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Fourteen and coding

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For nine hours every day over the course of several weeks, Jake Heiser would sit, studying the screen in front of him writing in a language that no one around him could understand. He was writing in computer code, developing an application for smartphones. A skill no one around him had, it gave him a job at only fourteen years old.

Over the past year, Heiser had been studying and developing his own applications. “When Jake was nine. He went to a summer computer camp and learned Multimedia Fusion 2 and then took a fall class from DuPage College in which he learned to program code in ‘VB.net’,” said Patty Heiser, mother.

“After that it was a constant search for more coding opportunities. Eventually he bought a book on writing apps, and taught himself how to code in Xcode so he could write apps,” Mrs. Heiser said.

“The first app I made was call ‘Fast Flash Cards’; it was just an application for smart phones that could help kids study” said Heiser, Freshman.

But Heiser did not stop there. During eighth grade, Heiser began using Quizlet a website used to help students study vocabulary terms.

“At the time, I didn’t know of any apps that could let you use Quizlet, and I wanted a way to study on my phone. So, I just made my own app,” Heiser said.

While it turned out there were applications that allowed users to access Quizlet, there was no official application made by the company itself. Heiser’s application “Quiz Me” centered on not only using Quizlet, but giving students other ways to study when using the application. In the spring after Heiser’s second application gained some success, he was contacted by Quizlet wanting to know if he would work for them.

“I was initially shocked, especially since he was only fourteen,” Mrs. Heiser said. “I was very excited about this opportunity for Jake, and of course I was extremely proud of him. He had worked so hard writing his “Quiz Me” app. It was amazing that Quizlet thought it was so good that they wanted him to write their own official Quizlet app.”

“They said it [“Quiz Me”] represented Quizlet the best. They liked how it was more focused on helping kids study than making money,” Heiser said.

Over the summer, for several weeks, Heiser went to work for Quizlet in San Francisco, where he stayed in an apartment they rented for him.

“Besides the designer I worked with, I was the only one working on the code for the application, so I did all the programming of the app,” Heiser said.

For the future, Heiser plans to keep working with Quizlet and developing other applications.

“I’m still technically working with Quizlet. I’m making sure the app stays updated and working. They asked me to come back next summer, so we’ll be working on something new, maybe an iPad app,” Heiser said.

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Fourteen and coding