Homegrown Business: Jeremy Shaki, Founder & CEO of Lighthouse Labs

Lighthouse Labs is a Vancouver business that trains individuals and corporations in technology skills. We spoke with Jeremy Shaki, Founder & CEO, to find out more about them.

Lighthouse Labs

What is your business called and what does it do?

Lighthouse Labs (LHL) is a technology skills training provider for individuals and corporations who are looking for real-world outcomes. We offer a variety of coding, data and Cyber Security programs, ranging in length (full-time, flex, intro) and curriculum. All of our programs are focused on getting people into jobs, improving on the job, and more importantly, building long-lasting careers. We are best known for our incredibly high job rates (+90%) in the space and our shorter, more hands-on programs (12 weeks).

What made you want to do this work?

For me personally, it started with the belief that education is the single most important variable in an individual’s long-term opportunities and fortune, and that we weren’t making space for people who didn’t have the ‘right’ opportunity in K-12 or undergrad programs to change their career. All of this talk about helping more people enter the tech industry kept trying to push kids into relevant programs, and there was a very little opportunity out there for adults to learn the skills they might have missed at a younger age.

What problem did you want to solve with the business?

I’d say at the root of it, the challenge is eliminating the intimidation of making a career shift into technology post-University. Too often we see adults who want to change their career but are too worried about that shift, to the point that they never act on it. Our goal was to change this problem, with a natural opportunity in technology.

For the more immediate problem, it’s a combination of a huge tech talent shortage in Canada that was hurting our ability to grow the industry, coupled with the fact that most adults make their career choice at 18 and have very little ability to change it without spending another 2-4 years in school. It just seemed like such an obvious opportunity to provide real-world, hands-on education in shorter formats that fit our current, adult lives. We train people with the skills necessary to be hired and immediately productive, and then continue to learn on the job and build a great career.

Who are your clientele/demographics?

23 to 35-year-old Canadians who like learning by doing, and don’t want to waste time in changing or improving their career. Whether they are landscapers, sommeliers, Comp Sci graduates, retail workers, marketing professionals or any other type of role, we help ALL professionals transition and/or upskill.

How does your business make money? How does it work?

We charge for our programs, whether it be the student or the employer, and have a vast amount of funding opportunities available through student loans, scholarships, and partner funding in order to reduce as many funding barriers as possible.

Where in the city can we find your profession?

Everywhere! Web developers, data scientists, data analysts…the demand is high throughout not only Vancouver but all major cities within Canada. Since working from home is now the common practice, we want to be able to provide students who work in smaller towns and cities the opportunities to work for any company they’d aspire to work for — both startups and large enterprises.

What is the best question a prospective customer could ask a member of your profession when comparing services? Give the answer as well.

Why Lighthouse Labs?

We get this question a lot, because there are many other tech education services out there, both nationally and internationally, at various tuition costs. My favourite answers are usually about the support and the outcomes. From a support perspective, we have over 200 professional developers and data scientists who work all over the country in great companies ready to support students as they are learning at any moment. When it comes to outcomes, 97% of our web Bootcamp graduates have obtained employment (outcomes) and 87% of our web Bootcamp grads were hired within 180 days of graduating (speed). Both of these are unrivalled in the country and this is our pride and joy. You can find these stats, and more by downloading our 2020 Student Outcomes Report (https://www.lighthouselabs.ca/en/student-outcomes).

What is the best part about what you do?

Two things: First off, it’s hearing all of the success stories of our grads that we have trained and found jobs for, and watching them flourish and climb their career ladder. Nothing makes me prouder.

Second, is getting to work with amazing, impact-oriented people every day who want to give every ounce of effort they can to the people that they are trying to support and help. We have amazing people at LHL and I’m very lucky to work with them all.

Worst part?

Personally, it’s that I don’t get to spend more time with each student myself. In our first couple of years, I was able to not just meet but become friends with many of the people coming through our programs. After all, I was a 29-year-old changing my career to start a company, and all these people were in the midst of changing theirs. Now, I get to meet many of our students, but my job asks me to focus on other areas where I get less of a chance to connect with students one-on-one.

What is your favourite joke about your own profession?

I can’t code! My co-founders are the developers, and I’m the guy who would have needed the training.

Where can we follow you?

You can follow lighthouse labs through our Instagram, or our website which we are continuously updating.

Pay it Forward: What is another local business that you love?

Flywheel. A phenomenal digital agency that has burst onto the scene and has done things within digital advertising that I rarely see in the industry. A must-watch.