Background: Computer Technician

Location: East Tennessee

Goal: Transition to full-time web development work in 1-2 years

Based in Knoxville, Tennessee, Devon has spent the last six years as a computer technician for the Jefferson County school system.  In his role and through courses at a local community college, Devon has dabbled with HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Python. At Thinkful, he’s looking to formalize his knowledge and prepare to pursue a career in web development.

Why did you decide to learn to code?

I really like instant gratification. With coding, you can see a problem, go into it, type a few lines, pull it up, and see the solution. Then you can refine it. Each time you go back, you get a little shot of encouragement that signals you’re moving in the right direction.

What’s your favorite thing that you’ve developed in the Thinkful course so far?

I developed a new theme for my personal blog that I’m pretty excited about.

Also, the Huckle Buckle project helped me hone a few key skills as well–I learned how to style text in input fields and style buttons. My goal was to make it as usable as possible. I spent a few hours detecting for inputs outside of the range I was looking for. For instance, if you enter a letter, word, or number that is too big, the game generates an error message.

What do you do when you’re stuck on a particular dev problem?

 If I know enough to formulate a google search, I’ll try that first. It’ll usually take me to a forum post or Stack Overflow. Google is the simple answer. But if I’m really stuck, that’s when it’s helpful to have someone invested in your success. For this, my mentors and the other students in the Thinkful class have been a great resource.

You’re currently collaborating on a side project with another Thinkful student–Luiz Neves. How’d that come about? 

I was hanging out in office hours one day and Luiz asked me to join him. I’m not sure how he pinpointed me, but I’m excited about the opportunity.

We’re working on a game called “Onion or not.” The game will take headlines from The Onion, the satirical newspaper, and real newspapers. The player will have to determine if the headline is real or not. Luiz gets full credit for the idea; he even already owned the domain name.

What have you learned through working with Luiz?

The ways we have had to work with Git version control have been far different than if we were working independently. Luiz is based in Arizona so we’re always working remotely. It’s great to to do this now rather than when we’re being paid.

What one developer tool has helped you most in your coding journey?

The Mozilla developer network has great documentation on CSS and HTML. I use it a ton, especially for CSS properties.

What advice would you give to someone who’s just starting out as a developer?

Again, the value of working with other people can’t be emphasized enough. But I’d add that it’s great to have a project in mind that you can use as a goal. That way you see how each piece or skill you learn is part of a bigger picture. I think that is what keeps learners motivated — seeing the immediate impact of their work.


Want to take your development skills to the next level like Devon? Sign up for a quick free phone session here to learn more about our next class, beginning May 27th

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