David: Hi, my name is David Hasfurter. I'm a senior systems engineer. I'm going to be interviewing Miles Lifton, who is a child prodigy 12-year-old coder. So he is very fluent in eight languages, C++, Python, just to name a couple. I'm going to be conducting an interview with him and kind of seeing what he thinks about coding and where he kind of sees his future going as a child prodigy. I hope you enjoy.
David: My name is David Hasfurter. I'm a senior systems engineer with TERACAI. I'm here with Miles, who is a 12-year-old coder who just gave a presentation at New York Tech Summit 2019 on coding to a packed house, and was really interested and agreed to spend a little bit of time talking a little bit further about what he does and what he might be doing in the future with coding.
Miles: Thank you.
David: Welcome, Miles. Appreciate it.
Miles: Thank you.
David: So you talked a little bit about coding. You're proficient in many different languages. There was the big argument during the thing about VB6 and all that fun stuff. That's actually where I started learning programming. Good old fashioned Hello World, right?
Miles: Of course.
David: Every coder, we all know what Hello World stands for, with VB6, very object-oriented. You mentioned you are not so much into object-oriented coding. Something you are starting to look into, wanting to get into?
Miles: I do consider myself proficient in Java, in terms of I can code pretty much everything if I spend enough time doing it, but I still am not the best when it comes to actually understanding the concepts related to object-oriented programming. So for that reason, like I said, I like to learn a lot. If I'm not learning something, then there's no real fun in doing it because you're just doing it to do it. So for that reason, I like to challenge myself. So I've been trying to get into some more object-oriented languages, mainly Java I've been coding a lot in recently.
David: Okay. Yeah, so it seems in the industry, as far as my perspective, your lens and your perspective of the industry is definitely a lot different than mine.
Miles: Of course.
David: Your view is coming in from primarily coding, mine's coming in more, I would say a consultant-type role and seeing the overall industry trends. I see Java more as almost dying a little bit, because it was not so friendly with browsers and very easily hacked and manipulated. From your perspective as a coder, what do you kind of see with Java and where it's going?
Miles: So obviously I don't really know much about the industry, I don't exactly have a job yet, but in terms of Java, I think Java is a great language. I do see what you're saying when you say it's dying. I do definitely see the Java community is sort of dying. People are using Java less and less. Personally, I think that's really sad because, I mean, like I said, I'm not very good at Java because I don't really know the object-oriented aspects of it, but it is a fun language, objectively, because it's so much different from the things that you see with something like Python or Nim or Ruby. It's a nice change-up.
David: Got you, got you. And that's an interesting point. Your main topic and your main conversation was how fast technology is changing, right? Where we saw Java in my perspective in the last 15 years and to where it is now, to where the machine learning and the different type of coding, and where HTML started, and now you have, you mentioned WordPress and the cookie cutters, but then the heavy coders that are developing websites in many different languages now and more universal. Chrome wasn't around when I first started, now Firefox and Chrome are big. So it's not just about Microsoft and all this stuff. So it's interesting that you are seeing it as it dying too, but is interesting that you find it as an interesting or new type of language to learn because of, would you say ease of use, or ease of design?
Miles: Well, I mean the thing about Java is that it's hard. The thing that makes Java great is the fact that for some one who lives in the pampered world of Python, where everything just works, and has detailed error messages, and it looks good, and it's forcibly readable. and everything says exactly what it does, to go into something like Python is a great learning experience, first of all, because it's a great way to sort of expand your skill set in the sense of starting to get used to more complicated things. That's my first thing that I like about Java, but also there's just... Java is something that's fun to do because it's a challenge, and challenges are objectively fun. Some people do get frustrated by challenges. When you look at the end of the day, that feeling of satisfaction that you get when you finish doing something, is great. And I found that feeling isn't as special when it comes to coding in Python, because I've coded in Python for quite a bit now, and I can do things fairly fast. And when I'm debugging something, there's only usually on error, as opposed to something like Java, it's something that I can get absorbed in more easily. And also, it just has a good amount of support, also. Java had a very great community.
David: Oh yeah. Yeah. It was very large.
Miles: Of course.
David: And a lot of the people that got into it and started programming in Java are my age in the mid-30s to little bit older in the 40s, and as young as 20. So yeah, I would say that you've got that good generation that is very involved with computers and understands the computers and where they are, and can provide that type of support, I would say. Forums were really big, probably starting about 10, no probably about 15 years ago forums really started to take over the internet. And so to be able to grow that community from Java is probably one of the first big web languages other than HTML. But HTML, as we know, isn't really complicated in itself. So to be able to add Java script into a website is a something that has definitely grown over time. So one of the things that I wanted to ask you about is what do you want to do when you grow up? You're only 12 years old, so you mentioned that it's very fluid, but in your own words, what do you kind of see yourself doing in... Do you see yourself even in the IT industry in 15 years?
Miles: Yeah. So in terms of what I want to do when I grow up, like I said, like you said, actually, it's something that changes a lot. The thing I coming back to is that I want to code assistive technologies for the deaf and the blind. Because I am fluent in sign language, I volunteer in that community a lot, so it's something that I love to do, and it's something that ties in with a lot of my other interests.
Miles: And for that reason, it seemed like the ideal field. However, statistically, it's probably not what I'm going to do when I grow up. So it's what I want to do, but that may change. So it's not worth saying that for a fact.
David: Okay. Well what kind of draws you into that industry?
Miles: That's a great question. One that I actually have no answer for you.
Miles: It's just something I love to do.
David: Really? So no personal reference, no family member or anything?
Miles: No. I have no deaf or blind family members. In fact, I don't even know any deaf people on a personal level.
David: Wow. Very interesting.
Miles: So it's just something... I woke up with a sore throat one day, and that got me interested in nonverbal communication, and I downloaded an app called Sign Language, I taught myself sign language in a month. I knew enough to start going out and actually using it, and I volunteered some places and I got better.
David: Thank you for listening to that interview with myself, David Hasfurter, interviewing Miles Lifton, the 12-year-old child prodigy at New York Tech Summit 2019, our 15th year anniversary. I appreciate you taking the time and listening, and hopefully you learned a little bit about where this child prodigy is going and what he plans on doing with himself in the future.