Interview: Harshita Arora and Her App Crypto Price Tracker
Back in the last month of 2017, it felt like the only thing we were hearing about was the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Though it had started the year being worth $1,000, it had a huge spike in December that sparked the news media, having reached a worth of $17,000.
Bitcoin may be the most popular cryptocurrency (at least in the United States), but it is far from the only cryptocurrency in circulation. It can be hard enough to keep track of Bitcoin, let alone the hundreds of other types of cryptocurrency around the world. However, as the world starts to become interested in the world of cryptocurrency, and as the world begins to lean on it, it’s important to keep track of its real world worth.
Harshita Arora, a 16-year-old coder, created an application just for that.
Crypto Price Tracker, which made it to Apple’s App Store Top Charts, was published just last month on January 28th, 2018. Harshita, the mastermind behind the app, was kind enough to offer me a free version of the application in order to review it.* Honestly, the app was incredible. It was smooth; it functioned well; there were no crashes or bugs that I could see. It’s a simple app, but it’s simplicity doesn’t take away from it’s beauty — in fact, it may just add to it.
After viewing the app and playing around with it, I decided to ask if Harshita would be willing to answer some of my questions about the application. She was completely willing to!
Q: First of all, I want to thank you for being willing to sit down and answer these questions! I think that our readers will throughly enjoy this!
A: Thank you so much for having me! I hope my answers will help people! (:
Q: What inspired you to design this application in the first place? And what got you interested in Cryptocurrency?
A: I’ve shared my story of what inspired me to create Crypto Price Tracker here. In short, I was frustrated of using horribly-designed price tracking apps (not to mention, full of ads) with often inaccurate prices and alerts. I researched more and identified that there was a market need for a better and improved app. So I went ahead and created one :D
I remember the first time I came across the term cryptocurrency was in 2016. I read an article in a tech magazine (Digit) about Bitcoin and Bitcoin mining. Blockchain and building software on blockchain framework was a very interesting concept and business opportunity. Though, I never got around to building products in the field, as I was working on other projects. But in 2017, cryptos were just everywhere online. My Facebook and Quora feed were flooded with content related to cryptos and blockchain. So I started reading more online and got interested in cryptos.
Q: What is the general goal of your application?
A: Crypto Price Tracker helps users track prices of 1000+ cryptocurrencies from over 19 exchanges, set price alerts, manage crypto portfolio, and much more. The goal I had when I started out was to create one app where people can find and do everything they want to, to keep themselves up-to-date with cryptocurrencies and their prices, and manage their portfolio if they’ve invested in cryptos.
Q: How long did it take for you to code, design, and develop this application before it was ready to submit?
A: I started in November 2017 and I released the app on 28th January 2018. So it was a 2-3 months long journey from start to finish. It’s been an interesting ride! I’ve shared the journey until launch here in this post. I’m writing a post on launching, marketing, and getting feedback.
Q: What was the beginning process of developing an application like this? Did you write the code from scratch, or use some sort of base? Was this for a classroom project, or just in your free time?
A: The process started with having a product spec so that I know what features will go into the app. Then I began drawing user-flow diagrams and wireframes for each screen. I then designed all screens using Affinity Designer. That process took 3-4 weeks. I’ve shared my learnings and advice on how to design beautiful apps in this post.
After designs were ready and imported in Xcode, that’s when I moved on to coding. Developing iOS apps is a lot of fun and the code was written from scratch. I used a lot of libraries, frameworks, and cocoapods. Mainly: SwiftyJSON, Alamofire, Charts, Popup Dialog, and CoreData. I couldn’t have developed the app without my mentors, Aviral and Bhavish. They were super critical in coding the app. And my friend, Harsh built the back-end on Firebase.
It was not a classroom project since I do not go to school. I’ve been an unschooler for 1.5 years. Crypto Price Tracker is my first solo app.
Q: How did you learn how to code, and what makes you so passionate about coding?
A: I learned digital design and app design when I was 14 from my CS teacher. He’d assign really interesting projects to build, to give students real world design experience. He introduced me to Google’s Scratch and MIT App Inventor. I used to play around with them all day, for months, and that’s where I learnt basic programming concepts and built projects. Then I got the opportunity to intern at Salesforce in winter 2016 – which is where I got exposure to working in tech for the first time.
I love designing and building products. And being able to build valuable software that solves a market need is a super fun and rewarding process.
Q: Are you looking forward to creating new applications as well? And will they be long similar lines, or do you have new ideas that have nothing to do with Cryptocurrency?
A: Yes! I’ve recently started working on an AI app with a friend. It’s an app in Health and Fitness – so a completely different market. I’d be sharing more on this app on my Medium in a few weeks!
Q: Have you received a lot of positive feedback and support from anyone in particular? Strangers reviewing the application, or family members and friends?
A: Yes! When I started out with this app, 5-6 of my friends in crypto helped me understand a lot of terms and concepts in crypto and helped me a lot in figuring out the features that people/users want. When I had a prototype in Adobe XD, I asked my friends to test it out and they gave a lot of positive feedback and suggestions for improvements. ~50 of my friends tested the beta when it was on TestFlight, which was 1 week prior to planned submission. I never got any strangers to test the app until v1.0 release. After the release, my inbox was flooded with emails from happy users sharing feedback and things to work on.
Q: Would you call the application an overall success and a driving point in your coding career? Why?
A: I think Crypto Price Tracker has been pretty successful in acquiring users and retaining them. I’ve gotten 1,500+ downloads in 2 weeks. It was #2 app in Finance in the App Store top charts for paid apps within 24 hours of launch. It was featured on Product Hunt. A post about it on reddit got a lot of virality. And tons more good things have happened! I’m also getting acquisition offers right now. I’d say yes, it was definitely a driving point in my career in tech.
Q: What would you say as a word of advice to anyone looking to get into coding themselves?
A: Something I wish more people knew is that there’s a lot of resources online to ask questions if you get stuck. My favorite website is codementor.io. I’ve met a few of my coding mentors on the platform when I had questions.
Another useful resource to ask questions (though you can’t get 1-on-1 mentoring) would be: Quora, reddit, StackOverflow.
When learning to code, and especially if you’re self-learning with online courses and books, you will get stuck a lot. Knowing where to ask questions from more experience programmers and developers can help a lot!
I cannot recommend downloading this application enough. Even if you don’t know anything about cryptocurrency, it’s amazing to see this young woman excel at what she loves to do — and to help support her. You can download the app on IOS devices here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Mariah Loeber is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of FemSTEM.com. She studies English and is a huge fan of all things STEM. Find her on Twitter.