At 18 You Become a Capable Programmer
I checked my email early this afternoon and discovered the invitation from Apple to enter the Apple Design Awards 2006. This is a great initative for Apple to take. It is a great way to encourage developers to program for the Mac. Apple requires a full force of evangelical developers, and the design awards is just one of the steps they take to apease their devs along with free development software, reduced development hardware, WWDC, etc. As I was scanning through the website, I stumbled accross this:
Frankly, this sucks. I understand the main reason underage devs can’t submit stuff to Apple and attend WWDC is because of legal reasons (if you are under 18, you are not bound to your signature). And for this, I understand Apple’s concern, but it seems rather ironic for this to occur in such a field as technology and especially software development. Now I’m not going to say that my software is anywhere near Omni, Delicious, etc, but I’m still capable as well as the many cocoa-devs I know that are under 18. It’s obvious that older developers have more skill and knowledge in the field as well as at least a BA, but nonetheless Software Development is not any other field of work. In certain jobs hiring and being ‘agist’ (no this isn’t a word, but English needs a few tweaks) is absolutely necesarry. There are jobs which a young kid just can’t do it. Marketing jobs, law jobs, etc. That’s why people getting into law or getting an MBA do manual labor jobs over the summer, but that’s different for software developers. In an interesting article about some tips for CS majors, I read:
I know, every other 19-year-old wants to work in the mall folding shirts, but you have a skill that is incredibly valuable even when you’re 19, and it’s foolish to waste it folding shirts.
This is perfect. You don’t have to have a degree or be a certain age to be competent and even really good at software development. In fact, you don’t need a BS (Gates, Jobs, Ellison). I am currently working for SonicSwap and the management are fully aware that I am 16 (I was even 15 when they hired me). At first when we started to talk, I was reluctant to say my age, because, well, because some people are idiots, and they can’t see that at 15 year old a kid can be well skilled and fit for making software or web-development. Another great example: I worked with Kevin Rose on DiggUpdate. Rose is 29 and well aware that age plays no factor in ability. We never even talked about it. He noticed that DiggUpdate 1.0 was cool and that’s all that mattered. A while back, someone was going to have me design a web page for his company. The CEO of the company declined. This friend of mine had to tell them that I was only 16, and I’m sure that cost me the job. See this CEO never worked in computer development, probably doesn’t know what a while loop is, but in his profession a 16 year old kid can’t do the job. He blindly makes this assumption and passes. My point here is that Apple and other companies should realize this. You do not have to be 18 to program. Apple should encourage developers under 18 to program for Mac. Seriously, just how much better could it be for them? These programmers have been programming for your platform since they were 13 or 14 or 15, and they love it, and they are going to be programming for your system for the rest of their lives. Why insult them? Why discriminate against them? Why ruin this opportunity?