The winning team at last night's Lighthouse Labs Demo Day

The winning team at last night’s Lighthouse Labs Demo Day

Travis and I went to the Lighthouse Labs graduation/Demo Day in Vancouver last night and we are so glad we did. The event was an inspiring chance to meet some up-and-coming web development talent, see what they’re working on and learn about what matters to them.

Lighthouse Labs is an intensive 8 week course for aspiring web developers that only started a year ago but is growing rapidly in reputation and attendance. The students were split up into 5 groups of 3-4 and given two weeks to build an app before presenting it at the Demo Day yesterday.

Among the apps were a peer-to-peer file sharer, an instagram filter, a betting site for a popular game, and a gorgeous app for exploring civic data. There was also a cool app for parents to communicate with teachers that seemed like it could have been re-skinned for a thousand practical uses.

The students ranged in age from 18 to their early 30’s, but all ages are welcome at Lighthouse Labs, and there were more than a few gray hairs in the Demo Day audience. One baby boomer we talked with said he was contemplating joining the web development bootcamp.

A memorable part of the evening was hearing the students explain why they joined Lighthouse Labs. Most already had an established skill, be it visual design or accounting, that they wanted to compliment with coding.

I don’t know about you, but hearing a young accountant talk about learning code makes me very afraid of my own personal competitiveness in the business world!

I asked a few of the students what their goals are now that they’ve finished the program, and most of them shared a desire to work with other, more experienced developers who can mentor them. And they want to be able to solve tough challenges.

Lighthouse Labs founders Khurram Virani and Jeremy Shaki have created an inviting and fun (free beer) environment. The mood of the place was warm and casual, unlike a lot of the conferences in CEO.ca land… (Chin down, fists up!). The Lighthouse Labs Gastown, Vancouver facility is also one of more comfortable classrooms we have seen.

We would never have known about Lighthouse Labs if it wasn’t for Nick Molnar, co-founder of Wantering, a leading fashion search engine. Nick’s been a good friend for years and was the first person I turned to when I decided CEO.ca was going to need some serious web development help (we are hiring).

Molnar said the students who successfully graduated demonstrated that above all else, that they are extremely hard working. The program is not a soft introduction to coding, nor should it be. At $8000, tuition isn’t cheap either, but I think the students will be able to recoup some of that money in a matter of weeks, not months or years.

CEO.ca is hiring a web developer or a small team of web developers to help us build the tools for our investors community. In addition to a healthy paycheck, we have excellent exposure to early stage deals and investors, which can be fun to learn about, and potentially very profitable. Please check out the posting and email jobs@ceo.ca if you are interested to discuss the opportunity with me.

For more information, visit Lighthouselabs.ca.