How to win a competition? Interview with the winner of #OMRS2020.
Our main project this year – #OMRS2020 Internships – is coming to an end. Its aim was to promote open-source projects around the world, especially among young developers. The participants had 4 months to meet the requirements allowing them to reach the dev2 level in the OpenMRS community, which was a condition for winning a cash prize. In order to be promoted to a dev2 member, it was necessary, among other things, to complete 10 tasks available on the Jira platform, to be a member of the community for at least 3 months and to take an active part in the community’s Talk forum.
More than 140 people with varying advancement in programming from all over Poland have applied to join the #OMRS2020 program. Reaching the dev2 level was not an easy task, since OpenMRS technical documentation is extensive and on the one hand, contains all the necessary information to start working on the code, but on the other hand, it is also a serious obstacle for those who are just beginning their adventure with this medical open-source. Choosing this program as the main item of our internship we hoped that our participants wouldn’t get discouraged (after all, even commercial projects aren’t perfect and many problems may be found in them, too) and some of them would get the said promotion.
The unquestionable success of the program is reaching the dev2 level by one of the participants after only 3 months of being of the community member, who had no idea of the program when joining the internship. This is the only dev2 promotion for the time being, but we hope there will be more such successful nominees.
The first winning nominee, Łukasz, was interviewed to celebrate his promotion in the community structures. We asked him, among other things, where it all started, about his programming background as well as how he achieved his success and found a niche he used to win the prize. Łukasz describes himself modestly as a soldier, a network administrator, a programmer passionate, an amateur runner and a devoted blood donor. Maybe it was his humility and strong motivation to let him win? We don’t know that, but we do know his recipe for success instead.
Enjoy reading 🙂
To begin with, I’d like to ask you where it all started. What made you think of taking part in the program?
I received an invitation from the programming school with which I was working last year. The link went to the #OMRS2020 website, I opened it, took the opportunity, so I’m here.
Just like that? What was the most interesting for you in this project, then? Was it the prize or perhaps the possibility of self-development?
Mostly? The prize. However, I was aware that meeting the conditions for receiving the prize might be beyond my capabilities. But this was not the only motivation, otherwise, I would’ve given up immediately, knowing that the goal was beyond my reach. I therefore, approached this challenge with an additional goal on my mind.
So, what was the goal then?
A large project, a large community, many developers and myself. The one, with no experience in group programming, but with only small, my own projects completed. So there was an opportunity, involving no obligations, to see how things are done. At first it seemed to me there were no obligations, but I was definitely wrong. I found out much later how much I was wrong…
Was the course you attended to teach you programming from scratch or you had tried to learn something on your own before?
My first experience with programming languages was in a primary school, I mean “eternal” Turbo Pascal. 😉 Then, I had something to do with programming a few years ago during my studies, when I encountered such languages as: C, C++, Java. The latter one was the language of my engineering degree thesis. Then there was a break of a few years, meaning a kind of regression as regards programming.
It was hard for me to start again, so I decided to buy a training course. I was bored half the time, but I’m not complaining, as the other half of the course gave me what I lacked, the belief that I could still learn something.
Right, changes in the IT world are implemented very quickly and you have to follow them continuously keep yourself sharp. I’m glad that the course was successful in spite of all drawbacks and in the end let you be with us. I remember that at the beginning you complained about unavailability of easy tasks and a high level of complexity of the available ones. How did you deal with this?
You’re right, this was initially very demotivating. As a matter of fact, I was not the only one who faced this problem. A lot of us, including many of my competitors in #OMRS2020, came across such an obstacle. At first, I did not really know where to start. The project is simply too big, and I haven’t fully comprehended it until now. The first thing that came to my mind was to open each file separately and analyze IDE, which allowed me to see if something could be improved. Static analysis of the code was an unknown term to me at the time. My actions were very inefficient, and the things I managed to find were unsatisfactory. I felt discouraged and really thought it was out of my league.
And then, by chance, Daniel showed up. 😉
We could notice a lot of frustration, anger and nervousness in your email. However, that has changed and today you’re more relaxed when approaching the problem.
Anger? Well, that was not my intention. I rather wanted to show that I was about to quit after the first attempt. However, as you have rightly pointed out, my attitude is different now, as I managed to find a way to help not only myself but also others who are in the same situation I was at the very beginning.
This is the end of the first part of our interview with Łukasz. Part 2 and 3 we publish in the coming days. So stay tuned and watch our social media and the website.