Don Burks is a former instructor at Lighthouse Labs and played a vital role in building our ever-evolving curriculum. He’s been coding since the dawn of time (well, since the launch of the Commodore 64), and is as passionate about teaching as he is technology. Don knows what it takes to succeed in the Lighthouse Labs Bootcamp and was kind enough to offer some advice for those weighing the pros and cons of our full-time and part-time programs.

During my time at Lighthouse Labs, I was not just an instructor for current students, I was also a resource for prospective students concerned about making the right choice in their journey to learning to code. One of the most frequent questions I would receive was, "Which program is right for me? Should I take the bootcamp or would the part-time program teach me what I need?"

Though it is often considered improper to respond to a question with another, I always reply with, "What is your goal? Do you want to work as a professional developer, data scientist or cyber-security analyst?"

Part-Time vs. Full-Time Lighthouse Labs

When it comes to picking between the full-time and part-time programs at Lighthouse Labs, this needs to be the deciding factor. Of course, price is going to be a concern, - one program costs multiple times the other, - and yet, when people come to me for advice, they usually aren't asking about the price tag. They're asking because they want to make sure that the course they choose is going to help them achieve their objectives.

"Do you want to work as a professional developer?"

This question is the proverbial line in the sand.

Explore our full-time courses

If the answer is 'yes', then there is no question that the full-time bootcamp is the program they need.

Full-time bootcamps at Lighthouse Labs focus on teaching our students how to think and problem solve like software developers, data scientists and cyber-security analysts. In addition to teaching them the relevant tech stacks, the goal is also to teach them how to learn, since most of their knowledge as professional tech professionals will come from hands-on experience on the job. The depth of knowledge and training they receive in the program will prepare them for a career as a skilled tech professional.

Twelve weeks of immersive education, access to the best talent in the industry, and the opportunity to be introduced to developer culture are all invaluable aspects of the full-time program. The vast majority of our full-time bootcamp students share the goal of becoming software developers, data analysts/scientists and cyber security professionals. They come with the passion and drive needed to survive the intense learning experience.

In other words: if your goal is to master this craft in an accelerated way - this is the course for you!

Explore our part-time courses

If the answer is 'not sure', taking a part time course might be the best option.

The part-time course is also extremely valuable. It was designed to whet people's appetite for tech. Through events like our 21-Day Coding Challenge, 21-Day Data Challenge and numerous hackathons organized over the years, we know there is a demand for people to go beyond using the web to learning how to build it. However, not everyone is ready to quit their job, spend three months in an intensive, immersive bootcamp environment, and launch a career as a dev. A lot of people are content as hobbyists when it comes to coding. Not everyone who cooks well works as a chef, after all. Many of the part-time students at Lighthouse Labs work with developers and data scientists as part of their career, and want to be able to speak the language, understand the workflow, and be able to share in the thrill of building a product they believe in. If you can't decide if you enjoy programming as a career, or if you've never programmed before, what better way to figure it out than to try it out first in a structured and relaxed environment.

There are many ways to become a tech professional. The passion that drives someone to immerse themselves in 12 challenging weeks of training is the passion that we want to cultivate. The part-time program at Lighthouse Labs is designed specifically for people who are passionate about building their skills while remaining on existing career paths. When I answer someone's question with my own, what I'm trying to gauge is where their passion is leading them. We are always on the lookout for passionate, driven and smart individuals who can think in a structured way. These types of people often benefit the most from our educational model, regardless of which program they take.

Ultimately, if you want to learn to code, enjoy working with data or have a passion for cyber security, Lighthouse Labs has designed multiple programs that will help you achieve that goal. We have had students in both our full-time and part-time programs go on to launch startups based on the skills they acquired and the connections they made in our programs. These companies have even hired graduates from us. The Lighthouse Labs community, students, staff and alumni, gives back to itself whenever possible. Be part of this amazing community! Give yourself the gift of learning to code, and you will catapult your career and open up endless possibilities, whichever program you choose to take.