When did you first become interested in programming?
In the mid 90’s, I was working as a Graphic Designer at a Portland company that did CD replication. After a number of years designing hundreds of album covers for indie artists and bands, I decided that I would try my hand at web design. I quickly fell in love with the immediacy of designing for a digital medium.
Around 2000, we hired a database/backend consultant to assist with an e-commerce website project that I was working on. After a month of collaboration, he pulled me aside and told me “you should learn how to program - you’d be good at it”. So, I bought books on Microsoft’s “Classic” ASP and SQL Server and started the journey that I’m still on today. I’ll always be grateful for the encouragement to be bold and stretch myself in new ways.
What drew you to Treehouse?
Through meeting a couple of Treehouse’s teachers around the local community and attending a meetup that they were hosting at their office, I was immediately impressed with the organization overall and the quality of their people. Not having a degree in Computer Science or another technical field (I studied music in college), Treehouse’s belief that people can learn to become developers without a traditional college education really resonated with me. I’m excited to have the opportunity to help others on their journeys to becoming great developers.
Tell us something about yourself unrelated to programming or technology.
In the year after we got married, my wife and I bought a 100+ year old home and set about to do some home improvement projects. We decided to start with remodeling the kitchen, which ultimately led to gutting about 75% of the house down to the studs (we left ourselves with at least one working bathroom).
To keep costs down, we were doing almost all of the work ourselves, including the electrical wiring and plumbing. Never having done this kind of work before, it required a lot of self-learning, including reading books, watching HGTV, and inspecting new construction projects on the weekends.
We also learned a lot about ourselves and each other throughout the process. For example, I was terrible at estimating how long any given project would take. I thought the kitchen remodel would take less than a month to finish; it ended up taking a year. Lastly, sometimes (probably most of the time) it’s best to not know all of the details before you start a new project or any endeavor in your life, otherwise you might risk never getting started (i.e. paralysis by analysis, fear of failure, etc.)
James is a self-confessed geek, who enjoys talking about programming and learning new technologies. At the beginning of 2016, he joined the Treehouse team as a teacher and is excited to have the opportunity to help beginners become developers. In addition to his teaching responsibilities at Treehouse, James hosts a biweekly show called the Dev Team Show where he leads conversations about development with a guest. James also recently presented two live streamed training sessions as part of Microsoft’s Visual Studio 2017 Launch event and enjoys participating in the developer community, presenting talks in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Tennessee, and Kentucky.