Scholarship Spotlight: Sophie Dubois By: Lighthouse labs Meet Sophie Dubois, recent Lighthouse Labs graduate, and one of the first recipients of our COVID-19 Scholarship. Programming has been a passion of Sophie’s for a while, but when COVID-19 became a major concern, she decided it was time to turn her hobby into a career. Unemployed at the time, she applied for the Lighthouse Labs COVID-19 scholarship and was one of more than 150 initial recipients. Sophie graduated in mid-August as part of the May 2020 web development bootcamp cohort. We sat-down with Sophie (virtually, of course) to discuss her bootcamp experience, the scholarship funds, and her tips for aspiring developers. September 2020 NEWS : Sophie got hired as a Junior Software Engineer at Rose Rocket only 3 weeks after graduation! Congrats! Tell me a bit about your background? I, along with most of my cohort, do not have a background in computer science. I have a bachelor's degree in biology. After university, I did a lot of travelling and working abroad. Most of my work experience has been in education and hospitality. Why did you choose to change your career to web development? I had been interested in web development for over a year before joining the bootcamp. I was taking online courses and following programming tutorials as a hobby while also juggling two jobs. Then, COVID-19 hit Canada and the government urged Canadians to return home if they were abroad. I was out of the country at the time, so I made my way back home. I had no income and no job prospects, so I decided to turn my hobby into a career and join Lighthouse Labs. It was not an easy decision, but I have no regrets and am so happy I decided to dive head first and commit to this career change. What does receiving this scholarship mean to you? To be honest, it means a lot. I cried when I got the email informing me that I received the scholarship. As a result of COVID-19, I did not have an income at the time of my enrollment and did not have access to the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB) during the bootcamp. This meant that I had to take out a student loan to be able to pay for tuition. I am so thankful for receiving the scholarship, which definitely made the financial commitment of joining the bootcamp less intimidating and more attainable. “I cried when I got the email informing me that I received the scholarship. As a result of Covid-19, I did not have an income at the time of my enrollment and did not have access to the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit program during the bootcamp.” What made you choose Lighthouse Labs Bootcamp? Once I made up my mind about joining a bootcamp, I started researching all the bootcamps offered in Canada. My main criteria when comparing these bootcamps was the curriculum. I had been programming as a hobby for a while so I didn’t want to join a bootcamp where I would just be learning what I already knew. I wanted a full-stack program, where I would be challenged to learn new technologies and frameworks. I wanted experience working on group projects. I wanted to learn more about automated testing and database design. I wanted experience learning a new language. Of course other factors came into play when I was comparing these bootcamps: location, tuition, employment rate, etc. But ultimately, I was looking for a bootcamp that would best help me grow as a developer, and Lighthouse Labs was the one that delivered. What advice would you give to aspiring developers? My first piece of advice for aspiring developers is to do your research. I would recommend signing up for a few free introductory courses online and make sure you actually like web development. If you enjoy learning these technologies and want to commit to becoming a web developer, do more research! Compare the bootcamps that are available to you and make sure you choose one that best fits your needs. It’s a big decision, and not one that should be taken lightly! Finally, once you have enrolled in your bootcamp of choice, don’t just sit around waiting for the start date. Start studying! Get a leg up! Bootcamp is tough, the pace at which you learn is insane and it is very easy to fall behind. If you can have some familiarity with the topics covered during the bootcamp, it can be a huge advantage. “Once you have enrolled in your bootcamp of choice, don’t just sit around waiting for the start date. Start studying! Get a leg up! Bootcamp is tough, the pace at which you learn is insane.” Start your Free online coding classes What are your career goals now that you graduated? My main career goal now that I have graduated is to continue learning and growing as a developer. I am actively looking for junior developer roles with companies that have a strong emphasis on mentorship and growth. I am also taking this time to figure out where the biggest gaps in my knowledge are and studying to try and bridge those gaps. It’s true what they say: “The more you know, the more you realize you don’t know”. A commitment to a career in web development is a commitment to continuous learning, so that’s what I am doing! Do you have anything else to add about your experience? I absolutely loved my experience at Lighthouse Labs. There have been highs and lows. Some days are really difficult and you start to doubt yourself, other days are extremely rewarding and you feel like you’re on top of the world! But the rollercoaster is worth it! As someone who had been programming as a hobby and toying with the idea of joining a bootcamp for a while before actually committing, I can confidently say it was the right decision for me. The daily lectures, assigned tasks, deadlines, access to mentors and instructors, group projects, research assignments, coding evaluations (and more) are invaluable and unmatched outside of a bootcamp environment. You can’t become a successful programmer by dedicating one or two hours a day to online courses (at least I couldn’t). You need to immerse yourself. Live, breathe, eat code for 12 weeks. Then look back and see all that you’ve learned! "I absolutely loved my experience at Lighthouse Labs. There have been highs and lows. Some days are really difficult and you start to doubt yourself, other days are extremely rewarding and you feel like you’re on top of the world! But the rollercoaster is worth it!"