Taking the Web Development Bootcamp in Vancouver allowed Jackson to make the switch from mortgage broker to web developer. He now works full-time on his own business (that he founded) called Tuft + Paw which sell beautiful, modern cat furniture.

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What were you doing before you attended Lighthouse Labs?

Before attending Lighthouse, I was a mortgage broker and I had just started my first ecommerce store selling masquerade masks.

What made you decide to apply to Lighthouse Labs?

I needed to develop a custom app for my shopify store, so I hired a developer on Upwork. However, the process was extremely frustrating because I was not able to communicate technically with them.

Tell us about living in Vancouver as a Developer?

There seems to be lots of jobs available in Vancouver. In general, the tech scene is very strong here. I don’t think you ever need to worry about employment if you’re a developer. However, it seems like there are a lot of junior developers and not as many senior developers. So I’ve found that the quality of jobs goes way up once you become a bit more senior. Otherwise, you need to accept a lower salary for the first few years until you build up some experience.

Any great Vancouver meetups you like to attend?

I like the ecommerce meetup hosted by The Jibe. There’s also an online forum called ecommerce fuel that has a very tight knit crew that meets up every few months in Vancouver.

Tell us about your first year as a developer. When did you find a job?

I got a job right after graduating Lighthouse Labs as an MVP builder. I would build MVPs for clients using Rails. After my first job as a developer, I realized I was better as a project manager, so I got a job as the ecommerce manager at Wiivv. One of my first tasks was redeveloping the website, and the fact that I could communicate technically with the developers was crucial to the success.

What has the culture been like?

It’s very energetic; work hard play hard, with lots of passionate people.

Have you been working on any side projects?

I started a new company called Tuft + Paw and we sell beautiful modern cat furniture. It’s been growing really fast and I recently quit Wiivv to work on it full time. Having development experience is a huge asset, as I can create my own custom apps and advance website functionality. Becoming a developer also helps you improve your problem solving techniques, so overall it’s been a great experience.

What technologies are you currently working with?

Liquid, Javascript, Shopify.

What advice would you give someone who wants to become a developer?

Go to Lighthouse Labs! Don’t focus as much on pay, instead look for good companies that would look good on your resume and help you build experience doing something you’re interested in.