This 13-year-old YouTube superstar has (almost) all the answers

By Kitty Knowles 18 April 2017
Tanmay Bakshi. Pic: IBM Events Tumblr.

IBM teen genius Tanmay Bakshi is on a mission to assist 100,000 people.

How many teenagers do you know who have keynote speaker, developer, author and IBM Champion on their CV?

To say 13-year-old Tanmay Bakshi is talented, is an understatement.

But what’s more inspiring about the digital whizz-kid, is that he devotes a great deal of time to helping others with their programming – for free.

He does this through his YouTube channel which has more than a quarter of a million views and nearly 15,000 subscribers.

Bakshi fields around 20 questions a day via email, Twitter, and YouTube comments and aims to help at least 100,000 aspiring techies.

He has already helped over 3,500 people from around the world.

An inspiration to kids and grown-ups alike, we asked Bakshi about life in the limelight…

Kitty Knowles: You are a young man of many talents, what are you most proud of?

Tanmay Bakshi: I’m passionate about learning and sharing my knowledge.

My biggest achievement so far is that I have been able to help thousands of people who trust in me – even though I haven’t met them in person, I’m still a part of their lives.

What made you decide to start your own YouTube channel?

I started my YouTube channel on Christmas Day of 2011. Back then, I never had a plan behind this channel, it was just another medium through which I wanted to share my thoughts, or whatever I learnt, and it was able to evolve from there.

I wanted to make concepts simple to understand, and share those with my friends.

Some examples of this are the tutorials I made for probability and blood groups back when I was in Grade 5. Now, of course, I create tutorials on Watson, AI, Programming, Algorithms, Medical Diagnoses, Math, and Science.

What’s the weirdest thing about being famous?

Many people reach out to me on a daily basis, and I love how they open their hearts. I don’t consider it weird, per se.

They expect me to advise them, when sometimes, they themselves are the parents of kids older than I am.

What’s the best thing about helping people with their problems?

It is actually very hard for me to express in words the feeling of satisfaction I get after I help someone.

Whenever people say thanks for helping them to get a promotion in their job, or get good grade, it’s the best feeling ever!

What is most difficult about being a public figure?

Being a public figure is a privilege, and with privilege, comes responsibility. I realise that many people consider me as their inspiration, or their role model.

In fact, this is the driving force that helps me stay focussed and honest towards my work and passion.

What are the three most exciting things you are working on right now?

I’d like to start with “The Cognitive Story”, a project about helping people live a better and easier life through the power of Cognitive technology. The first chapter revolves around helping those with special needs, through the power of Watson and artificial intelligence.

I am also the host of an IBM Facebook Live series called “Watson Made Simple with Tanmay”, where I try to teach developers how they can use Watson and AI in their applications.

Next, I am writing a few courses on AI and Machine Learning for Udemy, and a few others, and this is really fun!

What are your plans for the next year or two?

I plan to continue to learn, and of course, share my knowledge.

[Tanmay has already published a book, Hello Swift! – iOS App Programming for Kids and Other Beginners].

Authoring another book is in the pipeline. I’m going to be part of quite a few talks and workshops in different parts of the world.

I’ve also got a goal to reach out to and help at least 100,000 aspiring kids and other beginners to help them learn coding, to give them the ability to innovate.

Finally, what’s your dream job?

My dream job is one in which I’m able to use technology to make big changes in the healthcare field, especially making the lives of those with disabilities and special needs better using cognitive and AI.

For more inspiration from Tanmay Bakshi, tune into his YouTube Channel. Go Tanmay!