Success Stories

Steph Ryder

Essex, United Kingdom

Steph Ryder

After a month of learning to code, Steph was offered a junior web designer/developer position

In 2014, Steph was working as an animal presenter. She had worked through a series of part-time positions over the years but found herself unsure of what she wanted to pursue as a career. Although she was passionate about the work she was doing, Steph also knew that it wasn’t a position that would amount to a permanent career. By May 2014, Steph made the decision to leave her presenter position. During that time, Steph’s partner Michael – a Ruby and PHP developer – told her about Treehouse. Having always been intrigued by Michael’s work, Steph decided to start learning to code and soon she was hooked.

Steph dedicated her free time to learning with Treehouse and after only a month of learning, applied for a web development apprenticeship with Twist Interactive Design. Initially an age restriction prevented Twist Interactive from being able to offer her a position. However, they were so impressed with Steph, that they offered her a full-time position as a Junior Web Developer/Web Designer.

A year has passed since Steph Joined Twist Interactive. Over that time, Steph has grown rapidly and confidently into her position and continues to harness her skills to have the most positive impact she can at Twist Interactive. Steph is also learning new skills, such as PHP, to strengthen her career. She’s also working on a project with Michael in her free time, and looking forward to her exciting future.

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I feel I hold a future that I wouldn’t have been able to create or achieve without the help of Treehouse.

My partner, Michael, is a talented Ruby and PHP developer; he is the person who first introduced me to web development in December 2013. I used to sit next to him and watch him work and was fascinated by the speed he typed and the way his code looked on the page, it was so neat and organized despite it being complete nonsense in my head.

At the time, I was working as an Animal Presenter, educating children and adults in schools and private functions about a wide range of species. The animals I worked with ranged from mammals to raptors and reptiles. I loved having a position that was so hands on with these beautiful creatures, but sadly it wasn’t a position that would amount to a career.

I did well in school but didn’t at all like being in a classroom setting, which reflected in my attendance. I left school 6 months before my exams due to falling pregnant with my beautiful daughter who is now 9 years old, and since then I have never been certain about what it was I wanted from a career or how I would achieve it if I did. So I stuck with part-time positions that earned just enough to get us by.

In May 2014, I decided to leave my position as an Animal Handler, and during my time searching for a new position Michael had told me about Treehouse. When I signed up to Treehouse in June 2014 it was the first time I had actually written code and I ended up spending all my spare time over the next two weeks learning HTML and CSS. I was completely hooked.

By the third week I had taken a position as an Activities Coordinator at a residential home, this position was more hours than I had previously worked, which left me less time to progress in my new hobby. At the end of June 2014, I began applying for apprenticeships in web development. I was over the moon the hear an apprenticeship wanted me to send an application straight to them. I decided to use the skills I had learned to design and build a basic responsive website to show my skill level. I then sent my application, along with a link to my GitHub page. I received an email the same day to say my application had been accepted and I was offered an interview with Twist Interactive Design.

I felt my interview went well despite being so nervous and was told they would be in touch soon. I waited anxiously for over a week and finally received a call from one of the directors, Michelle. I GOT THE POSITION! However, there was a problem with the college and I had to wait for confirmation before I could officially start.

Nearly two weeks passed when I received a call with the verdict of the college. Sadly the college refused my application due to the apprenticeship being restricted to people between the ages of 19-23, and unfortunately I had turned 24 that month. But Michelle then quickly informed me that Twist Interactive would still like to take me on. I was offered a full-time position as a Junior Web Developer/Web Designer!

I have now been with Twist Interactive for nearly a year. I have progressed so much during that time that I am implementing new ways of working for my employers and colleagues to help demonstrate better and cleaner practice to help save time and money. I have introduced Git Version Control and Gulp and I am currently building an in-house framework for the base of all our new projects and beginning to introduce Sass.

My life has changed so quickly that I’m still trying to catch up with myself most of the time, but I feel I hold a future that I wouldn’t have been able to create or achieve without the help of Treehouse and the push in the right direction from my partner Michael.

I’m not entirely sure what the future holds yet as things are still moving fast. Michael and I have just begun collaborating on a project at home in our spare time which is super exciting. Twist Interactive is getting bigger and busier, and my next steps are to learn more PHP to help strengthen my career.

I would like to thank the structure of the Treehouse courses greatly, as they allow the instructor to get deeper into the subject than any other online tutorial/courses. I am someone who needs to know what is underneath the outer layer to be able to understand how something works, and Treehouse is the best at explaining how and why. If I have learned anything from my quick progression in the Web Industry, it’s that little and often is the key to fast learning and that if you make sure you take your skills from Treehouse and design and build with your own initiative, the techniques will then be better understood. If I can be offered a junior position after a month of learning then it is possible for anyone. Happy coding!

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