One Year After Bootcamp: Charlotte Lopez By: Rebecca Haliburton Before coming to Lighthouse Labs, Charlotte Lopez was working as a Graphic Operator & Designer with CBC. Now, she's creating interactive graphics for clients like Disney and Teletoon as a Designer + Developer for Corus Entertainment! We caught up with Charlotte to learn more about her career transition and life after Bootcamp. What made you decide to come to Lighthouse Labs? I've always been interested in web design and development. I had one web class in college and I enjoyed it just as much as broadcasting. After graduating college, I didn't want to spend another 4 years in school and money was also a factor. Out of all the coding bootcamps and college courses I researched, I thought Lighthouse Labs had a great curriculum that would give me more than an introduction. They also had great reviews and I liked the overall vibe of the bootcamp too. It’s been exactly a year since you graduated Lighthouse Labs, what have you been up to? Started at Corus Entertainment 5 months ago as vizrt Designer and Developer. My role is a combination of 3D, Design, Animation, Operations, UX, Broadcast and Web which what I wanted. I'm exposed to Designers and Developers in many different forms. My Creative Director, as well as my mentor and most of my colleagues are artists who are self-taught Developers. My creative director was also a Web Designer/Developer before too! I create interactive graphics for 30+ channels. My main role in the team is creating functional interactive graphics, databases and adding logic to designs. My last two projects were interactive graphics for Disney and Teletoon. Viewers vote on our web app and our graphics are parsing that data to auto populate all the fields, as well as adding logic and animation so our graphics are reacting to the incoming data. I currently work with one other Web Developer in our team. :) I'm also working as a freelance Web Developer with my friends from bootcamp. We've had 3 clients so far and 1 more project this summer. How did Lighthouse prepare you for your transition from bootcamp to full-time Developer? Lighthouse prepared me by giving me the confidence that I can learn anything with the right attitude along with the skills. Before I attended bootcamp, I was insecure that I didn't know enough. Now, I'm able to learn what I need to get the project done and then building that skill up. I also learned how to think more like a Developer while breaking problems down, iterating, testing and collaborating with other Designers and Developers. Also, emphasizing with others that may not see or learn the way you do. It's easy to explain it to someone who thinks like you. I learned to explain concepts and ideas to others who think differently from me. Tell us about living in Toronto as a Developer! Toronto is a great place to be a Developer. Its inclusive to women compared to other cities in my opinion. Developers in Toronto are also very supportive and helpful from my experience. If you're a woman and reading this especially, I encourage you to learn how to code and don't be discouraged by anyone. There is always that small number of people who are negative about the role of women in tech but it's a very small number in Toronto. I agree there is a diversity issue but I would rather be a developer in Toronto than anywhere else right now. What technologies are you working with? At work, vbscript, SQL and I'm creating an MVP app for testing our database using HTML, CSS, postgreSQL and Ruby on Rails. What advice would you give someone who wants to become a developer? Be patient with yourself and don't listen to anyone who says you're not cut out to be a Developer. You may not get it yet but if you're patient, calm and work smart you can. Go to meetups and ask Developers for resources instead of wasting your time learning everything. Figure out what kind of developer you want and focus on that and expand to other skills once you have an expertise in that area. What's the weirdest, or most interesting part of your job? Weirdest: I can't believe I get paid to do this. Interesting: Everyday is interesting cause everyday is different at work. With 30+ channels to support, every design, functionality and needs are different for each channel. Any side projects? Freelance work! Redesigning and finishing up these websites: www.blackmarketmealprep.com & www.emmaandjim.com. What's next? End Goal: Interactive Designer and Developer. This year, my goal is to go back to the fundamentals and not worry about the latest frameworks. Frameworks come and go but fundamentals will never get old. If I don't know what this framework is solving then I'm not using it unless I can create it in vanilla script and understand why I'm using this. As for my career at Corus, there is a push for augmented reality and interactive graphics in the future. The line between broadcast and web is disappearing fast so learning unity would be great too for anyone who want to combine design, gaming and development. Anything else you want to add about LHL, the Toronto tech scene, or working as a dev? Attending LHL changed the trajectory of not just my career but life. Learning how to code and being part of Toronto tech scene is great too. You can feel the optimism and innovation when I go to meetups. If you're a woman and reading this especially, I encourage you to learn how to code and don't be discouraged by anyone. There is always that small number of people who are negative about the role of women in tech but it's a very small number in Toronto. I agree there is a diversity issue but I would rather be a developer in Toronto than anywhere else right now. 99.9% of developers I've met have always been kind and supportive towards me. Be smart and follow your intuition with these startups too. Make sure you're getting the mentorship you need. I am very fortunate to be in a place where my mentors are both designers and developers. The first step to becoming a Developer with Lighthouse Labs is submitting your application and arranging an admissions interview. If you have any questions, please get in touch and we're happy to help or arrange a campus tour!