Success Stories

Erik Coon

Lenexa, Kansas

Erik sharpened his skills & increased his design credibility

As a self-taught designer, Erik worked alongside developers but found himself frustrated with his lack of coding knowledge. So he turned to Treehouse to fill in the gaps. Today, the new skills Erik learned have expanded his credibility and opportunities in the design field. He’s now an in-house designer applying his coding skills to freelance work and experimenting with web design. He’s constantly learning, designing and building new things, while looking forward to the prospect of what the future holds.

What initially drew you to front-end design?

I was always interested in front end design and graphic design as a whole. I never sat down and learned what I really needed to know due to my need for immediate results. I am also a highly visual person that needs to see what I am doing, and just reading a book didn't cut it. I started designing on Myspace in high school, and then took those skills to PureVolume, editing band pages. I then found Virb (when it first started as a social network), and played with the customization there. Simple HTML was what I knew and nothing more really. I wanted to do more than just print design. I wanted to create so much more, and create for something that everyone uses!

What were you doing when you first joined Treehouse a year ago?

Well I was working as a "graphic designer/business development manager/whatever needed to be done-guy" for a company when I started on Treehouse. I was so dissatisfied with my lack of knowledge when I spoke with the development team, so I started to look into Treehouse. It came to the point that I needed to learn, and being a self-taught designer wasn't cutting it. I needed some outside help. I went through a lot of job transition in that time frame and moved away from being the guy that does everything, to selling cars at a car dealership. Not because I wanted to, but because I had to. I was painted into a corner by my employer and had to get out. But one thing remained the same, I was learning on Treehouse and I was creating as I was learning. I was preparing my future.

A Treehouse education has given me credibility in the design field. Being a Treehouse student means I stay current in the field and being able to prove that is a huge help.

Tell us about your experience learning with Treehouse and how you’re applying the skills you learned today.

Learning with Treehouse has been awesome! It is the perfect balance of learning and doing. I am a VERY visual learner. I mean, I was the kid at school who hated math because the processes were not always visualized on the paper. I am not an ideas person, I am a results person. So the learning style and quick concept changes have been perfect for me and my learning style. I am currently still going through the Front End Web Development Track on Treehouse and am applying the coding knowledge to my freelancing/goofing off work as I learn and experiment with web design. The company that I do work for currently will be going through a complete website overhaul this year, and I will be partnering and working on that project.

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

A Treehouse education has given me credibility in the design field. I am self-taught as I said before. I am an artist and have natural talent, but not a ton of people look solely at that. They also look at your education. I didn't go to school for graphic design, I went to a Bible College. Being a Treehouse student means I stay current in the field and being able to prove that is a huge help!

What are your plans for the future?

I am currently working as an in-house designer for a medical equipment company and am looking to just expand my profession, and my knowledge. I would love to one day go into business for myself, or just work at a little design shop designing websites and apps. I would also love to speak to and encourage those who are struggling with employment, or those who are doubting whether or not they should join Treehouse. Life is too short to sit the bench and not take a chance and do what you've always wanted to do!

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

Don't. Give. Up. You will be frustrated, you will want to stop coding, you will feel lost. Push through and wait. Some concepts build on themselves, and some just take time! Push yourself, challenge yourself, and always ALWAYS publish. Don't wait for a client. If you need to, make up a client and start creating!

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