The Ro Code: Life After A Developer Bootcamp

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We stood in a room full of over 150 people who were anticipatingly waiting for our web app’s grand showcase. The product? Okay Go, a dating app that not only connected you with others based on lifestyle and first date preferences, but took the extra step in setting up a date for you.

As I clicked the ‘Let’s Date!’ button with proud confidence, instead of the beautiful page we had spent countless hours perfecting, I looked back to see the offensively red Ruby on Rails’ error message instead. There were gasps in the crowd, the audience shuffled uncomfortably. I looked at Amber, my project partner in horror. In just a week’s time we had built this MVP and become masters in dealing with ajax security errors, HTML & CSS’s sometimes illogical results, and the joys of API’s. Having switched from Yelp’s API limit of 250 searches a day (which was smaller than the number of our fake users) we switched to the Google API only to find that its demand for strong internet (a.k.a. a connection you are not sharing with a room that is your audience) is crucial.

“Whoops,” I laughed, “I know what’s wrong.” We took our laptop aside, fixed the error and came back to a roaring applause on a problem well solved. The questions that followed were constructive: How did you create a sign-up flow without demanding a user be created first? How do you accommodate to both users schedules for dates?

At the end of nine weeks of our developer bootcamp at Lighthouse Labs, we were ready to strut our stuff and talents. Not only were we developers, we were disrupters and idea generators. We were wearing our invisible badges with pride and joking in syntax puns. When we moved onto networking, we proceeded to get floored with job offers while the rest of us who were shying away were already hired by the likes of Food.ee, New District and Wider Funnel.

What was reality like now that we were out? For most of us, it meant trading our 14 hour days for 48 hour hackathons when we hit up the GrowConf a week later. Partially because developers and hackathons are like the mushroom to our Mario. But truth be told, mostly because we were hitting a deep sense of Lighthouse Labs withdrawals now that we were all venturing out in different directions.

It’s a community like no other that’s taken us for all our weaknesses and all our moments of breakdown. It’s a place we’ve been able to vibe out to awesome tunes while Co-Founder, Jeremy Shaki, blasts Amanda Marshall at speaker capacity. Not to mention the space itself. Being a graduate of a get-a-quick-education styled program has been surprisingly less of a get-in-get-out ‘one night stand’ approach to education and more of a long term relationship of contacts and community. After hours, when the day ends, beers get cracked and alumni come in wearing their TA hats.

Which brings me to why I stayed with Lighthouse Labs. After considering jobs from tech start-ups doing innovative things with wineries, journalism and upcoming accelerators. I jumped at the opportunity for a position at Lighthouse Labs because (1) I believe in the work they do and it’s something I can get up for every single day and (2) I have the role of the future, a position so cool most places don’t even have it yet – the Growth Hacker.

After writing and marketing for tech companies in San Francisco and Vancouver, the whole reason I decided to become a developer was to bridge the gap between the vision and the technicality of brands and businesses. I am now the bridge. I am the connection between the social and the technical, and more importantly, I am in a place that supports my ability to do it. Thanks for following The Ro Code – it’s been crazy. I haven’t sugar coated any detail and yet here you are. If you’re not already on the way to making a career change (or making up with your own positions), I hope this has helped guide you in what to expect.

‘The Ro Code’ is a VancityBuzz exclusive blog delving into the course material, instructors and all round coding happenings at Lighthouse Labs. For more information on the next cohort, check out lighthouselabs.ca and get lost into a vortex of possibilities.

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Romila Barryman is a mad-scientist of sorts. She experiments with words, concocts diabolical phrases and explores tech like it is territory to be conquered. Her current lab experiments can be seen as founder of the Tech section for VancityBuzz, Lighthouse Labs Alumni and Full Stack Developer.
@MsRomilaB

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