Since graduating Bootcamp, Niloo has been hard at work for LumosPOS, mentoring new Bootcamp students at Lighthouse and pursuing a side-passing for Data Science. Niloo has some great advice for incoming students and insight on the value of feeling comfortable being uncomfortable. Keep reading to learn more about her experience in the year since she left Lighthouse.
What were you doing before Lighthouse Labs?
I was working as a Business Analyst at a startup called LumosPOS, which was making a Point-of-sale/ecommerce app like Square/Shopify.
What made you decide to come to Lighthouse Labs?
My role at LumosPOS was not technical, but I was surrounded by devs, and worked with them constantly, so I got a good sense of what it would be like to work as a dev. I really felt like it would be a good fit for me, and so I shopped around, and Lighthouse Labs seemed like the fastest way to propel myself into the industry and make a career switch.
It’s been exactly a year since you graduated Lighthouse Labs, what have you been up to?
I was lucky enough to land a position as a Technical Support Specialist at Clearbanc (a Fintech Startup founded by Dragon Den's Michele Romanow) before I finished bootcamp. My role was focused on quality assurance, testing automation and technical support. Now I'm working as a Software Developer, mentoring at Lighthouse and working on a few Data Science-focused freelance projects.
How did Lighthouse prepare you for your transition from bootcamp to full-time developer?
The biggest thing Lighthouse Labs was able to offer me was teaching me how to learn. Software Development is something that you never "fully get" - there are always new technologies/languages etc. being developed, and there is always going to be something you don't know. My time at Lighthouse taught me how to be comfortable with the unknown, be able to use resources to learn on my own, and not be afraid to jump into new projects, even if there were some technical aspects I didn't know.
Tell us about living in Toronto as a Developer!
Toronto has a really vibrant tech scene, and the tech community here is one of my favourite ones. I used to work in the film industry, and one of the reasons I transitioned was because the community was so competitive and didn't offer a nurturing vibe. I find the tech community here is just full of nice, smart people who love to learn and help each other. I also found that Lighthouse's mentor network offered me an inside track into this community.
What technologies are you working with?
What advice would you give someone who wants to become a developer?
Be comfortable with being uncomfortable. I find that every project I work on, I feel like I don't know anything and I can't do it (it's a strong case of Imposter Syndrome), but once I get into it, I always figure it out, and walk away having learned a lot. Many other students and even some Senior Devs I've spoken to say they feel the same way, and sometimes even consider not doing projects because they don't think they can. Don't let that feeling stop you from jumping into something, because the best way to learn is to be challenged and to work through problems yourself.
What's the weirdest, or most interesting part of your job?
I think the weirdest, and best part of being a developer is how it has changed the way I think, and how I tackle problems, even in other parts of my life. Now I always find myself trying to understand how things work, and automatically breaking problems down into smaller, more manageable elements. It makes me feel like I'm much smarter now, but in reality, I have just learned how to think more efficiently, and a large part of where that process started was at Lighthouse.
Any side projects?
I'm working on two side-projects right now. One is a Meeting Automation app that can process audio-files, discern speakers and offer analytics on content discussed during the meeting. The other is a compatibility app that uses user text data to determine whether two people are romantically compatible.
I'm very interested in back-end development and especially Data Science and Machine Learning. I am studying on my own through MOOCs and taking on freelance projects that focus more on Data Science. Hopefully in a couple of years, with enough practice, I can work as a Data Scientist in the industry.
Anything else you want to add about LHL, the Toronto tech scene, or working as a dev?
I think it's important to note that if you are serious about working as a developer and don't know how to start or what is involved in making a career switch, that Lighthouse is the best place to go to figure that out - you have such a supportive network of mentors, staff and other students who are struggling with you, and they will help get you to a point where you have the tools to figure it out. But there is still a lot of learning that comes after bootcamp, and you should be prepared for some hard work!