Our Origin Story
In June of 2019, Andrew Hedges grabbed a quick beer before that month’s PDX Junior Developer Meetup with PDX Code Guild graduate Scott Stine. The two were talking about the difficulties involved in making the leap from coding bootcamp to first job as a professional web developer when Andrew came up with the idea for The Collab Lab.
At the Meetup, Andrew recruited Caitlyn Greffly—who at the time was attempting to make the transition into her first developer job—to participate and it was clear the idea had merit.
Collab Lab kicked off our first cohort that August with Scott, Caitlyn, Stacie Taylor-Cima, and Kate Sowles participating as developers with Andrew mentoring the group through the 8-week project.
Since we launched, the response to Collab Lab has been overwhelmingly positive, further confirming the need for what we’re doing. We’ve collected a long backlog of early career developers who have expressed interest in participating and are working hard to scale up the program to accommodate demand.
Collab Lab gave me a framework for how to navigate relationships on a software development team. I feel more confident and prepared walking into my first dev job with the communication experience I gained through all of the code reviews, retrospectives, and pair programming sessions. So thankful for the program and the supportive mentors who make it happen!~Mindy Zwanziger, Application Engineer Trainee at Sitka Technology Group
Support Collab Lab!
The Collab Lab is volunteer-driven and free for participants. We intentionally and actively work to overcome barriers to opportunities for women and other under-represented minorities in tech.
We make use of free/freemium tools (i.e. Airtable, Firebase, GitHub, Google Docs, Netlify, Slack, and Zoom) as much as possible. We would love to have the ability to use upgraded versions of some of these tools to provide a better experience for our volunteers and participants. To this end, we accept sponsorships through GitHub. ❤️
To participate in a Collab Lab cohort means buying into a growth mindset, opening yourself to learning, and taking risks in a relatively low-stakes setting. Seasoned technologists guide these early career developers as they pair program, review each others’ code, and submit & merge pull requests. They are also coached on how to be effective on a fully distributed (remote) team by people who do it every day for a living.
Alums of The Collab Lab report being better equipped to talk about how they work on a team as well as the thought processes behind their work, helping them perform better in job interviews for technical roles. Hire them!
Cohort 3 | December 2019 – January 2020
Cohort 2 | November – December 2019
Cohort 1 | August – September 2019
Alejandro lives in Medellín, Colombia, with his fiancé, dog, and 4 cats.
Lars Brekken is a Principal Engineer at Olo in New York City.
Originally from Norway, Lars lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and 2 parrots.
Michael Sholty is Frontend Engineer at Zapier living in Gainesville, FL.
Radhika lives in Oakland, California and checks Twitter way too much.
Stacie lives in Sacramento, California, with her husband and 2 young kids.
Steve Gardner is a Frontend Engineer at Zapier.
Steve takes advantage of Zapier’s remote work culture to travel the world with his wife and 2 young kids. We’re pretty sure he’s currently in Melbourne, Australia.
Andrew Hedges, Founder of The Collab Lab, is a longtime web developer, engineering manager, and educator. In his day job, he leads fully distributed teams at Zapier, a workflow automation startup. He is an advisor to and former instructor for PDX Code Guild, a coding bootcamp located in his hometown of Portland, Oregon.
Andrew holds a Masters of Education in counseling and human development from the University of Maryland College Park. He spent 7 years designing and conducting training programs for university staff before making the leap to web development in 1998.
Get in touch!
The Collab Lab is on Twitter @_collab_lab. Press inquiries may be directed via email to Andrew at firstname.lastname@example.org.