Frustrated with the outdated content he was learning in his final year of university for Multimedia Computing, Gerald joined Treehouse with the hopes of learning the skills he needed to become a web designer/developer. Having finally found the resource and learning experience he needed, Gerald was able to build out his portfolio of work. As a result, Gerald landed a web designer role at Foxtons Real Estate, one of London’s top Real Estate Agencies before graduating and receiving his university diploma.
We caught up with Gerald to hear more about his learning experience with Treehouse and landing his first job as a web designer.
What first drew you to the web industry?
From a young age I was always interested in computers and technology. I knew that I would like to have a career involving computers. The only problem I faced was what industry I would like to get into. When the time came to choose a course for university I chose Multimedia Computing which allowed me to develop both technical and creative skills in multimedia for different channels. I find that I hardly watch TV anymore because I mostly use the internet as my source of entertainment and information so I figured, why not become a web designer/developer. I was already studying the right degree for it and I really enjoy having to use both my creative and technical knowledge so it made perfect sense to pursue it.
What work were you doing when you first joined Treehouse & what encouraged you to learn with us?
Ever since deciding I aspired to be a web designer/developer I tried feeding myself with as much relevant knowledge as possible. I find online courses to be more helpful than books in my university’s library because they tend to be at least 5 years out of date and languages in the web industry can be outdated in just a few weeks. I needed a reliable source that is always up to date with the latest in web technologies to keep ahead of the game.
You’re studying multimedia computing at university. How has learning with Treehouse compared to traditional education?
I found that the content my university taught outdated. For a large majority of my studies they taught us Adobe Flash animation which was a dying technology for developing websites. Not only was the content outdated, the teaching itself was very poor. I found myself in many tutorial classes where teachers would just set me and classmates work to do without even explaining how to do it. It is a big disappointment because for us British students we are paying ridiculous amounts of money for our university tuition but not gaining useful, practical knowledge.
In my final year, a friend told me about a website called Treehouse, an online teaching course for web design and development. He told me there was a monthly fee which made me hesitant at first, but luckily there was a free trial for me to use. I found the service to be filled with loads of different courses for not only web design and development, but also mobile application development for iOS and Android, and business skills. The Treehouse teachers clearly explained everything to me using visual animation which really encouraged me to pay attention and process the information quicker. What was really helpful was the project based learning. This allowed me to use the skills I learned in a practical working project that will prove useful to me in a real job. The projects were also useful because I could add them to my portfolio to demonstrate to employees what I’m capable of doing.
At the end of a project, there’s also a quick quiz that further ensures you retain the knowledge. The quizzes aren’t long and tedious like a formal exam, they’re fast and short to prevent you from being bored, and don’t feel like a chore at all.
I am a prime example of proving that one does not need to spend thousands on formal education to get the job of their dreams. I owe Treehouse for teaching me everything I know.
You recently landed a full time web designer role at one of London’s top Real Estate Agencies, Foxtons Real Estate. Tell us about your new position and the experience of transitioning into your first job in the industry.
I think my biggest accomplishment was landing a web designer role at one of London’s top Real Estate Agencies before graduating and receiving my diploma. I am still a student with only one more exam left to go. I am a prime example of proving that one does not need to spend thousands on formal education to get the job of their dreams. I owe Treehouse for teaching me everything I know, from the technical and creative skills to getting ready for interviews and soft skills.
This is my first office job and it is very different from my previous job in a retail environment. My main responsibilities are to update and maintain the company’s website and intranet and find and fix bugs, create HTML templates and think of ideas to help improve the website’s design and usability.
What are your plans for the future, and what’s up next on your learning path?
I plan to continue Treehouse’s services and become a Pro member because I can trust Treehouse to continue updating their content to up-to-date technologies, which I greatly appreciate. I hope to one day gain enough practical knowledge experience to launch my own social media website. In the meantime, I am just open to learning everything I can.
Is there any advice you’d like to share with new students who are aspiring web developers?
My advice to new students and aspiring web developers is to feed yourself as much knowledge possible. Treehouse is an amazing source but its always good to discover more resources for your arsenal. Keep an open mind and always ask for help when you need it. There are thousands of people online who are in the same boat, trying to learn as much as you. Communicate and help each other. Isn’t that what the internet is invented for?
To read more awesome student success stories, check out the Treehouse Stories Page.