Halifax native Rebecca Haliburton moved to Vancouver to work as the marketing manager for the tech education company, Lighthouse Labs. Six weeks later, the company told her that they would be expanding their software and app development bootcamps to her hometown.

“I’m really stoked to be able to bring back everything that I love about my job in Vancouver back to my hometown,” she said. “I know how much Halifax deserves it.”

Lighthouse Labs aims to train developers and deliver stellar tech education. A group of developers founded Lighthouse Labs in 2013 because they saw a lack of developers in the emerging Vancouver tech scene. 

Now Lighthouse Labs has two brick-and-mortar locations in Vancouver and Toronto and six satellite locations in places like Halifax, Kelowna and Montreal. Satellite locations include a daily two-hour lecture streamed in from Toronto or Vancouver, and then hands-on coding and development time for about 10 hours with local developers.

Lighthouse Labs expanded to Halifax for the same reason it was started in Vancouver: a lack of developers in a vibrant and emerging tech scene.

“With the addition of more developers and more tech events, I think Halifax could be one of the best hubs in all of Canada for technology,” Haliburton said.

In the past three years of its existence, Lighthouse Labs has already seen 95 per cent of its 450 graduates receive jobs as developers in several startup and tech hubs across Canada.

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Lighthouse Labs offers two eight-week bootcamps: web development, which focuses on developing software, and iOS development, which focuses on developing apps for iPhones, iPads and Apple TV. However, it only offers the iOS development bootcamps in its main campuses in Vancouver and Toronto.

Lighthouse Labs also offers six-week, part-time intro courses to both web development and iOS development. Those who complete the intro courses will receive $850 off the $8000 tuition for the bootcamps.

Five people have already signed up for the Halifax bootcamp, which is held out of Volta Labs. Lighthouse Labs only wants 10 people in its first bootcamp to ensure that it runs smoothly.

The admissions process is rigorous and includes an hour-long one-on-one interview with the Lighthouse Labs admission coordinator. Lighthouse Labs wants to ensure that people will both complete and succeed in the bootcamp so that they can get hired and contribute to their local tech community.

“Bootcamps are this really awesome way to get into an industry and make a change in their life,” Haliburton said. “They're an excellent complement or alternative to something like a computer science degree. You learn less theory and focus more on hard skills by building software and practicing industry-relevant technology.”

Lighthouse Labs partners with local community organizations in order to help a city grow its tech scene. In Halifax, Lighthouse Labs has partnered with Volta Labs, Fusion Halifax and the Halifax Central Library, among others.

Haliburton said that Halifax has a thriving tech scene, and hopes Lighthouse Labs can help contribute by supporting additional meetups, hackathons and coding events. Lighthouse Labs already has plans to hold frequent tech meet-ups out of Volta Labs.

“It’s kind of cool that tech is the place that really resonates with the Nova Scotian style: it’s approachable, it’s laidback, you can wear sweatpants to work – it’s not stuffy,” Haliburton said. “That’s why I feel like Halifax is the perfect place for a bootcamp to pop up because the tech community is so natural and vibrant because they work in that community-based way.”