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Ready.. Set.. Lambda Labs.

Carlos Ramos
・3 min read

What is Lambda Labs?

Lambda Labs is a two month experience where students can work on real world project and gain real world experience. You heard it right! You will learn how to work with a group of developers, report to Project Managers and demo your work to real stakeholders.

Village Book Builders - The Project

I had the pleasure to work with a team of 7 amazing developers on a non-profit organization called Village Book Builders. Their goal is to "empower villages all around the globe to drive change and end the cycle of poverty through education". They accomplish their goal through virtual mentoring by connecting a mentor and a mentee across the world.

The Journey

Now that I have briefly explained what Lambda Labs is and what type of project I worked on, let's get down to business. In Labs, you will get together with your assigned team regularly (be prepared for that..) for Stand Ups. These meetings, or Stand Ups, are lead by a Team Lead. The TL acts as a Project Manager who asks questions to the stakeholders in case of doubts. At these meetings, we also discuss strategies, implementations and help each other with our tasks.

Planning

After we were put in a team and discussed with our TPL what we were going to build, we began to plan. In order to better accomplish or roll out our goal, we used tools like Whimsical, Trello and Zoom. We used whimsical to design our user flow and design how our feature would look like. Once we had idea of how our feature would work, we decided to use Trello to break down our plan into small tasks and divide them among our team. Trello was a key tool during our planning phase. We knew exactly who was doing what and how close each member was from finishing their tasks.

Things I learned

Labs is not for the the faint of heart and lazy. It is a fast paced experience! During Labs, I learned how to juggle multiple tasks such as participating in multiple meetings, work on modules and sprints, demoing my work at stakeholder meetings, having 1:1s with my TL, and of course, actual coding. It was overwhelming at times! And that's when having a team helped make it all possible.

Challenges We Faced

We had some stumbling blocks during our Labs experience. I am proud to say that as a team we were able to overcome them. Here are a couple of the challenges we faced:

- Not having access to database. We had to work with mock data to build our feature.
- Time Management. As I said, you will have a lot on your plate.

What we built

We built a check-in feature that allows the administrator to check in learners for their scheduled meetings.

Check In Modal

Screen Shot 2021-07-26 at 11.58.38 PM

Sidebar

Screen Shot 2021-07-26 at 11.59.03 PM

The Sidebar component holds all the meetings of that day. Meetings are color coded to define their status. Greens means that learner has checked in, yellow means learner hasn't checked in and red means no show.

Computer List

Screen Shot 2021-07-26 at 11.59.24 PM

We build a computer list component that contains a list of computer which a learner can be assigned on to meet with his/her mentor.

Conclusion

Lambda Labs is meant to equip you with the right tools that will help you land a job. As you are able to tell, actual coding is not the main focus. You are required to learn how to work with others to get one a task done.

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