Anthony Morris first discovered his love of programming while working on special projects in his previous career as a Computer Technician. Deciding that he wanted to become a Developer, he enrolled in the Lighthouse Labs Web Development Bootcamp in our Vancouver campus. Today, he is working as a Software Developer at two different local tech companies and enjoying his new life in Vancouver. Read on to discover more about his journey!
What were you doing before Lighthouse Labs?
I had been working in IT for 5 years. I was doing a lot of client work. The work ranged from installing printers at medical clinics, to provisioning computers at movie theatres. I was doing a lot of scripting with AutoHotKey when my boss came up with an idea for some software. I had expressed previously interest in learning to code, so he left it up to me to build a product. The product itself never really got too far, but it sparked a true love for programming.
What made you decide to come to Lighthouse Labs?
I moved to Vancouver and was still working remotely for the same IT company. I knew that I wanted to start my career off as a legitimate developer, but I also had a feeling that I’d need a few more years of self-taught lessons before I could make it in the industry in Vancouver. I started thinking about alternatives. How could I kickstart my career as fast as possible? It seemed pretty clear that a dev bootcamp was the way to go. After shopping around for opinions and interviewing at various places, the community behind Lighthouse as well as the great interaction with the staff made it the obvious choice.
What have you been up to since graduating from Lighthouse Labs?
I’m working and studying a lot. I go to the occasional meetup related to blockchain, because I do think networking is useful, but I have two steady jobs. Aside from the work, I’m currently studying computer science through an open source study path. Working gives me a lot of the practical knowledge I need to write code, but studying allows me to fill in some gaps and will hopefully help me expand my career in the future.
How did Lighthouse prepare you for your transition from bootcamp to full time developer?
One big way Lighthouse helped me prepare was by giving me an opportunity to really grind. I spend so much time at Lighthouse. Experiencing the sacrifice was important because now I apply that to my everyday life. Sometimes, to get what you want, a little sacrifice goes a long way. Other than that, since I was a self-taught developer, Lighthouse really let me see what important skills I was missing. Coding in your basement lets you develop some pitfalls in your coding mentality. Working with others at Lighthouse really exposed that for me, and I think I’ve gotten a lot better since.
Tell us about living in Vancouver as a developer!
I adore Vancouver. For me, there isn’t a better city in Canada to be a developer. I briefly considered moving to America a couple of times. People say that the wages for Vancouver developers is a little lower than other places, but I can’t bring myself to leave this city. There are incredible tech-related meetups going on every single week. We have a lot of interesting people building interesting things. If you look hard enough, it’s almost impossible not to find an opportunity waiting for you.
What technologies are you working with?
During my day job I’m using Laravel and VueJS. I know a lot of people give PHP a hard time, but Laravel is doing good things for the language. I also use React for my side gig, and I have to admit, I think VueJS is nicer to use. It’s fast, it’s elegant.
What advice would you give someone who wants to become a developer?
Believe in yourself and work harder than everyone else. I know that it’s not easy, but those are the keys to your success. As we were approaching our final projects at Lighthouse, I had already applied to 30 companies. I heard back from two or three of them. That didn’t stop me, it made me want to try harder. If you don’t give up, and you keep showing interest in companies, you will get your break. I believe we can all learn to code. It will come easier for some than others, but don't feel entitled or expect a job to come to you.
What is the weirdest, or most interesting part of your job?
Tough question! I think the weirdest thing is giving advice or helping developers who I look up to. I still consider myself very junior. I have the imposter syndrome daily, yet sometimes I find myself giving advice to senior developers. In regards to the most interesting, I think architecting solutions for the front end or back end is something I have very little experience in so that’s become quite fascinating to me.
Are you working on any side projects?
Just my second job and my computer science studies, as previously mentioned. I tried to do a couple of side “fun” projects on top of that, but I couldn’t keep that up with my addiction to hobbies.
What’s next for you?
I just got a new job at an exciting fintech startup that uses artificial intelligence to create conversational banking. I’m nervous and excited but it feels good to be moving ahead in my career.
Anything else you want to add about Lighthouse, the Vancouver tech scene, or working as a dev?
Allow yourself time to breathe, time away from the code, but put in the work you need to to succeed. If you’re interested in shifting your career to something challenging, exciting, and promising, I couldn’t recommend Lighthouse enough. On a final note, find me on Twitter, LinkedIn, or GitHub! I love chatting and would love to answer any questions you may have.