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Hackernoon logoInterview With A 10-Year Old Programmer by@OneTruConscious

Interview With A 10-Year Old Programmer

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@OneTruConsciousMatthew Gates

Founder of NoteToServices

This could easily be a great story about me or you, and it actually is, at least, it does mirror some similarities to my own story. It is what we all inspire to be like and for some, it comes at a younger age than others, but everyone is always capable of such unique skills and talents. Every human being does have their own great story to write and tell. This is a story about a young boy who is more than what he seems, a young genius man, with many skills and talents, that he recognizes he must share with the world.

Before I begin, just a brief introduction about me and why I definitely felt the need to highlight his talent at a very young age, as this is my second interview with a young man who also learned programming at a very young age. When I was 10 years old, I loved video games, but I wanted to do more. I wanted to create them, and that is often the story of how we all take up an interest in programming.

By 12 years old, I had made several attempts to learn programming, but failed. My first application was Visual Basic 3.0. I'd open it and drag and drop several components across the screen, but that's about as far as I'd get. Fortunately for me, and I can't explain the events, or how it happened, but one night, I opened up the Microsoft application, placed several components across the screen, and wrote some code, and it worked!

Soon after that, I woke up. I went to my computer and did as I saw in my dream, and somehow, like magic, everything I wrote in the code worked! While I didn't learn everything then and there, I understood how to write code by learning the logic and syntax of it. I did some enjoyable programming to interact with the Internet software I was using at the time, known as America Online. At 18, I left the programming world for many years, went to college and got a degree that was completely unrelated to programming. But at 26, I would eventually work my way back into establish a programming career, and while I've worked as a software programmer, I eventually moved into developing web applications in PHP and JavaScript.

I run a website called Confessions of the Professions, which focuses on jobs, careers, and the workplace. I love to inspire and motivate people, so when I see talent, especially a skill that is adopted so early by a child, I feel it is a duty to expose it and encourage such behavior to others. I never thought I'd ever be working as a programmer or web developer since I have a degree in psychology, but it has everything to do with programming, and I use it everyday, often when designing and developing friendly user-interfaces, from the verbiage to colors to placement of buttons, from my day job to my own company, NoteToServices.

Several years ago, I became a moderator of a Facebook group which is populated by 300,000 developers, called "Developers and Programmers". After about 2 years, I inherited the group and became an Admin, and decided to make a few changes, highly encouraging the learning of programming, while also turning the group into a job board, that helps companies and programmers network to find work as programmers, as there are still so many jobs that go unfulfilled every year.

Amongst one of the members of the group, I kept noticing a child would post tutorials of his lessons, and ensured all his post submissions would be accepted automatically. After several videos, I could not ignore his talent of the fact that not only was he learning several programming languages, but he has the great ability to teach them as well. At such a young age, it is hard to believe that he could do this, but it is often said that the best way to learn programming is to teach it, and his confidence in his teaching ability has taught many in the Facebook group.

I asked Kaju Kanha House, whose real name is Adhyaay Karnwal for an interview and am happy to share this with you today. We did a video conference on Google Meet with his mother at his side. He is a 10-year old boy, living with his parents and younger brother. He and his brother have a black belt in karate. Both are avid swimmers, play soccer, love skating and have many other hobbies. He has earned medals in Robotics and can play Casio and saxophone. He runs three YouTube channels, in which he does book readings aloud: Pewcode, Pewdart, and Storytime, respectively. But says that above all, he has a great love for programming and robots.

He has thousands of followers across his social media accounts and is someone who appears to be a child, but has the mind of a genius. Even when talking to him, he is a very respectable young man with a very big heart who is seeking to change the world for the better. I can attest that his parents are very loving and highly intelligent with great aspirations of their own, but especially for their children, encouraging them to grow and be their own man. With that said, lets get started with these 20 interview questions!

1. What is your name?

My name is Adhyaay Karnwal.

2. How old are you?

I am 10 years old.

3. Where are you from?

I grew up in India but have moved around to several areas, such as Texas, then again to India for a while, where my brother was also born, and then to the United Kingdom, before my family and I are now settled in the state of New Jersey for 3 or 4 years. We really wanted to be in America and there was an opportunity for my parents to come and live here.

4. How many languages do you speak?

I speak English and Hindu, the language spoken in India.

5. How did you grow up?

I grew up in India and we moved around quite a bit, but I had also started school and managed to be placed in grade 1 at an earlier age. I am in a Gifted and Talented program and Accelerated Math where I get to do advanced mathematics. My mother and father encouraged me and my brother's learning from a very young age, but also allowed us the freedom to play as children do.

6. What do you like to do for fun?

I like to play video games and also play outside with friends. Minecraft, Roblox, Fortnight, are among just several video games you can find me playing.

7. What is your favorite food?

Pizza, especially from India.

8. What are your interests?

I would love to work with NASA, make robots for space, or maybe form my own company to design robotics that make life easier for people.

10. What do your mother and father do? What about your brother, is he similar to you?

Dad works in a company called TSC (Tata Consultancy Services) and mom worked at the same company, but was unable to work anymore, and now is a stay-at-home mother helping me and my brother to excel in our studies and other academic works.

