University of Tuzla students put their stamp on our blockchain explorer

We let the next generation of developers loose on our tech!

Fintech is a young industry, and we’re always looking for ways to inspire the next generation of developers. So, when a group of students from the University of Tuzla approached us to find out more about the way we work, we gave them an opportunity to sharpen their skills!

WeOwn’s development team offered the students a chance to deliver their own version of our blockchain explorer. This gave them an introduction to the basics of blockchain technology, developing their knowledge around software architecture and using new languages and tools.  

We spoke to two of the students that took part in the project, Amel Dizdarevic and Ajdin Nakicevic, to find out more…

How did the relationship between WeOwn and the University of Tuzla come about?

Ajdin: We’re both currently in our fourth and final year at university, studying electrical engineering as part of the department of automation and robotics. During Bosnia and Herzegovina Engineering Week last December, we attended an event and saw your CTO, Ermin, speak. I started talking to him after the event about the future of blockchain and what WeOwn is doing, and then asked him if he would be open to working with students.

How many students were involved & why did you decide to develop your own blockchain explorer front end?

Amel: Around 18 students showed an interest originally, and 12 ended up working on the project. Everyone is either a third or fourth-year student from the electrical engineering faculty, although only a few of us are from the automation and robotics department – most come from computer science.

Ajdin: I created a poll on our student website to find out what people wanted to work on, and most people were interested in developing web applications, which is why we chose to create a new blockchain explorer.

What was your initial goal, and what challenges did you face along the way?

Amel: Our aim was to create a user-friendly application through which users can check their transactions and CHX balance. We structured the project by creating a mock-up design first, then splitting into groups to work on the design, DevOps and data integration.

Although I have some management and leadership experience, I’ve never worked with such a large group of people before, so that was tough. We had to improve our HTML and CSS knowledge, and also learn new programming languages like Javascript and Angular.

Ajdin: We also had to work hard motivating people to do side projects alongside their studies, but fortunately we had a good team.

How closely did you collaborate with WeOwn during the project?

Amel: Ermin and the whole Sarajevo team were amazing, we were really surprised by how much time they put aside to help us out. We met with them every couple of weeks; they were very consistent with their input, explaining things to us whenever we encountered a problem.

It’s not every day that someone in a fast-growing company will give up their time to help students gain real-world experience, and we can’t express enough gratitude to everyone involved.

Has this real-word development experience made a difference to your skills?

Ajdin: Being part of a project for a real business has helped us a lot for future work experience. At university you gain a lot of theoretical knowledge, but you don’t always have the opportunity to apply it.

Amel: it’s unusual for students to work on a side project while studying, so that makes us stand out to employers. I’ve been looking for jobs recently and the fact I’ve learned Angular has got me interviews. People are really interested to hear about the user interface project because blockchain is still an emerging technology, and they’re impressed that I’ve had mentorship from a company like WeOwn. In fact, it’s thanks to this project that I now have a job lined up after I graduate.

What aspects of the blockchain explorer project make you most proud?

Amel: Our amazing team of students and what we’ve achieved together. We’re very proud of the fact that we’ve created a working application, not just a demonstration project. This is something that has real-world use to the WeOwn community.

Is the user interface now complete?

Amel: The first prototype is finished and now we’re working on some performance improvements. When those are made then we will be able to release it publicly, so WeOwn users have a choice of applications.

Ajdin: Once the project is complete in terms of looks and functionality, our DevOps team will be working on its deployment on Amazon Web Services (AWS) so it can become available in the public domain.

As students, how valuable has it been to have support from a successful technology company?

Amel: I am so impressed that a company like WeOwn is willing to mentor local students. It has been a huge achievement for us getting to meet people in the industry like Ermin and his team.

We’re always looking out for young, emerging talent. Have you got what it takes to be part of Team WeOwn? Visit our careers page for the latest opportunities.

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