Today we released a public announcement about a project that all of us at Lighthouse are extremely excited about. A project that we have been actively working on for the past few months, and passively dreaming about since Lighthouse Labs was founded.
Devhub is Toronto's coworking space for developers of all levels. It is a platform for developers to grow together, whether they've been coding for two decades, or 8 weeks. While I can spend hours telling you about all of the unique features of our space (they call me Chief Talking Officer for a reason), I’d much rather try and explain why we started Devhub, and how it connects to everything we believe in.
The truth is that our timing with moving forward with Devhub was for a practical reason. We were in search of a new home for Lighthouse Labs Toronto, as we had a full house of students and our space was getting too small for our needs.
"Education delivery has always been our primary focus. The end goal was never a paycheque, but a job in which you could continue learning your craft while immediately contributing and shipping software."
As founders, the concept of Devhub has been a dream of ours since we first started Lighthouse, and a perfect continuation of everything we are passionate about. Lighthouse Labs wasn’t just created to find people amazing jobs. We built Lighthouse as an experiment to find the best ways to train software developers. Education delivery has always been our primary focus. The end goal was never a paycheque, but a job in which you could continue learning your craft while immediately contributing and shipping software. We constantly remind our students that graduating bootcamp is the start and not the end. With the support of over a hundred developers who joined us along the way, we’ve had the pleasure of playing a small part in a big journey of over 350 individuals. We relentlessly chase the same question and had some solid outcomes to validate our processes.
I am not a developer, but after working and discussing the topic with hundreds of them, I am certain that good software developers are lifelong learners. They are the ones that are constantly looking to better their craft. Developers are generally left alone to learn on their own, through a combination of on-the-job training, self-learning, meetups and speakers. In some ways, it works well, as the ones who are truly passionate will rise to the top. However, that same mentality is one we battle in putting together a bootcamp in the first place. Our top students would have become developers no matter what, yet in the 8 week period they worked with us, they were pushed and challenged and offered different perspectives by our community of mentors. They grew faster and were able to accelerate at exponentially quicker rates compared with some of their classmates.
This raises the question: beyond the day job, what could we be doing to help all developers accelerate their learning. What resources and community support are available for their growth? How does continuing education account for different motivations, learning speeds and interests? How would an educational support system work when all of their students were employed?
With our growing community of amazing alumni and mentors, we continuously raise the same questions. It’s this very process of inquiry has pushed us to start Devhub.
And some more context...
We have been incredibly fortunate to call Vancouver’s Launch Academy our home for the past two years. We witnessed the power of investing in a platform that brings entrepreneurs together on the individual, startup and community levels. It is no secret that passionate individuals that share common goals innovate, and grow when they are brought together. Put them in a well-resourced space, and that's where the the real magic and innovation begins.
The problem is that there is a general lack of resources, programs and organizations that focus on developers. The scalability of Canada’s technology industry and talent retention depends on an active community, yet, we largely lack the infrastructure to support developers throughout their careers.
The case for investing in software developers is quite obvious: they are the centre of Canadian innovation and they play a central part in Canada’s future. There is a huge need as well as a huge opportunity to get them further connected, give them a voice and help them grow. Canadian innovation needs a prosperous and supported developer community. We also need to understand that while scalable products will always be what brings home the bacon, developers who contribute to an open source community and seek to improve the ability to instruct computers are the foundation for a powerful developer community, and thus a country which can really be considered innovative.
That’s why we started Devhub.
It is a place where programmers can grow together in an inclusive, thought-provoking and inspiring environment. A place that supports people in a self-directed and non-intrusive way while they are busy doing what they do best: code. Where you can learn, code and teach.
What does that infrastructure or platform look like?
We spent a great deal of time thinking about what the platform would look like and discussed the idea with developers and educators. Truth is we still do not have a complete answer, though working with a community of over 500 developers at Lighthouse Labs has given us some great ideas of where to start.
Our core features
For developers by developers: Who should be part of Devhub? People that are passionate and intellectually curious about code or anyone who wants to become a better programmer. Devhub’s focus is to support developers, not just startups or entrepreneurs. It’s for developers who want to learn, code, teach, engage, connect, and be challenged. We fully understand the importance of diversity, especially in our industry and totally commit to go above and beyond to make the environment and community inclusive.
Community: We strongly believe that a developer’s best resource is community. At Devhub you are not a renter, customer, bystander or observer, you are an active member, stakeholder and contributor. Whether you choose to work out of the space or not, you will be able to connect with hundreds of developers from all across Canada.
Mentorship and Programming: All events, guest talks, programming, office hours and mentors at Devhub are crafted with software developers in mind. This group of Senior Developers, otherwise known as the commit.ee, are dedicated to assembling events and workshops that developers actually value. We have a new Developers in Residence program in which some of Canada’s most thoughtful developers will be given the freedom to work on whatever they please while giving weekly office hours, talks and workshops. They are experts in their diverse fields and contribute to our strong community where even Senior Developers get to engage with someone who will blow their minds.
Workspace: We’ve designed our space with with one primary goal: creating the best environment for programmers to grow. Our space is a combination of collaborative co-working space, device labs, a lot of white boards and most importantly, plenty of quiet working areas where you could sit back and code away. We promise to not cheap out on all the usual startup fun so expect superb coffee and lots of office dogs.
Lastly, to launch the space, we are hosting a month-long launch event: Devmonth - a free community celebration of all things development. The month will include a series of daily code centric speakers, workshops, and hackathons all vetted by a committee of kick ass devs. Why? Because developers, developers, developers. If you are in Toronto, we’d love to see you there!
While this is only a start, Devhub will allow us to further pursue an important question with a greater focus and attention. We plan on approaching Devhub in the same manner we approached Lighthouse Labs,and in the same method programmer's approach software: as an experiment with continuous cycle of improvement and iteration. In true developer fashion, we have created a platform that is a foundation upon which those who use it can contribute to it, creating a recursive cycle that benefits our users and contributors all the same. We will fix problems as they come, be open to feedback and never be afraid to challenge the status quo. We strongly believe that our alumni, developers from all across the country, the tech community and Canada all deserve it.
About Devhub: Devhub is Canada’s first education & co-working space for developers of all levels. It is a platform where developers can grow together, whether they've been coding for two decades or 8 weeks. Devhub connects developers with community, mentorship, and a unique co-working environment all programmed for their needs & growth. For more information visit: www.Devhub.ca