The Collab Lab is a volunteer driven non-profit, which exists to help early-career developers gain their footholds in tech by providing real-world experience working on software teams. Each software team consists of four members and at least three mentors.
The Collab Lab ran four concurrent teams for the first time in October. This included launching our first Europe and Africa cohort! The duration of the programme is 8 weeks and on Sunday we had our last weekly sync meeting with team 15 (also known as TCL-15). As each week went by we saw TCL-15 grow and improve not only from a technical perspective, but also in terms of their soft skills.
- Sarah joined our team in week one after a participant dropped out due to getting her first developer role. She hit the ground running and instantly found her place on the team! Sarah demonstrated her technical flair throughout the project.
- Debora’s confidence and skills grew over the duration of the program. With the encouragement of the team and mentors, Deborah also created her personal portfolio site leveraging the skills she gained from the project.
- Kenny was always full of energy and enthusiasm despite working as a doctor as well! Kenny even gave his first Collab Lab lightning talk on an app he created.
- Hajar’s warmth and considerate nature resonated throughout the team. Always striving to go that extra mile, I was blown away by Hajar’s determination to be a better programmer and team mate.
It was my first time mentoring a team but I shared this awesome responsibility with my fellow colleagues: Luka Baramishvili, Andrew Hedges and David Lluna. Luka was actually part of TCL-8 so he brought a unique perspective to the group, as he had been on the “other side”. Andrew is the creator of The Collab Lab so his experience and expertise was invaluable. David is a seasoned mentor who brought in many new initiatives to The Collab Lab to keep TCL-15 engaged and happy. Finally, I was a stay-at-home-mom turned Front-end Developer. I had gone through the process and wanted to help other folks break into the tech industry.
Our wonderful team of early-career developers and mentors spanned four time zones and were from seven different countries! Despite the time and cultural differences, the team instantly bonded and collaborated very well together.
The highlights and achievements of TCL-15:
- Technically, the team members were very strong and capable developers. The app they created was extremely well architected. I learned a lot from reviewing their code!
- The team were well organised and independent. They always completed their PRs on time or ahead of schedule. The PRs were always well written and comprehensive.
- They were supportive and considerate of each other, which was often demonstrated through their PR peer reviews. Their comments were well thought out and team members often had questions about the code. They praised each other’s work when credit was due and questioned the code when aspects were unclear. All done in a tactful and empathetic way.
- Some team members were a little self conscious of speaking at the weekly syncs, as English was not their first language. However, each week they took turns to demo the app or explain how their code functions. We could see the improvement in their public speaking, confidence and general communication skills. Great job!
- The team went above and beyond the requirements. For example, the team created a side app to convert dates to milliseconds to help the mentors complete a PR review.
- Their ability to exponentially improve their work each week and not being afraid to try different approaches was admirable. For example, after some feedback from David, the team changed their commit message formats with the intention to make it clearer for their peers and mentors. Similarly, their PR structures changed once or twice, depending on the difficulties of the descriptions and testing criteria. The level of professionalism was very high.
The result was a good looking, well functioning shopping list app:
Thank you for your hard work Sarah, Deborah, Kenny and Hajar. We are so excited to see what you will all do next! Any organisation would be lucky to have you on board as developers.