Could you start by telling me a little about yourself?
I’m a 16 year old high school sophomore who lives in Charleston, SC. I develop iOS and web applications.
You’ve won two WWDC student scholarships. What was the application process like? How did 2015 differ from 2014?
The application process for WWDC is pretty straightforward– applicants are required to make an app about theirselves. The application process is extremely friendly; we had Facebook and Slack groups dedicated to discussing the process and to help each other. WWDC 2015 itself was very different from 2014. The main reason for this being that in 2015, I knew much more people from both Twitter and 2014. Also, 2014 held the release of Swift, so everyone was scrambling to learn the language in a week.
Your website shows four others projects you’ve worked on. Which was your favorite?
The WWDC phone app was hands-down my favorite of the four, as it actually had a visible impact on people around me. In addition to breaking the news on Twitter that the WWDC page, I happened to be on the way to a programming conference (POSSCON) on a field trip with two other scholarship applicants as the texts came in, so we raced to go read the guidelines for this year’s competition
You worked on an app for your school based on someone else’s work. Was it harder making modifications to a project you didn’t start, compared to one you have?
There’s definitely a learning curve when using someone’s else’s codebase. On the PG Schedule app, I quickly found that my programming style was very different than the original creator’s, so it took far longer than expected to organize and begin real work on the project. When you start with your own project, however, you just have to make sure that you’re planning for the future when writing code.
You also contribute to open source work on Github. How is working on OS different from personal projects? Which do you prefer?
Open Source projects definitely make it harder to slack off, as everyone can see what you code and will criticize it if it is bad (or doesn’t follow the project’s style guide). Open Source is also great because (obviously) anyone can contribute to it, which takes the load off one developer and allows for anyone using it to help out.
What’s been a roadblock you’ve had to face while programming?
One of my biggest roadblocks was during the development of my 2014 WWDC app when I realized that I hadn’t planned very well and ended up with messy code, which took about two days to fix.
What advice do you have for those just starting out programming?
My best advice is to not give up. Learning your first language is hard, but eventually, there will be a moment when everything just “clicks” and all of the concepts come together, and then everything is easy from there.
Specs: Retina, Late 2013
Specs: Sport edition, 42mm