Tutor Spotlight: Eric An - Web Development

Tutor Spotlight: Eric An - Web Development

Valentina Calandra

One of the unique features of the CareerFoundry experience is our mentors and tutors. The team includes passionate and inspiring experts in UX design, UI design, web development, and iOS development from all over the globe.

CareerFoundry tutors help you with your day-to-day coursework, approve your tasks, and give you feedback. Some of our top graduates have gone on to become tutors themselves - they know the course well, and having been there, they know what it takes to complete an online course. Together with your expert mentor, they ensure you have both the core competencies - and the industry know-how - to succeed in the field.

In this post you’ll meet one of our awesome web development tutors, Eric An, an Economics graduate who developed a passion for coding and now uses his diverse skills in multiple roles - read on to learn how!

Getting into web development

Born and raised in Southern California, Eric studied Economics before running his own retail business. After ‘a fruitful run of packaging thousands of boxes and sorting hundreds of thousands of pieces of mail,’ he found his way into web development.


The thing that made coding stick for him, was learning how to solve problems, and he wanted to learn how to build complex products.

I could create a website from a blank page and if I needed help, I could instantly find it through clever researching on the internet - there was this instant feedback loop that I enjoyed.

Like many CareerFoundry tutors, Eric was offered the position after completing the web development course with flying colors.

Having had such a great experience with my own mentor, and going through the coursework - I knew I wanted to give back and provide that same great environment that I witnessed.

More than anything, I wanted to be part of my students’ journey into web development because I knew what they are going to go through and I wanted to be the one to guide them. I’ve walked in their footsteps before and know how hard it can be sometimes. I hope that I can provide that encouragement when they need it or that extra piece of advice that I know might be beneficial in that particular exercise.

Eric currently works as a Product Manager at an e-commerce company. He runs data analysis and determines if a product is viable for the online marketplace. Though his company has been around for 14 years, he tells us that the environment remains start-up like. Eric’s current job involves a variety of skills, including but not limited to web development:

For instance, I created a program that will pick the correct box size for a package, based on the product dimensions. It factors in our current box sizes and whether the product must be shipped upright or not. It relies heavily on conditional statements and control flow to find the correct box.

However, Eric has implemented several other improved processes at his current company, including a program that counts the exact number of items sold in a time period, as well as a comprehensive inventory system.

Thinking holistically - how a career change can be a life change

From Eric’s perspective, his greatest achievements have been the multitude of projects he has taken on at his current job that have facilitated and streamlined a variety of processes for his company. He also prides himself in the multi-faceted nature of his career; he assures us that taking on one skill does not confine you to the stereotypical jobs of the field.

Learning to code doesn’t mean you have to end up with a job as a web developer or you’ve failed. I realized I wanted to combine my previous experience in business with what I learned here and that was how I ended up in the world of ecommerce.

At CareerFoundry, we encourage our students to create a career, or rather a life, that incorporates previous experiences, skills and passions, with a new and incredibly useful set of technical skills.

I never accepted the idea that I could find a job that I liked doing – I had always assumed that I would have to take a boring or stressful job to just pay the bills and find enjoyment and fulfillment separately from my day job. More than anything, I believe that’s the true allure and power of taking this course.

Eric emphasizes that gaining hard skills, such as learning how to code, can serve a much bigger purpose than simply allowing you to become a web developer.

In learning to code, you don’t just develop the technical ability to create a website – you learn how to approach a problem, how to research, think critically, and above all, how to build perseverance.

Rewards and challenges of working as a CareerFoundry Tutor

According to Eric, many of the difficulties students experience stem from not reading through the task instructions carefully enough. He emphasizes the importance of “reading the directions/instructions on how to complete a certain action,” as well as paying special attention when actually writing the code. “Read twice, write once applies here. Syntax errors can waste an unbelievable amount of time. You rack your brain to find the holy grail of a solution when the answer was the simple absence of a closing bracket.”

Being particularly careful when reading and writing is especially pertinent to web development. Having been a student himself, Eric has particular empathy for this aspect of the learning process:

When I went through the course, I realized I had probably spent an equal (if not more) amount of time figuring out why a certain piece of code wouldn’t work in my application as I did writing actual code.

Eric is most rewarded by experiencing the student’s journey first-hand, and by being a central agent in their progress and success: it’s the most amazing feeling to have been through this learning experience with them.

It’s very inspiring to witness students going through the same journey and ending up on the other side as someone who’s poured a lot of time, energy, and persistence into equipping themselves with more knowledge. I truly believe everyone ends up changed for the better after going through a course like this.

Eric’s advice for aspiring web developers is to simply to power through. He recalls his own challenging journey to proficiency - moments he could not understand the material, and his frustration only amplified.

He had moments he knew his code was wrong, but was not even sure what questions to ask or what to Google. “There were several times when I considered whether I was wrong in attempting to learn programming,” and indeed there will be moments when self-doubt sets in. Eric assures his students that you need to learn to take a deep breath and work through these moments.

Yes, the journey will undoubtedly get harder as you continue your journey into web development, but your confidence will grow, as will your experience and proficiency. It would be a lot easier to move on to another goal or quit and start over in something else now that the rosy-colored glasses have come off. You just have to shamelessly admit that you are not a prodigy at it and commit yourself to working hard to becoming a proficient developer.

So remain humble, but motivated nonetheless. Proficiency is achievable, and only a course away. Don’t let the frustrations and hopelessness get the best of you – there’s always an answer to your problem, you just have to find it.

If you’re interested in learning to code with a Tutor and Mentor, check out CareerFoundry’s mentored courses.

If you’re not ready to commit to a 6-month course, sign up for our free Web Development Short Course.

What You Should Do Now

  1. If you’d like a step-by-step intro to find out if web dev is right for you - sign up here for our free 7-day web dev short course.
  2. If you are interested in becoming a Web Developer check out our web development course (you'll learn the essential skills employers need).
  3. If you’d like to speak to an expert Career Advisor for free about how you can really get a new job in tech - connect with us here.

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Valentina Calandra

Valentina Calandra

Contributer to the CareerFoundry Blog