My brother is 3 years younger and very different from me, but he does like similar things. As he was exposed to technology at a much earlier age than me, he loves playing video games, and learns a little less programming than me, though he does take an interest in it.

11. Why did you take an interest in programming?

I took an interest in programming because traveling to many places, I was bored from moving around, and needed something to do to pass the time, so my parents suggested that I learn how technology in the world works. I would read books and tutorials about programming, encouraged by mom, and I started out at 7 years old.

My first language was C. I mainly learned from mom and dad teaching me, in which they would help find tutorials that covered the logic, syntax, functions, and methods. By studying this and practicing on a computer, I became very good at it, and I would make mistakes and would read the compiler errors to understand what went wrong and try to fix it.

12. Why do you teach programming to others?

Teaching programming to others is a fun thing for me to do. It helps me to learn more and in the process, I do have to do more research, which helps me to understand it even more. I was taught the value of programming by my parents, as everything on the Internet has programming within it, so it taught me the way the world actually works, and how technology works. And learning about this technology, I feel, is only going to help me later on.

13. How did you get so good at programming? Why did your parents encourage you to learn programming?

My parents would introduce me to new websites and tutorials that covered a variety of different programming languages. I could learn as little or as much I wanted, but I found it all to be very fascinating, and would try go through at least one or more tutorials per day. I would always follow the examples given.

Some of the topics were easy and I could catch on very quickly, but some things, I did not understand, and I would do research to try to find better examples, which often led to working code. However, sometimes I could not find anything to get the code to work and I would ask my parents for help, and they would step in and help me on the issue until we figured out how to get it working.

As for my parents, they learned about programming in college, and I think they saw the usefulness of it. They liked it and saw that it could lead to work and they encouraged my brother and I to learn as much as we could. I am very happy to share this interest with my parents.

14. What is your favorite programming language and what is your learning style?

I actually enjoy many different programming languages, including C, Java, and Python, but if I had to pick one (or two), including the one I recently started learning, I choose Java or SQL as my favorites.

My learning style is that I pick a tutorial video, and I try to watch every minute of it if I need to do so, and I will try out the code myself. There are times where I reverse and undo the code and rewrite it to learn without watching the video again. Sometimes, I will not even finish the video, and try to do the code myself, and this helps me to understand how the code works and even how to write it.

15. What are your plans for the future?

I really want to learn as much programming as I can and use it for robotics. I am very fascinated with robots and I believe robots are our future. I have already done some things with robots, sometimes with LEGOS that are specially designed with computer chips that can make the pieces move in certain ways. I have already won a few awards and been recognized for my efforts. I enjoy coding them to do specific tasks and make them move in different ways. Robots are very interesting to me.

16. If you could create any software or web application, what would you create?

I have already started, but I would love to create a popular video game that could be educational. I have played a lot of video games with characters that battle, so my preference is for role playing games. Roblox is a big inspiration for my interest in programming for gaming, which is like a game within a game, in which people can interact with the things I created. I've already made an online game using an app called PewMonster (sign up for an account at GameJolt and join the fun!)

17. If you had unlimited resources, what would you do with them?

I want to help people who need money to become better and I want to help the Earth because pollution is a big problem that the entire world is dealing with right now.

18. What is your advice for people who want to learn programming?

My advice to people who want to learn how to program is to ensure you are focused on wanting to learn programming, and this may involve cutting the time you spend playing video games. To actually learn programming, you should go one-by-one in languages, and in tutorials, and stick to a single topic per day, donโ€™t overexert yourself.

Understand the topic fully before you move on fully. Even if you are stumped on a single area, try to learn it before moving on and fully grasp the concept of what it is you are trying to learn. One by one, build up everything, and then you can understand the full picture.

19. What do you want other children your age to know?

You should know at least one programming language in your life and it will help you in the future, but also, you should not forget to play outside, as this will help you solve many other problems, especially those related to your programming.

20. What is your advice for the world?

Many people who want to do something or become famous, like Benjamin Franklin, believe that they can become famous. Being famous or rich is not everything you believe it to be, and it is far better to help someone or do something that is helpful for the world. You do not have to create a video game or become great at programming, but if your focus is on making the world a better place, than you will have done something great. Like Elon Musk, the owner of Tesla, heโ€™s trying to help the world become a better place by preventing more pollution and promoting electrical vehicles.ย 

To end on a positive note, in which we are all about productivity, my mind never stops running, how about yours?

My mind never stops working and I am always thinking about something to do, such as programming or participating in one of my many hobbies. I am in a Growing School and I am in a program for the Gifted and Talented students, which encourages us and provides many opportunities to keep learning and excelling at everything we do.

I love to swim, do martial arts, for which I am already a black belt, and even roller skating. I like to play the saxophone and piano. I'm very good at math, which happens to be my favorite subject, and I love solving problems. But to calm my mind, I like to go play outside with my friends, enjoy a video game for a few hours, or even just go to sleep and this helps me to relax.

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