Dan is an instructor at our Calgary campus and has been delivering amazing free workshops in HTML & CSS for the community. Dan comes from a diverse background, covering everything from computer science to a Masters in Divinity, but has always had a passion for teaching. When the stars aligned and an opportunity to teach at LHL came up, it was the perfect next step for Dan. Take a read and learn more about our beloved Calgary instructor!
How did you get into coding?
I first started coding when I was in Grade 1 - my first program was written in AppIe LOGO. Coding is just started to be introduced into the primary education system, which is something I love to get into. It’s long overdue.
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got involved with Lighthouse Labs?
I’m passionate about creating things that never existed before, which is how I fell into computers. I haven’t exactly had a traditional path - my educational background is really diverse. I’ve done everything from computer science, to radio broadcasting, to a Masters of Divinity. Through all of those different stages of my life, I’ve always programmed in some capacity.
I initially learned about Lighthouse Labs through the Calgary Community Manager, Jenn when I met her at the New Tech Meetup at Innovate Calgary in September of 2015. All I did was ask if Lighthouse needed any teachers, and now here we are!
What made you decide to become a mentor and instructor at Lighthouse Labs?
I’ve been a teacher longer than I’ve been anything else. Education is a strong trend in my family. Many of us have spent a lot of time furthering our education or teaching, including my father who was a Computer Science Professor at the University of Calgary. I really look up to the Lighthouse Labs instructors in Vancouver and I’m always aspiring to become more like them.
What do you enjoy doing outside of teaching and coding?
I love starting projects and creating new things. One of the things I am most passionate about is energy conservation. I blog about how to save energy and, it’s not entirely because I’m an environmentalist, but it’s that I absolutely hate paying for this stuff when there are ways to cut back. I really wish Computer Scientists would speak out about Climate Science more often.
Tell us a bit about your side projects!
I have four kids and I’ve learned a whole bunch of stuff, and the one thing that I need to learn is how to run a business, and coding helps me do that. I’ve been working on an accounting software, which is what I spend the most of my time coding on.
I think students could have a completely different experience in the program if they thought about what they are passionate about and what they would want to build before they start the bootcamp. If you have that drive to get something done, you will be a much better coder. We can teach people to be programmers, but if you don’t have a reason to code, you won’t.
Why are you passionate about teaching at Lighthouse?
Lighthouse Labs is doing it right! I’ve seen it done and taught in a traditional capacity for almost 20 years. I’ve had job offers from other technical institutions but I truly wanted to come here. I think Lighthouse is different because it is the most efficient and has attracted the most interesting people to the program.
What has been your most memorable moment so far?
We have had some amazing students come in the door. I think my favourite moments are when some of our most talented students ask me for a reference and I feel like I should be asking them!
What does it take to be successful in the Web Development Bootcamp?
The ones that succeed are the ones who quickly pick up the language and can put instructions into action.
It’s also important to not be afraid to do things right the first time. Everyone has an idea of what it means to be right but, you have to figure out how to make it work first. Once you figure out how to make it work, you can figure out how to make it work better and faster.