Success Stories

Vanessa Velasco

United States

Vanessa Velasco

Vanessa Velasco graduated from the Treehouse Front-end JavaScript Techdegree at the age of 16!

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The Front-end Techdegree is a very challenging online coding bootcamp that takes the average Treehouse student 3-9 months to complete with full-time study. The program covers everything related to developing web pages using CSS, JavaScript, and HTML. As well, the program does a full overview and introduction to logic using JavaScript.

As a high school student, Vanessa didn't have the time to study coding full time, but she still took on this massive challenge and succeeded with flying colors.

Congratulations to Vanessa for this incredible accomplishment!

Let's dive into how Vanessa did it and what her plans are for the future!


A strong commitment to trying new things

Vanessa goes to ARISE High School in California, where she’s currently in 11th grade. She's always been interested in doing her best and getting a wide variety of learning experiences.

She believes it's really important for young learners to take on new experiences, even if it's difficult.

Not only does Vanessa care deeply about pushing herself to try new things, but she also strives for certifications and real proof of her accomplishments.

Vanessa aims for achievements such as getting A’s, and really tries to put her best into everything she can do.

When the opportunity to take the Techdegree came up at her high school, she knew she wanted to participate. One of the reasons Vanessa was so inspired to complete the course was because of the opportunity to get a meaningful certification.

Similarly, she feels motivated to complete other certifications such as her first aid training.

At the end of the Techdegree program, Vanessa really felt like the Treehouse Techdegree was a huge challenge but that it was truly fun to work through the problem sets. She really felt it was a rewarding experience and completely worth it!


Getting inspired to think about the future

Vanessa first started the Techdegree in 10th grade and was inspired by the opportunity that would be offered to her if she had a certification in coding.

Vanessa felt that getting the certification would help her in the future with whatever career she could choose to have.

Vanessa is inspired to combine her creative and digital skills and she's also deeply considering the applications of coding in medicine.

The most amazing thing about the Techdegree was the opportunity to get tons of coding experience and learn a few different coding languages.

Also, being a part of the Treehouse community means being able to explore the Treehouse library, and Vanessa was able to get inspired by looking through other courses in C++ and Python, even if her main focus was front-end for the time being.


A portfolio of 9 projects

Vanessa completed 9 projects as a part of the Techdegree Techdegree, which now acts as a portfolio that can showcase her skills!

The most interesting project for Vanessa was the web development project that focused on displaying graphs on web pages. Vanessa felt it was a worthy challenge to generate the graphs and put them into the code.

It was difficult to figure out how to do it, especially because you have to use JavaScript to get the information she wanted into the graphs. However, it was fun to piece it all together and the end result looked like a really nice website!


Balancing the challenges and workload

At first, Vanessa felt like it would be a lot of work to fully complete the Techdegree. She started in 10th grade, and also had several other courses and extracurricular activities on the go.

For the summer break, Vanessa stayed after school for a month to be able to make progress on the course. It was stressful because most students weren't interested in doing the summer school program to complete the Techdegree. There were only four students attending that summer school program, so it required a lot of independence and initiative to join. Vanessa was the youngest person attending the program, so she felt like she might fall behind. However, with her amazing diligence, she was able to keep up and excel beyond the expectations of the school and her community!

The big workload of the course had its fair share of challenges. There were a lot of times when she felt time pressure as if she were going to run out of time. But despite the stress, she kept going.

During the regular school year, Vanessa used all of her allocated class time to the maximum to actually do the work related to the Techdegree. Then she was able to use the summer to get another big portion done. Balancing the Techdegree with 11th grade was more challenging, but she still tried to find time to do it almost every day so she could continue to progress.

By always focusing on making small amounts of progress Vanessa was able to learn a lot!

JavaScript was the most challenging thing in the course, as learning JavaScript requires a new way of thinking. It was difficult for Vanessa to get functions to work at first and she had to ask for a lot of help. The last couple of projects proved to be a big challenge because of the JavaScript, but Vanessa was able to complete all of the projects!


Making use of all the help available

It's always important to lean on your community and learn from others as you grow as a coder. Vanessa got help when she needed it from her amazing teachers at ARISE High School and the Treehouse Slack community. Without a strong community, it's very difficult to progress with learning in any field!


Looking towards university and a career in medicine

After high school, Vanessa wants to go to university and pursue a career in computer science or medicine.

Vanessa wants to pursue coding at the university level because she recognizes how useful it is in all fields. Also, medicine is an area of interest due to the opportunity to contribute to society.

Regardless of the ultimate direction Vanessa wants to go in, Vanessa sees computer science skills as applicable and valuable for her future.


Next up: Python

As well as focusing on her overall high school education, Vanessa wants to continue studying coding.

Vanessa is interested in learning Python next for its applications to science and beyond!


Tips and ideas for new learners

Vanessa always looked back at the videos in Treehouse whenever she couldn't make something work. Vanessa's advice for new students is to always review and rewatch videos because the answers are in there!

It's hard to pick up the information the first time, so it's key to review the material.

For young learners, it's important to take on new things even if it's different or difficult. With different and new experiences you can expand what you will be able to do in the future. Try as many things as you can, especially coding!

Coding is an important thing to try as it will become so relevant for our careers in the future!


Study with Treehouse!

Studying with Treehouse is a great way to learn to code and get certified as a job-ready coder!

Sign up for the Treehouse Techdegree if you're looking for a full online coding Bootcamp. If you're looking for a more flexible style, sign up for the Treehouse courses and get access to our entire library!

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