Amanda Southworth isn’t your typical 15-year-old. Instead of eagerly anticipating dates and dances, she was eyeing another big date this year – the Apple’s developer conference. Southworth is the youngest person to attend the conference and was even awarded a scholarship to help her with her costs to attend the event.
Her History with Coding
Southworth began coding about six years ago. But she began working harder than ever on it when she was in seventh grade. She devoted 30 hours a week at times to robotics, programming, and web development.
The next two years were spent trying to juggle school and coding while trying to fit a little sleep in. Needing more sleep, she left school and began home schooling so she could pursue coding. These days, she works on coding for about five hours and does two hours of schoolwork each day.
The Apps She Has Made
Southworth wants to help the world with her apps. Her first creation, AnxietyHelper, is meant to help people who are dealing with mental health problems. So far, the app has about a thousand downloads. A Tumblr page for the app is doing even better, with in excess of 3,500 followers.
Her next app, Verena, helps the LGBT community feel safe. She created it after the November 2016 election when she saw how worried her LGBT friends were. Those who download the app can find nearby emergency services when they need them.
But she didn’t stop there. Knowing that some of the LGBT community might not have told their family about their identities, she built a protection device to the app. It can look like an app for math homework assistance instead of an LGBT app.
Her Future Goals
While she spends a lot of time on her apps, she would like to end up in the space industry. In the meantime, she can’t wait to meet people like her – people who live for their passions.
And while her apps are going strong just as they are, Southworth hopes that the conference and what she learns there will make them better. Mingling with like minds can be invigorating, no matter what field you’re pursuing.
The Lessons You Can Learn from Southworth
If you’re trying to pursue your interests, here are some lessons you can take from how Southworth has approached her goals.
- Focus: You need to keep your focus on what you’re trying to accomplish and what is most important to you. If you really love what you’re doing, you’ll make time for it.
- Sacrifice: Southworth spent two years sacrificing sleep so she could have extra coding time. Take a look at what you could give up to reach your goals sooner.
- Inspiration: Attending that conference will give Southworth connections and ideas. Meeting other people who share your interests can be invaluable.
- Be Willing to Improve: Even though her apps are already successful, Southworth would like to make them better. That devotion to your product will take you far.
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