From School Teacher to Software Engineer

In the past few years, we've seen a huge change in the way industries operate. The digital transformation is at the forefront of this shift, driving companies from all sectors to build their online presence. By adopting new technologies and embracing innovative design, web development has become a coveted career.

Like many others figuring out their careers, Esther was exploring her interests and discovered a passion for coding. Join us as we dive into Esther’s career transition into tech from teaching to web development.

Esther was accepted into the Web Development bootcamp at Lighthouse Labs as part of the ICT Boost Initiative, a project led by Lighthouse Labs funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program. This program empowers and supports Canada's growing tech sector by removing barriers and equipping individuals from equity-deserving communities with the necessary skills and training to launch their careers in tech.

Before Studying With Lighthouse Labs

Esther first discovered she enjoyed coding while teaching an introduction to Python course to a class of grade eight students. She continued learning Python alongside JavaScript, HTML, CSS, and React through free resources and online courses. “After about nine months of study, that's when I found myself really looking forward to coding more than teaching,” she recalls.

“Coding started as more of a hobby … I thought it would be impossible to get a job in this field since I [didn’t have a related] degree.”

Esther didn't realize it was possible to start a career in web development with a non-technical background. Her brother-in-law and best friend, both software engineers, mentioned that anyone can break into tech. They recognized her interest and the potential she had and encouraged her to learn more. From there, Esther decided to research more into launching a career in the field.

“When I found out that I could make a living by doing what I love, I knew I had to make the career switch sooner rather than later.”

A Once in a Lifetime Opportunity

After nearly a year of self-study, Esther realized she needed a more structured learning experience; it was difficult to determine what she would need to know to be job-ready while studying on her own. Not long after, she discovered Lighthouse Labs and the ICT Boost Initiative. “Right away, that's when I knew that this is the opportunity I've been waiting for…it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I didn't want to waste it. So that's why I decided to make this career switch.”

Web Developer Career Paths

The average starting salary for web developers is around $52,314 annually, while senior full-stack developers can make six figures in Canada. Here are some of the web development jobs you can expect to land at the entry-level stage:

  • Front-end Developer
  • Back-end Developer
  • Full-stack Developer
  • UI/UX Designer
  • Web Application Developer

Find out more about web developer career paths in this article.

Woman holding a laptop and smiling.

Become a Web Developer Professional in as little as 12 weeks!

No experience needed.

Classes start soon and there's room for you.

Sign up Now

The Lighthouse Labs Bootcamp Experience

Once she realized she needed a more concrete timeline for achieving her future goal of becoming a web developer, she signed up for Lighthouse Labs’ Bootcamp.

“For instance, if we study CSS or React [on our own], we wouldn’t exactly know how much we need to know to land a job. But with the bootcamp, we were provided with specific instructions on what to study for and how much we needed to know on particular topics. And I knew that depending on how much work I put into studying, I could be job ready by the time I graduated from the bootcamp. So that vague idea that I had at first, which was “I'm gonna be a full stack developer someday” became, “I'm going to be a full stack developer by next spring.”

Lighthouse Labs prides itself on preparing students for a career in tech, with more than 85% of Bootcamp students.

Esther states that one of the most rewarding parts of attending the bootcamp at Lighthouse Labs was building a network with her peers, who were in a similar learning stage — something she wasn’t able to do while studying independently. She found the collaborative learning environment helped her overcome fears and uncertainties about transitioning into a new career. During the bootcamp, Esther hosted a study group with her fellow cohort mates where she volunteered as the group leader. Even after graduation, everyone keeps in touch, informing each other about upcoming events and supporting one another while preparing for interviews.

Esther considers the availability of mentors and instructors throughout the day and during weekends as another significant benefit of attending a Lighthouse Labs’ bootcamp. “The instructors and were incredibly supportive throughout, they're always there to help and explain [concepts].” The mentors and instructors provided helpful feedback on her strengths and areas for improvement, something she lacked during self-study.

After 12 weeks of intense and hands-on learning, Esther showcased her final project during a special day in the Bootcamp experience, Demo Day. Graduating students present their projects to potential employers as well as Lighthouse Labs’ community members, including friends, family, alumni, and other students.

Advice for Those Considering Enrolling in Bootcamp

When asked what advice she would give someone considering making a similar career change, Esther recommends starting with free resources and trying to build a few mini-projects on your own. From there, if you enjoy the experience, Esther believes it might be something you should pursue as a career.

“At first, it might be difficult, but the more you get better at something, the more fun it gets. So don't limit yourself to saying, ‘I can't even do this.’ Give yourself maybe a few weeks or months to study and improve. And then you never know, you might enjoy it.”

After completing Lighthouse Labs’ Web Development Bootcamp, Esther says one of the most fulfilling parts of the experience is the amount of learning that took place. She shared that, “graduating from the bootcamp was eye-opening for me because I could see how much I have learned.” Before starting the bootcamp, Esther was surprised by the amount of subjects covered in the curriculum, but after graduating from the bootcamp and looking at the curriculum now, she knows exactly what the concepts mentioned in the curriculum are referring to. She says, “that was huge growth that I experienced. I actually learned all this in such a short amount of time.”

Life After Bootcamp

Esther’s previous work experience as a teacher allowed her to enhance her communication and teamwork skills which she considers valuable for any future team she joins. Her vision is to be part of a team that develops a software product with a global positive impact on people's lives. Upon successfully graduating from the Web Development Bootcamp, Esther secured a role as a junior software engineer at Honk Mobile, marking a significant achievement in her career.

While the ICT Boost Initiative is now full and no longer accepting applications to the fully funded program, Lighthouse Labs continues to make tech more accessible by offering a range of funding options to help students finance their learning journey. Read about how you can finance your career transition to tech in the Financial Guide. Ready to launch your very own tech career? Take the first step and come to our next Web Development Info Session.

Fully Funded Reskilling opportunities are offered as part of the ICT Boost Initiative. Funded partly by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program.