Melanie Pellegrino owned and ran a bakery while her husband worked on the Web. From observing her husband and his lifestyle, Melanie was drawn to the flexibility and constant evolution of the web industry. Instead of being tied down to one place, he was able to work remotely from anywhere and Melanie strived for a career with the same freedom.
With no prior coding experience, Melanie began learning with Treehouse. Soon she was hooked by the innovation and challenge of coding and excelled with her learning. Today, Melanie has since launched a freelance web design business, worked with over 20 clients and has another web business in the works.
What’s more, Melanie is now successfully running her businesses from across the world. With both Melanie and her husband able to work remotely, the Pellegrinos – joined by their 2-year-old son – are currently traveling the world for a year.
We caught up with Melanie to hear more about her learning experience and how her life has changed since she embarked on a freelance web design career.
What first drew you to the web industry?
Honestly, the flexibility, innovation and constant challenge are the main features that attracted me to the industry. At that time, my husband was already in the web hub and I was a baker. I saw him travel all the time and I was unable to follow, so I decided that I didn’t want to be stuck in the same town for the rest of my life and took my life down another path.
What work were you doing when you first joined Treehouse & what encouraged you to learn with us?
I was a baker and had a bakery in the town where I lived. My husband always follows along with the new trendy sites that are innovating learning and education. One day he showed me Treehouse and told me, I think you would enjoy doing [web design and development] and you would be great at it. That’s how it all started!
Tell us a little about how your career has evolved since learning with Treehouse and the work you’re doing now.
I never thought I could code, it seemed like you had to be a genius, so I started with the easy classes and keep going. At some point, I felt like I knew enough to start working but wanted to network too so joined a coding/design web school in Vancouver, Canada for a year. The beginning was really easy with all the knowledge I had from Treehouse, but the marketing and business classes also really helped. I graduated a year ago and have since built websites as a freelancer for over 20 clients. I’ve also launched my own web business… and have another coming out in a couple of weeks.
What has the value of a Treehouse education meant to you?
It was an easy way into the web industry and a safe place to test it out. It gave me the confidence I needed to turn my life around.
You don’t feel pressure, it feels like a big family. I started a few years ago with Treehouse and now I feel like the industry is recognizing the education you get from online learning resources. It’s amazing that people are able to get so far with their education without putting themselves in debt.
What are your plans for the future, and what’s up next on your learning path?
Well, like I said in a couple of weeks I’m launching another web business, but after that I hope that my two businesses will generate a steady income and require minimal maintenance. Then I’ll be able to focus on other projects like my WebForChange charity, which builds a website for a charity in need – for free – each month, for example, leapofjoy.org. I’m also looking forward to combining my previous baking passion and my web skills into a new online baking website, but that will be further down the road.
Is there any advice you’d like to share with new students who are just starting out?
If you feel overwhelmed just go on Google and search for the answers, be active on the Community, and connect with people. Don’t think you are the only one with a question and that it’s stupid. We all had those questions! The online community is the best place to learn. Also, don’t worry if there is one language you don’t like, focus on the one you do like and specialize in one or two. In this industry, it is valuable to be amazing at one thing rather than mediocre at several of them. 🙂
I would like to add that my husband, my 2 years old son and I are on a one year world trip traveling around one country per month (so far we’ve been to Iceland, Portugal and France. Next, we’ll be going to Australia, Korea, Thailand, Japan… and who knows where after). This would never be possible if we couldn’t work from our computers from anywhere at any time. So thanks Treehouse for lighting up the beginning of a new amazing lifestyle for my family!
To read more awesome student success stories, check out the Treehouse Stories Page.