At Lighthouse Labs, we believe that having incredible teachers is an invaluable part of our students' success. We are lucky to have amazing teachers who are top craftsmen in their field. Like our students, they are gritty, passionate, and from a wide variety of backgrounds. Unlike our students, they have been working as professional developers for over 10 years and are ready to pay that experience forward. We want to take the time to get to know these teachers a little better.
Up next, Toronto's Head Instructor, Fasial Al-Tameemi!
Where did you work before teaching at Lighthouse Labs?
Before working at Lighthouse Labs, I co-founded a Human-Centered Design and Development shop, Pixel + People. Inspired by companies such as IDEO, we took a user first approach to helping various types of businesses with their design and technology needs.
What's one cool non-development job you've done?
One of the odd jobs I've had in high school which I actually enjoyed was painting houses. Had to wake up at 5am everyday. One day, I worked on mansion from the 60s owned by a person who rents out the 9 apartments within the mansion and makes his living by maintaining the property, which is located on the lake. It was fun.
What do you enjoy doing outside of teaching and coding?
Besides coding and teaching, UI design is one of my favourite things to do. I also love reading about psychology, business, and how our minds work to feed my curiosity about life, the universe and everything. Even though I know the answer is 42.
Why did you get into teaching?
I was first exposed to the education space by working on a internal CRM platform for a 1-on-1 tutoring service. I then started doing coding and UX design workshops for small groups of students at the University of Waterloo and UTM. I really enjoyed that but I also knew that what I really wanted to do is build EdTech products. I also wanted to continue to teach programming. So I applied to become a mentor at Lighthouse Labs and here we are :)
Tell us about your teaching philosophy.
I believe that teachers serve a different role in a modern education organization as compared to what they have been historically. To be a little more specific, I mean teachers today serve as guides to the learning process. They are mentors, not simply the people who know the information. This is greatly due to the availability of information today, the challenge for the students then becomes filtering through this information and being in an environment that challenges them in personalized ways. I try to provide that, as best I can, for students.
I generally use a pragmatic approach to various concepts. I also love using analogies, I find it really helps bridge the knowledge gap between an experienced person and a beginner.
What do you love most about teaching at Lighthouse Labs?
That would definitely be the different backgrounds of students. I'm fascinated by the fact that a truck driver, a university professor and highschool graduate can all be in the same space learning together with similar goals.
I'm fascinated by the fact that a truck driver, a university professor and highschool graduate can all be in the same space learning together with similar goals.
I love that my our students come from different walks of life.
What is the most rewarding part about teaching at Lighthouse Labs?
One the most rewarding parts about being at Lighthouse Labs is being a part of this amazing community of intelligent people. If you're the kind of person who likes to learn and grow by being around skilled and dedicated people, you will almost certainly enjoy being at Lighthouse.
What is your advice for aspiring developers?
It's quite simple. Always keep going when it gets frustrating, that's how you learn. Mentally decide on a project or an idea that you'd like to build, then go figure out how to build it, I believe that's where the best kind of learning happens. When you have a goal which you're going after, the challenge of learning how to code for the first time suddenly becomes a little less overwhelming.
What has been your most memorable moment at Lighthouse Labs so far?
I love Demo Days! The first demo day I saw was in December 2015. I agreed to come on board as an instructor right after that. You can count each Demo Day as a super memorable moment for me.
Why did you first get started with coding?
I was doing a co-op internships for a professor at Waterloo, Professor Sanjeev Bedi. He had hired me to disassemble an engine, 3D model all the parts in SolidWorks, a design software. Once I completed that, he asked the team if anyone knew how to build website so we can put those models I designed online.
For some reason, I put my hand up even though I didn't actually know anything about websites, also no one else on the team knew how to build websites so there was no harm in giving it a shot. Went back home, started googling things until I made the ugliest website in the world but it got the job done. I haven't stopped building web applications and websites since!
What open source or side projects are you working on right now?
I'm currently working a learning platform, ROOT, along with my team. We're focused on tools for computer science learning. The idea is to enable blended learning and personalized learning through well crafted technology. The inspiration for the project came from my frustration with linear methods of teaching.
It's quite an exciting time for us as we're working towards a private beta release in the next couple of months.
What's one thing students should know about you before coming to Lighthouse Labs?
I really enjoy topics like psychology, physics, quantum mechanics and meta physics. So you'll often hear me comparing certain concepts of programming to some of these topics. That usually leads to interesting results haha.