Success Stories

Tyler Van Der Hoeven

Georgetown, Kentucky

Primary stories tyler van der hoeven

In one year Tyler went from zero experience to doubling his salary & launching a freelance company

A year ago Tyler was struggling as a fine art photographer, until he discovered an interest in designing and building websites. Through dedicating time to learning — with determination and perseverance — Tyler has since launched over 50 websites; founded a freelance company; and mastered an impressive multitude of web skills.

I'm nearly 23 years old, I didn't go to college, and I've spent the past four years failing as a fine art photographer.

For the past year and a half however, out of these ashes, I've designed, built and launched over 50 unique websites for myself, founded a freelance company, mastered 6 separate CMSs, conquered HTML and CSS and use preprocessors wherever I can. I've become comfortable with JavaScript, PHP and Ruby. I've used frameworks like jQuery, AngularJS, Meteor, Sinatra, Rails and Ionic. I've gotten my head around the Git workflow, the command line, how databases function, as well as built an entire iPhone app around a JSON REST API. I've learned by doing. By not waiting for someone to pay me first.

Most of this learning took place within the past 6 months, the time I've been learning with Treehouse. I've devoured their content. Massive chunks of it. Often staying up well into the wee hours of the morning watching video after video just surrounding my brain with the information. In the morning I'd start to build things, referencing back through the material I'd watched the night before. "Okay, what is a scoped variable in JavaScript again?" "How was it that he referenced that vendor file in PHP?" "What was the appropriate symbol for an array? An object?"

I've seen it happen, I've made the magic and I don't think I'll ever be able to go back. The wonder to me is that after a mere year of this work I'm getting paid twice what I was a year ago and that number is steadily increasing.

It's tough, and some days it sucks. It's still common for me to get stuck on a problem for literally a week or more. Hours and hours only to discover I've left out a semicolon or missed a bracket somewhere. I'm ordinary, I have a horrible memory, it's maddening, but my own personal problems that I'm working to solve are even more maddening, and so I press on.

If there's one thing in this industry I've learned, it's that you have to want to win. Badly. You've got to have the drive to see the code bend into the mold you desire. That even as you play by the rules and conform to the structure, you beat it, that one day, with some single final keystroke, you win the game, the magic happens. Reproducible, calculable and marketable magic. You have to want that more than anything.

I've seen it happen, I've made the magic and I don't think I'll ever be able to go back. The wonder to me is that after a mere year of this work I'm getting paid twice what I was a year ago and that number is steadily increasing. I'm having a blast, I'm solving problems and people are using my products. I've seen a client's face light up as they are given hope, an answer to their issue, as they finally see how creativity can solve real world problems and make them money. It's awesome!

Treehouse has facilitated this success, but at the end of the day, you have to want to make the magic yourself. You have to know you can do it. That it could be just a keystroke away.

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