Very early on when I joined Devils’ Workshop, I came across Gautam Gupta who was writing guest posts for us. I was surprised to find out that he was still in school. That was not all he, was also a pretty good programmer and even wrote a PHP Tutorial series for Beginners.
He won at the Google Code-in 2o11, at the young age of 15, which gave him the oppurtunity to visit Google’s Mountain View Headquarters in California, USA.
He won at Google Code-in again this year and will leave for another trip to Google’s campus in a few days. Before he did that, I thought of catching up on him about his journey so far and what his plans are in the future.
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself?
I am Gautam, a 16 year old, XIth grader, geek, obsessed with coding and photography. Anything related to technology interests me, whether it be creating a small bot or open source projects like WordPress or artificial intelligence.
Q: How did you start getting interesting in programming?
I started programming way back in seventh grade by writing some bots in Visual Basic (Orkut bots, if someone remembers them :P) after reading some tutorials online and then trying out new things mainly related to hacking. Eventually I got into PHP and have been programming in it since then.
Q: How did your participation in Google Code-In come about?
Google Code-in has been one of the most impactful experiences of my life, letting me know my potential and connecting to some of the greatest people in the field. I am now in contact with so many which wouldn’t have been possible without the platform that I got.
I have worked for about five open source organisations during the competition and completed about 75 tasks ranging from programming to documentation to translations, winning hundreds of points and securing a position in the top ten both times. I also got to know about some technologies which were completely new to me and using them in real time.
Q: How was it visiting Google Headquarters in Mountain View? Is it as good as some of the videos suggest online?
Google Headquarters is more wonderful than the videos online. You see the Googleplex, but you don’t get the feel. It is only when you’re in the complex that you feel it for real.
We toured the whole complex, including the great big Android statue, Charlie’s Cafe and the list goes on. We also met many wonderful people including Chris DiBona, Alan Eustace, Josh Bloch, Jeremy Allison. Overall, it was just awesome.
Q: What attracted you to developing for WordPress?
I have been introduced to WordPress three times, never got introduced to Joomla or Drupal. I created my first blog on wordpress.com when I was about 10 by copy pasting content from other blogs – didn’t know that that was illegal – deleted it soon after getting bored. After a couple of years, got introduced to it again from a friend on Orkut running a self-hosted blog and it was then I got to know that WordPress was an open-source software.
But I still was only into Visual Basic back then. The third time, I got involved with a blog on Orkut called OrkutPlus which ran on WordPress too, for which I contributed by creating scripts and blogging.
I didn’t start developing directly for WordPress, rather with bbPress – I was setting up forums for OrkutPlus and decided to port a WordPress plugin SexyBookmarks as bbPress plugin Social It and then moved on to WordPress with time.
Q. You are not just a techie, you also contribute time for a NGO. Tell us a bit about that part of your life?
Yes, that’s right. I’m one of the co-founders of an organization named Discover I, where we tap the hidden talent of the underprivileged children, for example dancing, singing, computers and other co-curricular activities. We associate them with teachers or students who are good in that field so that their creativity could come out too!
I particularly got excited about this as I always wanted to do something for the society and when some of my friends came up with this idea to open up a NGO, I quickly agreed and became a part.
Q. What are your plans for the future?
As an XIth standard student, I currently have plans to prepare for engineering institutions in India and give SAT for the universities in the United States, following which I see myself as a founder of a tech startup in India being covered on Devils’ Workshop. 😀
Thanks for your time and here is wishing you all the very best from everyone at Devils’ Workshop. We are incredibly proud of your achievements at such a young age and may you keep doing awesome things in the future. 🙂