Soojin learned to code, built a success iOS app & launched his career as a mobile developer
Ambitious and teeming with ideas, Soojin knew he needed to learn the most valuable skill around today, programming, so he joined Treehouse. In particular, Soojin had an interest in mobile development. Over the upcoming months, he worked his way through Treehouse’s mobile development courses, learning to both develop for iOS and Android. To test his new skills, Soojin decided to build his own iOS app. The result, Security Cards Widget has since seen great success in Korea. Whatsmore, Soojin also landed himself an awesome developer position at LINE, where he’s able to showcase and evolve his mobile development skills.
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What first drew you to the tech industry?
I wanted to make things many people love and ultimately start a company of my own. That was why I decided to become a Business major in the first place, which sounds silly because now I know they don’t teach how to start a new company or how to make stuff, only management skills. I didn’t want to become a manager, I wanted to become the ‘maker’. So it was natural for me to learn the most valuable skills today, programming.
Treehouse is like my secret weapon… It has so many courses on diverse topics that I can rely on it for almost any new challenge. One important thing to keep in mind about becoming a programmer is that you have to keep learning new things.
What work were you doing when you first joined Treehouse & what encouraged you to learn with us?
I decided to take time off from university, and before joining Treehouse I studied programming for about a year in a software education institute in Korea called NEXT. During that year, I learned some core subjects such as Data Structures, Algorithms, Java, etc. I first encountered Treehouse from an online ad and I was instantly interested because of the mobile courses! Many sites offered web development courses but not many iOS and Android courses. The Treehouse courses were not only educational, but also enjoyable with the wonderful teachers explaining all aspects of the languages. What I liked the most about Treehouse was that after finishing a course, I had a complete, beautifully designed app that I could proudly show to my friends. Then a few months later when I was building my own app, all the code I wrote for the Treehouse courses was hugely helpful.
What is the highest level of traditional education you received?
I don’t have a degree. As I mentioned earlier, I was a Business major but I’m currently taking time off from university and I don’t know if I’ll go back or not.
You recently landed a job as an iOS developer. Tell us a little bit about it and how your career has evolved since learning with Treehouse.
I recently joined LINE as a newly recruited programmer. My prior experience was concentrated in iOS development, but I joined an interesting Android project as my first project. I’m really excited because it’s a new project in the company and the result will come out in a few months. Thanks to Treehouse’s Android courses I took last year, I was familiar enough with Android development to join the Android team.
You also launched an iOS app a few months ago, Security Cards Widget, which has seen huge success. Tell us a little bit about it.
I never expected such a big success. It was only my first app (other than the apps made from Treehouse courses). First, I planned to just copy one of the apps I use most frequently for the sake of practicing my skills. But on top of that, I wanted to adopt some of the new iOS8 features because so many cool development kits were added to the new SDK.
Wiring money over smartphone requires entering randomly generated “security codes” in Korea. In order to do this, you have to either carry thick plastic cards in your wallet or use an app that stores the codes and look it up with a multitasking feature. So I decided to create an app to provide background information to improve the process. My app, Security Cards Widget, allows Korean users to look up the codes right from the Notification Center so they don’t have to carry them in their wallet, nor switch apps back and forth while transferring money. I think I got really lucky because this great idea came to me in the midst of developing the app. What makes me happy is receiving thankful reviews from my users saying the app saves so much time and trouble.
What has the value of a Treehouse education meant to you?
Treehouse is like my secret weapon. But I don’t actually hide it I introduce it to anyone who asks for advice. What I mean by this is, Treehouse has so many courses on diverse topics that I can rely on it for almost any new challenge. One important thing to keep in mind about becoming a programmer is that you have to keep learning new things. New technology, new programming language, new frameworks are released so fast. Learning new thing from the beginning might be hard and frustrating, but Treehouse has the up-to-date courses to get you started. Once I took one or two beginner courses with Treehouse, I had the idea and then could figure out where to go from there. Since I intend to keep learning new stuff, I will be using Treehouse for a very long time, so I hope Treehouse keeps coming up with exciting new courses!
Is there any advice you’d like to share with new students who are aspiring developers?
Along the way, I’ve encountered many students who are aspiring developers like I was only a year ago. I like to say to them, keep practicing. It can be very frustrating trying to learn to code at first as it's hard to figure out where to begin. But it’s similar to learning any new language. Start learning words. Then learn grammar and make sentences. After that, it’s just practice. If you start making what you want, practice naturally follows, which I think is the best way to become a developer.