Little insights from my first development camp

June 30, 2016

Most probably at some point you have heard the expression “traveling is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer”. This is obviously directly related to the amount of experiencies you might live and collect when you are on the way. When referring to software development, this expression also applies and translates in the amount of experience you can gain by interacting with people from very different backgrounds.

Can you imagine if you could travel to different places and interact with diverse cultures instantaneously? Imagine if you could surround yourself by people with your same passion and interests? Well, this is exactly what the mYouth project tries to achieve. During 3 weeks a group of 25 developers and designers from different countries are brought together to work on their Android apps. The very different mindsets assure an explosive environment to boost creativity and create amazing projects.

Right now, I am one of the participants of this cool event representing Austria. The age range of the group goes from 13 to 32 years old. Most probably, I am one of the oldest participants in the event, which doesn’t mean I am one of the most experienced regarding technical knowledge. It is incredible seeing how skilled young people can be regarding certain kind of technology, which once more demonstrates that age and technical expertise don’t go together necessarily when referring to software.

One of the most spectacular things I observed is the unlimited amount of passion that characterizes young people. Everything is going really fast when they are nearby. Everybody talking to each other about code and collaborations. If you have been working for a middle size company, usually collaborating involves many emails and several meetings before you can start tackling the real problem. Here everything takes place at the speed of light in front of a laptop right after lunch while sitting in the garden. Amazing! Isn’t this actually what being agile stands for?

It is a pity that many companies hire people like this with a lot of energy and end up killing their enthusiasm by relegating them to monotony and boredom, just because they fail keeping up with the speed that these little geniuses demand. If you found yourself in this situation, just escape as soon as possible.

Despite being amazed regarding the technological side of this event, for sure the big lesson while getting along with this community is at the personal level. I heard the story of a guy who after a chain of disasters in his life was at the very bottom and thinking about putting an end to his problems in a very radical way. Luckily his friends stopped him from doing stupid things and nowadays he is trying to reorient his career as a developer. He is even considering having his own business. This is what I call being a hero! We tend to be too busy and worried about our little things and most of the time forget about what really matters. This guy is a proof of resilience and personal growth.

Other example of overcoming obstacles is the case of Abdul, a Syrian guy who after experiencing the war in first person achieved to get a grant for continuing his studies in computer science in Germany. Without any doubt he is the person who smiles the most from all the people I met so far…

Also interesting is the story of Jordan, a 13 years old boy coming from Hong Kong and quite active in the open source community. He enjoys coding and making awesome things like the Pedosa project. Amazingly he uses the knowledge he acquires to teach other children about technology.

The list of stories goes on like this. I am glad of being part of this experience and getting wiser by just breathing the atmosphere that characterizes this community of people.