CommunityStudent Success Story: Joelle Steiniger


Faye Bridge
writes on December 5, 2013

After years of working at a digital design agency surrounded by designers and developers, Joelle decided she was no longer fulfilled by her role as a project manager. It was time for her to expand her skills so she could finally grasp and understand coding. So 9 months ago she jumped headfirst into learning with Treehouse, while simultaneously changing her career path with an exciting new venture as co-pilot of Small HQ. Within a matter of weeks Joelle was building websites. Today she now frequently contributes to client projects, is able to turn her ideas into something tangible, and most importantly loves her job.

I worked as a project manager for about 5 and a half years at a digital agency (mainly we designed and built websites but there were some other digital projects mixed in…apps and such). I was surrounded by designers and developers on a day-to-day basis so I grew to have a pretty good understanding of how things worked and a pretty solid base of terminology. But I never actually looked at any code, let alone touched any. It sounds ludicrous now, looking back, to think I was managing projects that I didn’t fully have a grasp of – but it’s actually not uncommon at all in that industry.

Long story short – life as a project manager was not a fulfilling path for me at all. I wasn’t having any fun and I certainly wasn’t growing or learning. I feIt like I wasn’t contributing…not in the way I wanted to be able to anyway. I wanted to be able to create, and that ability wasn’t going to exist until I did something about it.

About 9 months ago I joined Matt Goldman full time to help him build Small HQ. We had a handful of client projects at the time – all with the intention to build up enough runway money to devote 100% of our time to Minimalytics and HookFeed (our two SaaS apps). With any free time I could muster I jumped head-first into Treehouse—primarily HTML/CSS courses. In a matter of weeks I was not only building websites on my own – I was charging for them. I got my first, very own, web project that I handled from start to finish (with a little help from Matt on the back-end).

This still blows me away – that in a matter of weeks with only the investment of a few bucks and a good chunk of my time, I was able to execute really solid work that was worth something to someone. Wow!

Since then I’ve done a half-dozen more websites. I’m finally having the kind of impact on projects that I was missing in the past and it’s the best feeling!

I’ve moved on to Ruby/Rails which is a slower learning curve for me than the front-end stuff, but Treehouse is giving me a really solid foundation in that too. It’s going to be a special day for me when I can contribute code to our own products 🙂

I think what I love most about Treehouse is its addicting nature. It helped me move really really quickly. I don’t know what it is, but once I get absorbed in a course the hours fly by and I feel like a sponge. I think it’s because every lesson is so applicable to what you’re working on and you can see the bricks stacking as you go. I definitely pause the videos A LOT to try things on my own, rewind over and over when something isn’t making sense. It’s not a passive learning experience for me, which I think is why I am picking things up really quickly. I learn by watching and by doing, and Treehouse makes that super easy.

Now I can sit down in front of a computer and turn an idea into something tangible…something profitable. It’s literally changed my life.


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