Could This Hybrid Approach Be the Future of Coding Bootcamps in Canada?

Vancouver’s Lighthouse Labs and the Yukon government are partnering to pilot an online coding bootcamp.

The Canadian coding academy hopes its pilot program can deliver the same quality of education as its in-person offerings, equipping Northern Territories students with enough skills to get jobs after two months of teaching.

“A true developer bootcamp is special precisely because of the in-person support and relationships that you engage with,” admits Lighthouse Labs cofounder Jeremy Shak. Still, he says, “I’ve often wondered if it was possible to do this while maintaining the same level of quality as our in-person program.”

This pilot program will answer that question.

“The goal of this pilot program is to have five Yukon students be prepared to immediately start working as professional developers as soon as they are finished the program,” he notes.

One differentiating factor between this program and other remote coding bootcamps, says Shaki, is Lighthouse’s hybrid approach: the students will be instructed remotely but still have a local, physical space to gather in and work from, as well as a local expert on hand.

“Whitehorse students will be in class every day at MakeIT, Yukon’s leading IT company,” explains Shaki. “Having a space where you are studying with others is still extremely beneficial to all our students education and will remain so throughout this pilot. They will be attended to by an on site TA who is a full time developer, Andrew Kalek, to receive in person mentorship and guidance.”

If the pilot program is successful, Lighthouse hopes its hybrid bootcamp model can scale.

“It is our hope that the methodology we use to deliver this program opens up doors to similar type programs in other spaces, and we will be opening our doors to people in the Vancouver community who wish to use our technology to deliver knowledge outside of Vancouver,” Shaki says.

To learn more about what Lighthouse Labs is doing, visit them at Techvibes Tech Fest in Vancouver on May 14.

Toronto-based software development agency Functional Imperative has informed Techvibes that it plans to open a coding academy in Vancouver this fall.

Called Lighthouse Labs, the program will function similar to other academies such as Bitmaker Labs and Ladies Learning Code: a combination of workshops and multi-month programs to teach people how to program.

According to Functional Imperative, workshops are slated to begin in mid-October, with the first full program due to begin in January.

Vancouver boasts the presence of both white-hot startups and established corporations—both of which are constantly seeking skilled developers. However, Vancouver is famously short on developers. Lighthouse Labs aims to make coding more accessible than it is currently is in an antiquated education system, which could help remedy the region’s talent drought.

“The strength and size of the tech community in Vancouver is incredible. For us it was never a question of whether we wanted to be in Vancouver, but a question of why we weren’t already there and how we could best get involved,” explains Khurram Virani, a cofounder of Functional Imperative and Lighthouse’s lead instructor, who has instructed at Bitmaker Labs in Toronto. “We believe that bringing a coding school to Vancouver will help build on the community’s recent successes and take it to the next level.”

Virani emphasizes that graduates of his program will be ready for developer jobs in twelve weeks. “Most people in industry will tell you that 80% of what you learn comes from work experience. So, why not focus on getting students to that point quickly and setting them up for success on the job?” he asks. “We no longer live in a world where you need four years of training to become a programmer, and we definitely don’t live in a world where four years is a practical amount of time to change career paths.”

According to Functional Imperative, Lighthouse workshops will offer hands-on learning opportunities for those eager to add to their current skill set, learn about building a successful product, or for managers and executives looking to learn about working with new technologies and programmers. The immersive program is longer and more intensive, Virani notes, offering students the opportunity to build the skills required to begin a new and exciting career or to build their own applications and startups.