Douglas Bumby is a 16 year-old situated in Vancouver, Canada. He has a fascination with fonts, user interfaces and cleanly-written code. This week I sat down to ask him about how he got started and attending WWDC 2014.
To start, I’d like to ask you how you got started programming. What is it that piqued your interest at an age when many others would rather be hanging out with friends than with a computer?
I started writing markup code in the second grade. I wrote HTML as part of my computer class and eventually started helping the other kids. Later on I got into the C language, and when I got my first Mac I started [to learn] Objective C. I would say I’ve had [the interest] for a long time.
Your Twitter biography says you claim to be a user experience (UX) designer in addition to being a developer. Is there one you prefer over the other?
Design. It allows you to be creative and show how you want [something] to be. Nobody can see your code, but good or bad design either makes or breaks the app and [determines] how good of [a] rating you get.
Are you currently working on any projects? What inspiration has led you to work on them?
I’m currently working on Slate, an app that connects developers to designers; I thought of it because there isn’t a good way to find collaborators. I’m also working on Just Go! A map-influenced stopwatch application with animations and gestures.
I understand that you were able to attend Apple’s WorldWide Developers Conference this year in San Francisco via a Student Scholarship. Can you tell me a little more about that, and your impressions on the announced technologies?
I was so excited when I found out I won the scholarship. I picked up my grandmother and squealed in the mall. It was [literally] the best week of my life. I was very impressed by CloudKit’s release. Slate was taking us 6 months to make using Parse; and we got our entire app working in the console within 5 hours. I loved being able to go to an [Apple] engineer to get help.
What would you say is your favourite part about developing for Apple’s ecosystem?
Apple’s simplicity and the fact that anybody knows how to use an iPad/iPhone. It’s just so simple.
Do you have any advice for young people who are wanting to get started with programming or design?
Trial and error. Don’t be afraid [and] don’t do it for money; do it because you’re passionate about it. Use Stack Overflow, Github, YouTube and Treehouse. Never give up.
If you would like to get in touch with Douglas, feel free to contact him on Twitter. He is always willing to help with those stuck with Objective-C and Swift.
This is the first piece in a bi-weekly series featuring teenaged developers and designers. If you would like to be interviewed, feel free to contact Kaleb.