APP CULTURE

Meet the (Young) Developer

At only 7 years old, Yasseen Hamdouchi created an app with his dad.

The Number Guessing Challenge

Do you even numbers, Bro!

VIEW

Yasseen Hamdouchi developed his first app for a classic reason: He wanted to win an argument with his dad.

During an especially long car ride, the then-7-year-old and his father, Mohamed, were playing a number-guessing game. Each picked a number between 1 and 100; the other had to figure it out.

“We were arguing about how to guess the number the fastest way,” says Yasseen, who opted for the power of luck. “I just guessed and hoped I got it.”

Each picked a number between 1 and 100; the other had to figure it out.

Mohamed (at left) is a software engineer and mobile developer. Yasseen (at right) is too.

His dad, a software engineer and mobile developer, believed using old-school deduction would serve them better.

The debate went back and forth until the elder Hamdouchi suggested a new approach. ”We took it to the computer, and then we decided to make it an app,” says Yasseen.

That app became The Number Guessing Challenge, a lively mobile version of the guess-my-number game. Using one device, two players pick a number from 1 to 1,000 and take turns trying to pin down their opponent’s choice.

You and a competitor (or your iPhone) engage in a fierce flurry of number-guessing.

It’s a product of a winter’s worth of weekends spent designing and coding with his dad in their Indianapolis home—and Yasseen’s first app. He entered fourth grade a few months after it was released.

Don’t let his age fool you: It was Yasseen who sketched the game’s design, making it a face-to-face competition and letting users tap sliders instead of inputting digits.

“People say, ‘Oh, he’s too young,’ says Mohamed, “but by teaching him this now, he’ll understand the why.

“Not just ‘Let’s do it this way,’ but ‘Here’s why we do it this way.’ It’s showing him the life cycle of an app, how to finish something, how to work with others.”

Yasseen was involved in every step of the app’s development—you’ll even hear him in many of the in-game voice-overs—and he proved especially helpful in testing.

“He debugged the whole thing,” says Mohamed. “We’d run into a problem and say, ‘OK, this is broken, let’s go to the wall.’ We really spent a lot of time together.”

Coding isn’t Yasseen’s only interest.

When he isn’t coding and designing, Yasseen plays piano, practices judo, and brushes up on one of the four languages he’s learning. He also nails his dad’s quizzes on alpha, binary, and Boolean searches. And just because he developed a slick app doesn’t get him special treatment; outside of coding, Yasseen only gets an hour or so of screen time on weekends. Proceeds from the app go to his education fund. Yasseen’s dream is to become a medical engineer.

The most fun part is I get to work with my dad.

In the meantime, he’s working on two new apps based on games he plays with his friends at school—but the real joy is closer to home.

“The most fun part,” says Yasseen, “is I get to work with my dad.”

    The Number Guessing Challenge

    Do you even numbers, Bro!

    VIEW

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