Success Stories

Aaron Watkins

Bay Area, California

Aaron is bringing his app aspirations to life

Aaron joined Treehouse with the motivation to learn to build cool apps. Having spent a year on a Master’s program studying programming at a top tier university, he still didn’t feel he was equipped with the skills he needed to confidently bring his app ideas to life. He wanted to build native apps written in native languages. So when a YouTube ad brought Aaron to Treehouse, he decided to sign up.

After a few months, Aaron had powered through Treehouse’s iOS and Android courses — alongside some business content — and become an active and engaging member within the student community. He’s now not only working on building complex apps, but also well on his way to becoming an 'appreneur'.

What drew you to the web industry and learning to code?

I think innovation/motivation is first born out of some need. I was living in Bentonville, AR and was tired of trying to call my barber to schedule an appointment with him. He was either always too busy cutting hair to check his calendar or didn’t answer the phone. So I would just show up to the barbershop and have to wait hours because of all of the people that he had before me. I was already intrigued by the concept of iPhone and iPad apps, and thought to myself that this would be a great opportunity to try it out. It took a VERY long time learning on my own with the help of some books and a few YouTube tutorials, but I finally launched my first app, a scheduling app – I couldn’t have been more proud at the time.

Why did you choose Treehouse as a learning resource for iOS and Android development? Did you have any previous coding experience when you joined?

Before joining Treehouse, I had released that scheduling app (it’s very basic and utilizes WebViews for actual scheduling part of the app). I was so determined that I enrolled in a Master’s program at a University to study programming. The school was incredibly expensive, and told me they would teach me iOS and Android development. What they really meant was that they would teach me HTML/CSS/JavaScript and I could go out on my own to learn how to package the web program using a 3rd party service like PhoneGap. But I wanted to build native apps written in native languages.

I spent an entire year with them and didn't feel I learned much more than what I had already taught myself. I went back to trying to learn on my own when I saw a Treehouse ad on YouTube. Something told me to watch the ad (and not hit the skip button). I went to the Treehouse channel, then visited the site and decided to sign up.

Treehouse was literally a fraction of what I had already invested in tuition and seemed like they had instruction that may be easy to follow. I have probably never been more pleasantly surprised in all of my life. Treehouse not only took the intimidation out of coding mobile apps, it made it FUN. The videos are very well done and very easy to follow. Source code is also right there to download. Best of all. the teachers are amazing and the community is incredibly responsive to questions.

Treehouse not only took the intimidation out of coding mobile apps, it made it fun.

What are you working on now and what are your plans for the future?

I'm working on far more complex apps than my original releases. I am using the social app tutorials as a guide to incorporate an element of social using as a backend database.

I would love to become an 'appreneur'. I currently hold an MBA and have worked for some of the largest companies in the world. Now I’m looking to pair that experience and education with my passion for building apps. Hopefully, I can turn this into a full-time pursuit.

How has Treehouse helped you get to where you are today and what has the value of Treehouse education meant to you?

Treehouse helped keep my coding fire alive. Because of the rich database of videos and the community, there isn't much you can't figure out. Treehouse has gotten me 'unstuck' quite often and even seeded ideas for new apps.

Are there any words of wisdom you’d like to share with other students who are just starting out?

Just start! You will figure it out. If you are new to programming or anything you want to learn, just start. Making mistakes helps you to ask better questions and understand the concept more deeply when you are taught. Treehouse is an incredible resource to help people who are already motivated to build, create, and learn. Just get going.

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