Anna Hermansen is the amazing Career Services Coordinator out of the Lighthouse Labs Toronto office. Below she writes about a recent event at the YYZ campus: the first event in a planned “Career Journeys” series that engage our employer community in discussions on what it means to be a developer. Thanks to the Resolver team for hosting us and producing such an interesting and relevant discussion!
At Lighthouse Labs, we believe in continuous, lifelong learning. Whether or not you’re a developer, we all understand the importance of being open to learning on the job every day. This learning can come in a variety of forms, whether that’s formal education like our bootcamp or more informal discussions and events. That’s why we organize a number of initiatives meant to foster lifelong learning in the tech and tech-adjacent community.
Lighthouse Labs Talent Series
We have recently introduced a new initiative called Talent Series into our Career Services program. Carmen, our Career Services Manager in Toronto, saw a lack of conversations around how a successful developer team is built, and wanted to provide a platform for tech companies to share knowledge on what makes a great developer team. As a combination of people, talent, and tech, this series is meant to foster discussions within our employer community and wider developer network on different career topics that impact bootcamp graduates.
Resolver Talent Series
One of these initiatives took place on May 29 in Toronto. In partnership with Resolver, our Career Services Manager Carmen Tsang moderated a panel made up of diverse Resolver designers and developers. As the first event in our Talent Series, this panel explored the topic of career journeys: not just where our panelists have landed, but how they got there.
The night started off with Mike Wertman, Resolver’s CTO, and Amanda Ono, VP People and Culture, who introduced the panel on the topic of adaptation. Within the framework of technological change, Mike emphasized the human resources that make successful adaptation possible: the right individuals, the right team, and the right skills. As he pointed out, adaptation is what allows them to respond quickly and thoroughly to a variety of client needs and problems.
Adaptation came up in the panelists’ answers as well, as both the dev and product teams spoke to the collaboration that is required to build products that adequately respond to client needs. It became clear how closely these two teams work to address the root of client issues, which brought up an important point: developers cannot silo themselves without risking building a weaker product. Developers need product teams just as much as product teams need developers. Not only are diverse and collaborative teams an important component to Resolver’s success, but so too, are diverse individuals.
No Set Path to Becoming a Developer
Listening to the Resolver team discuss their experiences as developers and designers, it was hard to ignore their winding roads to development that many, of our students have experienced. From more traditional tech backgrounds to psychology and art, gymnastics coaching, and theatre direction, the five panelists made it clear that there is no set path for developers or designers.
Our students learn this, but aren’t often confronted with such clear examples. Part of Career Services is convincing our graduates that after a 10-week bootcamp, they’re ready to join the professional workforce as a junior developer. Bringing their diverse backgrounds to the table makes our graduates well-rounded, distinct, and ultimately strong culture fits. Mike, the gymnastics coach-turned-developer at Resolver, is a great example of this; he even linked his previous skills to his current work by explaining how the problem-solving nature of coaching applies well to that of development.
Carmen’s last question asked the panelists to give the room a piece of career advice. Matt, the product owner, encouraged the audience to take on duties of interest in the workplace even if they fall outside of the typical scope of work; and Kerri, the designer, advised to “just start,” and “fake it till we make it”. Finding success by following your passion, diversifying your skills, and taking on new challenges is further affirmation that having unique experiences and perspectives are what make for great developers.
Tim, the designer, encouraged the audience to be deliberate and considerate about the kinds of things you output; and Mike advised all the developers in the room to “make it work, then make it right, then make it fast.” Being a good team member means bringing your diverse skills and perspectives to the table, but it also means using those skills thoughtfully and productively.
Final Thoughts From Anna
As an International Relations graduate now working in Career Services at Lighthouse Labs, I am a firm believer in the winding road that makes up a career, and the applicability of my previous skills in every new professional challenge. For our graduates, their hard skills are undeniably important; but what is also important is reframing your past around new career endeavours. What I loved about this panel was its clear affirmation of my beliefs and those of Lighthouse Labs Career Services. Our students don’t need to have a previous computer science background to become successful developers; in fact, a unique perspective is often a key component in developing a successful product.
After a successful first event, Career Services is looking forward to our next Career Journeys series. What do you think deserves more discussion in this topic? Please email Anna with your ideas on discussion pieces or event ideas, or if you would like to partner with us! You can reach Carmen Tsang on LinkedIn and Twitter