Lighthouse Labs alumna Flora Uwadiegwu has always loved learning.
From a bachelor's degree in chemistry to a masters in chemical engineering, Flora's education has taken her to Montreal and the Big Apple. Most recently, she enrolled in and graduated from the 12-week web development bootcamp at Lighthouse Labs.
Today, she works in the music industry as a software engineer at Wavo.me, a global marketing and analytics firm for music.
I graduated from McGill University a few years ago where I got my masters in chemical engineering. Prior to that, I lived in New York City and obtained a bachelor’s degree in chemistry with a double minor in art and math.
If software development is the path you seek, I say go for it with all your might and heart open.
I always loved learning new things and venturing out of my comfort zone and making the decision to move to Montreal was to be the start of greater things. During my time as a graduate student, I started off working with a small startup here in Montreal which heightened my interest in the tech scene over time. I then moved on to a bigger corporation in a different industry but soon realized I wanted to be more hands-on in product/software development. So I made a decision this year to completely devout myself in getting the skills I needed to make that career switch.
I’m proud to say that I’m currently a software engineer at Wavo.me, a place where music meets analytics! My first couple of weeks as a developer has truly been enlightening in so many ways.
More importantly, I have full support of my team which alone motivates me to do better each day. I was and still am challenged with my tasks each day especially being my first gig in the industry but I believe having a growth mindset and the urge to keep learning and applying is one of the best ways to strive and see positive results.
Why Lighthouse Labs as a Bootcamp?
I did a lot of research on different bootcamps in the Montreal-area mainly online and came to find out that Lighthouse Labs had the most rigorous selection process and course material offered to become a developer. The length of the program was also ideal as I didn’t want something too extensive or too short. And I would graduate right in time before the summer kicked off.
No sugar coating, bootcamps are really for the brave.
The great reviews and feedback I got from others who knew about the program also led me to choose Lighthouse Labs.
Learning Experience at Lighthouse Labs
To be honest I’ve never experienced this form of learning before. It was invigorating! But I was certainly challenged at each point in time. I learned and had to process large amounts of information in very short amounts of time to obtain the programming skills I have today. No sugar coating, bootcamps are really for the brave!
And guess what? We all are.
As long as we speak it into existence and take the initiative to start, we’ll always achieve the results we set out for. My journey at LHL was also accompanied with the kindest and brightest mentors I know. They guided me during times where I found myself stuck on a certain problem or task and gave me constant feedback through my journey. Couple of weeks in the bootcamp, we were faced with having to studying remotely indefinitely due to the pandemic.
This transition was certainly not the easiest, but with constant motivation from my peers and people around me, I was able to adapt with time. Things moved along even faster and before we knew it our cohort graduated!
Tips/Tricks For Staying Focused
During my first couple of days in the bootcamp, I kept hearing mentors emphasize how important taking breaks was. To be honest I never took that advice seriously until I realized that this program was no joke and I needed to be ready physically, mentally, and emotionally every single day.
So my number one tip would definitely be, take 5 - 15 mins breaks more often than you think you need to. I also found being physically active in some form kept me refreshed and ready to go again when I had to. It could be a late-night yoga, or taking a walk in the park, or an intense hour-long plyometrics workout (if you’re up for it!).
On The Job
So far it’s continued to be a learning experience for me even at my job. Maybe it even takes a bit more time than the average university cs grad to apply certain concepts, but in the end, I get the task done with the support and encouragement from my colleagues. I think one thing that’s interesting to see is that each and every developer in the industry has their own working style and multiple ways of approaching the same one problem.
Everything aligns once the mind is willing.
I currently work in a small knit team of six and it’s amazing to see how diverse we are in our skill sets and approach that in turn, we always get to learn from each other and expand our knowledge in various aspects, growing together one day at a time.
Wave.me's Company Culture
The company’s culture is lit! Seriously.
We’re a tech company catered for the music industry so we do have a lot of talented, curious, and open-minded individuals. We all come from different walks of life but have a common and strong bond, which is our love for music! We’re also currently remote but have set in place tools that allow us to communicate just as easily as it would’ve been in the office. I’m currently part of the Diversity & Inclusion Book Club set to debut this fall and also looking forward to other activities planned for the remainder of the year.
I’m currently working on a front-end project using mainly React, IBM Carbon Design, and GraphQL.
Advice For Aspiring Developers
If software development is the path you seek, I say go for it with all your might and heart open. Forget about not getting the right answer to a problem or worrying about the deadline for a certain task or project. Enjoy the process, and be proud of the fact that you have made that decision to take on this new and exciting journey. Everything aligns once the mind is willing.
I think one of the most valuable things I learned in the bootcamp was learning how to learn! It might sound a bit silly at first but this is a very important skill to have especially being a developer. A huge chunk of my time is spent on researching and reading documentation, understanding how a certain framework or API works, or even reading up on best practices. I made a habit of teaching myself the most efficient way of learning new concepts. It can start with as little as knowing what keywords to use in my Google search to get relevant information I need, or knowing how to navigate through a rigorous documentation and swiftly apply concepts talked about.