Students develop Web sites for peers
September 22, 2009
By Christopher Huber
Skyline Running Start student Adam Sidialicherif has a lot of ideas floating around in his head these days. The self-taught Web developer has so many, he even maintains in his bedroom a list of Web applications he wants to write to help his peers with numerous aspects of life, he said.
He’s a junior and just turned 16, but Sidialicherif knows eight different computer code languages and has already developed a handful of Web-based resources aimed at helping teens promote themselves to prospective employers or colleges.
“The key nowadays, in this online world, is being unique with your product and your service,” Sidialicherif said.The Skyline student’s most successful idea, The Youth Voice, is a Web site that enables teens to create their own profile page and acts as an online résumé and personal information site.
It might sound a bit like Facebook, MySpace or Monster.com, but Sidialicherif said it’s something young people put on a business card or college application.
“It’s a more personally created Facebook page, but you have the power over everything,” Sidialicherif said. “It was just an easy method of getting their name out.”
The site itself is undergoing additional development, so it is temporarily offline. But he said the new and improved Youth Voice will be one of many applications offered at his new Web site, www.simplistonline.com.
“This will be the first application of a chain of productivity apps for students,” Sidialicherif said. “It’s a place where teenagers will find useful tips, tricks and products to get through the teen years successfully.”
At any given time, The Youth Voice had about 200 users, he said, including clients from as far as Europe and Japan.
“I smile every time I think about that,” Sidialicherif said about knowing people around the world use his Web sites.
He said his mother, Mary, an electrical engineer, played an important part in encouraging him to learn all he can and stick with it. His father also spends time brainstorming with him, he said.
Mary Sidialicherif said Adam is so Web- and media-savvy that he’s figured out ways to rapidly poll peers via Twitter and, in a matter of an hour, have legitimate data to apply to developing his sites, which include a technology blog, www.sidthekid.org.
“To be able to access them with a question and get a response back almost in real time … it was really stunning. He just understands that whole space,” Mary Sidialicherif said. “Learning technology has been really good for him, I think, in terms of future career.”
Writing code comes naturally to Adam, but he never thought he’d be doing it at every waking moment.
“It’s actually what I least expected,” he said. “It just comes to me.”
The tech-whiz kid also naturally excels at soccer — before becoming a software developer, he wants to play pro soccer in Europe, he said.
Between his custom Web site-building business and a couple of technology blogs, Sidialicherif and business partner, Eastlake Running Start student Abdu Elkugia, have made some money at it, too. Outside school, the two spend a lot of time together brainstorming ideas for new online teen services — Elkugia focuses mainly on marketing and design features.
Elkugia, who started working with Sidialicherif in June, said thus far, their peers at Skyline and Eastlake have liked the tools the pair has created. And through Google, Microsoft and Yahoo ads, they make up to $45 a day from their sites.
The two phenom Internet developers hope their relaunch of The Youth Voice, which they said should come in a week or two, will add new youth to the mix.
“Mainly for us, it’s just creating the product and the feature and … seeing how they like it,” Elkugia said.
Sidialicherif said he faces a challenge of creating more dynamic, interactive content, but he’s still full of ideas and passion for the task.
“My favorite part is realizing that people appreciate what you do and take the time to look at it,” Sidialicherif said. “It makes me feel so good that I’m providing something out there that people use on a regular basis.”
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Christopher Huber: 392-6434, ext. 242, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.