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With Treehouse, Jonathan Built the Skills Needed to Launch His Web Business

Back in 2011, Jonathan graduated with a degree in Multimedia and Web Design and felt ready to embark on a career on the Web. However, instead he found it difficult to find work due to a lack of self-confidence in his skills and learning difficulties. Jonathan is diagnosed with Dyspraxia, a neurological condition that means he learns and thinks differently than others.

Faced with these challenges and struggling to hold down regular employment, Jonathan decided that launching a business and being his own boss was the best way to create the career path he wanted. So in 2012, Jonathan launched his business, Jonathan Grieve Digital Media. But before he could move forward with the business, Jonathan sought out a way to ensure his skills were current and up-to-date with the fast-paced web industry. After much research, Jonathan found Treehouse to be the most effective resource to accomplish that.

Although he initially thought his degree had taught him all he needed to know, Jonathan learned a breadth of new skills in the upcoming months. Treehouse taught him real world industry concepts that his University hadn’t touched on. Before long, Jonathan’s confidence was growing and he was able to build on his portfolio.

Today, Jonathan is confidently coding every day and Grieve Digital Media is seeing a steady increase in client projects. Meanwhile, in his free time, Jonathan still relies on Treehouse to keep his skills sharp so he can deliver the best high-quality work for his clients.

We caught up with Jonathan to hear more about his learning experience and career progress.

Treehouse has taught me industry concepts that University never touched on. I was told that joining Treehouse would progress me and it has.

What first drew you to the web industry?

I’ve been interested in Web Design from a young age. I’ve always been fascinated with how you can use code to make computers do what you want. My fascination began with HTML when making my first Yahoo! Geocities site. Typing code and then seeing it on the browser screen was a real joy. That was back in the late 90’s. But it wasn’t until 2008 when my learning experience with Web Design really took off. I started my degree in Multimedia and Web Design and finished in 2011. Since then I’ve been trying every resource out there to keep up with my degree. Treehouse was the best by far and meets all my needs.

What work were you doing when you first joined Treehouse and what encouraged you to learn with us?

After I finished my degree I struggled to find work because of my self-confidence and my learning difficulties (which I’ll explain later). I didn’t feel I could hold down a regular employment position. It had, however, long been a dream of mine to work from home and be my own boss. So I started my own business, Jonathan Grieve Digital Media which I’ve been building from scratch since 2012.

I saw an ad for Treehouse when learning with another website and I was impressed. Something was drawing me to Treehouse for a while, but it wasn’t until March 2014 that I took the plunge.

Tell us about how your career has evolved since learning with Treehouse and the work you’re doing now.

I thought my degree had taught me all I needed to know, but Treehouse has taught me industry concepts that University never touched on. I was told that joining Treehouse would progress me and it has. From learning about how Sass can make even CSS object oriented and modular, to workflows like Git, it has been an eye opener.

Right now I’m working to build my business slowly but surely. Word is getting out and I’m starting to find work beyond my social circle. Treehouse is helping me keep up with it. I’m about to undertake my biggest design project which is a thrill and a daunting prospect at the same time, but it’s all a learning experience.

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

I’ll always remember the impact my university education had on my development. It got me started. But Treehouse is affordable, current, enduring, engaging and makes learning fun. I would recommend it to anyone at any stage of their technology career. I’m devoted to my education and spend as much time as I can developing myself and helping out where I can in the Community forums.

What are your plans for the future, and what’s up next on your learning path?

My immediate plans are to delve into WordPress development. I’m trying to add to my skill set for my business and I’m keen to get into theme development either to sell or as a platform to develop websites for clients. I’m really enjoying it so far, but I’ve barely scratched the surface.

Beyond that, there is so much choice available on Treehouse I’m not even sure where to go after that. Without a Mac, the only area out of bounds for me at the moment is iOS development but I was beyond excited when then Game Development topic was released.

Is there any advice you’d like to share with new students who are just starting out?

I want to say something in particular for students who may have specific learning difficulties like Dyslexia or Dyspraxia. Treehouse has your back. I had just finished my GCSE’s at school when I was diagnosed with Dyspraxia. If you didn’t know about Dyspraxia before, it is a neurological condition which amongst other things is an immaturity of the way the brain transmits information, affecting memory and processing; organisation of movement and thought.

At best it means I learn and think differently than others. It can hold back how much information I remember from Treehouse courses and workshops. But it doesn’t hold me back generally and it need not for you.

My advice to new students would be…

To read more awesome student success stories, check out the Treehouse Stories Page.

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