Coffee with: 'Gifted' Ladner teen applies high-tech talent
Career paths—sometimes you stumble across them.
Other times they are a result of extensive research, trial and error.
For Ladner's Alec Morgana, 17, his came "gift-wrapped."
That's not to say the enterprising, Grade 12 student at Vancouver College has breezed through the choices available to him. He's done plenty of the heavy lifting to get himself to where he is with his own small, high-tech company that develops applications for smart phones and computer tablets.
It's just that his interest in producing them was sparked by the gift of an Apple iPod Touch a few years ago.
"I discovered the App Store when I got an iPod about four or five years ago, and I decided I wanted to try and make some apps," Morgana says in a straight forward, matter of fact manner.
With that goal clearly in mind he raised about $1,000 by various means including a garage sale to buy a computer to do the required programming.
Over the last four years Morgana has turned out 15 apps. He estimates that in total his apps—both free and paid ones—have been downloaded 400,000 times.
"They've done quite well. And I've made a few websites, and in doing so made (business) connections across the U.S. and Canada. It's been quite a lot of work," says Morgana modestly, who was born with a congenital heart condition that has required three open heart surgeries over the years.
"I had two, one when I was a week old or so, another when I was two, then the third in the summer after Grade 9," he says.
But that clearly hasn't slowed him down from delving into to the world of app programming. Most of those he's designed to date are of the joke and novelty variety.
"There's lots of that sort of stuff on the App Store, but what I've done recently is trying to get more professional and contract out a lot of the work, paying other people who are better at programming to make more advanced apps."
Right now, that includes working on a brain teaser game.
So, what motivated a then 13-year-old to get into the emerging world of developing applications?
"I saw all these stories of people quitting their jobs and making money on the App Store," he said. "I thought that was really interesting. I was also taking a computer class at school that taught me some basic HTML programming. I really liked that. I thought it was cool to be able to talk to a computer and see results."
Then he discovered more Apple computer specific development programs, gave it a try, and the rest is recent history.
For the future, Morgana is planning to enrol in business courses at either BCIT or Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
His overall goal is to gain the skills to earnestly launch his own business.
"What I have now is not all that official," he says, adding he's had to run the enterprise through his father since you have to be 18 to officially be an app vendor.
"I'm turning 18 in about three months and then this summer maybe form a proper corporation."