CS Interview #1: 18-Year-Old App Developer

Hello! It’s been a while since I last posted. I have been working on a series of interviews featuring students and young adults involved in interesting CS projects that will be published over the next couple of months. 

For this blog post, I interviewed an incoming Freshman at the University of California, Berkeley (Cal). Tyler is a self-taught programmer who plans on studying CS at Cal. Below are the most important points from our interview including information about his new project:

  1. Tyler first learned to program at a young age by downloading random freeware from different indie developers. He watched tutorials on YouTube, read source code and documentation, and watched talks by other developers to learn about programming culture and style.
  2. In order to both dive deeper into his passion for programming and prepare him for university, Tyler participated in Stanford’s STEM to SHTEM program. As part of this program, Tyler and a group of other students were tasked with investigating the compressibility of genomes of different DNA sequences. To do this, they had to take input files of raw sequencing data, construct a pipeline for processing each sequence, then streamline the results into a single format and generate graphs. Tyler said this experience was “incredibly valuable” as it taught him new-found skills in a fun and engaging way. 
  1. Tyler’s preferred programming languages might be a little unexpected – Rust and Go. He favors Rust as it is an extremely fast language with both lower-level and higher-level abilities, making it perfect for any skill level or purpose. Go has a much simpler syntax than Rust, but still is similar to many lower-level languages and can run complex tasks at a high speed and reliability.

Tyler is currently working on an encrypted instant messenger app, Flik, with a few of his close friends. As part of the process, they built both the microservice server stack and the frontend app from the ground up using Go and React Native, respectively. When describing one major feature of his app, Tyler stated, “users can send and receive messages in real-time, requiring us to guarantee a reliable connection with the server.” This is his first big CS project, thus he has learned a great deal including how to develop large-scale applications and design UIs for apps. 

Tyler will continue developing his encryption app while preparing for college to start in the fall. I look forward to following up with Tyler in the future!

A screenshot of Flik’s interface.

Author: Amelia Kratzer

High Schooler based in Menlo Park, CA Programming lead Robotics team Founder + President M-A's Coding Club For Teens

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