Kai Aldag was just 15 years old when he became an instructor at Lighthouse Labs in Vancouver, teaching coding to university students and adults re-entering the workforce. Too young to drive, he takes the bus every weekend from Langley to Vancouver.
The Walnut Grove Secondary Grade 10 student had actually applied for the job when he was in Grade 7, he said.
“I don’t think I mentioned my age on my resume. When I came in for the interview, they were a bit shocked,” said Kai. “Needless to say, I didn’t get the job then.”
But he persisted and was hired less than two years later.
“They took me under their wing and I’m thankful for that,” he said.
Fast forward to now — and the 16-year-old Langley teen, who is the son of Langley MP John Aldag, was recently awarded a scholarship from Apple to attend the globally renowned Worldwide Developer Conference.
Kai heads off to the Silicon Valley to attend the WWDC this weekend, and this brings him a step closer to fulfilling his dreams of one day working as a software engineer.
“One of my favourite things to do is make connections, talk iOS, rub shoulders with some of the best best software engineers in the world,” said Kai, from his Walnut Grove home.
While the 350 people selected to attend the conference come from all over the world, there is one other student from Burnaby.
“I’m going to have lunch with him when I’m there,” he said.
Kai’s interest is in iOS (Information Operating Systems for mobile devices created and developed by Apple). This started early in life when he got to hold his mom’s first iPhone.
“I grew up with technology. When I was nine I got to play on my mom’s first iPhone. I wanted to see what I could build online, using online tutorials and working on an iPad, putting coding in to create a website,” he said. “I begged my parents for a Mac so I could build platforms for IOS.”
Through the years, he has made animations and created apps that have been released in Apple’s App Store.
“My parents have been really supportive of my ambitions and have been by my side. I’m grateful to them.”
Kai is currently working on app that he believes could be big. What it is, is still under wraps, he said.
“I’m still tinkering with it.”
So where does he see technology going in the next 10 years?
“I think there will be a lot to do with quantum computing and artificial intelligence. In the next decade, the key will be the ability to marry systems together.
“In the next 50 years … is unimaginable — the possibilities,” he said.
Kai would love to study at Stanford, which he says has the best computer science program in the world. But MIT is also in the mix. Locally, UBC is a ‘really good school.’
His dream job would be software developer. But 10 years from that Kai would like to go into venture capitals.
“I want to interface between developers and products,” he said.