How Christina Faulkner Uses Mendix to Save Children’s Centers Time and Money
In today’s maker profile, we are featuring Christina Faulkner, Developer at Action for Children. Hear how she uses Mendix to automate manual processes for Children’s centers so they can focus their time on more important things, like the children.
1. What is your education and professional background? Did you have any prior development experience?
I didn’t go to University and have no prior development experience. I did an IT apprenticeship for a year at Action for Children. I went back for a second year and ended up taking a full-time job at the IT Service Desk. After a couple of years, I wanted to move on and a job opened as a Mendix Developer.
2. How were you introduced to Mendix?
Action for Children saw an opportunity to be more innovative and to build apps more quickly. They were looking to hire more developers. There was a vacancy for a Mendix Developer and the role was advertised internally. I decided to apply and got the job and have been working as a Mendix developer ever since.
3. What was most helpful learning Mendix?
The tutorials are awesome and the videos are very useful. I didn’t come from a developer background, so being able to replay the videos as and when I liked was perfect. I am also a big fan of the forum. I have never experienced such an active community in a forum before Mendix, it is really helpful and encouraged me to think outside of the box sometimes.
I have never experienced such an active community in a forum before Mendix, it is really helpful and encouraged me to think outside of the box sometimes.”
4. What have you built using the platform? Which app/project are you most proud of?
One project I worked on that is now live is a project support portal used by the people inside our office. This project helped the staff plan their work and store it centrally. The process was previously performed on paper and copied onto word.
The one that I am most proud of is the one I am working on now. About a year ago, Action for Children took over many children’s centers, and their IT systems were terribly out of date. They would spend hours copying out excel spreadsheets on paper and were wasting so much time that they could be spending with the children.
The app I am building is to help them book children into activities and will automate all the manual work they were doing before. The reason why I am proud of it is because of how much time and cost it will save them. I also wanted to make it incredibly user friendly and intuitive. I met with the contractor a few weeks ago and he was ridiculously excited about it. They have been involved throughout the entire process and love being able to collaborate.
5. Have you had any “aha moments” using Mendix?
We went to the children’s center to speak to the project workers, the people who would be using the app, and it was a really satisfying moment to see how excited they were. They have been through the process previously with other external companies to get an app built and have had nothing but disappointment. So, the fact that we could work so closely and personally with them was really appreciated. It was an eye-opening moment to be able to work collaboratively through the process with them and to deliver something so easily and quickly to make them happy.
It was an eye-opening moment to be able to work collaboratively through the process with them and to deliver something so easily and quickly to make them happy.”
6. What advice would you give to other Mendix developers?
Use the forum! I have always had a great response rate and everyone is very helpful.
I also find this tip to be useful: If you get frustrated, move on to something different to refresh your mind. Often this has helped me come up with the solution.
7. How has Mendix made your life easier/better?
It has given me a job! Mendix has improved the lives of people within Action for Children and made their lives easier. The fact that we can do things in house and don’t have to outsource projects for a ridiculous amount of money is great, keeping in mind we work on behalf of children. With Mendix, we can enable our children center workers to save time and focus on what they are actually employed to do, which is look after needy children, instead of filling out spreadsheets.
With Mendix, we can enable our children center workers to save time and focus on what they are actually employed to do, which is look after needy children, instead of filling out spreadsheets.”
8. How would you describe Mendix in your own words?
Mendix is a fast, flexible, and visual platform to build web and mobile apps.
9. What are your interests/hobbies outside of work?
I do graphic design on the side and like to make wedding invitations, I help build websites for friends and small businesses, and I like to bake.