When Simon Pregent found out about Lighthouse Labs’ first hybrid bootcamp offered in his hometown of Whitehorse, he took the opportunity to hone his skills to advance his career and pursue his own passion projects. As he prepares for the start of the bootcamp, we check in with Simon about the online learning he did on his own, trying to pitch the bootcamp to his bosses, and the Lighthouse Lab application. We’re looking forward to talking to him again when the bootcamp wraps up!
What was your background before choosing Lighthouse Labs?
I have a business background and a major in applied economics. I started off working in more economics-oriented positions with data analysis, but I’ve made my way towards jobs that are more and more data-centric. My most recent job was as a database administrator in the Yukon public sector.
Had you done any web development in your job as a database admin?
I work on some minor web development. For example, I had used PHP, but mostly to script behaviors that I wanted my servers to do.
Were you using online programs to teach yourself before Lighthouse Labs?
I’ve done some online courses and I’m actually still enrolled in some. I had used Codecademy and books. I took some popular Udemy classes in iOS and web dev. But, it’s really hard to progress unless you’re put in a situation where you have the time to be committed and focused.
Why did you decide to do a coding bootcamp?
Since I was mostly self-taught, Lighthouse Labs’ remote bootcamp in Whitehorse was an opportunity to connect the dots and to learn industry standard best practices. Another reason is that I’ve had web app ideas and I’ve fleshed them out on the conceptual level and on the back-end, but a lot of the pieces of that puzzle are missing.
Did you quit your job to start at Lighthouse Labs?
Right now I’m on a leave of absence, so I do have a job to go back to.
Was your boss supportive?
My boss was supportive, but I didn’t give them a ton of notice, so it was hard to get Human Resources involved to the extent where they were ready to sign off on compensating me. There is still is an ongoing negotiation to see if there’s going to be compensation, but I’m here with the understanding that this is a leave without pay. I’m happy that I can afford to do that.
What was your pitch to your boss to pay for the coding bootcamp?
I put together a package and pitched it. The first response that I got was negative, but my boss has been supportive and she pushed further without me even being involved. The talent pool for this level of web development is not huge in the territory. There’s a case to be made for career progression.
It sounds like a good investment for both you and your employer.
Yeah. I’m definitely psyched. It’s going to be an interesting 8 weeks. I’m just somebody who generally enjoys learning and one of the things that I like to keep doing is always challenging myself with new information and unlocking new possibilities. I do have some passion projects that I want to work on. I’ve always wanted to have the tools to make my ideas come to fruition.
What is the tech scene like in Whitehorse?
There used to be more dev shops and through fusions and acquisitions, there are now fewer players. There definitely are a lot of self-employed people working out of the territory.
Had you looked at any other coding bootcamps before?
At that time, I was just googling bootcamps a lot and getting a lot of hits. I thought that it would be a good idea to maybe pursue that, but when I stacked it up against the hybrid offering that Lighthouse Labs had, I’m in Vancouver, I’m at Lighthouse Labs. We’re going to be videoconferencing the lectures and we’re going to be using the same learning management system. We’re going to have an in-house TA and the same culture, the same workflow, and we’re going to have people to bounce ideas off. I think that wins out any day over a purely virtual offering. There is a buzz here, for sure, and that’s something, albeit on a smaller scale, that we’d like to replicate in Whitehorse.
What was the Lighthouse Labs application process like for you?
How much prep work have you done so far?
Quite a bit! They said somewhere between 40 and 60 hours. I have to say that between my day job and my family life, it was a challenge, but I got it done. Time was probably the biggest challenge, but I do feel like it prepared us.
We’ll follow up with Simon after he graduates to find out how the remote Lighthouse Labs bootcamp went and what he’s planning!