Equestrienne and PADI divemaster Caroline Forslund learned to trust her abilities in her journey to becoming a Full Stack Web Developer.
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My name is Caroline Forslund and I currently work remotely from Skopelos, Greece. Originally I am from Sweden. When I’m not working, I like to spend time with my three horses, scuba dive, and travel. I also help as many homeless cats on Skopelos Island as I can, and we now have six rescue cats in the family.
Getting started in graphic design
When I was young, I loved creative things like drawing and writing. My dream job was to work as an illustrator for Disney. I grew up with horses and competed up to the Grand Prix level in showjumping. In my early career, starting in 2002, I was working with horses and giving riding lessons. In 2008, after some long, cold Swedish winters working outdoors, I decided to change my career path.
I had fallen in love with computers while studying media with a focus on illustration and design in high school, so I decided to pick up my design interest. After a two-year vocational training program in Visual Communications and Project Management, I began working as a professional Graphic Designer.
Building my tech skills
While working in design, I was introduced to WordPress. I was intrigued by the code that put it all together and wanted to learn more. I also saw that working remotely as a programmer offered the possibility of seeing more of the world than the limited number of days an annual vacation offered. I started taking online computer courses outside of my job, but I found them very difficult. The material we (online students) were given was basically PowerPoints from live lectures, written tasks to perform for examination, and a poorly supervised support chat. I've always been a fast learner, but all of a sudden I was struggling big time.
Mostly I blamed myself, thinking I was unable to learn programming – as if programming were something only certain people could learn, which I know now is far from the truth. After struggling, I came to realize why I was not learning so well: I am an audio and visual learner. I need to see and hear someone explain the concepts. So in 2014, I went to university and got an associate degree in Web Programming.
Even with my degree, I still didn’t feel confident enough to apply for web developer jobs. I moved to Malta, where I took a part-time designer role while interning as a PADI divemaster at a local dive center.
When I fell back into the designer role, I missed coding.
I didn’t want to give up on my dream of being a digital nomad. This is when I found Treehouse.
Treehouse offered a fun and encouraging way to learn, which made me fall in love with writing code again. The chunk-sized video lessons and quizzes felt like a fun game, and I was learning a lot while having so much fun. I started out with a basic account, and then decided to sign up for the Front End Web Developer Techdegree.
Two Techdegrees later – with over 70 peer reviews, 300 earned badges, and 36,000 Treehouse points – I had enough confidence to apply for my first proper programming job. The interviewers I met in the process were all impressed by my portfolio, and it felt really good. I landed a programming job at a marketing agency in England, and I learned a lot. I felt like I had invested my time and money wisely by choosing Treehouse.
I highly recommend a Techdegree. I achieved my goal, and I am now living my dream. Without Treehouse I’m not sure I would have, and I recommend it to everyone who wants to learn how to code and get into the tech industry.
Living my dream
The most challenging part of my job is estimating time for how long tasks will take to solve, but it does get easier with experience. My favorite parts of my job are the freedom and flexibility, launching new features and projects that I have built, and constantly learn new things.
The Treehouse Techdegrees have been way more useful to me for landing a job than any of my university courses. So before you start a university degree, try the Treehouse Techdegree. It was a game changer for me and the best investment I’ve ever made.
Advice for people just starting in tech
Anyone can learn how to code!
Imposter syndrome is a real thing. Just accept that you’ll never know everything, and be confident in your ability to learn whatever you need to know.
Learn from those more experienced than you, and help the ones less experienced than you. By asking and answering questions and looking at other developers' code, you will speed up your learning.
Don’t be afraid of asking for help. Even the most experienced and skilled programmers started out knowing nothing, and they know what it's like to be learning.
Never give up on yourself and your dreams. Persistency is key. You can do it!