked Amanda to share her experience embarking on a new tech career with the community.

“I saw [Treehouse] as an investment in my future, and it’s paid off!”

What first encouraged you to learn to code and pursue a career in the tech industry?

I’ve always had a passion for the web. I took a web design class in high school, circa 2000, and was hooked! I learned frames, marquees, inline styling – all the things you’re not supposed to do now. In fact, you used to have to actually use a transparent .gif to layout pages that had a side border graphic. I used to make little fan pages on sites like geocities, that probably got no traffic. I loved creating websites just because it was fun to do so, but somewhere along my teenage journey I lost sight of it.

Fast forward 10 years, and I’m stuck in a dead end job with only a few college credits that I earned fresh after high school. At 27 I decided to go back to school, knowing I wanted to do something in technology. I eventually chose Information Studies as a major to give me a well-rounded technical education. In my first semester, I took a mandatory web design class. That’s when it hit me that this was what I wanted to do! And it revived an interest I had in high school which fell to the wayside.

What work were you doing when you first joined Treehouse and what encouraged you to learn with us?

My college major really only includes two web development classes. The prerequisite class was an introduction to HTML and CSS. The upper-level class focused on JavaScript and PHP. There was a huge disconnect between the two and I didn’t retain much. I had started seeing ads for Codecademy and began there to further my education but I finished all the modules pretty quickly. There just wasn’t enough content. I have a friend who was also learning development and he told me about Treehouse. I started the free trial and really loved the teaching style so I purchased a subscription. I saw it as an investment in my future, and it’s paid off!

You’re recently landed your first web developer job. Tell us a little about it and how your career has evolved since learning to code.

I’m finally doing what I love. It is a junior front-end web development job working with an affiliate marketing company. I’m only a few days in, but so far every task that’s been handed to me I’ve been able to accomplish fairly quickly due to Treehouse: editing HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, AJAX, etc. I am mostly doing support right now and helping out with split testing. Eventually, I will be developing some sites from PSD files so I’m looking forward to that. This is really just the start of my career and it has me very excited.

What do you love most about your new job?

What’s great about my company is I’m encouraged to learn on the job. At times, my coworkers are learning along with me or sometimes I will even know something they don’t!

[Tweet “”What’s great about my company is I’m encouraged to learn on the job.” – Amanda, Web Developer”]

What are your plans for the future?

I really love the front-end side of things and would love to stay there as a lead developer and maybe try some design as well.

Which do you think is the most valuable programming language to learn right now and why?

Based on what I’ve seen so far on the job, JavaScript, especially jQuery, are prevalent. As soon as you learn the logic, taking on other languages should be a smooth transition.

“Don’t think you need to know everything before applying to jobs. I am still learning A LOT while on the job.”

Do you have any advice you’d like to share with students who are just starting out?

Don’t lose hope. If something is frustrating you, walk away for a bit. I was having a hard time figuring out some JavaScript code out and I thought of the solution while relaxing in my hammock! Also, don’t think you need to know everything before applying to jobs. I am still learning A LOT while on the job.

Ready to embark on your own career in web design? Sign up for a Free Trial with Treehouse and join the Web Design Track today.

To read more inspiring student success stories, check out the Treehouse Stories Page.

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