Teen Developers – Sergen Gönenç

Teen Developers – Sergen Gönenç

Woo! Happy one year anniversary of our teen developers series! We have an anniversary post here, along with another interview for the day! Enjoy your 14th of August, everyone!


Could you start by telling me a little about yourself?

Hello! I am a 12 years young iOS Developer and Designer from Turkey. I started programming when I was 10 years old and started developing iOS when I was 11. I have built 4 apps and won a hackathon award since then, but only one of them is in the App Store as of now.

Where’d you get the idea for Sorumattik, your quiz app to aid beginner English learners? Was it to solve a problem you noticed people having?
I had the idea of Sorumattik as a trivial quizlet-type app first, but then I noticed the struggle of learning English in my family (my mom and dad don’t know English), so I got the idea of making it an English learning aid there and decided to make it that way.

You’ve been to three hackathons. Which was your favourite? Why?

The first hackathon that I attended was the best, I think. Not because that I had won an award there, but because I had met and talked with other software developers there. I really enjoyed that, mostly because we could understand each other while talking in “software-ish” without needing to translate. Besides that, I also made some lasting connections with the developers I met there.

What do you find most attractive about attending hackathons?
I find the developer community there, and the fun of making new things in hackathons the most attractive thing about attending them. (A developer will know, we sometimes need to talk with people that fully understand when we talk about dev stuff without explaining)
What’s the largest development hurdle you’ve faced with GO! Maps, your Google Maps client for Turkey?
The biggest struggle was squashing the lots of bugs that came with every new feature added and adding the “draw routes” feature, aside from Apple not approving it. I mean, No location data: bug. No internet: another bug. Routes failing to draw in extraordinarily long routes: bug. Crashing in iOS 8 because of the new permissions system: bug… and goes so on. You add that new feature in a couple of minutes, but it does take a really long time to make it rock-solid, to make it behave in every possible condition.
Surely you feel disappointed when Apple doesn’t approve your app to the App Store. But it clearly only encouraged you to work harder on it. Why do you think Apple is declining the app? What do you feel you have to do differently? Will you potentially abandon the project if you can’t get it into the store?
 think Apple is declining it because of its sheer yet feature-packed simplicity, ironically which Apple really values. There is only one screen, it being the main Google Maps screen with a search bar on the top, where you can search places or enter coordinates to show the place or draw a route. I thought of adding another screen, the settings/about menu to change the map type and show credits, and currently I’m adding that. No, I will never abandon this project. It took a long time to make it, a very long time to retry and retry on every reject, and I will never give up because it enriches my life and I want it to enrich other people’s lives by making it easier to find and go to places too.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I think teen developers and coding in Turkey should be promoted, more valued and there should be opportunities provided by the government here, like in the UK or US, since teen devs are so scarce here (I think there are no more than 20 in the entire Turkey).

Contact Info:

Twitter: @Sertheapplr; @useGoMaps
GitHub: Sergen Gönenç
App Store: Sorumattik

Sergen’s Hardware:
Main Computer: MacBook Pro
Specs: Late 2013; 15″ retina; i7 2.0 GHz processor; 256 GB SSD; 8 GB RAM; integrated graphics card
Main Smartphone: iPhone 5
Specs: White; 16 GB
Secondary Smartphone: Lumia 620
Other device: iPod Touch
Specs: 4th gen; 8 GB; Jailbroken
One Year Teen Developers Series Anniversary!
Ofcom launch their own mobile coverage checker. Plus, I change back to my old network