Lessons Learned as a Team Lead at Lambda School

Oct 05, 2020

A reflection on my experiences as a Team Lead at Lambda School in July and August 2020

The past few months have been very busy in my personal life, with a lot of changes happening. Over the summer, I completed my "Labs" project at Lambda School -- essentially a senior capstone project where we were put into groups and given a project with an existing codebase that we were to continue working on. Now I am in the CS portion of the curriculum, currently learning data structures and algorithms in Python to help prep for technical interviews. I've also had my head down trying to really polish up a side project I've been working on so that I can have a beautiful piece to add to my portfolio. Stay tuned, I'm really excited about it!

Being a Team Lead

In June of this year, at the encouragement of my own Team Lead, I applied to be a Team Lead (TL) at Lambda School for a brand new cohort that would be starting in July. During the 8 weeks of my time as a TL, I grew to truly care about the students I was assigned to. From performing code reviews and going over their projects in daily one-on-one Zoom meetings, it was inspiring to see how quickly they all progressed in 2 months from writing their first p tag in HTML to more complex React apps.

Teaching Helps Both Parties

In our group Zoom meetings at the end of every day, I was able to address any questions or concerns, review concepts from the curriculum, practice code challenges, and teach them extra material not included in Lambda's curriculum. I wanted to share some of the tips and things I've learned during my journey so that my own students could benefit from what it as well. We talked about styling properties like display: grid, the position property, and background. We practiced JavaScript fundamentals like for loops, array methods, and manipulating strings. I had them tackle code challenges in JavaScript together to help them start practicing talking through their thought process and how they're approaching a problem. We even built a tic-tac-toe game in React together, with all of them giving suggestions on how to approach it with JSX structure, state management, etc.

Even though I taught them things I already knew, being a Team Lead reconfirmed for me the power that teaching has for the teacher. Teaching all of those concepts strengthened my own understanding of them, no matter how comfortable I felt with them before. And working so closely with my students gave me a glimpse into what it might be like to be a mentor someday and it is something I look forward to :)


On an administrative note, I came to greatly appreciate good communication by experiencing a lack of it. The better communication was about announcements, schedule changes, and what to expect on group projects, the more effective I was as a Team Lead. The more informed I was, the better I was able to address students' questions and concerns. Countless times, I saw the frustration in students at my inability to answer questions simply because of a lack of communication and direction from Lambda staff. I learned that this was a common experience amongst Team Leads, which brought me a small amount of comfort. But I realized that solid communication and greater transparency is something that I value highly. So despite this more negative experience, I learned that for myself, I want to look for these qualities in a company as I am searching for a job.


In summary, I had both positive and negative experiences as a Team Lead at Lambda School. The positive experiences were beautiful and all involved interacting with students. The negative experiences were frustrating and stemmed from the company's lack of communication from the top down. However, even from those disappointing moments, I had positive takeaways and learning experiences that will be valuable to me in my career.

Intro to Theme UI