Mentoring at a coding bootcamp

Here's the story of my first involvement in a coding bootcamp

As you’ve probably noticed, for the past year I’ve had a theme guiding many of my activities: give back to the community and relay to others the knowledge I’ve gained over the past few years.

Lighthouse Labs

Lighthouse Labs is a Canadian coding bootcamp that offers a 10-week intensive (reallyyyy intense 😅) web development program. Through this bootcamp, students are taught industry standard web-development skills from React & NodeJS, to databases & Ruby on Rails. They finally end the bootcamp by working on a project and presenting it to the cohort and potential employers. It’s intensive, but if you stick to it the rewards are enormous.

As part of the bootcamp mentors are available round the clock to assist students as they tackle the day’s work. Based on my experience teaching/mentoring, and how much I enjoy doing so, I knew it would be a great fit for me. So I joined the team, committing to around 20 hours per week.

Working with the Lighthouse family has been a blast 😄


The cohort I was assisting was filled with very smart people with incredibly diverse backgrounds. I don’t know if I just got lucky, but it’s true. The relationship I built with them was similar to when I was teaching, I really felt responsible for their progress, and even became friends with them. I deeply cared about their well-being.

On top of the usual tech mentor assistance, I took my own different approach. A lot of times the group was simply exhausted (rightly so) and needed to look at things from a different angle or have something reignite their creativity. The more I worked with them the more I understood how much they knew about the material, and how much help each person would require for a given problem. Which meant sometimes I would talk about a different topic, knowing that if they took a step back to refocus, they would find the information they need to solve the problem at hand without any external help. Other times I would provide the direct answer if a fundamental point was missing. I can’t stress enough on the importance of teaching the process of getting to a solution over the solution itself. It’s also really important to provide clear encouragement that struggling through technical problems/bugs is natural and expected at all levels; so struggling along with them as you look for ways to solve problems is extremely important. This removes a huge mental roadblock surrounding self-doubt.

Personal reward

As always, teaching and mentoring also benefits me. In fact, I ended up learning Ruby on Rails in order to be better at teaching it and I’ve strengthened my web development knowledge across the board. It’s good to validate and reinforce what you already know, and clear up things that you took for granted but didn’t truly understand. It was also incredibly rewarding to see the cohort graduate after weeks of working extremely hard. I felt proud and honored to have played a part in the start of their new careers. What an incredible group of individuals, I know they will go on to do great things ❤

Lighthouse Family