Success Stories

Matthew Mclennan

Grandville, Michigan

Matt went from working for a cable company to his dream job as a full-time web developer

Matt joined Treehouse while in college and working for a cable company. When an injury landed him at home post-surgery, Matt decided to take his recovery time as an opportunity to immerse himself in learning to code with Treehouse. Mentored by Treehouse teacher Guil Hernandez, Matt built up his skills and confidence over the following months.

Today, Matt has his dream job as a full-time web developer at any agency, making more than double what he was at his previous job, and working on the newest, latest and greatest stuff. Matt continues to learn on Treehouse and is planning to advance his skills and further specialize as he moves forward with his career.

What first drew you to the web industry?

I was drawn to the web industry because I love information. I remember when I bought my first computer. I unpacked it, set it up, configured my router, and opened a browser. I looked up from my browser and suddenly 5 hours had passed. I've always liked making things so my love of information and the craft just sort of clicked.

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

When I first joined Treehouse I was in college and working for a cable company. I escalated my Treehouse time when I tore my ACL and was at home post-surgery. The field I was in wasn't the safest field and hard on your body long term. I preferred Treehouse over college because Treehouse was covering stuff that I was seeing on the web at the time. School was not. I can't tell you how many times the instructor prefaced a lesson with, "This has been deprecated but..."

You're now a Web Developer for Tell us a little bit about it and how your career has evolved since learning with Treehouse.

I currently work for an agency where I get to work on the newest, latest and greatest stuff. We have the freedom to work through solutions with small to medium-sized business owners and show them that we can turn on a dime and help them stand out. When you work for a large entity you don't always get that. With large entities, there are marketing meetings that lead to committee meetings that slow things down. I learned at Treehouse that you have to learn the basics first then specialize. Guil Hernandez is a fantastic mentor. I started off by calling myself a Front End Developer now I just say developer because there are a lot of blurred lines with agencies. I now specialize and am Certified in Magento eCommerce.

I preferred Treehouse over college because Treehouse was covering stuff that I was seeing on the web at the time. School was not.

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

The value of Treehouse is amazing. Great price and bite sized chunks. When I first started it was pretty much the Nick and Jim show. They were in everything. I love where it has evolved to. The content is group together so much better now and I get excited when I get those "Next Steps" emails. I think, "Yeah I have time for that."

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

My plans for the future are to further specialize. I'm studying now for a deeper Magento Certification. Hampton Paulk's PHP classes have been great for that. You have to have a solid understanding of PHP for Magento and it’s nice to go back and revisit things. I'm also looking at more Ruby stuff. Ruby sneaks into a lot of places. I see it when using Sass on a project as well as Github workflows with Capistrano deployments.

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

I would advise students to be detailed with Twitter and LinkedIn. Tailor your Twitter feed with web pros. That way you'll always know what's going on and the pain points of those at the next level. Chances are if someone follows you on Twitter they've already peeked at your LinkedIn profile. Keep both current. I can also say it’s important to keep building. Building can mean add a cool feature to your site or Codepen a snippet.

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