Teen Developers – Darshil Patel

Teen Developers – Darshil Patel

Sorry for being quiet over the last several weeks, everyone! I’ve been busy adding more developers to the list, and trying to branch away from the typical iOS developers. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you’re interested in an interview! I love hearing from people!

Could you start by telling me a little about yourself?

I’m 15 years old, live in a city near Toronto, and I’m a sophomore in high school. I started programming for the web about two years ago and got into Android development in the summer of 2014. I feel as if programming gives me the benefit to change the things around me and make a difference in people’s life. Until now, I haven’t made something that’s really helpful, that’s mainly because I have spent most of my time learning Android development instead of getting started with a huge project. I have done small projects to help me learn core concepts. Now I feel I am close to the level where I can make apps that are more complex and still has a simple user experience.

Surprisingly I am also a huge Apple Fanboy, I say this because I don’t have a lot of Apple products and don’t develop for iOS. Steve Jobs has been a huge inspiration to me as I loved the way he visioned the great products he released at Apple. One of my favourite quotes is “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology – not the other way around (Steve Jobs)”. I always think of this quote before I start any of the mockups for any ideas I have.  It drives me that extra mile to come up with an even simpler user experience.  Along [with] programming, I also love playing soccer and watching Manchester United. I am a RED DEVIL till I die. In the mornings I also like meditating and exercising.

What first got you interested in Android development?

It’s a funny one, because I was forced into this by myself. I had many cool ideas for apps but of course I didn’t know how to develop them, so than I did some research and found out that to develop for iOS you need a Mac, so that was a problem for me because I broke my laptop a couple of months ago and just got a new one, so I knew I wasn’t getting a Mac anytime soon. So ultimately it was my passion to make an app that drove me towards Android, though in the future I would like to develop for iOS.

Tell us a little about the Android apps that you’ve completed in the past. 

Teen Developers – Darshil Patel

I don’t have the greatest of portfolio of Android app, since I havent rushed my self into a big project. I have made a Fun facts app, basket ball score keeper, pong game, timer with lollipop design, contacts manager and Mole smashing game.

Teen Developers – Darshil Patel

What types of projects are you currently working on?

I am currently working on 4 projects, though none of them are complete for launch just yet.

Verso Programs
: Verso is a school based developer group where we are making an application for Leap Motion where you can import your own 3D models and manipulate it using your hands. This brings learning to the 21st century. It goes beyond looking at 2D diagrams in textbooks, now it adds a dimension of true details and students can have a better understanding of it, along with having fun with the leap motion. We are also planning to make it accesible to everyone by making it open source. You can view more project updated here: @Versoprograms

GetiT!: GetiT is a Toronto based start up that is your personal shopper and they deliver the items right to your doorsteps. The saying goes “If we can fit it in a car, we can GetiT!” I developed the website for GetiT. Working with [the team] was fun and I also learned a lot of new things along the way. It was a tough task that I had in hand, but with some hours of learning, I was able to make the website in about a 1 1/2 months. GetiT! will be launching on October 1st.

PaperBag Labs: PBL is my own start up with Het and Paarth, where we are going to offer web services to businesses in the community and also have some of our own in house apps. [An] Android Auto app called “RoadTalk” will be branded under PBL. It’s still in the very early process, so we have a long way to go with this.

You’re currently working on an app for Android Auto. Where’d you get the idea for it?

Me and my friend were just brainstorming some ideas for a future project. Then we thought of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and how it’s a new market and there are a lot of possibities. So then my friend Het said ” It would be cool if there would be an app where people can communicate with other cars, while they are in their cars”. That’s how it began. Then after that we researched and figured that CarPlay doesn’t allow third party chat applications so that’s a problem we are facing. Like the saying goes “where there is a will there is a way” we were quickly able to come up with a workaround.

What are some problems that you would like to solve in the future?

I think productivity is still not at its best and data management isn’t the greatest either. I won’t go into too much detail with data management, because I believe there is a huge market for this and its not worth giving away. Productivity can improve in many ways, continuity is one of them and tools that enhance the way we communicate with the computer. We saw a lot of growth in productivity when Android and iOS launched App Stores, but I think in 2015, we haven’t seen the growth in productivity that we would have liked to see. So this is something I think, I would like to work on for the future.

You also do some marketing work for an Indian startup. Could you tell us about the work you do there?

Nitrux is a great company. It’s really fun working there and learning from the senior developers. They have helped me in my marketing career and given me a chance to do marketing and learn new things along the way. It’s not very often you get a chance like that. So I am very thankful to the Nitrux team. At Nitrux my role consists of coming up with strategies on a successful launch for a product, getting press coverage and getting feedback from the users.

Do you feel like being a programmer helps you with the work you do for Nitrux?

Yes, absolutely. I am able to contribute further in my marketing by creating landing pages for future products. It also helps me give insightful opinion on future products Nitrux is working on. I am also able to help make the user experience simpler.

What’s been a struggle of yours while learning to code?

A lot of things, school being one of the big ones. It’s been important for me to keep up with my grades and also learn programming. In the start it was difficult but now I am used to it and have learned better time management by reading some articles on Medium.  That’s one of them along with many everyday problems you have to face. It became a lot harder for me to face those problems since I was frustrated most of the times in the start.

What are some “failures” you’ve faced along the way?

Many people are afraid to share their failures but I am just as open about my failures as I am with my success.

Robotics: Our school was world champions the previous year for the world robotics championship for VEX Robotics, so our team was expected to perform well. Though we didn’t take the initiative to start to make our robot earlier and we ended up making our robot the last week and due to a flat in our design we had to change the whole robot structure the last day at 10PM. The new design was a defensive robot so we relied on our alliances. When we checked our alliances online they were all pretty good but when we got there the list changed. We ended up coming second last.

What tips do you have for teens wanting to learn to code?

Let’s not lie to ourselves, it’s tough when when you start. Peronally, I didn’t understand anything in Java, it took a lot of understanding and coping with frustration until I started understand the concepts and remember the syntax. So there is always a learning curve when you first start but you have to keep telling yourself, there is bright light at the end of the tunnel. I always had to push myself. Though after one language, learning other languages becomes significantly easier. Some good websites I would suggest are Hackr.io and codeacademy.com.

Darshil’s Hardware:

Main Computer: Asus TP500LA
Specs: Intel i3; 4 GB of RAM; 500 GB HDD

Main Phone: Asus ZenFone 2
Specs: 2 GB of RAM

Main Tablet: Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 8″

Backup Device: iPod Touch
Specs: 5th Generation