Lighthouse Labs 2 weeks in – 25% down and 6 weeks to go

January 24, 2016 Will Lam

lighthouse labs

A few people close to me have been wondering what Lighthouse Labs’ iOS Immersive Bootcamp has been like so far. I’ve been meaning to write about it on a week to week basis, but one week into the bootcamp, I was stressed beyond belief.

Truth be told, this sort of program isn’t for the faint of heart or those who aren’t ready to dig down deep inside.  You need to remember why they went through a stringent interview process, did a comprehensive prep course, and plunked down $9,040 in the first place. This is all in order to get our asses handed to us, truly immerse ourselves and learn.

During the first day when Khurram Virani (co-founder of Lighthouse Labs) had not so casually quipped, “We (Lighthouse Labs) own you for the next two months. Buckle up. It’ll be worth it.” He wasn’t joking.

It wasn’t until we had finished the first week that reality had sunk in and we had to fight to keep our heads above water or drown. We learned everything from object oriented programming, debugging, delegation/protocols, auto layout (programmatically!), the model-view-controller software design pattern, UIKit, UI Gesture Recognizers and so much more. All within two weeks. Yup.

There are some students in my cohort who are challenged to demonstrate their know how daily, are seemingly doing quite well. I wasn’t one of those students.

With all the material that was thrown at us, I’m slowly beginning their method to the madness. The beauty of this, while I still think is insane (in the best way of course), is the immersion that I mentioned earlier. You won’t get that learning from Treehouse or any other online resource or perhaps any other bootcamp. I see them as supplementary or a light intro at best after meddling with them and not getting far having grappled with them for the past two years since I decided it was very important for me creatively and professionally to learn to code.

What’s a “typical” day like so far?

Day in, day out, working on assignments, problems and re-wiring our brains to think like developers, breaking things down into digestible chunks. The analogy of  “eating an elephant one bite at a time” works best here. While I’m getting there and having a much more intimate idea of the inner workings of Objective-C, iOS and how everything really works. While it’s hard it’s really exciting and rewarding.

The good thing about Lighthouse so far has been my fellow students. They’re wicked smart and badasses in their own right in terms of solving problems and building stuff with some flair and polish, which is so impressive. As for myself.. I’m still a work in progress 😉

A bit about the instructors

I have to say, I’m really impressed with the instructors. They’ve got a strong pedigree of instructors and mentors. They’ve worked for world class companies and shipped apps that have touched millions of users. Their level of understanding of all things iOS is so deep to the point, where they can “see The Matrix” so to speak, which is great because they understand the pitfalls and know the ecosystem inside out. They’ve come from all backgrounds. While not formally trained as teachers, they certainly do have the propensity to teach and break down concepts into metaphors and analogies that are easily relatable and understood by our cohort.

Without having to gush any more than I need to about how awesome they are, they simply out care anyone else out there. I don’t know of any other coding schools that collect so many data points on their students and iteratively improve their program. How this works in real life is that their bootcamps get better and better over time, much like how software should be developed. I’m kind of jealous of future cohorts.

The next six weeks

While I don’t anticipate it getting any easier, it really boils down to how committed we are and going back to the basic purpose of why we want to go through such a demanding program to begin with. It’ll push you down and make you feel like shit, but understanding that it’s okay to really (really) suck at first, is a bit of a comfort.

As things start to click, slowly (or faster) depending on how you take to this style of learning, things will make sense. I’m beginning to make sense of it. You really do get what you put in. While there will be a lot of doubt in your abilities, there’s only room to learn, grow, test your mettle, become grittier and increase your tenacity to persevere on the problem(s) at hand. That’s what it’s been all about for me so far.

I can’t wait to dig down deeper as I’m learning more and more about myself (and of course iOS) everyday.

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