Wow. It’s been over a month since our last interview. I apologize for the delay, but I’ve been hard at work getting together a new lineup of developers to interview. If you have any ideas for this segment, or know someone who would like to be interviewed, let me know!
Now, to kickstart our “second season”, if you will, Harrison Weinerman from New Jersey.
Could you start by telling us a little about yourself?
l’m 16 years old, live in New Jersey, and I’m a sophomore in high school. I’ve been programming for iOS in Objective-C for a few years now, and more recently began programming in Swift as well as developing apps for OS X.
You’re a WWDC 2014 and 2015 Scholarship Recipient. What went into the application process? Any advice for others applying next year?
To apply for a WWDC scholarship, you make an app about yourself. The goal is to demonstrate your programming skills/technical ability, display some of your prior projects, and maybe even explain why you think you should go to WWDC.
My advice would to start early so you don’t have to rush at the last minute, and go all Swift! Also, don’t use any libraries—I think using 100% your code really looks a lot better to Apple, and gives you a better chance at it. Also, try and use new APIs and features. For example, I included a WatchKit app and Notification Center widget in my 2015 submission.
What was attending WWDC 2014 like?
Attending WWDC last year was one of the most unique and rewarding experiences of my life. I got to meet tons of other teen developers and learned a lot from the labs and sessions. Especially with Swift being released for the first time, WWDC was a great place to be: with other developers learning Swift and the people at Apple who actually made it! WWDC was a ton of fun, and I’m thrilled to be back in 2015.
You’re Apple Certified. As someone who has never heard of the Apple Certification program, could you tell me a little about that?
Apple’s certification program allows people who work with or are very knowledgeable about Apple’s products, typically from an IT stance. Essentially, you complete some tests which prove your knowledge on OS X Server, troubleshooting a Mac, or even Final Cut Pro to get a certificate. It’s useful to validate your claims of a certain skill set if you’re looking to help someone out or get a job…it’s also a great learning experience. I personally have the Technical Coordinator, Support Professional, and OS X Integration certifications.
You’ve developed 4 different apps (as per your website). Which was your favourite to make? Which was the most challenging?
My favorite app I’ve worked on is probably Keypad, with Eytan Schulman. Keypad is a really cool dialer for OS X to place calls through Continuity, and it’s really cool having a big user base of people who use the app every day. The toughest is probably my school’s app—there’s a lot of logic stuff regarding dates that I had to learn to make it work, but it was definitely worth it in the long run. Myself, as well as hundreds of other students and teachers not having to worry about where they’re going next with a crazy rotating schedule is truly priceless!
Your latest project is Keypad for OS X Yosemite. My understanding is you worked on it with several other people. What was it like doing a collaborative project?
The Keypad team has 5 people—Eytan and I are developers, Nick the designer, Austin the web developer, and Faisal is backend/cust serv. Git became really important here for getting the app done with multiple people working on it, as well as maintaining a productive group chat so we’re all on the same page on the latest with Keypad, despite being in multiple time zones across the world! So much more can be accomplished in a team than working more independently, and it’s great to be able to have feedback coming from so many different perspectives.
Anything else you’d like to add?
You can follow me on Twitter @hrrsn! Anyone can DM me and I love trying to help people with their code!
Main Computer: Macbook Pro
Specs: 2012; 15″ retina display; 16 GB of RAM; 2.7 GHz i7 processor
Smartphone: iPhone 6 Plus
Specs: Gold; 64 GB
Tablet: iPad Air 2
Specs: Space Grey; 64 GB
Wearable: Apple Watch
Specs: 42mm; Milanese Loop