Dissatisfied with his career prospects and growth working in desktop IT support, Micah decided to register for the Lighthouse Labs Web Development Bootcamp and pursue a career as a Web Developer. He is now working at Amazon as a Web Development Engineer, where he is facing new challenges daily and learning constantly. We recently caught up with him to see what the last year has been like since he left Lighthouse Labs.
What were you doing before Lighthouse Labs?
I was working full-time in desktop IT support.
What made you decide to come to Lighthouse Labs?
Dissatisfaction with my career prospects and a need to learn something new. I had a few friends who went through the Lighthouse Labs Web Development Bootcamp and gave a strong recommendation for it. The curriculum was also the most challenging I could find in terms of breadth.
It’s been exactly a year since you graduated Lighthouse Labs, what have you been up to?
Working! About a month after graduation, I started at Amazon as a Web Developer Engineer, where I've been learning continually. The work is compelling and the prospects are much more promising than in my past career, so mission-accomplished.
How did Lighthouse prepare you for your transition from Bootcamp to full-time developer?
Mostly by building my self-confidence. I learned that with enough persistence, I'm capable of learning whatever I need to in order to accomplish a task. I also got used to working hard, fast, on things way outside my comfort zone, which is now basically my day-to-day norm.
Tell us about living in Toronto as a Developer!
I've been in Toronto for quite awhile, so not much has changed there. The money is better, so my quality of life has improved a bit, even with all the debt accumulated during or as a result of Bootcamp. I expect next year to be even better in this regard. The developers I've gotten to know so far are terrific, and I feel like I fit in with this crowd.
What technologies are you working with?
Mostly Spring MVC variants and lots of internally-built tools.
What advice would you give someone who wants to become a developer?
Don't cheat yourself. If you've decided to go for it, work as hard as possible to learn lots and don't skimp on interview prep. Most critically, in the moments during and after Bootcamp where you feel like you've got nothing left or can't figure something out, take a break. It's amazing what 5 minutes away from the computer can do to unblock your mind and bring back some emotional well-being.
What's the weirdest, or most interesting part of your job?
Learning the space. OK - that's very broad. Amazon's probably different than many dev jobs. There are many internal tools to figure out (sometimes very frustrating, sometimes really useful, or both).
Any side projects?
Not any dev-related projects ATM. When I'm off work, I'm riding or tinkering with bicycles and motorcycles and getting some quality time in with my wife/friends/family.
I have a lot of room to grow here, so probably more of this. I'll be sticking with this path until I feel I'm not learning anything new... which could well represent a decade or more from the looks of it.
Anything else you want to add about LHL, the Toronto tech scene, or working as a dev?
Lighthouse Labs was a transformative experience in my life - both the course experience and the career improvement that came from it were incredibly rewarding. I don't really feel part of a 'tech scene' per se. I like to live my life when not at work but the friends I made at Lighthouse will remain part of my life. It's like we went to war together and came out better for it. The work itself is different and much harder than I expected, but is compelling and satisfying so I'm happy!