It seems like a life ago, but in december 2016, a friend of mine @icebergMNE (Stefan Fuštar) introduced me to FreeCodeCamp. We were both students of IT related faculty at the time, and FCC seemed to us as a good opportunity to speed up our learning process, especially the Front-end curriculum. I can say that I was very fascinated with the gamifying concept of this platform, where you used to get points for solving an exercise. And, unlike on college, where grading can sometimes depend on professor, here the path to the certificate and the diploma was clear. You just solve problems one by one, progress and reach the goal/certificate. We quickly shared our enthusiasm with our colleagues from our University.
I remember it was the winter holiday season ( exam period), it was unusually cold for Montenegro in that time of the year, not many reasons to go out. Somehow solving exercises and discussing problems with other campers on gitter made me feel warm at heart. I believe I used to solve 40 or 50 exercises from Front-End per day. Projects were the real fun part, it was like a mini-competition between a group of us. In the end, we would each look at the solution of the other and learn in the process.
As we were progressing, we wanted to find other people in our town, Podgorica, who were also on their FreeCodeCamp journey. In a small country like Montenegro, it is hard to find community for such things. We created a group on Facebook, and invited people we know that would be interested in. Soon there was about 50 people in the group, so the next logical step was to organize a meeting.
And the meeting was great, a lot of people that we didn’t know from before showed up, and we were among the younger actually. People with significant work experience came to the meeting, and we talked about our plans and goals that we would like to accomplish with FCC. Some people also presented their work, and it was a great meeting.
Now, it is very hard for me to explain why didn’t we continue with meetings. I guess we got too busy with University and everyday life, that we missed opportunity to catch the momentum and keep the group going. The fault is ours definitely.
I would lie if I told you that I was constantly focused and dedicated to finish the curriculum. I remember almost completely quitting FCC as I was struggling with [https://www.freecodecamp.org/learn/coding-interview-prep/algorithms/no-repeats-please](No repeats please) task.
From then on, I would return and roam away from FreeCodeCamp periodically. I remeber that in 2017, Stefan and I teamed up again, to learn Node.js, and guess what, we chose FCC as the best way to do it.
We again started with group meetings in 2018, and we managed to gather about ten people that would go to the meetings from time to time. We explored different areas of the vast developer/IT universe, and group members that had a knowledge on a particular subject would give lectures. We also explained some stuff, that is not often discussed on college, and that is how to setup your own server, and publish your simple website on the internet.
From all of these meetings, we gained confidence that thorugh team work anything is possible. Which leads me to the reason why I am writing this post.
Last year, during the covid lockdown, there was a hackathon organised by government of Montenegro, with purpose of stimulating the community to come up with solutions that would help our country fight covid-19 and all the problems that it is causing.
It was time for old pals to reunite again, this time in a team of 4, with the addition of Danijela and Miljan Marković.
We detected that one of the problems caused by this pandemic, was that due to the restrictions of movement, there was less voluntary blood donations. Collecting the required supplies of blood is necesary for any medical system to work, as operations are conducted everyday.
Our solution consisted of multiple parts. We built a mobile app for donors, where they could schedule their donation, so that the Institute for blood transfusion of Montenegro, would know how to plan their resources, and so that it doesn’t get overcrowded in times of covid-19. Another feature of this mobile app is possibility to see current supplies of blood for each blood type, and also, in case of emergency, all donors of a needed blood group get notified on their mobile phone.
The other part, was administration web panel (web app), for the doctors and employees working in the Institute, where they would be able to answer to reservations from donors, send notifications in case of emergency, basically control the app.
It was a surprise for us that there exist not so many similar systems in other countries of Europe.
Anyway, we built a prototype in 48 hours. Results? We got a third prize (we are absolutely fine with it), financial funds to finish the project. Today we are proud to say that we have a successfull app that is growing at a steady space, and improving on weekly basis. Screenshots bellow
I wanted to make the point, that everything you do is not in vain. Everything is connected, and each step you made before, helps you go further. I am very grateful for FCC experience that definitely influenced my learning curve, and thanks Quincy Larson and all contributors for creating FreeCodeCamp.
Sorry for the long post, I hope at least something of this might be usefull. That’s all folks, cheers!