Blue, red and white image background with Pixeltree and Lighthouse Labs logos and the words PIXELTREE HIRING PARTNER SPOTLIGHT

We get it! You’re a creative, a designer and you like to build things. Or maybe you’re fascinated by data, but all of a sudden your job is starting to feel static, monotonous, uninspiring. We’ve all felt that unshakeable sense of gloom sitting at a job that suddenly feels emptied of purpose, and growth opportunity. Too often, this is the story of many of the graduates who come to Lighthouse Labs seeking a new lease on their lives and careers.

For our new Hiring Partner spotlight series, we reached out to Pixeltree Inc., a software consultancy firm operating out of Calgary, Alberta. Daniel Huss is the Head of Mentorship, while Carolina Contreras Isas and Tristan Cole are two of our Bootcamp graduates who successfully made the switch to a career in tech and now work as software developers at Pixeltree. They were gracious enough to talk to us about what the journey to a new career in tech looks like, both from an employer and a Bootcamp graduates' perspective.

Mentorship and Growth

A career in tech is a journey of continuous learning. Technology is dynamic, constantly changing and being upgraded. To succeed in the field, a tech professional has to be deliberate about updating their knowledge, skills and proficiencies. Tristan understands this which is why, aside from daily learning as part of his job, he also completes additional courses at home in his spare time. Carolina also takes advantage of the training day organized by Pixeltree every first Friday of the month in addition to the personal time she takes to make sure she keeps herself updated on relevant technologies.

Apart from personal development, most newly-minted tech professionals will also need robust support systems to ensure their success in their careers.

Daniel Huss - who is himself a Software Developer and Lighthouse Labs Bootcamp graduate - understands this reality and describes the systems his organization has in place to help nurture newly-employed bootcamp graduates.

“We have two primary tools for focusing on professional growth. Training day is our big one. The first Friday of every month is Training Day. No one has deliverables, and can pick any area they want to work on fostering their skills. Some of our devs are learning other languages in that time, tinkering with side projects, or writing blog posts sharing their learning. Another is our 1-1 mentorship. Our normal workflow has open doors for questions, but we dedicate 1-1 mentorship time every couple of weeks. Our juniors are paired with someone on the team, and we focus and tailor that time to reflecting on what's going well, things they want to try, and areas for improvement. All of it is self-directed growth, but the more senior team member often provides a lot of insight into how to overcome challenges.”

Daniel has had a lot of experience working with Lighthouse Labs graduates. Pixeltree currently has four software developers who graduated from the Lighthouse Labs Bootcamp and over the years he has worked with many more who have moved on to other positions. He explained how this support and emphasis on growth and development begins on day one at Pixeltree Inc.

“Day one is laptop setup day, and getting oriented in our tools. We've got extensive documentation for setting up all our tools, and the whole team answers questions for anyone who gets stuck. Day two is updating / improving the onboarding documentation - having our new hires improve our pipeline is integral for our own growth and identifying the gaps. We do a similar process on each client project we have. Beyond that the first couple weeks are getting comfortable in our workflow. We focus on best practices for software - Test-Driven-Development, continuous integration and delivery, code reviews, etc. A lot of fancy words, but we work on breaking it down to achievable steps. The amount of growth juniors go through in the first 3 months is exponential, so we focus a lot on supporting that growth. By the end of probation, we have a little celebration where the new teammate picks an informal title on slack that captures their developer journey, and prepares them for the next year of growth.”

Daniel told us how the relationship with Lighthouse Labs began a few years prior when the founder of Pixeltree began hiring our bootcamp graduates even before the company was officially established. We asked him why Lighthouse Labs became an attractive hiring pool, and what his experience has been working with the Career Services team:

“On the technical side, a lot of the students we've hired from the [web] development bootcamp have a good grasp of the foundations of React, and some exposure to Ruby/Rails which is our primary stack for clients. The real draw for us has been more on the soft-skill side. Lighthouse has done a great job priming the students we've hired with a great learning mindset; lean on your research and googling, ask for help before you churn, and be hungry for more and deeper knowledge. Another advantage we've found is that the condensed program seems to draw a lot of career-transitioners. Everyone on our team has had a different career history, and a lot of our juniors started in completely different career trajectories. That gives us a broad set of soft skills to lean on for consulting. Things like communicating with clients, or domain knowledge in engineering or finance. Paired with web development experience, we have a lot of room to work with your graduates.”

