12 Weeks from Self-Starter to Pro

LAB12 is a 12-week program for self-directed learners who want to become proficient programmers and developers. We help you develop the technical skills, mindset and network to build a career you love, doing work that matters.

What is Lab 12

The LAB12 program is an alternative bootcamp (or an un-bootcamp) program for self-directed learners in programming. It’s a 12-week peer-to-peer, project-based, collaborative learning program.

LAB12 perfectly complements online and offline programming courses, turning any learning program into blended learning by adding community into the mix. In addition to this, LAB12 pulls real world large scale projects from the tech community resulting in a program that simulates a real internship.

Let’s unpack what this means:

Self-directed learners

Self-directed learners are learners who have been studying on their own, building their own ideal curriculum, and are guided by their own motivation on their learning path. You mostly use online courses, videos and (e)books for learning. Some of you have previously done a more formal program in a classroom setting and now need a chance to apply in practice what you learned in theory. LAB12 needs to be complemented with your own curriculum. As self-directed learners, you ask questions to determine where to go next on your learning path.

You will write up a Learning Contract with yourself to help you focus on reaching your objectives. This living document can be adjusted as you go; scrap what doesn’t work and double-down on what does. It reflects your own commitment to yourself.

To help you write your learning contract, we’ll have workshops on effective goal-setting and how to decide whether a goal is worth pursuing, whether now or in the future.


You all learn from each other, through the Learning Circle. You bring to the circle all your knowledge and wisdom, resources and experiences, and share them with your peers. You don’t come as newbies, what you bring is a full person with the wealth of experience you’ve built up over the course of your life. You also know what you need from the circle in order to learn what you’ve come here to learn, and you deeply value others bringing their whole selves to the circle to help you grow.

If you make two lists of what you bring to and what you need from the circle, don’t be surprised if the first list is a lot longer than the second! This also means that you’re not passively sitting in a classroom, you need to be active participants for the Learning Circle to be effective and self-directing. You’re actively involved in your own and others’ successes.

The Learning Circle is where you ask for help from the group when you’re stuck on something. Asking for help isn’t as straightforward as you might think! We use an Agile Agenda and the Ways to Ask for Help to make sure all questions are addressed by the end of each session. You also have access to mentors during this time.

Learning Circle sessions and workshops are once a week, every Friday 10h00 – 16h00 for 12 weeks.

Project-based learning

At the beginning of the un-bootcamp program, you choose the project to work on for the coming 12 weeks. You can bring your own project, whether it’s a new project or something you’ve been working on for some time. Or you can choose to work on a project proposed by someone else. What is very important though is that it’s a project you chose — assigned projects won’t give you the motivation you need to see through 3 months of hard work.

Projects typically aim to solve a concrete, real world problem — many proposed projects have a social mission in mind. Most are released as Open Source and invite contributions from others even after LAB12, and some even live on post-LAB12 as a proper startup. Other projects only exist for the duration of the program, and that’s ok too!

The project is important because it makes our learning concrete in a real-world setting. The project also informs our learning path, your learning goals should be aligned with what the project requires. Most of the 20-40 hours a week you dedicate to LAB12 will be spent working on the project with the rest of the team.

To help you move forward on your project, you have several hands-on workshops dedicated to design thinking techniques.

Collaborative learning

The only way to learn to work in a team is to work with others in a team! For your project you must work with others in order to complete it. Teams are made up of people where each of you is playing a different role but you’re all sharing the same main objective.

We apply agile methodologies to move forward on your project iteratively, and to learn to self-organise as a team.

You organize within study groups, according to your learning interests and objectives. Depending on the composition and learning needs of your cohort, you may have a front-end, back-end, and python study group. You are sometimes joined by participants in previous LAB12 cohorts, or others from the community at large.

Workshop series

We also have series of hands-on workshops focused on different technologies relevant to your learning path, for example JavaScript and React workshops. These are scheduled outside of the regular Friday sessions.

As these sessions are very hands-on, there will be homework to prepare for them! Your mentor has prepared a proven home study path, and each workshop builds on the previous one. By the end of each session you’ll have built a project to take home, and best practises to apply to your project and coding habits.


Our mission at Les Pitonneux is to fill the skills gap in tech by closing the diversity gap. We value everyone’s experience as relevant to the wider group experience. Participants in LAB12 come from all walks of life, regardless of gender, age, cultural or religious background, ability, etc. Half of participants are women, and most have an immigrant background. We challenge the stereotype of who can code.

In sum

So with LAB12 you will not only learn technical skills, but those important skills that help you become a valued team member and be seen as someone whom people will want to work with. You build up a strong network with other participants and your mentors, as well as gain recognition for your accomplishments in the larger tech community. You will learn to value the contribution of others coming from a wide range of backgrounds and disciplines. We will have made inclusion and diversity our default setting for a development team, making the tech and startup community as a whole that much the richer for it.

Register Here

Meet your amazing mentors

We have partnered with startups and some of the larger tech companies such as Shutterstock, in order to give you privileged access to some of the most experienced and talented mentors in Montréal with skills ranging from Javascript, PHP, design, Front-end Development, IoT, Ruby and Python. We are extremely grateful for the time and dedication they are giving us.

Profile of Roberta

After leaving behind a career in the game industry, she thought a talent incubator might be a great place to learn to code, if only it existed. And so now it does, after a whole community made it happen. Roberta has been helping others make a career change since 2015. Previously worked at Ubisoft, Orange/France Telecom and other companies, and designed retro game controllers and arcade cabinets. Currently learning Python and Data Science.

Roberta Voulon

Co-founder @ Les Pitonneux

Profile of Paolo

Your startup mentor, Paolo, has designed products from scratch, and, has growth hacked for companies such the Stanford Research Institute, Dow Chemicals and Intel. In addition to giving you a framework for developing an MVP, hiring the right developers, and UX design he will also help you nail job interviews, make your resumes amazing and boost your confidence. Proficient in: Javascript(React.js), HTML/CSS, responsive design, analytics, growth hacking and UXD.

Paolo Melgarejo

CEO @ Stealth Company

Profile of Andre

As a software engineer with over 20 years of experience at top companies such as IBM and Morgan Stanley, his wealth of experience will be invaluable to help you think like a software engineer and become a better problem solver. His expertise includes: Javascript, Node, Java, database design, software architecture and security. He’s also the VP of technical development at Otakuthon, one of the world’s largest anime convetions.

Andre-John Mas

CTO @ AI Medical Startup

Profile of Fred

One of Montreal’s most prominent open source evangelists, he will help you build robust realtime web applications at scale and with cloud computing (AWS). Fluent in Node, Python, PHP, Sockets.io, SQL and much more. Working in a large tech company he can also give you insights on how to survive technical interviews and how to approach programming problems the way he and his team would.

Frédéric Charette

Senior Node Developer @ Shutterstock

Profile of Etienne

Recognized by Google as an expert in Android and Android Things, he’s a speaker at Android conferences in Europe and North-America, including Droidcon and Google I/O. He is an instructor at Caster.io and has been creating mixed reality experiences through non-profit Osmos Academy as a co-founder. He can help you with best practices on developing Android applications, whether that’s a mobile app or an IoT device or a VR experience.

Étienne Caron

Mobile Lead Developer @ Shopify