Web Development Contest

We had the honor of hosting the 2nd National Web Development Challenge, last Thursday. This years Challenge was held in collaboration with ZWINQ Tech and Ineffable N.V. Ten contestants were selected to join the challenge and four amazing young & talented Developers presented the Web App that they’ve build within two weeks time.
After the Developers their demo, the judges deliberated and selected this years Top 3 Web Developers.

The Top 3 are:
1. Shawn Stolting
2. Shaniel Samadhan
3. Nicolaj Rodiwongso

The Top 3 received amazing prices, one of them being a one year contract as part-timer at Datasur.

We are committed to serving the Surinamese youth within the ICT branch, in order to guarantee sustainable growth of and in Suriname.

Participants’ Experience

Shawn Stolting; 1st place winner

1. What was your experience during the challenge?

For me it was fun, interesting and challenging, because I didn’t know what to expect from the other participants in their project. Then a questionable feeling arose if mine was good enough or not. At the end I found out that you do need perseverance otherwise you can cancel easily, because you do feel a certain pressure and don’t have much time. Of course I didn’t cancel, but I certainly felt the pressure.

2. What have you learned?

I’ve learned that there are so many APIs to work with.

I also learned that you don’t always have to invent everything. Sometimes you just have to take the time to go through documentation because almost everything you think about has already been thought about and invented by someone else.

3. Briefly tell us about the Web App you built? What is it? What is it for and why should someone use it?

The website I built is called “Bus Route Tracker”. Through this website you can follow/see all bus routes of Suriname. This is useful because you can immediately determine where you want to go, where you can go and where you are because there is also an option to display your current location by means of a. a marker. Your location is constantly updated, so you always know exactly where you are. There is also the choice to choose two points on the map where an automatic route is determined for you. It also tells you how long it will take and what you should do at each intersection (eg Turn right on to Bindastraat.) This is a handy option to have if you need to move between two bus routes.

My next steps will be:

Order and further configure GPS devices to work together with the website by means of an API. Once invented, it can be placed in any bus, giving the user more control over moving to the next action. For example: because the user knows exactly where the bus is, they can further determine if they still have time to relax or if they should leave home immediately so that they do not miss the bus.
build a ticket system so that you can order tickets online and so that you can immediately see if there is still room or not on the bus.

4. What would you say to other Developers who will participate in the next Web Development Challenge of 2022?

“Nothing ventured, nothing gained”

So many developers had canceled. Do not do that! Continue to the finish line because you gain knowledge and it helps your knowledge capacity to grow.

Try to keep going to the end and you will be rewarded. Everyone wants a reward, but you don’t always have to win to be a winner. Knowledge is power and with that you can achieve success.

What should the organization do differently or better next time?

An interim meeting with the developer to see how far they are and if they need help with anything.

By doing this, you reduce the chance that they will cancel or have nothing to present at the end.

Shaniel Samadhan: 2nd place

What was your experience during the challenge?
I had a very nice experience during the challenge. I had felt all that rush I felt to develop my idea as quickly as possible after a long time. The instructions were clear to me as it was about the same as last year. I was shocked that only 4 people out of 10 were able to present their project. Expected better.

What have you learned?
I didn’t really learn anything new because I used my existing programming knowledge to build that website. What I have improved is my planning skills. For a web development challenge where you don’t have much time, you need to plan quickly. And I have improved that with me anyway.

Briefly tell us about the Web App you built? What is it? What is it for and why should someone use it?
I looked for ways that Suriname can use to get out of this pandemic. One of those avenues was vaccinations. When I went to look at the statistics, it turned out that only 39% of the total population was vaccinated. To ensure that more people would get vaccinated, I came up with the idea to build Vaxxport.

Vaxxport is a website where you can see your vaccinations. It generates a QR code for you that other people can scan to see if you have been vaccinated or how many vaccinations you have taken. It is literally a vaccination passport in a digital form. This website can be used anywhere eg restaurants, markets, hotels etc. If they scan your code and it turns out you are not vaccinated then you should be denied access or maybe limited access.

What would you say to other Developers who will participate in the next Web Development Challenge of 2022?
It’s not difficult, don’t think you have to be skilled to participate in something like that. The organization does give workshops that guide you with the technical part. It’s a fun experience to participate in.

