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Taking My Career to the Next Level: How I Became a Developer

Photo by Émile Perron / CC0

When he was younger, Sam Glister was fascinated with the web but never had the opportunity in school to learn how it worked and had never considered it as a career path. After graduation, Sam began a career as a data administrator. When a key member of his team left one day, people began to turn to Sam to help update the company’s website. Although coding wasn’t in his job description – or his skill set – Sam’s curiosity for the web was reignited and he took on the opportunity to learn HTML.

After Sam had mastered the basics and was able to confidently update content on the backend of the company’s website, he was hungry to learn and do more with code. He excelled through Treehouse courses and was soon taking on more challenging and complex coding projects for the company. A year later, Sam decided to take his career to the next level and applied for junior developer positions. Today, Sam is a full-time web designer and developer, as well as a lifelong learner, constantly growing and expanding his impressive coding skills. 

We asked Sam to share his inspiring story and learning experience with the community.


The web has always been something that fascinated me. When I was young, I loved using website builders to create my own projects that I shared with others. I never really had the opportunity to learn how to build websites properly at school – other than being told a program called Dreamweaver existed – but instead played around with them in my free time. 

I left school at 18 and worked for an outdoor adventure company for a year before beginning a career with an AV Distributor as a data administrator on the company’s website. Until this point, I had never seen or touched a line of code. 

A member of my team that looked after content management moved into a new role leaving no one with any knowledge of how to update the website. Gradually more and more people turned to me to update content on the website, which at the time wasn’t part of my role. I took a look at the content management system and saw all of these weird words and symbols. Realizing no one else knew how to edit this content I decided to learn the basics of how to edit this code and asked the development team what I needed to know. Learning HTML was the first step, so I started Googling what HTML was and how I could learn more about it. 

After browsing the web for weeks and coming across countless sites that didn’t provide an effective way of learning, I was ready to give up. Then I came across Treehouse. Their platform offered an interactive way of learning and a fantastic community of others learning how to code, so I signed up for a free trial. By the end of the trial, I had already learned how to build a website from scratch with HTML and CSS

Having learned what I needed to update basic content on the backend of my company’s website, I was hungry to do more and learn more. A month later, I had built the company’s first basic landing page, started regularly updating content on the group’s eight websites, and designed and developed the main website for their key annual show.

Having learned what I needed to update basic content on the backend of my company’s website, I was hungry to do more and learn more.

A year later, I decided to take my career to the next level and started applying for my first role as a developer. After several months of applying for junior developer roles, I finally landed a job. Today, I’m a full-time web designer and developer. I am now working on multiple web projects, designing and building bespoke websites for a range of clients in different industries using WordPress, PHP, HTML, CSS and JavaScript. I also design and manage email marketing campaigns using a range of different providers. I pride myself on designing everything totally bespoke and exactly to my client’s needs.

Getting to where I am today hasn’t been easy, I never took to education easily when I was younger, so had to find something different with a new approach to learning. Finding the time to sit down and learn what I have alongside a full-time job made things difficult. However, with perseverance and by using every spare moment I had to learn, I have managed to achieve all I wanted to and so much more. 

Getting to where I am today hasn’t been easy…However, with perseverance and by using every spare moment I had to learn, I have managed to achieve all I wanted to and so much more.

Treehouse has been the key to my success. Without it, I wouldn’t have got to where I am today. It’s taught me everything I know and has enough content should I ever need to know anything more. It has a fun interactive step-by-step process with its tutorials and the quizzes and code challenges make sure you understand what you’ve been taught. I now set myself new goals every time I complete a new course, whether that’s with a language I already know such as learning React, or something entirely new like C#. The best thing is I know Treehouse will always have a course there to get me started on a new learning goal.

Whenever I have any spare time I also like to sign in to support others where I can. The Treehouse Community provided me with so many answers when I was learning, so I like to try and help others that are in the same position I was when I started out. 

My advice to people starting out is to keep going, there may be things you won’t understand but if the tutorials don’t answer your questions the Community can definitely help. Perseverance is the key to success. 

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