Discover the life of a freelancer through Lars' student story. After taking part in Le Wagon's first batch in Amsterdam, Lars became a teacher and eventually co-founded a project of his own. Having a background in design, Lars has spent the last few years working as a frontend expert on a variety of projects.
“The great power of Le Wagon is that it gives you a little taste of everything and the roots to continue to grow on your own.”
Hi Lars, could you please introduce yourself?
Hello, my name is Lars Böhm and I’m a freelance web developer and designer based in Amsterdam. I focus on landing pages and full platform Rails applications.
Can you tell us about your background before joining Le Wagon?
Before I joined Le Wagon, I studied communication and multimedia design at the University of Applied Sciences in Amsterdam. After graduating, I did a few minor projects within the field but I found it quite difficult to find a job. Having always liked the idea of being able to run my own projects, especially on the design side of things, Le Wagon really appealed to me.
What made you want to learn how to code and join our Web Development Bootcamp?
So I joined the Web Development bootcamp back in 2016 and I was actually part of the first batch in the Netherlands, which was batch #20. Amsterdam was the second international location and it was still relatively small at the time. I joined Le Wagon as part of a program back then, where the government was re-educating people in specific branches such as web development, UX design or growth marketing. I had the choice between a couple of bootcamps, but Le Wagon just seemed to have its curriculum well sorted and the community aspect of the bootcamp seemed great.
Can you tell us about your journey at Le Wagon?
It's been quite a while since I did the course, but something that always stood out to me was the great atmosphere within the community. There was a lot of community building and in the end everyone wanted to stay involved with Le Wagon in some way or another, myself included. After my batch, I began working as a Teaching Assistant (TA) and I also aided with managing the campus. This sense of community has carried over to my current work experience. I often come across projects in which I work with a Le Wagon alumni, which is really cool.
Do you believe that joining Le Wagon opened any doors for you?
After graduating, I kept my background in design and combined this with my new skills in programming. I also began working as a TA which reinforced these new skills. During this time, I developed myself into a frontend expert and after a while, I began to teach in Amsterdam as well as Barcelona, Berlin and Brussels. Le Wagon was a great way to enrich the skills that I obtained in my university education with programming. I also met a co-founder within my batch. Together we started a company so Le Wagon truly was a big melting pot of influence in my career.
Now that you’ve graduated, what projects have you been working on?
As mentioned, I met my co-founder when we were both working for Le Wagon as freelancers. While we were teaching, there were a few weeks in between batches where we had lots of free time. This is when we began discussing the opportunity of working together on some client projects. We started with building some relatively simple websites for our clients. This became easier and easier as we built up a network, mostly concentrating on design.
One of my favourite projects that I’ve worked on is a website for a coding school here in Amsterdam, which was quite fun! I’ve also worked with an illustrator for a few project recently which was a great experience as it really enriched my designs.
Can you tell us more about how Unless was born?
Today, Unless is the vehicle for my freelance work. When we first started out in 2016, it was the cooperation between my business partner and myself. We started the idea of building quick MVPs (minimal viable products) for clients. We thought that this would add great value to companies as they could test concepts quite quickly.
With this being said, I’ve been quite busy this past year with client projects, so I ultimately decided to take some time to build a platform of my own for online journaling which has been a great way to experiment.
Finally, do you have any advice for someone thinking of joining the Le Wagon community?
There’s no real reason not to join Le Wagon. For me, any course or learning project has been worth it in some way or another, and I especially got this sense with Le Wagon. The density of the learning experience is so high, that every week you feel like some new massive revelation has occurred.
The great power of Le Wagon is that it gives you a little taste of everything and the roots to continue to grow on your own. You learn all the basics of a skill in such a way that afterwards you can keep going on your own, until eventually it becomes almost effortless.