On his relationship working with the Career Services team:

“We've worked with a couple different reps from the team, and the whole process is really straight forward. We hire local developers, so ask the team for candidates who match. We've also tried hiring candidates with specific backgrounds (such as finance) to moderate success, and the career services team was really helpful in narrowing down candidates that met our criteria.”

And on his experience working with Lighthouse Labs Bootcamp graduates:

“really remarkable overall! We've found that the graduates we've hired have a lot of tenacity and a hunger for growth that's invaluable.”

Interested in hiring our bootcamp graduates? Visit our employers page to see our growing list of employers and contact our Career Services team.

Opportunity And Making The Switch

In her past life Carolina worked in the service industry but found herself longing for a job that would allow her to have a more flexible schedule. Tristan, on the other hand, worked in international development/education and wanted not only to futureproof his career, but also to get a job that would allow him to explore his creativity.

When asked why she chose the bootcamp option rather than the traditional university route, Carolina had this to say:

“Bootcamp offered the possibility of getting a job in 3 months, whereas with university it would take about 4 years and thousands of dollars in debt”

Similarly, Tristan chose the same option because he wanted speed of entry into the workforce.

Carolina is now a Technical Project Manager/Intermediate Software Developer while Tristan is a Junior Software developer. After Bootcamp, Carolina worked closely with our Career Services team to get her interview at Pixeltree and now has a hybrid work schedule, split between work from home and in-office, and is enjoying the flexibility she once craved at her old job. Tristan has also been able to achieve his yearning for creativity and, like Carolina, also enjoys the flexibility of work location and hours.

As we advance towards a digital economy, the opportunities for a stable and rewarding career in the tech field are starting to seem almost limitless. To build, maintain and advance the technologies that are becoming central to our modern way of life, there is only going to be more demand for web devs to build and maintain tech platforms, data analysts and scientists to create the algorithms that drive these applications, as well as cyber security professionals to keep all that data safe from bad-faith actors. The barrier to entry to the tech sector is one of the lowest amongst most industries, and with a well structured and delivered tech bootcamp like those offered at Lighthouse Labs, you could very well be on your way to an exciting new career in tech in 12 weeks.

Post-Bootcamp, our career services team works closely with each student, as well as with potential employers, taking care care to match each graduate with employers and job roles that are most closely aligned with their personalities, skills, interests and proficiencies, ensuring that each student not merely gets a job, but is set up with the best opportunity that will enable them to thrive and grow in the industry.

If you’re wondering what time would be right to switch to a career more aligned with your passions and abilities, Tristan who is now five weeks into his role as Junior Software Developer thinks there's “no time like the present”. Carolina, now in her second year as a tech professional says “it will be tough at first but very rewarding”.

Ready to take the leap? Fill out an application form to begin your journey!

Now What?

You did it, you pulled the trigger, you enrolled in and graduated from bootcamp. As you work with our Career Services team to land that first crucial role, Carolina has some advice for you. She says:

“Look for a company that makes decisions based on values rather than profit. A company that lives by their values will typically have a better work culture. Work culture is key to happiness and your future success in tech”.

And once you’ve landed that first job, Daniel shares some nuggets of wisdom for new bootcamp graduate employees:

“There's a lot of common traits new grads have coming onto our team. For one, impostor syndrome is real, and you're going to experience it. Everyone on our team, from our founder to our newest hire experiences it. It's a normal part of growth. Focus on the strides you've already made, and keep tallying up the wins you have. Keep honing your ability to learn, and be honest about what you don't know yet, and there's nothing you won't be able to grow into.”

Ready to begin your journey to a career in tech? Click here to see which of our Bootcamps is right for you!