Prior to the Web Development Bootcamp, Alex had studied computer science at Camosun and UVic but never completed his degree. After several years, Alex decided to try Software Development again and enrolled at Lighthouse Labs. During bootcamp, he worked on a web application called Nearhere, a travel assistant that changes recommendations based on someones lifestyle.


Tell us about your time with Lighthouse (Bootcamp + Internship)?

I’ve been at Lighthouse Labs since July, when I attended the Web Development bootcamp. However, the preparation for bootcamp actually started in early June when I moved to Vancouver. It was a pretty intense month when I went through the pre-bootcamp prep module but I felt like it really helped me build a great foundation for when the program started. Bootcamp itself was quite intense. We were all waking up early and putting in long days of coding. However, it was also one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. My cohort was a very tight knit group and they really pushed me to produce some great work. Even with the workload, it was a ton of fun.

After I finished bootcamp, I was hired by Lighthouse Labs to be the Web Development Intern. This experience has been equally great and it really allowed me to solidify the skills I learned in bootcamp. For example, I struggled a bit with Ruby when we we learning it during the program but working with it on a daily basis as an intern really helped me to learn it properly. It’s pretty cool to actually be responsible for code in a working setting and having people rely on my work. Furthermore, working with a team of developers and non-developers has really helped to strengthen my communication skills.

What did you do before Bootcamp?

Years ago I did a two year program at Camosun and got hired by Camosun afterwards to help them with a hardware refresh project. After that I decided that I wanted to get a full computer science degree and break into tech so I enrolled at UVic. That lasted for four semesters and I eventually lost my focus and felt pretty burnt out. I took time off from school and spent a lot of years living in different communities across the Pacific Northwest.

I was working at a grocery store on Pender Island when I reconnected with a friend who had completed the Lighthouse Labs bootcamp. He was working as a Web Developer and doing great. It inspired me to do something similar. So I decided to take the leap and take one more stab at getting into the tech industry.

What was the final project you did for Bootcamp?

We made a web application called Nearhere, which is essentially a travel assistant that changes recommendations based on someones lifestyle. We used the Google Maps API for the location functions and put in filters so that someone can find specific businesses and services. This allowed them to save certain views and for the system to provide suggestions based on what they were looking for. The coolest part about the project was that we were able to create both a web and mobile app in time for Demo Day. It was a challenge we wanted to take on because we felt really good about our team dynamics. By the end of bootcamp, we had a fully responsive web and mobile application for Nearhere.


Did your team think about developing this app further after Bootcamp?

We definitely talked about it but I think towards the end of the project we realized that there was a limitation to what we were developing. It was definitely a project we really loved though. Most importantly, most of us got jobs as developers pretty soon after bootcamp so our priorities changed a lot. If I ever get the time I would love to go back to the app and change the front-end to make it look a bit prettier, but other than that I actually think the app is pretty functional as is.

What technology did you use to build this app?

We used a pure JavaScript approach. For the back-end, we used express server. We used the KNEX JavaScript library to link that to the Postgre database. This was probably the strongest part of our app. For the front-end, we used React which was very fun. In terms of use, it was probably the best library we learned in bootcamp. A lot of time was spent making react work on such a large scale and having it interact with the Google Maps API. In terms of tech, I think the toughest job we had was connecting two separate servers. None of us were particularly strong in front-end development and design so that also took us a lot of time.

What was the most difficult part of making your app?

I think just coordinating the four of us in the group to ensure everything got completed on time. We were all competent and got along, but working on something this intense over a 16 day span definitely took its toll. At first, it took a while for us to find the proper structure and none of us were naturally drawn to the project manager role. Eventually, we decided to split into two groups and would have the pairs working on different parts of the project. This worked very well and the built in accountability of having pairs ensured that everything stayed on track.


What are you most proud of?

Using JavaScript to the extent that we did. I felt like it was such a huge accomplishment and some of the code we had was pretty far beyond the scope of bootcamp. I loved the way our back-end ended up, especially how clean and functional it was. I think our team’s debugging was top notch as well and the project ended up being very well executed.

Any Additional Comments?

I’m currently in my last week of my internship and about to start work next week as a Software Developer at a local blockchain startup. I’m continually surprised by how much I’ve been able to do over the last year. Thinking about where I was before bootcamp to where I am now, it’s quite astounding. Even at the end of bootcamp, the whole idea of being a developer seemed really daunting but now I feel very confident in my abilities.

If you’re interested in our app, check it out at!