Don Burks is our Head Instructor at Lighthouse Labs Vancouver and has been integral in building our ever-evolving curriculum. He’s been coding since the dawn of time (well, the dawn of the Commodore 64), and is as passionate about teaching as he is technology. Don knows what it takes to succeed in the Lighthouse Labs bootcamp better than anyone, and he’s offered some advice for those weighing the pros and cons of our full-time and part-time programs to help guide the way.

In my role here at Lighthouse Labs, I am not just an instructor for current students, I am a resource for prospective students who are concerned with making the right choice about learning to code. One of the most frequent questions I receive is, "Which program is right for me? Should I take the bootcamp or would the part-time program teach me what I need?"

Even though there is a social stigma against answering a question with a question, I always reply with, "What is your goal? Do you want to work as a professional developer?"

When it comes to picking between the two programs we offer, this needs to be the deciding factor. Of course, price is going to be a concern. One program is less than one-fifth the cost of the other. Yet, when people come to me for advice, they aren't asking about the price tag. They're asking because they want to make sure that the course they choose is going to help meet their goals.

"Do you want to work as a professional developer?"

This question is the proverbial line in the sand.

If the answer is 'yes', then there is no question that the full-time bootcamp is the program they need.

Our full-time bootcamp focuses on teaching our students how to think and problem solve like software developers. The goal is to get them to a point where they continue their learnings on the job! The depth of knowledge and training that they will receive in the full-time bootcamp is going to prepare them for a career as a developer. Ten weeks of immersive education, access to the best senior dev talent in town, and the opportunity to be introduced to developer culture are all invaluable aspects of the full-time program. The vast majority of our bootcamp students share the goal of becoming software developers. They bring in the passion and drive needed to survive the intense learning experience. In other words: if your goal is to master this craft in an accelerated way- this is the course for you!

If the answer is 'not sure', taking a part time course might be the best option.

The part-time course is extremely valuable. Our course was designed to whet people's appetite for learning to code. Through events like HTML500, we know there is a demand for people to go beyond using the web and to start to build it. However, not everyone is ready to quit their job, spend two months in an intensive, immersive bootcamp environment, and start a career as a dev. Many people are hobbyists when it comes to coding. Not everyone who cooks well works as a chef, after all. Many of our part-time students work with developers as part of their career, and want to be able to speak the language, understand the workflow, and be able to share in the thrill of building a product that represents your goals. If you can't decide if you enjoy programming as a career, or if you've never programmed before, what better way to figure it out than to try it hands on.

It's not that our full-time program is the only means to an end. There are many ways to become a developer. The passion that drives someone to immerse themselves in 10 hard weeks of training is the passion that we want to cultivate. We offer the part-time program for people who are passionate about building their skills while staying on their existing career paths. When I answer someone's question with my own, what I'm gauging is where someone's passion is leading them. We are always on the lookout for passionate, driven and smart individuals who can think in a structured way. These people benefit the most from our educational model, regardless of which program they take.

Ultimately, if you want to learn to code, we can help you achieve that goal. We have had students in both our full-time and part-time programs go on to launch startups based on the skills and connections they made in our programs. These companies have even hired graduates from us. The Lighthouse community, both students and staff, gives back to itself whenever possible. Be part of this amazing community! Give yourself the gift of learning to code, and you will catapult your career and open up endless possibilities, whichever program you choose to take.

Still undecided? Get a taste for coding and discover what you can create as a Developer with our free HTML & CSS Essentials course.