Zak Wegweiser
Fit Crush Stars

HOW I BECAME A PROGRAMMER

Introduction

This app, originally called InstaStars, was my very first programming project, and my second ever app (I started off with Boggle a.k.a. Baffle My Mind). I constructed this in Gamesalad, which is essentially another version of Scratch. How did I get this job? How did I get where I am today? This was the topic of my college essay, which I would like to share with you today!


How I Became A Programmer

“I can program that for you,” I responded in the deepest voice I could muster. Cautiously observing the reflection peering back at me from the bathroom mirror, I spoke on the phone with my very first client, Miguel. I had practiced in that same mirror over and over, attempting to sound like a real executive. I lowered my voice by what seemed like two octaves. I took long, deep pauses. I even wore my older brother’s suit and tie. I was only thirteen.

I contacted Miguel via an online coding forum where he requested help building an iOS application. When we were finally on the phone, I did everything to conceal the curling anxiety in my stomach and the squeaking of my voice. Does he know I’m just a kid? Should I tell him? Would he care? My company, Appitt LLC, came to life just three months prior. Despite my age, I knew I was just as talented a programmer as any other applicant. After a nerve-wracking interview, Miguel told me the job was mine. From that moment, I ate, slept, and breathed my work. I devoted over fifty hours during the first week alone, determined to complete the project and impress my boss. In reality, I did not finish building his app until a year later. It was a little more complex than I had anticipated, but, still, I was well on my way to a career as a computer programmer.

My life did not always revolve around programming. Before founding Appitt, I spent my free time on the basketball court, shooting hoops and living for competition. Only when I reluctantly agreed to join my brother for a week at iD Tech Camp did I find my true passions: computers and problem-solving. The first day of camp we learned to develop our own unique version of Pong. Seeing my creation come to life before me was the defining moment. From then on, my soundtrack became the furious clicking of my keyboard, typing function after function, if-statement after if-statement, for-loop after for-loop. Even after the camp day ended I continued to work on my creation. I don’t think I even ate dinner that night. I had never felt so alive.

From that fateful day, I have gone on to develop custom software, websites, and apps, for businesses ranging from the dental industry to horticulture to restaurants. Yet, the projects of which I am most proud are those that have directly improved the quality of life for my fellow students and teachers. When the person accountable for managing student schedules left the upper school, many of us encountered conflicts. Information was lost, students were placed in the wrong classes, and schedules were double-booked. I made it my mission to rectify these issues and presented a plan to the head of my school. Together, we began the transformation of our school’s pen and paper system to online software. I'm proud to report that Calhoun now has a user-friendly scheduling platform in place for students and faculty.

During the project’s development, it came to light that many students were also struggling with issues outside of the classroom. I was inspired to make a difference and spent my subsequent summer developing Lyfesaver, an app designed to connect students across high schools in a collaborative online forum.

From my initial work with Miguel to the work I have done with Calhoun, I am very proud of each and every one of my accomplishments. Today, when I speak to my clients, it is with the deep and assured voice I worked so hard to achieve just four years ago. I need neither the bathroom mirror nor my brother’s suit and tie to create the illusion of confidence. I am confident. A long way from thirteen, I am a young man ready to do inspiring things, and prepared to say with certainty, “I can program that for you."

Response

I was inspired to work with such a mature adolescent

Miguel Paula