My name is Mason Ellwood. I am from Tucson, Arizona – a born and raised desert kid.
Growing up I was always interested in coding and what it could unlock once I understood the concept. One of my good friends, Garrett Bolthouse, runs a small remote business which builds and maintains therapeutic boarding school websites called The Envoy Group. I talked to him and I asked how someone with zero experience could go about getting a job with The Envoy Group, or the possibility of an internship? I was shocked when he told me that he would rather me come to him with zero experience than him having to break me of bad habits.
As a content manager intern at 17 years old, I was in over my head and ready to absorb as much as I could. Through the course of a very confusing year, he slowly gave me bigger and bigger projects. He had me do a landing page for him which was my first full build! And this, after hours and hours of banging my head against the wall was, what I came up with…
Let’s just say we never actually used it for anything, but hey.
This lead me to ASU’s Graphic Information Technologies program, a new degree they began to offer through the Fulton School of Engineering. Upon graduation and applying to roughly 200 different jobs, I got my first REAL job at a startup, called Freestar, as their developer intern. This lead to a full position within the company as the in-house jr. developer.
My tasks included:
- Web Maintenance for owned and operated properties
- Custom site builds on WordPress platform Google DFP integration
- DFP Reporting
- Header Bidding integration
- Client support
- Small-end graphic projects
- Languages and programs (I will share my technical ability as well) that were used on a daily basis include:
- HTML – Can write fluently
- CSS – Can write fluently
- jQuery – Can read, can write very rudimentary applications
- PHP – Can read, can write very rudimentary applications
- Photoshop – Can navigate very confidently
- Lightroom – Can navigate very confidently
- Google DFP – Mid level proficiency
At Freestar, we worked very closely with Flatiron School, and as of the beginning of this month, I am officially a full-time student again!
I will wait to get into more of the technicalities of what I am learning in the next post, but what I have found at this school so far is a unique culture. Everyone whom I have met so far, from employees to students, are all very helpful and willing to set aside their own personal projects to help me work through some concepts I have trouble with. Even Avi, the founder of Flatiron School, is online and ready to talk at almost any given moment. Everyone is very willing to help because, as Avi has aggressively stated many times; “We are all here for the same reasons, to learn to love code”.
With learning anything new, there is always frustration. Working within a culture all striving for the same end-goal will be a very positive experience.
This school so far has not been easy.
It comes with immediate obstacles that you have to learn to maneuver very quickly, or else it will be hard to progress. So far, I am roughly 21 lessons into the Intro to Ruby Course (this specific Intro To Ruby Course is free to any student that may want to test and see Flatiron’s approach to learning). If you are interested here is the link – Intro to Ruby Free Course. There are a few other courses that Flatiron offers for free as well as a trial. This will allow you to check out how the course work will be presented inside the Full-Stack Front End Developer program and see if it is the right fit for you as a student. The free courses are not as extensive as the Full-Stack Front End Developer courses are, but they do a great job as an overview of key concepts you need to understand to progress more effectively.
Flatiron is not cheap, but I do see the value that this school will bring me already. It is not just a time to further your personal growth in the industry, but to further connections with the new generation of programmers, just as you yourself are.
In the Intro to Ruby Course I am currently immersed in, I have learned an immense amount of practical skills that I will take with me to my next role. We have covered what Ruby is and what practicalities Ruby brings to programming. A history on the language itself, as well as Git and Github basics.
Flatiron also comes with their own software that is built on the Atom framework.
Learn.co IDE which is closely related to many products released by Jet Brains such as PHP Storm which encompasses a file tree, easy to navigate lessons and files you may be working on, as well as a text editor and built in terminal, with easy linking options to your personal GitHub account.
One of the tools I have found necessary to excel in the school is a GitHub account. Flatiron works hard at creating a workflow that is as close to industry standards as they can get. You will also need a computer…. but that comes without saying – which is something I currently don’t own at the moment.
I’m looking forward to working through the courses that the Flatiron School has to offer.
My next post will focus on some of the challenges I’ve encountered so far with the program, and some things that have been new and taken some getting used to. I will do my best to include working code as well, so you can look at some of the projects I have completed so far with an explanation of how it works.
Thank you for reading and I am looking forward to next week’s post where I can talk less about me and more about course work.