|Rising star: Among the names announced in Việt Nam’s Golden Book of Creativity 2018, which honours Vietnamese people’s creativity in science-technology, Duy is the youngest. VNS Photo Võ Việt Dũng|
by Lương Thu Hương
In this era of information technology, a smart phone with the Android operating system can run virtual calculator applications that can be easily downloaded from the Google Play Store for free. One of the most popular applications, which has become familiar among many students, is NCalc+, with over one million users worldwide.
NCalc+ is the brainchild of Trần Lê Duy from the southern province of An Giang. Duy is now a freshman at FPT University, majoring in software engineering.
It took Duy nearly one year to write NCalc+, which simulates a handheld calculator to help students with maths and science.
The applications not only include the basic functions of a regular calculator but also improve upon its limitations, like slow speed, accuracy, low memory and difficulties in entering data.
“NCalc+ simulates a Casio calculator that is frequently used by students, so its interface looks familiar to them. Its highlighted features include a capacity to enter data with the camera, solving advanced maths problems like integrals, derivatives, 2D and 3D graphing as well as other useful functions. It serves as a helpful tool to solve problems precisely and swiftly,” Duy explains.
The application has been used on various mobile devices and impresses users with its friendly interface and effectiveness, with over 20,000 users’ rating of 4.8/5 star review on the Google Play Store.
Besides NCalc+, Duy is also the author of over 10 other Google Play applications with many downloads, like Unit Converter & Smart Tools and Pascal N-IDE - Editor and Compiler – Programming that helps everyone learn Pascal on mobile devices.
Encouraged by his teachers, Duy applied to various national IT competitions and won many prizes, including first prize in An Giang Province’s Young IT Competition 2017, first prize in the Provincial Teenagers and Children’s Creativity Competition 2017 and the award he is most proud of – first prize in the national Teenagers and Children’s Creativity Competition.
Among the names announced in Việt Nam’s Golden Book of Creativity 2018, which honours Vietnamese people’s creativity in science-technology, Duy is also the youngest.
“I do not write softwares to compete in competitions but to satisfy my passion. I also want to help students, particularly those in rural areas who can’t afford personal computers, to be able to use their mobile phones to study science. That’s why I upload my applications onto Google Play Store for free,” Duy says.
“I’m happy that not only Vietnamese students but also those from other countries like Russia, the US or Japan have used and enjoyed my applications,” he adds.
The applications have also generated a stable income for this 18-year-old IT enthusiast, helping him purchase new accessories, support his family financially and help him save at university.
|Mathmagic: NCalc+ is among the ’most searched for’ and ’most downloaded’ calculator applications on the Google Play Store. VNS Photo Lương Thu Hương|
In order to be available on Google Play Store, Duy’s applications have been through strict evaluation in terms of their copyright and images.
One time, some similarities were reported between his calculator and another application, so NCalc+ was removed from the Google Play Store.
“I felt very sad because it took me a lot of time to research and develop the application. I had to read references, mostly in English, and I tried to fix the problems and start from scratch. Everything was alright and the app was approved.”
To reach his success, besides spending time enhancing his professional knowledge, Duy has also paid attention to marketing to make his applications accessible to more users. His finished applications were first shared on social networks and forums before using tools to raise its search ranking on the Google Play Store.
Duy says his passion for IT started when he was an eighth-grader.
“I was introduced to the Pascal programming language and was interested in it, but due to my family’s financial difficulties and limited facilities of my school at that time (there were few computers) my passion stopped at reading about it,” he recalls.
It was not until tenth grade that Duy’s family was able to buy him his first laptop. This was also when he embarked on writing his first products.
“My first application was just a simple game, but my first complete one was NCalc+ which I started to develop in June 2016,” Duy says.
He reveals that there are still plenty of improvements that he wants to make to this application, like integrating handwriting recognition for quicker data entry, optimising its interface and data entry and fixing minor errors that have been reported by users.
His IT passion has earned him a ticket to FPT University with a scholarship covering 70 per cent of the tuition, which will bring him one step closer to fulfilling his dream of starting up his own IT business in the future.
“Duy has always tried his best at school despite his family’s difficulties. Not only industrious, he is also a clever and creative student. Particularly, he holds a strong passion and special gift for technology and IT, which are rarely found in other students,” says Võ Việt Dũng, Duy’s IT teacher.
“He always shows determination in dealing with any issues. Rarely has he been satisfied with the results, but strives to optimise the effectiveness of his products,” he adds. VNS