[Start of Interview]
Yusuf: I want to know more about you yourself, your background, and what you do for OpenMRS?
Ivange: Ok so, you already called my name. I’m Ivange Larry. I’m a final year Software Engineering student from the University of Buea in Cameroon. I’m actually still a student, so still in school. Out of OpenMRS, I’m mostly in school.
Yusuf: What year of university are you in?
Ivange: I’m in senior year.
Yusuf: What major or field of study are you in?
Ivange: Computer Engineering, specialized in software.
Yusuf: So how did you get started with OpenMRS?
Ivange: Ok so, in 2015, I attended one Google Summer of Code meetup, and after the meetup, I was so much interested in getting in Google Summer of Code. Then, I started looking for an organization. There was this one time in class I was studying, I saw an OpenMRS flyer. The flyer was kind of hard for me to see from a distance. The website was confusing, but I saw a flyer and then joined the Talk forum, which was very friendly. So I decided to start looking at the code of OpenMRS. No, I think that was in 2014. I start looking at the code. I was still a newbie in Java then, and the code was a little frightening for me. I had never done Spring, so back in 2014/15, I bought a book about Spring for Java Web Developers. I was just learning how to code in the Spring Framework. Now in 2014/15, I joined OpenMRS. I started doing small contributions.
Yusuf: So what would you say attracted you to OpenMRS over any other organization or what do you love about OpenMRS?
Ivange: First, growing up, I always wanted to be a doctor. But around secondary school, I realize that I’m not a kind of guy that likes reading a lot. I always wanted to be a doctor and be in a position where you save lives. Biology was not for me, since I didn’t like reading so much and I needed a lot of biology [to become a doctor]. So when I left secondary school, I made up my mind: I’m going to become an engineer. I don’t want to become a doctor again because of biology. But now when I saw that flyer, OpenMRS was like a medical records organization, so I could still be a programmer and still do medical related. I could still save lives, and the OpenMRS line, “Write Code, Save Lives,” I think one of the main things that pulled me towards OpenMRS. Then when I got to OpenMRS, the community was very friendly and welcoming, so I stayed.
Yusuf: Oh okay, so since you contribute to OpenMRS while still doing university, how exactly do you manage your time and juggle both responsibilities as well as also managing your personal life?
Ivange: First, I’d like to say I’m very bad at time management, so…. When I was working with OpenMRS, I was working mostly late at night. After I came back from school, I’d have a good rest. Then, I wake up late at night, staying 3-4 hours on OpenMRS, and I sleep the next day, go to school, and that’s it.
Yusuf: Oh, so you’re a very motivated person, that’s nice. So do you have any tips for any new or aspiring developers willing to work with OpenMRS?
Ivange: I think earlier I said, “Don’t be afraid to ask questions”. OpenMRS is one of the most friendly communities I’ve ever been in. OpenMRS is actually the first open-source community I have ever joined. But after I joined OpenMRS, I worked with a couple of open-source organizations, and I can say for sure that OpenMRS is one of the most welcoming organizations I’ve ever been in. So, the only advice I can ever give is to any new person joining OpenMRS is, “Don’t be ashamed to ask questions. Ask anything. Whether it’s on the IRC channel or Talk forum, you will have someone like Daniel Kayiwa (Daniel Kayiwa), always there trying to help you.”
Yusuf: Got it. So I wanted to know more about yourself. What projects or responsibilities did you take on in OpenMRS? I know that you were the helpdesk manager for a while too and worked on the Radiology Module. Would you like to expand on those?
Ivange: I got started with OpenMRS by fixing small bugs, implementing new features. Then, I got accepted into Google Summer of Code 2016 with OpenMRS where I worked on the Radiology Module. That was to enhance the reporting in the radiology module. The module could not support templates, and so radiologists had to create their report structure every time they created a report. So, my work in 2016 was to make it possible for the radiology module to support templates so that radiologists don’t have to be creating the report structure every time they needed a report. They could just use a template, and just by putting a little bit of data, they could receive their report. During that time, I was also sometimes the scrum leader. I used to lead the daily scrum, me and Shreyans (Shreyans Sheth). I was also a mentor in Google Code-In 2016. Yea, it was a great experience, and during Google Code-In, I also signed up for the helpdesk manager role. I really wanted a lot because when I got to OpenMRS, it was always about code. When I got into the community, I realized there’s so much more than just writing code. I wanted to get some leadership role so that’s why I mentored in Google Code-In. I was also on the IRC channel trying to help answer questions to newcomers the same way Daniel Kayiwa was helping me. I volunteered to be the helpdesk manager of OpenMRS.
Yusuf: Got it, I actually remember you as my Google Code-In mentor.
Ivange: (chuckles) Oh, that’s cool.
Yusuf: So what are your goals in the future and what do you plan to do or what are your aspirations?
Ivange: Umm, I’m in my final year so I should be finished with school. My goal right now consists of Software Engineering. For the past time I’ve worked, I’ve done Google Summer of Code. I’ve got to attend some conferences like right now I’m attending the Open Source Summit. I’ve realized there’s still a lot to learn. There’s a lot to learn out there. My goal right now is not even getting the job; it’s try to learn a lot of all these cool technologies and what is actually being used now. To keep up to date. There’s so much competition in tech, and my goal right now is to build my skill to beat the competition. Right now, I’m running the Java user group. With the user group I hope to learn a lot from others.
Yusuf: Wow, that’s very impressive!
Ivange: I really respect the beauty of my skills. I joined a startup, and they’re working on a really cool project which I can not say a lot about. It’s a project that makes use of things like microservices and cloud native. It’s a project where I’m really sure I’m going to learn a lot from it. After my graduation, I’ll probably spend a year or two with them.
Yusuf: Wow, I’m very impressed. I wish you the best of luck in that.
Ivange: Thank you.
Yusuf: Now onto some quick facts and tidbits. So what are your hobbies?
Ivange: I’m not a very fun person, like a lot of programmers, but I do play basketball. I played basketball in high school. After high school, I’ve just been playing street basketball, at least once every week for exercise or fun but not something professional. I also like music, but I can’t sing. I try to play the piano.
Yusuf: (chuckles) So what would you say would be your favorite movie or work of literature?
Ivange: Well, my favorite movie…. I watch a lot of good movies, but if you ask my favorite movie, I’ll say probably the one that inspired me to be a programmer: Live Free or Die Hard with Bruce Willis.
Yusuf: And what about your favorite program or software to use?
Ivange: Well, that’s a hard one. I’ve just been coding for OpenMRS for a while so…. (laughs). Maybe my favorite software is my Idea IntelliJ. It helps me a lot.
Yusuf: Ok, well I had a great time chatting with you Ivange and I absolutely love your contributions as a very young community member. Congratulations once again on behalf of the OpenMRS community and we wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.
[End of Interview]
Congratulations once again to Ivange on all his accomplishments and we wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors!