It was last year, when Shubham Panchal, 14, got inducted into the world of Android application during a class on coding at his Thane school. While programming can seem daunting to someone, who has never written a line of code before, for Panchal, it presented an avenue of endless possibilities. “I think it was the joy of creating a useful mechanism and tinkering with a complex medium that fascinated me,” he recalls. In less than a year’s time, Panchal has created 10 apps. And now, he has cleared the Associate Android Developer Certification Program offered by Google in collaboration with Udacity (USA) to become the second youngest Associate Android Developer in the world this year. The youngest is 13-year-old Muhammad Rayyan Siddiqui from Pakistan.
All in a day’s work
When we speak to Panchal on a weekday afternoon, he has finished uploading his all-new Android app. Created to ease our transition into the age of Aadhaar, it is titled Bank Details and helps you store important financial details, such as your account number, IFSC code, credit and debit card number, among other things. On signing in, it also offers the option of synchronising your details across multiple devices. “I would see my father painstakingly making excel sheets of all the bank details, and that’s when the idea came to me: Why not create a holistic app that can help you store this data?” he says. It took him two weeks to make it. It’s the time he has taken to create his other apps as well. “I come from a family that has little to do with computers. My father works for a steel manufacturing unit and my mother is a homemaker. So, I had to resolve the problems on my own,” he says. He then sought the help of YouTube and Stack Overflow, an online community for developers to learn and share their programming knowledge.
It’s all about AI
The idea of applying for the certification, however, came from his father, who is also passionate about computers. “He suggested I give it a try. Moreover, I was looking for a way to improve my skills. After researching , I had two options before me – one was the Java Associate Developer Exam offered by Oracle and the other was the Associate Android Developer Exam from Google. As I was new to Java, I decided to take the Associate Android Developer Exam,” he says. The exam is attempted by engineering students after their graduation or post-graduation, he adds. He admits that the exam was tricky, but he pulled through. The deadline was 24 hours, but he submitted it within 13 hours.
Currently, it’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) that is keeping Panchal busy. His game, Rock, Paper, Scissor – a game played between two people, in which each player simultaneously forms one of three shapes with an outstretched hand – has been replicated on Android using AI. “I have created an algorithm where the more you play with me, the more I learn to defeat you,” he explains. For now, Panchal hopes to make a career in AI. “In the future, I see AI affecting our everyday lives. We haven’t even scratched the surface yet.”
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