October 28 is Lighthouse Labs' Five-Year Birthday! To honour this exciting milestone, we're taking a look back at some of the past events and goals we've achieved, our favourite initiatives we've been a part of along the way, and what kind of impact they had after the fact.
Back in December, 2015 Lighthouse Labs received a call from Kate Armstrong of Emily Carr who, as a result of seeing the press around the Syrian Refugee Crisis, decided to start a program called Startland where she would help refugees coming to BC get the opportunities they needed to restart here as quickly as possible. In working with ISSofBC, Startland turned into the TechStart and TechWomen programs; where schools like Lighthouse Labs offered scholarships in conjunction with funding and career support from ISSofBC. Those programs have been running for two years now and we're excited to catch up with one of our graduates: Fayez Saadi. Fayez has a background in electrical communication engineering. After graduating from university in 2013, he worked as an integration engineer for a Swedish telecom company called Ericsson for several years before moving to Canada. From there, he joined and graduated from the Lighthouse Labs web development bootcamp in Vancouver.
How did you originally hear about ISSofBC?
When I moved to Vancouver, I started looking and asking about organizations that provide support for newcomers, immigrants, and refugees. So, I immediately learned about it since it’s pretty popular in the Vancouver community.
What inspired you to pursue a career in tech?
I’ve always worked in tech in addition to my educational background as I mentioned. Basically, it’s my passion. But I also wanted to improve my skills in certain areas like programming and writing code and that’s what made me join Lighthouse Labs.
Can you tell us about your experience as a student at Lighthouse Labs?
The experience was awesome since day one! The instructors and mentors are super helpful. The curriculum and the web app are very informative, and you can tell that the school environment is built to help students succeed in the programs. By the end of each day I was looking forward to the next day knowing that I would learn new things and have a great experience.
Let’s talk about your first-year as a developer. When did you find a job and where have you worked?
I had my first job interview as a developer and at the same time with my current employer at the speed dating event organized by Lighthouse. So, basically, I got hired a week before graduation! The company is a startup called Hack Capital founded by Kyle Campbell and it's located in Gastown in Vancouver. I was hired as a full-stack software engineer.
What do you do now? What technologies are you currently working with?
I am still working at the same company as full-stack software engineer. We use the most up to tech stack in our projects including Nodejs platform, Reactjs, Vuejs, Postgres, Elastic Search, Docker, Amazon AWS…etc.
How has Lighthouse Labs bootcamp prepared you for your current position?
There are many points to cover here, so I will try my best. Essentially, by teaching us the most up to date tech stack, and the variety of projects we had to work on. By helping us work with different team members and students I met for the first time, by teaching us the industry best practices and how to start a project and preparations needed before even starting to write code.
What would you say to someone who wants to start a career as a developer with Lighthouse Labs?
I encourage anyone who thinks about this step to just go for it! Lighthouse Labs is an awesome school with a great environment. I would also encourage them to just visit and meet the staff and I’m sure they will make up their mind by then. Lighthouse not only changed my life for the better, but many other friends and colleagues as well. I have at least four Lighthouse Labs alumni coworkers and one of them started working at the same time as me.
What do you love about being a developer and the tech industry where you live?
Being in tech, building new apps, the challenges, tackling new problems and solving them, learning and personal development. The tech community and the startup scene are awesome and also fun in Vancouver. The perks you get when work in startup and the interesting people you meet in the community are all factors that are more than enough to make you fall in love with it!
Are you working on any side projects?
At this time, I am busy learning and expanding my experience as a developer, I have my full focus on my current projects at work, trying to develop new skills, on both technical and soft skills, reading technical books...etc., I also have some plans to start mentoring at Lighthouse soon. I do have some ideas for side projects but only for the coming years.
Anything else you want to add about Lighthouse Labs, working with ISSofBC, or working as a developer?
ISSofBC and Lighthouse Labs have changed my entire life to a better position, I will always be thankful and grateful to what they have done. Through their services I was able to start my life and have a great career in the tech industry as a new comer.