With a degree in English Literature and working in Customer Service and Marketing at a cleaning company, Scott decided to take the plunge and become a developer. He enrolled in Lighthouse Labs' Web Development Bootcamp and found himself working as a developer two weeks after the program finished. Today, he is a Software Engineer at Indeed and is an active part of the coding community.


What were you doing before Lighthouse Labs?

I was doing customer service and marketing at a small cleaning company. I graduated from UBC in early 2014 with a degree of English Literature, with the initial plan of going into teaching high school. After deciding that wasn’t right for me, I was at a loss of what to do next. When I graduated, coding was about the farthest thing from my mind, so it’s been a bit of a crazy road.

What made you decide to come to Lighthouse Labs?

My coding journey started in August meandering 2015. I was travelling in Peru, and trying to figure out what a good career was—just literally Googling, “What is a good career?” Web development came up repeatedly, so I decided to try my hand at this coding thing. I had a week in Lima where I just went to a coffee shop every day and played around with JavaScript. I found I could do that for 8 hours a day and not get bored. So I was hooked.

After that, having decided on a web developer job, I went back and forth on whether to teach myself and get a job that way, or sign up for a program like Lighthouse Labs. In the end, getting both direction (so key in the fast paced world of development) and access to a network of other developers seemed worth the price. And it really was.

It’s been over a year since you graduated Lighthouse Labs, what have you been up to?

Two weeks after graduating Lighthouse Labs, I landed a job as a developer at Vancouver start-up called MuseFind. The position was initially front-end, but evolved into a full-stack position and then six months later, they made me lead developer of a team of six. I worked there for about a year and a half in total, and it was a fantastic experience. In October of this year, I took a job at Indeed.com, which I’m very excited about.

How did Lighthouse prepare you for your transition from bootcamp to full-time developer?

As I said, the big debate for me was going the self-taught route vs the bootcamp route. What made me choose Lighthouse Labs was the opportunity to build a network within the developer community and have their experience (especially for career services) to guide me. In the end, I got the exposure to employers that I wanted. Stephen from MuseFind came to Lighthouse Labs’ public demo day in which I was showing my final project, and the interview process started from there.

Tell us about living in Vancouver as a Developer!

Vancouver has a great tech scene and community. The startup scene seems to be growing more and more, at the same time that bigger players (e.g. Amazon) expand their presence here. So lots of opportunity. But the other perk of being a developer is that you’re not tied to any one place—my current position at Indeed is entirely remote, which is going to be a fun change.

What technologies are you working with?

I work with Ruby on Rails and React, and when I was looking for jobs I found lots of opportunities for that exact stack. I also have experience with Node.js but generally prefer working with Rails. JavaScript is taking over the world and I have no problem with that, but Rails just helps me get things done.

What advice would you give someone who wants to become a developer?

The two essential things you need as a developer are an urge to always be learning, and a stubborn streak to not give up on a tough problem. If you have that, just focus on writing good, clean, readable code, and you’ll be fine.

People build up writing code as either something that’s really difficult or is some sort of superpower. It’s neither; it’s a job, just like any other. It’s fun, interesting, and well-paying job, for sure. But you don’t need to be some genius; just someone who is willing to learn what it takes to do their job well.

What's the weirdest, or most interesting part of your job?

I don’t know if this is weird, per se, but it certainly surprised me. Coding has this stereotype of being a very technical, cold, left-brained thing—something without much humanity. But so much of my job depends on understanding others well. I have to understand the needs of the business, and the needs of people in charge of the product. I have to understand and empathize with the users of the site. Most of all, I have to empathize with and understand the other developers on my team—either to follow their thought process when reading their code or ensuring my code is as clear and readable as possible. Empathy is at the heart of being a good developer, which is not something I expected, but something I really enjoy.

Any side projects?

I just wrapped up a very long side project — a book called Progressive Web Apps with React. It’s about (surprise!) building progressive web apps with React. That took about six months, but I learned a lot. You can get it on Amazon here. My preferred way to learn is by teaching others, so I regularly write developer tutorials on my site, scottdomes.com. There’s a bunch of fun stuff that I want to learn more about (languages like Elm, Elixir, or frameworks like VueJS and Phoenix) so I hope to keep publishing those at a steady rate. I also teach the intro to web development class at Lighthouse Labs, which is always a good time.

What's next?

I’m writing this in the airport in Austin, Texas, flying home from initiation week at Indeed, so I’ll be busy learning the ropes of the new codebase for the next little bit. I’m joining a great team that’s expanding very rapidly, and the next year should be full of lots of interesting product work. In the spring, I’ll also be helping teach the new front-end fundamentals course at Lighthouse Labs, covering HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Anything else you want to add about LHL, the Vancouver tech scene, or working as a dev?

You know those little puzzle games you played with as a kid, where you had to make a pattern or untangle some shape? Imagine someone put one of those on your desk every day, and that was your job. If that doesn’t sound fantastic, you shouldn’t be a dev. But if it does, you can work on interesting problems every day and get paid a good amount of money to solve them. I feel very lucky to have found this career. Lastly, you can follow me on Twitter and Medium or from my site for tutorials and articles. Feel free to reach out on Twitter or LinkedIn with any questions you might have; I’m always happy to help new/potential developers.