DEV Community

Hajar | هاجر
Hajar | هاجر

Posted on • Updated on

TCL - Week 4

For those who do not know: TCL or The Collab Lab is a nonprofit that aims to help new developers gain practical experience by working remotely on real-world projects with other early-career developers

The journey so far

It's been almost a month since I started my journey with TCL as part of the Oct 2020 cohort.

When I got their email offering me a spot in the cohort, it took me around half an hour to process that information. Because first, yes, I applied but wasn't getting my hopes up. Second, I realized that I'd have to speak with people in Eglish, which was something I had never done before. But then that snarky voice in my head shouted, "What are you even thinking about?" So I wrote: "Yes, absolutely yes!!" and hit send.

I wasn't really sure what to expect from the program. All I'd known was that I'd need to learn Firebase because I was going to build an app using React and Firebase with a team of people from Africa and Europe, mentored not only by one but four mentors.

I was super excited and a bit nervous.

The Mentors 🌟

We have four mentors: Andrew Hedges, the founder of TCL. He's also one of those people you find on Stackoverflow who have thousands and thousands of reputations and dozens of golden and silver badges.
David Lluna, Luka Baramishvili, and Phoebe Voong-Fadel.

They all are always eager to help.

(Off the record: Sometimes I feel guilty calling them by their first names. It's a cultural thing)😅

The Team

Our team consists of four people from Egypt, Nigeria, and Paraguay but currently living in Norway.
Sarah Eisa, Yahaya Kehinde (Kenny), and Debora Galeano

So far, we all have worked together nicely.

The Program

TCL is an eight-week program. Each week, we split into two pairs. Each pair works on solving an issue to add new functionality to the app we are building.

We have a Slack channel, and our team meets with one of the mentors during office hours each week to discuss all the problems we may encounter while solving that week's issues. Sometimes, we just take advantage of the opportunity and try to know more about them.

By the end of the week, each pair should be done with their issue and open a PR for that issue so that the other pair reviews the code.

After the pair reviewing and making sure that the whole team is good with all the changes that have happened to the app so far, each pair adds the mentors to review their PR.

The mentors are always encouraging. When they see something they like, they make sure to tell you so. When they see something they don't like that much, they tell you so with the nicest tone.

On Sundays

On Sundays, we have a 1-hour Zoom call with all the mentors. The call starts with demos of the issues of the previous week.

We try to explain to the mentors how we've solved the issues and show them the state of the app so far. And for some reason, they are always proud of us. 😎

After the demos, on odd-numbered weeks, we have a learning module from one of the mentors.

On even-numbered weeks, though, we have Retrospectives.
In Retos, we fill these cards on Github, share appreciations and shoutouts, and talk about what went well during the last two weeks and what could we improve for the next weeks.

After that, we talk about the issues we're going to work on next, and that's it.

Thank you for reading.

TCL on Twitter and

Top comments (7)

segdeha profile image
Andrew Hedges

What an amazing, lovely overview of what we do at Collab Lab! ❤️

And for some reason, they are always proud of us. 😎

I’ll just say about this that your team does consistently really great work! Your demos are buttoned up and your technical solutions are super strong. Some company needs to snap up you and your teammates because you’re all so great and totally ready to be professional developers!!!

For the record, my Stack Overflow reputation is high because I was active on the site wayyyyyy back more than 10 years ago when it first launched. 😅

hajarnasr profile image
Hajar | هاجر

OH MY! 😍 Thank you so much. ❤️

thebuildguy profile image
Tulsi Prasad • Edited

It was really a great read and nice introduction to TCL!!! ❤️ I love their purpose of giving experience to beginners with real world projects that's the best headstart one can get in his/her career. 💪

However, I have one question though what kind of projects do all work on? Is it open source or privately funded?

hajarnasr profile image
Hajar | هاجر

Thank you!! :) Yes, they're awesome and putting a lot of work into the program.
We've been working on a project for TCL. It's not huge but I've already learned A LOT about git and GitHub and firebase. The main focus of the program is to teach us how to work remotely with a team from different backgrounds. :)

segdeha profile image
Andrew Hedges

Hi Tulsi,

The Collab Lab is a U.S. nonprofit. It free for participants and run completely by volunteers. We take donations to cover our (very minimal) operating costs, but no other funding.

nickytonline profile image
Nick Taylor

A great read Hajar! I’m glad you’re enjoying it.

hajarnasr profile image
Hajar | هاجر

Thank you :)