There are half a million well-paying jobs in software development waiting for qualified people to fill them — and you don’t need a Computer Science degree to do the job if you’re prepared to work hard to learn the in-demand tech skills that development requires.

A bit after we introduced the Treehouse Techdegree, a comprehensive program for students to master these career-changing skills, we started checking in with our first TD students about what their lives were like since they completed the program.

Treehouse is dedicated to bringing affordable technology education to people everywhere, to help them achieve their dreams and build more fulfilling lives and careers for themselves, so we love hearing success stories from our students! Take Ashley Clifton, one of our early TD students: Ashley was a nanny for five and a half years before she decided to pursue a new career and enroll in our program. Six months later, and halfway through the program, Ashley got a job as a JavaScript Developer at a magazine.

We asked Ashley to share her experience and career transformation with us.

What really drew me to the Techdegree program was I saw how it would take the guesswork out of my education. I’d have a game plan and come out with well-rounded knowledge and portfolio that was verified and validated by an organization and people that I trust.

What encouraged you to learn with Treehouse and choose the Front End Web Development Techdegree?

Once I decided I was interested in coding, I just started learning bits and pieces from wherever I could find relevant and current information. I started to worry that I would wind up with many education gaps or that I would be studying from outdated information without realizing it. I tried and considered a number of different learning sites, but it was an easy choice once I discovered what Treehouse had to offer.

What I really appreciate about Treehouse in general is they cover topics and structure their lessons in such a way that I don’t have to worry about either of those concerns. Paired with the fact that it’s tailored perfectly to my learning style, my education has been thriving from the get-go.

When I started looking into web development as a career, I knew Front End was what I naturally gravitated towards. I’d already been studying with Treehouse when the Techdegree program launched, so I decided to give it a shot. I had already taken a number of the courses on Treehouse that I needed in order to complete the Techdegree, so that was a definite plus. If I’d gone anywhere else for any sort of degree or certification, I would have to sit through all the basics again.

What really drew me to the Techdegree program was I saw how it would take the guesswork out of my education. I’d have a game plan and come out with well-rounded knowledge and portfolio that was verified and validated by an organization and people that I trust. The fact that I could still go completely at my own pace was very appealing to me, and I signed up in high hopes that it would give me the foundations needed to land my first job within a year — which is exactly what it did!!

Having the Techdegree student community there was a huge asset to me. … Everyone is so encouraging and helpful; it really feels like a community.

After six months of learning with Treehouse, you landed a full-time position as a JavaScript Developer. Tell us a little bit about how your career has evolved during that time.

After only six short months of studying, I landed a job as a JavaScript Developer for Car and Driver Magazine. I love the position and was able to quit nannying to begin a whole new career, which has been a huge goal of mine for a long time. I’m over the moon with excitement.

For this new position, I am learning quite a bit on the job (Treehouse being my favorite online resource, of course). I’ve been nannying for the past 5 1/2 years, so it’s a whole new environment for me. What I’m actually doing for this position is scripting automated end-to-end tests, which is not something covered in the Techdegree program, so I am excited that I’m able to expand my learning even further. I still plan on pursuing more of a Front End position next time around, but I’m excited to add any new skill sets to my toolbox that I can as I build my career.

After only six short months of studying, I landed a job as a JavaScript Developer for Car and Driver Magazine. I love the position and was able to quit nannying to begin a whole new career, which has been a huge goal of mine for a long time.

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

I love that when I’m done with each project, I get to turn it in for review so I know that it’s done correctly and up to par. Having the Techdegree student community there was a huge asset to me. I was able to connect with students that were farther along than I was who were willing to help me whenever I got stuck or had a question about something. Even the Treehouse staff make themselves readily available to students. Everyone is so encouraging and helpful; it really feels like a community.

Having the Techdegree projects under my belt is ultimately what opened the door to this new job in the first place! I know someone who has worked for Car and Driver for a while now and I was able to show him a few of my Techdegree projects. Upon seeing them, he asked if I would be interested in a possible job opportunity. Next thing I know, I’m writing up a resume. The rest is history.


Now it’s your turn to learn the most in-demand programming skills and start on a new career path as a developer. Learn more about Treehouse’s Full Stack JavaScript and Front End Web Developer Techdegrees and explore the certifications we offer.