Success Stories

Bjorn Lottering

South Africa

Bjorn Lottering

Bjorn was the owner of his own company when he transitioned into web development using Treehouse.

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Bjorn is currently working as a full-time web developer at Netsys, a famous aerospace company based in South Africa.

Before securing his job at Netsys, Bjorn went on a journey through a couple of different roles. In his previous role he self managed web server hosting systems, which he programmed and maintained. These systems were utilized in rendering administrative services to both B2B and B2C customers. Bjorn was also the owner of one of the companies utilizing these systems.

Bjorn started at Treehouse in 2015 when he first got inspired to study code. But it wasn’t until the pandemic put pressure on his career that Bjorn started to take studying with Treehouse more seriously.

Bjorn studied with Treehouse for a couple of years before graduating from the Full Stack JavaScript Techdegree. This supported his career change into web development in 2020.

Let’s dive into the steps Bjorn took to becoming a full-time web developer with Netsys!

Bjorn was an all-around IT person at his previous company

Bjorn’s previous company rendered administrative services to persons applying for assistance with numerous South African institutions, namely the Credit Ombudsman, National Credit Regulator, and the National Consumer Tribunal. The company’s goal is to assist clients that were struggling with debt by helping them with administrative services to process disputes on claims for the debt that they have.

The company runs a platform that makes it easier for their clients to make these applications, as the process is very paperwork intensive. These applications also required some knowledge of the legal aspects of such an application and in some cases legal representation. Bjorn's company provided these services in conjunction with the application processing.

At this company, Bjorn was an all-around IT person. Bjorn took on several IT and programming-like tasks, but he wasn’t exactly a web developer.

One of his main responsibilities was making sure the company’s web apps stayed hosted online. Bjorn set up two servers independently and programmed them to get the systems up and running. This was a critical part of the company’s web infrastructure.

Bjorn helped with other IT-related tasks as well, but he started to think of how he can get involved in web development as his next career move.

The pandemic pushed Bjorn into change

When Covid started, Bjorn’s company suffered some financial losses as a result of the stress of the pandemic. It didn’t make sense for him to continue that work, and Bjorn ended up in a tough situation.

This tough situation is what pushed Bjorn to take the Techdegree and see if he could get into web development full time.

Although Bjorn loved his previous company, it was time to learn new skills and grow into a new career opportunity.

Early exposure to web development

Bjorn’s first exposure to web development was through his aunt, who is a software engineer. Bjorn’s aunt gave Bjorn a Turbo C Manual when he was still very young (Turbo C Programming for the PC, by Robert Lafore), and this inspired Bjorn to get into programming.

Then, Bjorn started learning basic functional C programming and began playing around with programming games with his friends.

After this early exposure, Bjorn didn’t pursue web development for a long time. However, after several experiments with other careers, Bjorn decided that web development is the direction he wants to go with his life.

Bjorn has a very big passion for programming and web development and believes that it’s his main forte in his career.

Studying with Treehouse has immediate impact

When Bjorn first started programming his first step was to watch YouTube videos about various topics related to programming.

He remembers watching YouTube videos about HTML and eventually he got into PHP.

After this first exposure with YouTube, Bjorn joined Treehouse and started learning PHP, HTML, and CSS more seriously.

Then, Bjorn used that knowledge to set up the servers for his company at the time. Bjorn also used that knowledge to program the systems that they were using on those servers. Eventually, he got into JavaScript a bit more, and through Treehouse Bjorn discovered Node. That’s when Bjorn started doing the Treehouse Techdegree.

Studying with Treehouse directly contributed to his day-to-day work in IT, but it also contributed to building opportunities for future careers.

Bjorn started by pursuing the Treehouse courses, and after getting some exposure to the courses, he moved into the Full Stack JavaScript Techdegree.

In the Full Stack JavaScript Techdegree, you learn about Node, React, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, so it was really useful for his current work as well as for applying for new jobs as a web developer.

Applying for jobs during the pandemic

Interviewing for new jobs was tough. Bjorn did a few interviews, and he didn’t nail all of them at first. Bjorn clearly remembers how difficult it was to get used to the interviewing process.

When Bjorn started applying for new jobs he was still busy with working on the Techdegree, as well as balancing his day time work.

In the middle of his Techdegree, Bjorn landed a new job as a web developer at Netsys.

Netsys is acknowledged as a leader in delivering complex telecommunications and meteorological data processing solutions offering a full range of products and services around the world.

One of the use-cases of Netsys technology is for flight briefing. Pilots set up their flight briefing documentation with the software provided by Netsys.

When Bjorn started with his new job he was on probation for 3 months. The structure of employment was that they were going to give him a chance to prove himself, and after 3 months hire him on to a full-time position if he performed well.

Studying to ensure success in the first 3 months

At this point he thought he would finish the Techdegree and make sure he performed well in this new job.

To ensure success, Bjorn picked back up the Techdegree study. Fortunately, the Techdegree taught Bjorn exactly what he needed to know to succeed at his new job. At the end of the Techdegree course, Treehouse teaches you about data structures and algorithms. At the same time, at his new job Bjorn was given a project that had to do with data trees.

At work, Bjorn had to implement a data tree like structure with multiple branches as a type of linked list for a project they were working on. He had to think about how to approach that problem, and how to build out that data structure. Fortunately, the topic of data structures covered in his Techdegree gave him the understanding necessary to complete the work.

Bjorn changed jobs in the middle of his Techdegree. This was possible because of his previous experience with setting up and programming servers, but it was still deeply important to finish the Techdegree in order to be able to do his job.

The sky is the limit with Netsys!

Bjorn has been working with Netsys for a year now and it’s been going very well.

Treehouse took a bad situation for Bjorn and turned it into something awesome. Bjorn is very grateful for this.

Bjorn is excited for future prospects at Netsys and is really looking forward to what comes next in his career!

Study with Treehouse!

Study with Treehouse and get into your next job as a web developer. Join the Treehouse Techdegree programs and get fully certified as a web developer.

In the Treehouse Techdegree program you’ll learn Python, JavaScript, PHP, Node, React, SQL and more!

You’ll learn how to build web apps and modify webpages to be any design you like. With Treehouse you’ll get the full support of a team of instructors and our community Slack channel, where you can post the issues and questions you have and receive immediate feedback.

Sign up here for the Treehouse tech degree, and we’ll see you on Slack!

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