Meet Yuma Soerianto, the 10-year-old app developer
While most six-year-olds spend their free time grappling with homework, having their eyes glued to the television, or chasing their friends around the playground, little Yuma Soerianto discovered an unconventional hobby to kill time — learning how to code. This begs the question (or should beg the question): "What are we doing with our lives?!"
Fast forward four years later, and 10-year-old Soerianto was recently in town at Apple Singapore to conduct a session on coding with augmented reality (AR). The Singapore-born, Melbourne-based coder now holds the title of the youngest iOS developer at Apple WWDC17, and has six apps under his belt, all of which were conceptualised and coded by Soerianto himself. His apps run the gamut from building sky-high towers to teaching kids how to count with talking calculators. Our personal favourite? The Hunger Button, which helps people decide where to eat based on the user's location.
It was apparent that we were about to interview a genius wise beyond his years. Below, Soerianto shares more about his inspiring journey, what makes a successful app, and what his friends think about his profession.
What got you into programming or coding?
When I started school in Melbourne, I had so much free time and used to spend all that time just watching television and playing games. But then I got bored because they kept re-running the same episodes so I wanted to do something else, other than just watching television – that was when I got into coding.
What attracted you to coding?
One of the things I like about coding is that you can make your ideas come true in real life with technology and apps.
How long did it take you to master the basics of coding?
It took about one year to master the basics and then it took about half a year to learn a few programming languages.
Do you consider yourself an expert now?
Some people call me a genius. Maybe I'm a genius, but I'm just a normal kid like everyone else — just that I make apps and have a passion for coding.
What kind of coding have you done?
What's one app you can't live without?
I would say Messages so I can contact my parents in case I ever get lost (laughs).
What do your friends think about your profession?
Of course they're amazed. Every second they would ask, "Have you made a new app?" or "Have you come up with any ideas?" Sometimes they ask me "Can you help us make this app?" which involves connecting one thing to another, but that's not possible yet.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Well, I still want to make apps — apps that can change the world and also for myself to teach coding to others.
What does it take for an app to be successful?
First of all, there are many things that make an app successful. There needs to be a purpose for it. It needs to be useful and made basic, so it doesn't take that many taps to do just one thing. It also has to be quite responsive so that when you tap on something, it doesn't take a whole year for it to load.
What's one app you personally would love to create?
Something that could take care of the house, so I won't have to do anything and just sit back with my parents. But that's in the future; I can't do that right now.