Swift is one of the youngest languages out right now, as such, it only makes sense that societies youth would look to it as a starting point if getting into mobile development. I had the pleasure of meeting one such individual, Alex Tuazon, who is an active member of our Slack community and quite the extraordinary 8th grade programmer! I found that Alex shares a lot of common traits with other young programmers, many of which are telling of what to expect from the next generation of programmers. Read the interview, and leave a comment for Alex to share with him any thoughts and encouragement!
What drew you to mobile development originally?
The opportunity to collaborate with people and make awesome apps. I like to have fun with my classmates but also with people older than me. My dad likes to say I’m a 40 year old man in a 13 year old’s body.
Are other students your age programming? Does your school offer courses?
As of now, none of my other peers are programming. They are beginning to launch courses in my school, but currently only offer a course on MIT’s visual language, Scratch. However, I don’t think Scratch, which was designed for kids, is practical for students wanting to create real world apps. What schools are teaching now is not sufficient for us to use outside of the classroom. It would be absolutely awesome if my school would teach some higher level programming languages.
Since there are no relevant courses available to me, I am learning on my own and teaching others. I’m currently scheduled to demo an application that I have built to my homeroom class. I also enjoy teaching my brother how to code; he is nine years old and likes to use databases and Parse.
What is the most valuable source for learning that you’ve found?
I read blogs like SwiftCast.TV, SoSoSwift.com and watch courses on Udemy. One of the most valuable resources I use is Slack, which is a platform for team communication. On Slack there are two very supportive communities: Swifters and iOS-Developers. I love how both communities support each other endlessly. The Swifters Slack community is very welcoming and a great group of people to talk to. I am also in iOS-Developers, which is the first community I joined when I just started developing in Swift.
What platforms are you focused on building for?
What are your thoughts and plans on education after high school?
As of now I don’t think I want to go to college. My Plan A is to build my startup and make some money from the apps I develop, but my Plan B is to go to get a degree in computer science at Stanford University.
What is the most enjoyable part of mobile dev for you?
The most enjoyable part of programming is sitting in a comfy chair, listening to podcasts, and developing an application.. in my pajamas. I get a “runner’s high” from coding and hearing people tell funny and interesting stories. There is nothing not fun about coding I love everything about it.
Who inspires you?
The people that inspire me to code and keep coding are my brother and my dad. My dad inspires me because even though he doesn’t have a background in computers he likes to code also. My brother Jacob, is another great inspiration because he is only 9 and still codes everyday even though he doesn’t have the privilege to go to school 5 hours a week like I can. Jennifer my tutor is another big inspiration because she teaches me and trains my mind to be balanced between school work and coding. She has a been a lot of help throughout my journey as a developer.