CommunityDaniel Went From Personal Trainer to Front End Web Developer in 6 Months


Faye Bridge
writes on June 18, 2015

Daniel was working as a personal trainer and fitness manager but had reached a point where there was no room for growth in his career. So he set out in search of a brand new career path. Even though he had no previous coding experience or knowledge, Daniel had a keen interest in technology and decided to begin learning the basics of HTML and CSS in his free time. Finding himself in need of a more interactive learning experience, Daniel joined Treehouse and found himself quickly immersed in solidifying his new skills.

In only 6 months, Daniel succeeded in confidently building those skills and was able to completely switch careers to one that he loves. As a full-time front end  web developer, Daniel enjoys more flexible hours, a better salary, the opportunity to continue learning and an exciting career path ahead.

We caught up with Daniel to chat about his career change, the work he’s doing now and plans for the future.



What first drew you to the web industry?

I was previously working in the fitness industry. I didn’t see much room for growth and I did not have a rewarding feeling every day for what I was doing. I had always enjoyed technology and computers but never knew any more than the average computer user. I began just brushing the surface with some basic HTML and CSS. Since then, I have not looked back.

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

When I first joined Treehouse about 6 months ago I was still working as a Fitness Manager and doing personal training. In my free time, had already begun learning a little HTML and CSS but wanted to begin learning from videos as it fit my style much better than simply reading. I stumbled upon Treehouse and loved it. The videos and instructions do an excellent job teaching, using good examples, and making the learning fun. The badge system was also very fun. Eventually, this inspired me to make my own little single page application to display my Treehouse achievements. Treehouse got me so excited about learning to code that I began dedicating a lot more time to learning.

You recently landed your first job in the industry as a front end web developer. Tell us a little about how your career has evolved since learning with Treehouse and the work you’re doing now.

My career has evolved enormously because I literally switched my career entirely. I went from personal training to a web developer. There are so many benefits to making this switch. I have more flexible hours allowing me to even work from home a few days a week if I prefer. I also have better pay, and there is much more room for me to grow into bigger and better positions while also getting to learn more. Also, I simply enjoy programming! It’s such a thrill to be able to create things with what I once thought was a bunch of text and gibberish. I currently work in Washington DC as a Front End Developer. My team and I mainly create new content, debug, and help maintain a website for a government agency. I also have the luxury of learning many new things in my job and I love learning!

What has the value of a Treehouse education meant to you?

Treehouse has been one of my main go-to sources for learning and I have to give them major credit for helping me get where I am now. They continue to keep me excited about learning and do it in a way that it is fun enjoyable. They have also had some courses that really help me gain a deeper understanding of the subjects that I was learning. I really like all of the instructors and their teaching style.

What are your plans for the future, and what’s up next on your learning path?

I want to continue to learn as much as I can and grow in my career. I definitely want to broaden my learning to commit to more back-end programming languages and libraries as well. I also want to continue to work on fun side projects like my Treehouse badge application and just have fun with them! Still being very new to programming, I feel like I have so much more opportunity to learn, grow, and make so many cool things!

Is there any advice you’d like to share with new students, who are aspiring developers?

The first thing I would say to any new student is “don’t give up”. I came from a background with zero programming experience and a degree in Exercise Science. I stuck with it and within 6 months I got a job. There will definitely be plenty of times where you will encounter new learning material and feel so confused. Go through it multiple times or maybe step away from it for a little, but don’t give up.

It will take a lot of work, but it is totally possible to get a developer job, even if that is not your background. If it is something that you want, then work for it and you can get there. Start by learning and work on some projects finishing them to completion. Create a portfolio to display your projects and learning to show employers your skills. Don’t ever stop learning, and just stick with it. It may take some time, but you can get there.

Finally, I encourage everyone to network, especially in the developer community. I had a few people I knew that I was originally able to use as mentors to get some starter guidance and tips from. This was huge because I had no idea where to start. It can also be very helpful when looking for a job to have references and people that can help say some good things about you or put in a good word for you. Keep on learning and good luck!

