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The Collab Lab

The Collab Lab

Andrew Hedges
Pro web dev since 1998. Veteran of startups, universities, non-profits, Digg, Disney, and Apple. Engineering Manager @ Zapier. Founder @ The Collab Lab.
・2 min read

The Collab Lab is collaborative, remote project practice for early career developers. We kicked off our first cohort in August of 2019 and have been off to the races ever since.

Humans losing to dogs in a race of push toy cars, of course

Projects are structured such that most participants can keep up by devoting 5 hours per week over the 8-week duration. We accept only 4 developers per cohort, so we have a long backlog of people who want to take part, but we’re working hard to scale up what we do and are always accepting expressions of interest! 📈

The core of Collab Lab is pair programming. A sometimes controversial practice in the web development world, we believe that pairing is an excellent way for early career developers to gain experience as they learn.

One of the side benefits of pairing is that you are forced to articulate your thought processes verbally. For many developers, this is the first time they’ve had to say these things out loud! Multiple Collab Lab participants have reported that talking through their work has helped them in technical interviews.

What we accomplished in our first 6 months

  • Ran our first cohort! 🎉
  • Ran our second and third cohorts!!! 💯
  • Grew our mentor team from, well…zero, to 7! 💪
  • Appointed Stacie Taylor-Cima as our official point of contact for Code of Conduct concerns ✨

What we’re tryna accomplish in 2020

  • Run our first cohort outside North American time zones 🌍
  • Run 3 cohorts, simultaneously 😳
  • Add 2 additional projects to the 1 currently on offer 📋
  • Complete the process of becoming a 501(c)(3) for tax purposes 💸
  • Leverage our new, non-profit status to take better advantage of the several freemium tools we use and to get discounts on our paid tools 🧰
  • Build our donor base to at least $200/month to support the premium use of tools such as Slack, Zoom, G Suite, Netflify, and Firebase 💰

If nothing else, the last 6 months have taught us that there is a huge need for training on how to collaborate on a software team.

Bootcamps are great as an introduction to coding (disclosure: Andrew is a former instructor for and current advisor to a coding bootcamp in Portland, Oregon), but they often don’t provide opportunities for their students to experience what it’s like to contribute to software teams.

The Collab Lab fills that gap. For free. To as many people as we can. From under-represented groups whenever possible.

Find out more at the-collab-lab.codes

Discussion (2)

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nightcoder profile image
nightcoder

Hello Andrew !!! i just discovered CollabLab on twitter thanks to fellow coder @paulinelucrezia, and that's really amazing!!! indeed PAIR PROGRAMMING is the BEST to get used to pro/fluent environment! shadowing? NO!!
i never thought of a possibility like the one you're offering! you talk about FILLING the gap and OMG yes you are!!! just started learning JS and something like CollabLab is now on my roadmap!!! that is set in stone lol. great discovery!!! THANK YOU ❤️

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nikema profile image
Nikema

Thanks for starting The Collab Lab, Andrew. I'm really enjoying it.