What should the organization do differently or better next time?

Different themes per year. And stick to 2 or 3 themes. Organizing hackathons instead of web development challenges. These will be 1-day physical hackathons where you will participate as an individual or as a team. These are much nicer. Bigger cash prizes. That way you get more people interested in participating. Abolish documentation and video demo. Usually the participants don’t have enough time to make those things. And to be honest it makes the whole challenge a bit boring. Nobody likes documentation and the video demo is not necessary because we already do that during the presentation.

Whitney de Rijp, MBA in Innovation and Technology.
Whitney de Rijp is a young driven Surinamese woman. She has been working at Datasur for over 6 years. Together with her top team, they ensure that customer data is stored securely all over the world which helps them focus on their core business.

Integrity, authenticity and just being herself is the mode for success as a Commercial Affairs Manager. Furthermore, she finds it very important to maximize effectiveness and of course lead by example. For both the internal and the external organization she is very transparent, which also fosters loyalty and engagement with the company goals.

Jurgen Schmeltz has as a Bachelor's degree in Information and Communication Technology and several IT certifications. His IT career started in Johannesburg, South Africa at IBM where he gained international experience for 5 years. When he came back to Suriname, he worked for two IT companies and also gained experience in VOIP, Backup Solutions and Microsoft Products.

At the moment Jurgen is a Cloud and Datacenter Infrastructure Specialist with many years of experience in the field of Microsoft Virtualization, Workplace Automation, Backup, Replication and Data Center Infrastructure. He currently holds the position of Operations Manager and is responsible for managing the Datacenter Operations such as Cloud and Network infrastructure.

Furthermore, he is also responsible for managing daily Facility Operations of the Datasur Datacenters and Project Lead for Cloud and Datacenter expansion projects. In his free time he’s a parttime lecturer at the two technical Universities in Suriname.

On behalf of Datasur Jurgen Schmeltz is also chairman of SUR-IX. The Suriname Internet Exchange Point which will be operational before the end of 2022

Sheetal Ganput works as the General Affairs Manager at Datasur. In this role she is part of the management team and reports to the CEO of Datasur.

She is a very self-driven, detail-oriented & hardworking young professional. She has helped to reorganize the company in the field of Office, HRM and Supply Chain Management.

Sheetal has her B.Sc. in Business Management and also completed her M.Sc. completed in Business Management with a specialization in Strategy, Entrepreneurship and Leadership. She is very progressive and is currently doing her Ph.D. study in Leadership & Management

Our CEO, Dr. Anvit Ramlakhan is a prolific strong inspiring inclusive young professional leader from Suriname, working in different fields to contribute for the betterment of humanity and the world. He is an experienced executive with a demonstrated history of working in the ICT industry for several years, with a widespread of skills in operations, quality, risk, project, business, strategy, product portfolio management (just to name a few). At Datasur Anvit oversees the total company performance on strategical level, with a strong focus on business growth, innovation, customer experience and financial profitability.

Furthermore, Anvit contributes to development of the Surinamese youth by lecturing and tutoring at four university study organizations in Suriname on undergraduate and postgraduate levels within study fields such as ICT, Electrical engineering, Organization management, Process management, Business intelligence, MBA, etc.

He has a strong professional background with a cum laude doctorate (Ph.D. in Management- Information and Technology) from the Akamai University in USA, Master of Science (M.Sc.) with merit in Information Systems from Anglia Ruskin University in London, UK and Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Telecommunications from Anton de Kom University in Paramaribo, Suriname. He currently is finishing up his MBA in Strategic Management and Leadership at the London School of International Business, London, UK.

Anvit has several prolific leadership and business certifications, ongoing humanity service, extensive spiritual drive and a personal theme which is as follows: “Continuous progressive successful excellence”. He is part of volunteer organization HSS for 20+ years, through which character molding, collaboration and way of living for the youth is created and augmented.

In January 2022 he has been elected for two years as Chairman of the ICT Association in Suriname, in order to help strategize the sustainable digital economic development of Suriname. Furthermore he also has been elected as Chairman for the Suriname Business Youth Association in June 2021 for a period of two years, whereby development and support of young entrepreneurs and professionals is one of the main goals. Anvit is also part of the presidential working groups on areas of e-Government and wage council.