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Kevin Falting for The Collab Lab

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The Collab Lab TCL-29

Over eight weeks, four highly motivated junior developers made the commitment to work together, participate in sprints with all the ceremony, and build a working smart to-do list. The results of the experience have been more than any of us thought!

🎉 TCL 29 Smart Shopping List 🎉

Github Repo

The junior developers are these wonderful people:

The mentors:

Every Sunday, we met for an hour to demo the week's work, go over a topic like code review or a11y standards, conduct a retro, and plan the work for the upcoming week. Each developer would be paired for the week and then be released to work on their assigned issue. Each team navigated their own schedules across timezones to find the time to pair program.

The result was something quite cool, a smart shopping list that learns as you go! Here's the final demo call, definitely worth a watch to see what this talented group of devs came up with.

Many of them were new to React and especially to working on a project with a team, and I've gotta say, that I'm very impressed with how quickly they slipped into a solid routine. If I hadn't known better, I would've thought them a bunch of remote working veterans! The patience and kindness each member lended to each other was a remarkable thing to see, and aside from the impressive coding chops this group showed, their positive and can-do attitude is something that sets them far above peers.

I mean, don't take my word for it, check out how well Pull Request descriptions were written, complete with testing steps and all. The conversations on the PRs during code review were golden. To be honest, I learned more about React from their code and questions than any other videos or blogs.

These four are certainly a capable group of developers and would be an asset to any team they join. 🙌

I'm only one of the mentors for this team, and the others had some even more gracious things to say. 😁


TCL-29 was very engaged and hardworking group. Here are a couple of points I want to emphasize:

I think the team were supportive and considerate of each other. Throughout the program they demonstrated an amazing amount of teamwork by helping each other understand different programming concepts, as well as teaching one another something new. Their support especially was demonstrated when the program’s level of difficulty was increased and when implementing new user stories needed more engagement. During this time everyone was ready to go extra miles to explain potential ways to solve the issues. In addition, what I’ve seen in their PRs are: Well thought out comments and questions; praising each other’s work when credit was due and questioning aspects when things were unclear. All done in a tactful and empathetic way.

Another point I want to emphasize is their communication/demo skills. With the practice and confidence it was truly fantastic to see how well they articulated their code and thought process. Given the fact that English is not their Native Language for most of the participants, their communication skills were just superb. It was more enjoyable to see that their demo skills improved in an exponential rate.

Final point I want to mention is that the team was very independent. Even though mentors always encouraged to ask as many questions as possible, the developers always tried get to the answers themselves. I thought this was an expression of high professionalism - to stay resilient and flexible to ask for help when it was totally necessary.


The teammates took off really fast, they bonded easily and started contributing to the project almost immediately. One really amazing quality they all had is the zeal to learn. They also had a willingness to research what they didn't know about.

They were very hard working and never hesitated to ask questions when they weren’t clear about anything. They showed resilience and great team spirit during the project. They were ready to help each other unblock and put each other through.

All in all, it was a great experience for everyone, and if you're wanting to hire some junior devs, I wouldn't look any further than these four, I mean how many junior devs have experience working on a collaborative project?

If you're a developer and wanting to give back to the dev community, volunteer with The Collab Lab. It's a wonderful experience and there are few other ways to have such a huge impact. 💪

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