Cadabra | DEV Challenge 11 How it was
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DEV Challenge 11 How it was

In this article, we want to share with you our feedback from one of the most interesting IT championships. Three of our designers (Olha Barkova, Mari Kostrova and Kateryna Khakhuliak) took part in the DEV Challeng11 and are ready to discuss all pros and cons of the event.

DEV Challenge is a combat competition where our weapons are our sharpened minds and honed speed. Only true senseis have a chance.
In total there were 10 categories on 2 mediums: Web and Mobile. Each category had 2 classes: Standard (Middle, Junior-to-Middle) and Pro (Senior, Middle-to-Senior). The project was organized with the support of UNIT City.

UNIT City — An innovative environment and creative atmosphere with access to knowledge and professional expertise for innovation development. It is a town inside the city with campuses, tech laboratories, accelerators, educational centers, coworkings, social and cultural spaces. The event took place in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine.

The weekends were most productive for our designers in the epicenter of IT innovation. They gained many insights and impressions, so let’s see what they came away from it with.

Olga Barkova


I participated in DEV Challenge for the second time this year and I must say, the event gets better and better every year, the participants stronger and the tasks all the more interesting. I have no doubt that I will take part next time, because this experience is very useful.

Firstly, it’s really a challenge — to get together and complete the task within a limited time frame with only your brain and laptop with you. As for the assignments this year, I liked them all. The first task involved non-standard thinking and the use of Facebook’s messenger functionality. The second — a smart house — showed how we can solve the user’s problems.

The most interesting thing is that everyone really solved them in completely different ways. Someone operated cameras on a remote controlled lawn mower, someone else used chatbots and another one employed smart guest access. It was great way to stretch your brain and dream a little. The third and final task was strictly business.

We had to make a mobile banking app for a very specific task. The judges agreed with us that it was impossible to complete this task with the allotted time. What really pleased me was the very high value of UX applications. In general, the task was realistic and practical, the only thing we needed was more information, because, for example, no one took loans.

And I want to quote our judge Stas Rapp, who later became our friend:

“You are all winners here.

You’ve come here, wasn’t lazy and survived.“


I hope you can find the opportunity for similar competitions and to not be afraid of anything.

Mari Kostrova


1. The competition:

Well, we all have weaknesses. I have this weak spot with everything in the financial sphere. And it was a real challenge for me — 7 hours to deal with the most incomprehensible of fields, to learn to apply the LIN approach and not panic under any circumstances.

2. The team:

When 3 of the 15 participants from all over Ukraine were residents of Cadabra Team, I realized how cool we are really are! When we saw feedback for our competitors’ work I thought we had a lot to grow still. But when our very own Kate took the prize — I realized, that we are growing up.

3. About UNIT City:

Do you remember the archives of programs for 30 years worth of 5-year plans? The country rose from the ruins. It’s happened twice. The pace of industrialisation was furious. One factory is being built with another 50 planned and the announcer proclaiming: ”Imagine 1200 workplaces, excellent working conditions, recreation and sports zones, canteens, modern technologies and a fixed working day.” The machines were removed.

Now this is a world factory, where the only important machine for production is human.

Kate Khakhu


To tell the truth, I don’t like competitions at all, in my opinion they make people think not about creating something good, but winning.

So, then ask me: Why I took part in DEV Challenge 11? The answer is to test my strength and expand my horizons. Frankly speaking I was one of those who did everything in the last moment. I know it’s bad habit, but still despite short terms in which I’ve forced upon myself, each time I got a task, I’ve managed to make a real research (+task topics).

I managed to talk with a person who has a real smart house, finally ask my Mom what she does at work (for the bank app). Somehow with these time limits on the previous stages I’ve paraded myself to the last task. I don’t think that such practices are good, it’s just my experience, I find it great one.

A few words about final competition itself, I liked that it doesn’t look like a competition, I didn’t feel any pressure and no one stood over me like I was taking an exam. People were friendly and helpful. What I would definitely improve is making dinner time obligatory, it doesn’t mean that everyone needs to eat, maybe just take a break, because it’s really exhausting to have 6 hours of work and of course only some will spend their time on eating instead of linking screens or describing a flow.

So, I’m happy I was a part of DEV Challenge and hope it will create more great works from year to year helping people challenge themselves.


So that’s how it went. Do you like to challenge yourself and participate competitions?

Share with us your stories and comments.

Have a nice day!

Cadabra Team.

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