News / 27 June 2019, 09:00am / Asanda Matlhare and Kgomotso Lebelo
Joburg teenager Sifiso Nkabinde might be in high school, but he is attracting notice in the coding world.
Sifiso, a Grade 10 pupil at Sacred Heart College, has been named one of the top 15 geeks in the country by Geekulcha - an organisation that focuses on empowering young people in IT.
The 15-year-old is the youngest nominee on the list.
He said he started coding when he was nine because “I wanted to control robotic equipment”.
Sifiso said he loves coding as it helps him acquire new technology skills.
Since he started coding six years ago, Sifiso has been working on building his own apps. To hone his skills, he joined the Sci-Bono Clubhouse in Newtown, Joburg - one of five in the country.
Through the programme, he met an employee of a big tech company who fuelled his love for coding and programming.
“I go twice a week to Sci-Bono to improve my coding skills. I have been trying to come up with several apps and when I go there, I get to work on them,” Sifiso said.
Other than working on his apps, he also networks with other people.
Last year, he attended his first hackathon at the ITWeb Security Summit.
“My teammates and I came up with an application that takes all the information you post on social media and it uses mission learning tools, with deep learning, which is like a software of artificial learning.
“The application is used to scan images and text which is used to identify personal information on social media and what risks and vulnerabilities the users might be in danger of,” said Sifiso.
He and his teammates took third place in the competition. He has since taken part in more hackathons, including the TadHack MTN hackathon where, with his teammates, he developed a secure, simple process to perform sim swops.
He was given the “Rising Star” award at the event.
After high school, Sifiso wants to study computer science and maths at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US.
This is where he hopes to finally get some apps - including a public transport sharing app - off the ground.
“It will be similar to the ones that we have now, but with my app you will not only be able to call a car but also public transport like buses and minibus taxis,” he said.
Sifiso, also an avid chess player, attributes his success to his parents.
“They have helped me get new gadgets for my passion. You always need the latest computer equipment.”
The proud young man said: “I feel glad that I have come this far, but obviously it is a long journey. I just see myself as a beginner for now.”