Code for Romania means more than our programs and the applications we produce for society. Before anything, Code for Romania is defined by our volunteers, volunteers who dedicate their time to making Romania the country we all want. And when these volunteers are part of our sponsor communities, we are even happier. Let’s meet Nicolae Surdu, from 3PillarGlobal, dedicated coder, Code for Romania volunteer on the Data Portal project and #Herooftech.
Why Code for Romania? What is different about our volunteer community?
I really like to contribute to open-source projects. The opportunity to meet the other collaborators of the project in person, coupled with the fact that the projects have the potential to improve my life and that of those around me are huge incentives for me.
What is your background in IT? How did you get to 3Pillar?
My first contact with a computer was sometime in the 5th grade, at the Children’s Club in Hunedoara. From that moment, all I wanted and want to do every day is to create something new, with the knowledge I accumulate daily in the field. At 3Pillar I arrived by chance, but I stayed because of the passionate people I found there.
Why did you choose the Code project you are working on now?
Both at the company where I used to work for and during some personal projects, I realized that the access to data offered by the Romanian institutions is either non-existent or of a poor quality. This led either to the abandonment of some project ideas or to a lower quality of those projects. The DataPortal project, to which I have chosen to contribute at the moment at Code4Romania, seeks to solve exactly this problem: both the aggregation of data from several local institutions and the centralized access in a standardized way by the general public.
What are your favorite projects from Code?
Besides the Data Portal, other projects that have attracted my attention and to which I would like to contribute in the future are redirectioneaza.ro, a project that was useful to me long before I participated in Code4Romania and votdiaspora.ro, which impressed me because of the relevance and value it has brought in the last elections in Romania.
If you could “adopt” a project, which one would you take care of?
Honestly, any Code4Romania project that could benefit from my knowledge, I would be very happy to help. If I can “cheat” a little at this answer, I would say that it would be one of the following projects that will integrate the data generated by the Data Portal project to which I am currently contributing.
Why are open data important?
From my point of view, open data, whether software, hardware or otherwise, is an accessible and reliable basis for further building secure products, thanks to the public validation process.
How do your colleagues react when you tell them that you are volunteering in your free time?
There are colleagues who are curious to come to Code4Romania when their time allows, there are also colleagues who already volunteer through open source contributions to other projects outside Code4Romania. So far, I have noticed no other reactions than interest from colleagues with whom I discussed the subject.
If you could digitize one thing in Romanian society, what would that be?
At the risk of repeating myself, access to public information. I feel that this is the core from which a wide range of products and services that would lead to both a better functioning and greater transparency of Romanian state institutions can grow, and vice versa - a society of Romanians better informed and more involved in the public agenda.
What is your take on the local Code for Romania community? What would you like to improve?
At the moment it is quite calm in our Code4Romania Timișoara community, most likely due to the bad weather lately. :) But the people involved come with a lot of interest and a lot of desire to help. What would be welcome at Code4Romania would be a wider promotion and collaboration with more companies like 3Pillar, which in turn would promote the project internally and encourage both participation in Code4Romania and participation in the open-source movement in general.
What do you like about Code for Romania?
People. People who come here to use their knowledge and their free time to change the world around them for the better.
What do you like about 3Pillar?
First of all, as in the case of Code4Romania, people who are passionate about technology who do what they do out of passion, before anything. I know this because with many of them I went to Hackathon events and collaborated on personal projects. In 3Pillar people are masters in their field of activity but also eager to learn further and this makes working with them the greatest pleasure. I also like the framework created by 3Pillar to help personal development by organizing internal technology communities, a very generous work from home program as well as sponsoring participation in various external conferences and workshops.