Marcus and Charlotte switched to freelancing and launched a successful web app while travelling the world
What first drew you both to the web industry?
Marcus: Years ago my brother lent me his book on HTML. At the time I was at college studying Graphic Design and doing some design work for clients on the side to make a bit of money to buy driving lessons or whatever. I started offering to design and build really small, static websites which went down really well with local businesses and even got me a small column about it with my photo in the local paper. The more I played and learned HTML and CSS the more I really enjoyed what I was doing, I also played with WordPress back then and made a blog but that was the extent of it. Learning to code was just searching for “How to” do this or that and reading books. How languages and ways of learning them (I'm looking at you, Treehouse) have improved from then has continued to grip my interest.
Charlotte: I studied Graphic Design at University, although previously I focussed a lot more on illustration and handmade pieces. Marcus and I both planned to freelance whilst travelling this year, so having to carry lots of materials round with me for work wouldn't be practical. I envied Marcus being able to work just from his laptop, so took up a Treehouse subscription to see what all the fuss was about, and it's not half bad! Web development is such an in demand skill at the moment it just seemed an obvious pairing with my Graphic Design skills.
What are your current job titles?
Marcus & Charlotte: We've actually both left our jobs to travel the world and do freelance Design & Web Development, so we're not really sure. Digital Nomads?
What work were you both doing when you first joined Treehouse & what encouraged you to learn with us?
Marcus: I was in Advertising, my last role being a ‘Content Creative' which basically translates to making stuff that people actually want to use/see, instead of just advertisements. Some projects I worked closely with the Development team - they had a group account on Treehouse and gave me my first taste. Since then I've been hooked.
Charlotte: I'd recently left my job as a Visual Merchandiser to work as a freelance designer before setting off on our travels. Marcus kept banging on about a little something called Treehouse, so I signed up for the 14 day free trial and never looked back.
Knowledge is a powerful thing and Treehouse has such an inviting and great way to learn there's no reason not to. Marcus
What are your educational backgrounds?
Marcus: Graphic Design at college and then Creative Advertising at university.
Charlotte: I got a Foundation Diploma in Art & Design at college before heading off to do Graphic Arts at University.
Specifically which Treehouse Tracks did you focus on and what were the most useful features for you?
Charlotte: I started with the basics as I'd never done web design before, so began with HTML. I was surprised how many little bits and pieces I already knew from messing around on websites at school. Then I went on to do the CSS section which was a lot harder but more rewarding. I love how you get a real personality from the tutors, sometimes I'm sat there laughing at their intros and outros!
Your web app Sweat Roulette has already been a huge success and was even recently featured in the press! Tell us a little about Sweat Roulette's backstory and the experiencing of launching your first app.
It only took a few days to make but the initial response from when we shared it was crazy. It validated the idea for us and showed us what areas we can build on in the next iteration.
[Treehouse has] given me another string to my bow as a freelance designer, and not surprisingly my most in demand one. Charlotte
What has the value of a Treehouse education meant to you?
Marcus: It's priceless. Knowledge is a powerful thing and Treehouse has such an inviting and great way to learn there's no reason not to. Considering the price as well compared to traditional routes of learning, it's a no brainer for sure.
Charlotte: It's given me another string to my bow as a freelance designer, and not surprisingly my most in demand one. Web design courses can be so expensive so it's been great to learn at my own pace for such a small fee.
What are your plans for the future, and what's up next on your learning path?
Marcus: I don't really make plans, everything changes anyway. I can only hope to learn as much as I can and continue to build solid skills that'll see me through life. Up next I want to focus on iOS app development.
Charlotte: Other than travelling and freelancing for the next year, I don't really have any plans. I'm open to just seeing where our travels take us. I've recently got into blogging so am working on the WordPress track.
Is there any advice you'd like to share with new students who are working towards launching their own apps?
Marcus: You can plan to make something great but you'll never do it if you don't start it. Even if you don't finish what you start but learn something while doing it, it's been worthwhile. I have loads of unfinished projects! Also, tell people what you're building. A lot of people like to be really secretive about their projects, I've never been like that unless it's truly confidential. There are a lot of problems that can be avoided just by talking to people early on.
Charlotte: Come up with an idea you're passionate about, that way you'll have fun designing and building it. Marcus and I both enjoy keeping fit, and built Sweat Roulette for ourselves as much as everyone else.