Meet 21-Year-Old Ghanaian Tech Whiz Who Has Worked For Instagram And Snapchat

It's commonplace to still be trying to figure out what direction you want your life to take at 21, however, the universe aligns incredibly for some.

Iddris Sandu is one of these people, as he has achieved a wealth of things at this tender age. When he was 13, his parents moved to the United States and he, still 13, got the opportunity to work at Google in Venice, California learning how to code setting off his career as we know it today. 

(Photo: Iddris Sandu)

Within two years of his Google stint, Iddris, (then 15), designed an app to help students at his high school find their classrooms easily. That same year, he received the Presidential Scholar Award from then-President Barack Obama, earning him a visit to the White House.

After his stint at Google, Iddris went on to work for Instagram, writing a program that would filter key sites or activities by a user's location to identify possible interests. The design has since been overhauled, but it led Iddris to Uber, where he created software called Autonomous Collision Detection Interface to help detect a driver's hand motions and position.

Following this, he went on to create algorithms for Snapchat and also consult for Twitter. 

It's interesting to note that the 21-year-old never went to college. Speaking about this in an interview with CNN, Iddris said:

"I couldn't afford it, being a minority. I also didn't want to wait four years; I wanted to make an impact now."

(Photo: Iddris Sandu/George Jeff)

Last year, he met rapper, Nipsey Hussle at a Starbucks, and the chance encounter turned into an impactful collaboration. The pair turned an abandoned shop in Los Angeles into The Marathon Store, where they retail clothing, accessories and music. The store enables customers download exclusive music and other digital content via an app, and three weeks after it's opening, they received celebrity entrepreneurs like Diddy,  Jay-Z and Swizz Beatz. 

With the aim to get more young people involved in voting, he's currently working with Kanye West and Jaden Smith to create augmented-reality experiences around music and politics for the tech festival ComplexCon in Chicago. 

A lot of Iddris' 2019, will be spent in Lagos, hosting student workshops. Iddris wants to level the playing field between Silicon Valley and black communities, and in his words, he would like to "teach African kids to build platforms they also own".

(Photo: Iddris Sandu/Nailah Howze)

(Photo: Iddris Sandu)

Tech and politics. Is there even a difference between the two?