Twitter Revolutionary

Stephen Cushen

Hi, my name is Stephen Cushen and I am fourteen years old. I attend Coderdojo DCU and Coderdojo at the Warehouse. Up to the summer I had been attending Coderdojo Science Gallery, but we have now moved from the Science Gallery to the Warehouse in Barrow Street beside Google. I live off the Navan Road, Dublin 7 and am in third year in St. Declan’s College where I will be sitting my Junior Cert in 2016. My favourite subjects at school are Maths, Science and Metal Work. Since I got my first laptop at the age of 7, I have been fascinated by computers and computer languages and the whole world of electronics. On the sporting side, I love to swing a golf club.  What I love about Coding I love trying to analyse a problem and build all the different levels of code needed to provide a solution. All the different layers of logic from validation, through screen design, calculations and results all falling into place can be very satisfying. Mind you, testing can be a bit of a pain especially if the program isn’t working in the way you want it to. However, there is a real sense of achievement when it all comes together and it actually WORKS!!.

What got you interested in Coding and my favourite Language

I started attending Coderdojo in the Science Gallery when I was ten and Eugene Eichelberg was the mentor who took us through Python. In the early stages we used Python turtle which helped us to understand the functions and syntax (very important) in Python. Once we downloaded Python and started using Python libraries, the world of development opened up for us. It is a really logical language and the syntax is based around ‘English Statements’, so it is a great language to kick off with. There is a community of Python developers worldwide and you can get lots of Python coding tips on the Internet. It is also open source but is really powerful and is used by some of the biggest computing organisations including Google. I have also programmed in JavaScript and Swift. I competed in the All Ireland Programming Olympiad using Python and finished third in the junior section in 2015.

My Coolest Projects

I developed a Roulette game in Python and entered it into Coolest Projects in 2013. I remember being nervous about having to demonstrate it to the judges but there was no need; they put you at ease immediately. My Coolest Project in 2014 was Light me Up, another Python based development. It was built around Home automation and used a Raspberry Pi to demonstrate switching a Light On or Off from a mobile phone. I entered this project into the BT Young Scientist in 2015 and got third in the Junior Technology category. This was a great experience meeting so many celebrities and I would encourage anybody with a decent project to do the same.

In 2015, my Coolest Project was Time For Town, a twitter based platform that integrates with Public Transport systems around the world. With Time For Town, all you have to do is send a simple two word tweet and you get the time of the next bus, train or tube back to your phone depending on where you are. I developed this in Python as well making use of APIs and Screen Scraping web sites.

I was runner up with Time For Town in the Coolest Projects and was invited over to the Liberty Global Appathon in Amsterdam to demonstrate it. It was good fun making sure all the tweets came back in Dutch!!. I am really excited about this project and hope to take it further.