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


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19 Responses to “Daniel Went From Personal Trainer to Front End Web Developer in 6 Months”

  1. This is so positive, I love it. I actually have a question for you Daniel, even through this thread is old.I’ve recently completed an online course on html and css and my javascript is wobbly. But, my question to you is what you did after completing your course.
    What projects would you recommend to put in your portfolio?
    How did you go about getting your job? Did you intern?
    I am feeling a little frazzled after finishing the course and not sure how to go about putting together what I have learnt.

    I hope to hear from you! 🙂

  2. Hi Daniel,
    I have been in the web design field for over 15 years now, starting with design leading more into front-end development, I am curious what languages did you learn at treehouse? I am self taught and not used treehouse YET, I have a full-time job as a front-end developer and work on my freelance projects in the evening so I am mostly learning while working on projects.

    I am also curious what entry requirements did you need for the role you got in Washington DC?

    I look forward to hearing from you, and congratulations on your career change.


  3. Well done Daniel!! Inspiring to read

  4. Thanks for sharing great tips and its really such a nice post!

  5. Well , Bravo for such a beautiful fake story , to increase subscriptions of your site.

    • This article is about me and I am not fake. I literally went to school for exercise science and used to work in the fitness industry. I now work for a tech company doing web development on large government websites. “I” actually reached out to Treehouse to share my story and to thank them. I am still a paying subscriber and use them to learn many new things. I talk up Treehouse because I believe in what they are doing, I support them, and I think its awesome. There are plenty of other stories out there as well… its not just me who has benefited from them.

      • Faye Bridge on September 23, 2015 at 7:00 am said:

        Thanks for your supportive response Daniel! We really appreciate you being such an inspiring and motivating student, and sharing your story with the Community. Keep up the great work. 🙂

        • I believe it. I found Dan on Github while attending school myself. So I wanted to see what he was up to and it led me here. Congrats Dan!. If only I could learn as easily as you make it look.

  6. I never heard a career switch like this before.

    Good luck Daniel for your future. If you are passionate about technology and web development you will definitely going to love this career and achieve growth in it.

    Thanks to Team Treehouse for providing such great opportunities and sharing such inspirational stories with us.

  7. I am also going through a career change. At the age of 58, I was laid off from a 17 year career as an advertising dept manager. I have always dabbled in html and css, but now I am determined to make web design my full time job.
    I love the fact that I can work from home and earn some decent money.
    Treehouse was the first place that I started to study, and I will now be ramping up my efforts.
    Thanks to treehouse, I will be starting a new career!

  8. Cool story! I myself begin my web designer/developer career. My html+css is better than javascript but I’m trying to learn it. Also I have problems with job finding and with not to give up with it 🙂

  9. I think Treehouse is an amazing educational disruptor. What I mean is, you can spend 30 minutes on Treehouse and have a marketable skill that sets you above the competition. Most people do not work on their own development and many companies do not invest in their employees. I have been studying at Treehouse for nearly two years now and really did not consider making programming / web dev something of a career option until I separated from the U.S. Navy and experienced (which I am in the middle of at this point) over a year of unemployment.

    Treehouse has given me the opportunity to make a significant career change. I had a successful military career (13 years) and I worked in some high-speed intelligence projects, but I was not a happy person and my work constantly took me away from my family (6 kids, a wife, and the 7th kid on the way). I am studying on Treehouse for them. I am strategically building my portfolio for them. I am freelancing for them. And the big bonus is this: I love everything about web development! In the military, I rarely saw a project come to completion, because that was the nature of the business; strategic operations (we are talking decades worth of analysis…can be very, very boring). Now, I get to see a project develop from sketch to beta and pushed live! That rocks!

    Congrats Daniel on achieving your first milestone as a Front End Web Developer. I will be following in your footsteps soon enough.

  10. Why we can’t be like Daniel.

    I love Treehouse, Even I’m not a user right now but this website showed me a whole new way to learn during my 15 days trial.

    If I had money to continue, Certainly I will start with java programming. I want to be an Android Developer.

    • Crank,
      It is definitely worth the investment if you take it seriously! I believe Treehouse also does referral type programs. If you refer a few people, you will actually get a free membership.

      • Stories like these are so inspiring!

        One question for Daniel though, how much time on average did you spend learning every day?

        And of course, congratulations on your career change!

        • Thanks Jonas! Honestly, I was dedicating about 25-30 hours per week into learning/working on projects. I understand that not everyone has that amount of free time to spare, but you just put in the time that you can.

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