Geek of the Week

Geek of the Week: At 13, Pranav Karthik develops into true tech geek as he earns WWDC scholarship

Pranav Karthik is already hoping to gain early admission to Stanford University and eventually work for Apple. (Photo courtesy of Pranav Karthik)

Pranav Karthik was about 7 years old when he first got interested in coding, watching his mom work and being amazed at the cool things that were possible through programming. Now, at the age of 13, Karthik has coding tutorials on YouTube, knows where he wants to go to college, what he wants to do for a living and which tech giant he plans to do it for.

Karthik, who attended elementary and middle school in Bellevue, Wash., and now lives in Vancouver, B.C., is GeekWire’s latest Geek of the Week. He received a scholarship to attend Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) next week — a lifelong dream for the young app developer who inherited a passion for Apple and iOS early on.

“My dad had an iPhone and we had an iPad at the time,” Karthik said. “I really wanted to start making apps and began working with Swift, which is Apple’s programming language. This was around the age of 9 or 10 and I finished a game I had been working on called ‘Swift Cubes’ which I published on the App Store.”

Karthik has a newfound passion for augmented reality and he is learning and creating apps using Apple’s ARKit framework — including his submission for WWDC, below. He takes part in coding clubs at school and is also interested in machine learning, artificial intelligence, Python, and web frameworks.

Even as a teen, Karthik has his career path already planned out. He’s aiming for early admission to Stanford University and an eventual internship at Apple. Later on, he wants to launch his own company, building applications related to his interests and creating apps in different domains which he says would “help people and make life easier.”

And next week in California can only help.

“I am so excited for WWDC! I hope to meet great developers and make new contacts,” Karthik said. “In the future maybe I can work with them on new projects and get help when I need it. … I hope to meet the amazing CEO Tim Cook, too. Keeping my fingers crossed!”

Learn more about this week’s Geek of the Week, Pranav Karthik:

What do you do, and why do you do it? I make iOS apps and web apps personally because I believe that by creating useful apps, I can aid someone in their daily tasks or entertain them, which is truly beneficial for that person. As the user base grows I love when my app actually is useful or fun for users. By creating such apps I think it can reduce stress and increase productivity, which is definitely helpful.

What’s the single most important thing people should know about your field? App development may seem simple but reaching a large audience and promoting the app is far harder. While anyone can create a wonderful app, if it does not reach the desired user base and gain popularity, then creating the app may seem pointless. But the key is to not give up and keep pursuing your interests and improving your app even further.

Where do you find your inspiration? I find inspiration from successful entrepreneurs and their story as many may not have had a coding background but still persevered and worked hard to reach the point they have. I believe if anyone does the same they can also become successful.

What’s the one piece of technology you couldn’t live without, and why? My iPhone. In the modern era our smartphones can do almost everything our computers can and sometimes even more. With new versions come improved processor, display, capability, and software improving them so much. I can learn anything and do everything I want to on my smartphone.

(Photo courtesy of Pranav Karthik)

What’s your workspace like, and why does it work for you? My workspace has two external monitors, my MacBook Pro, my desktop PC, a mouse and a lamp. It works quite well for me because I can perform multiple tasks at once on different screens, such as development in which I can work on code on one screen and test it on the other. I also use a mouse because of comfort and it’s much easier to navigate while using the monitors.

Your best tip or trick for managing everyday work and life. (Help us out, we need it.) I try to calendar block my week and set times to work on development and school homework for which I use a self-developed app which gives me notifications and helps me stay on track. I plan to release the same to the App Store soon, so look out for that! I try and do this every week and check back on it daily to see when I need to do something such as a deadline for my project.

Mac, Windows or Linux? Mac definitely. macOS offers a more clean and accessible interface in my opinion, but Linux also offers a great experience.

Kirk, Picard, or Janeway? Picard, he makes great decisions when necessary.

Transporter, Time Machine or Cloak of Invisibility? Transporter. It would be so useful to go anywhere immediately and it could ease everyone’s life so much.

If someone gave me $1 million to launch a startup, I would … I already have everything planned out for a future business. I would start off by floating my company and expanding my team by hiring professionals. Create state of the art applications and start marketing to launch.

I once waited in line for … Black Friday sales each year at BestBuy. I love Black Friday because all of the cool deals on new tech products.

Your role models: Steve Jobs, Satya Nadella, and Bill Gates. Jobs had faced different difficulties in his life but still managed to prove himself and accomplish such great things. I wish to work hard like he had to achieve accomplishments myself. Nadella comes from the same origin as me and has managed to achieve the title of CEO at Microsoft and I was astounded by his problem solving and innovative thinking. Gates managed to create such innovative products at a young age which I believe is incredible in that time.

Greatest game in history: “Super Mario Odyssey.”

Best gadget ever: The cellphone, allowed for much better communication between people which allowed for more innovation and social connections.

First computer: Dell Inspiron.

Current Phone: iPhone 7.

Favorite app: YouTube. The app gives users access to millions of videos from anywhere they go and from any YouTuber.

Favorite cause: Education in third-world countries. Some third-world countries do not have proper schools and many of the children may not be going to school. I think everyone should have access to knowledge to improve themselves and society.

Most important technology of 2019: Augmented reality. It allows us to do so much more while remaining where we are. We can see anything we could imagine even in our living room.

Most important technology of 2021: Automated self-driving cars. While currently advances in this field are being made at a rapid pace, I believe self-driving will be more commercial and accessible by 2021.

Final words of advice for your fellow geeks: Keep persevering at whatever you love and you will reach your goals. Anyone can do anything and be whatever they wish to be if they put in effort to reach it.

Website: Pranav Karthik

Twitter: @PranavKarthik15

LinkedIn: Pranav Karthik

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