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Make the internet a more beautiful place with coding!

Originally from Colombia, Martin moved to Berlin with a background in graphic design. Drawn to being able to execute his own ideas, he decided to join Le Wagon to upskill himself and become a freelancer. After Le Wagon, Martin stuck around Berlin and started a small digital development studio together with some of his batch colleagues!
Before Le Wagon

I am a classically trained graphic designer and for the years prior to Le Wagon, I worked as an art director for one of the world's leading advertising agencies network. My job involved a wide range of tasks, like making graphics, directing photoshoots, building sets for video content, and, of course, designing digital interfaces. Towards the end of my time at the agency I saw myself more drawn towards UX/UI and digital design, and of course this meant working with developers. This is how I first got involved in coding.

It really just seemed like the next logical step to forward my career. After falling out of love with my job in advertising, I needed to find what to do next, and having worked closely with developers in the past, I thought I'd give coding a try! I also decided I didn't want work for other people anymore - I wanted to become self-employed and work on my own terms! I quickly realised, that every project I found had a digital component, and constantly having to work around technology to build what I wanted was not allowing me to provide the best solutions for my clients. 

Once I decided coding was the next step, I tried learning it on my own. It was really tough for me to find the motivation and structure to get a proper foundation of knowledge that would allow me to call myself a developer. And right then, a good friend of mine, who recently relocated to Berlin to do Le Wagon, told me all about it. It seemed just what I needed a kickstart to my learning curve. I signed up and moved to Berlin to take part in #Batch 124! 

During Le Wagon

When it comes to the most fun part of the bootcamp - it was definitely the social component! I found it really nice that you’re going through this process with a group of students, coming from completely different backgrounds, but who are still in the same position as you. When I found out that also the teachers and teaching assistants are former students of the bootcamp, it motivated me so much to want to become just like them! Everyone was friendly, easy going, willing to help, and most importantly highly motivated!

I think the biggest challenge for me was changing my mindset from working to learning. You have to be ready to be thrown out of your comfort zone, and fail, while staying motivated. 

After Le Wagon

After finishing Le Wagon, I aimed at becoming a full time freelancer. For the first year I alternated my client work with working as a teaching assistant at Le Wagon, and eventually became a teacher! As time passed, me and other members of the Berlin community founded our agency - Obst Digital - where we provide design and development services to a wide variety of clients. Now, when I’m not busy teaching in the campuses from Berlin or Madrid, I am working with our many clients making the internet a more beautiful place!

I think it is important to say being a freelancer is not for everyone! You have to have a clear idea of the value that you can provide for your clients, and it can be hard to measure this straight after finishing the bootcamp. My advice would be to start small with projects for your family and friends, and move up to clients with small budgets. 

I can happily say that those 9 weeks at Le Wagon were some of the most valuable for my professional & personal life.

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