Success Stories

Kelly Shuster

Colorado

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Kelly acquired the skills she needed to pursue her dream career as an Android developer

After attending a Google IO Extended event in 2013, Kelly was overtaken with excitement for the Android platform and decided her future career was going to be part of it. But as an embedded firmware engineer, first Kelly needed to learn the skills necessary to enable that career change. After researching Android courses online, Kelly came across Treehouse’s Android Development Track and began learning.

After mastering the foundations of Android development, Kelly landed a junior position on the QA team at iTriage. After only a few months, Kelly then transitioned onto a feature team as their full­-time Android developer. Kelly is now loving her job and still uses Treehouse to stay on top of the constantly changing and evolving Android platform.

What first drew you to the mobile industry?

I enjoyed casually following the rise of Android over the years, but the turning point in my interest was definitely Spring 2013 when I scored an invite to the Google IO Extended event in Boulder. Between the action­packed keynote and chatting with Android developers at the event, I was overtaken with excitement with what the platform had become, and all that was in store for its future. I had to be a part of it!

What work were you doing when you first joined Treehouse & what encouraged you to learn with us?

When I first joined Treehouse I was working as an embedded firmware engineer, programming mostly in C. After my Google IO epiphany, I started searching for a good beginner Android tutorial and came across Treehouse. I loved that each part of the Treehouse Android course would build upon itself and you’d ultimately end up with a real app you could run on your phone. Most other resources I’d found consisted of isolated tutorials to teach a single concept, and never culminated in a finished app. I also really appreciated that the price point was something I could easily afford!

You recently landed a new job as an Android Developer for iTriage! Tell us a little a bit about it, and the experiencing of transitioning into mobile development.

While I was working to complete the Treehouse Android Track and still working as a firmware engineer), I also started going to every Android and mobile programming Meetup I could find in my area. It was great to introduce myself to full-time Android developers and let them know I was interested in making a career transition. People were very helpful and even helped me debug my code if I was stuck on something.

Treehouse helped me lay a great foundation in Android development and continues to deliver value to me.

When I was hired on at iTriage, I initially started working in a more junior position on their QA team, and was allowed time each week to apprentice with the senior Android developers and work on some small projects for them. The Android team here is awesome, and they helped me learn about our code base and solidify my understanding of Android concepts even further. After a few months, I transitioned onto a feature team as their full­-time Android developer.

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

Treehouse helped me lay a great foundation in Android development, and continues to deliver value to me. I enjoy that the Treehouse courses don’t feel like a lecture; they feel like I am pair programming with the teacher, picking up little tricks and tips along the way. The Android platform changes at a fast pace, but Treehouse is really on top of it, always creating new courses for the latest and greatest stuff. As new courses are uploaded, I like going through them to brush up on my skills, and learn about new APIs and tools.

What are your plans for the future, and what’s up next on your learning path?

I’m having a blast working as an Android developer, and I want to continue to learn as much as I possibly can about the platform. I’ve also been using Treehouse to learn iOS development with Swift and even some web programming. I work on a cross­platform team, so the more I learn about other platforms, the easier it is to communicate with my teammates.

I recently started leading iTriage’s accessibility effort for mobile and web, so that cross­-platform vocabulary is really coming in handy!

Is there any advice you’d like to share with new students who are aspiring mobile developers?

There is so much to learn that it can feel super overwhelming at first. Don’t stress out! Just keep going through your Treehouse videos and the pieces will all come together eventually.

Remember that there’s a TON of information to learn in any area of software development, and no one person knows it all.

Also, if you think a tech meetup topic is too advanced for you, go anyway. Meet people, take good notes that you might reference later, and listen hard for any extra tidbits. I attended an Android meetup about writing Gradle scripts before I even knew what the heck Gradle was, and in that night I learned about Genymotion, met a developer who became an incredible mentor to me, and even won a Chromebook! :)

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