I met Max Luzuriaga at FOWD conference where I spoke in 2010 (New York City). Max first impressed me with his portfolio site which is coded with HTML5 markup, Modernizr, and CSS3 media queries (but according to Max, his site is already "a little out of date"). At age of 15, Max is learning and doing various design and development works (web, icons, Javascript, PHP, iOS, Ruby on Rails, etc.). Max not only impressed me with his skills, but his passion reminds me that I have to keep upgrading myself and learning new things. I hope this interview can motivate more young talents to step into the industry.

1. Please tell us a bit about yourself. Do you mind telling us your age? What is your current status?

I’m a designer and developer living just outside Philadelphia. I’m 15 years old, and as such am still in school. Because of this, I don’t have nearly as much time as I would like to focus on web stuff, but I make do.

2. Your site is nicely done. Did you code and design it yourself? What tools did you use?

Yeah I did! The site is powered by WordPress (with a custom theme, obviously), so I wrote it in PHP. Both the design and back-end of this site is a little out of date, and I’m (as always) starting to redesign it, so please don’t think that its current state is indicative of my current abilities, it’s not.

As far as tools, I used Photoshop primarily for the design elements, and wrote all the code in my editor of choice, Textmate.

Max Luzuriaga site

3. You have quite a lot of done in your portfolio. Have you done any client work?

I have done some client work, but to be honest, it’s all pretty much out of date with my current skillset (which I hope is always improving), so I try not to display it that much. As a result, I chose to have the work on my portfolio just be a feed of my shots on Dribbble, which always shows my most up-to-date stuff, including personal projects. At some point I want to add a real work page to my site, but for now that’s okay.

icons

4. What are your current focuses?

I’ve been learning a lot about iPhone App development, and I’m currently working on my own iPhone App! I’ve never really done this kind of UI design before, so it’s been a real adventure so far. To be honest, it’s liberating being able to work on a project that will look the same for all its users, unlike most web projects where you have to contend with many, many different browsers and devices. This has also been my first foray into development with a compiled language (Objective-C), and that has been a challenge, but a good challenge.

There’s so many things I want to learn, but so few hours in each day! Icon design has also been something I want to more of, and illustration is one of those things that I always wanted to try my hand at.

icons

5. Who or what inspired you to get into industry? Where do you learn all your skill sets (Photoshop, Illustrator, CSS, Ruby on Rails, PHP, SQL, etc. )?

From an early age I was very interested in computers; I was an avid user of the web long before I was a creator for it. My mom is a graphic designer, so she had a copy of Photoshop installed on our family computer. I started using it by following a ton of online tutorials for silly text effects and the like, and slowly I became okay at it. I discovered that the app had a feature to convert a slice based document into a table-based webpage, and then it was a natural progression to HTML and CSS tutorials.

I then started to read a ton of web design blogs, and absorbed as much information as possible. The rest just followed naturally.

6. Can you list 7 sites/blogs (exclude Google and social media sites) that you visit every day?

Reddit, Engadget, Dribbble, Tumblr, Instapaper, The Onion, Hulu.

7. What do you foresee yourself doing in 5 years from now?

School-wise: studying in college. I’ll hopefully still have time to devote to the web, but probably won’t be doing much client work during the school year. With any luck, I’ll have released this iPhone App, and will be working on a few awesome new projects!

8. Finally, do you have any tips for young professionals who want to get into the web industry?

Learn as much as you possibly can. Do as many personal projects as you can. Start a blog. Follow great designers on Twitter. Get involved in the community. Read as much as you possibly can. That’s the only way you’ll be able to distinguish yourself from all the other designers out there.

60 Comments

Jonathan Sampson
Jun 22, 2011 at 10:39 am

Great interview. I didn’t get my start in web-development until I was about 16 – this kid will shine in a decade, no doubt.

Looks like you missed a word in Question 4 where it reads ” Icon design has also been something I want to more of…” I think you meant, “something I want to do more of.”

gbaniya
Jun 22, 2011 at 10:54 am

When I was 15, I was still running after the kites and still busy playing basketball..

Very inspired to read this interview. Max you got a bright future. Keep up the good work. :)

Christina
Jun 22, 2011 at 11:12 am

He has a very nice and simple design for his website. His navigation is broken in FF 3.6.18, but fine in FF5. Browser issues are always a problem.

alex
Jun 22, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Interesting interview. Thanks. I Remember me at 15years, but i played counter-strike instead of reading blogs and tutorials. At 15 i recieved my first JavaScript book, and then all began… Best wishes for you, Max.

Charlotte Dann
Jun 22, 2011 at 4:58 pm

This is me in 3 months time and two years younger. It’s fascinating to see the differences between seasoned professionals and fast-learning newbies, I can’t stick with a design for more than half a yeat and am reluctant to do client work because I’d be able to do a better job of it a few months later..
Great interview, this guy has a big career ahead of him.

Mike
Jun 22, 2011 at 8:11 pm

It’s wonderfull, youngest web designer in the world, Photoshop is verry helpfull to designing colour and object on the web

Catalin
Jun 23, 2011 at 2:48 am

Oh, I feel so obsolete now…

Dallas Web Designer
Jun 23, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Afe 15, dang if only I was into web design when I was 15. I would be way ahead of the game! Great interview!

Francisco
Jun 23, 2011 at 8:54 pm

Oh that boy is inspiring !! I do follow some of the advices he gave

51 Website Design
Jun 24, 2011 at 1:18 am

Haha I actually remember this guy now! He was the one who did the gnome site, which I found quite fascinating. I saw this guy’s site on Forrst, though. Then I remember seeing his work (the gold/yellow bolt with the black background) again on Dribbble. This guy really is great.

I never realized he knew so much, however lol.

Damian
Jun 24, 2011 at 2:03 am

Great interview thanks

Anna
Jun 24, 2011 at 2:23 am

All us oldsters need to watch out! This young designer is great well done to him!

The National Benefit Authority
Jun 24, 2011 at 2:49 am

Nice interview !!Max not only impressed me with his skills, but his passion reminds me that I have to keep upgrading …

Asif Mirza
Jun 24, 2011 at 3:17 am

hy….
i am asif from Pakistan,
i am also intrested learning web designing and developing. but i live in a small town and i am 25 year age….could it possible to learn all things in any age ??
is there any age requirement?

reyescreative
Jun 24, 2011 at 5:10 am

Great interview, @ 15 I was reading comics & hanging out @ the mall. I think this kids is gonna do great, I’d love to see where he takes his talent.

Ben Bate
Jun 24, 2011 at 9:31 am

Awesome mate! I am 15 as well. Great to know there are others out there in the same position as me :)

Jd French
Jun 24, 2011 at 10:44 pm

I’m 15 as well, and it’s quite a relief to know that people my age are interested in design as much as I am. Good interview.

Sarang
Jun 25, 2011 at 12:28 am

Being 15, devoting to studies as well as tech & web is much of work (almost same conditions here !). But those who have the “inner spirit” are naturally attracted. The new innovator is the same… Brilliant.

Robart
Jun 25, 2011 at 4:12 am

Awesome webpost… really inspiring presently working on http://www.toprankexpress.com which is a search engine optimisation site. This post am sure will help a lot.

josephcadle
Jun 25, 2011 at 12:10 pm

his is broken in everyone of my browsers but safari.

Loverman
Jun 25, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Look site that i found:

http://adf.ly/1uttl

2awesome

Leon | Hacer una Pagina
Jun 25, 2011 at 3:49 pm

Very impressed about this child.
Very oriented to the future. Today one person that not use computer is similar that can’t read in the past.
See ya.
L.

clanchun
Jun 26, 2011 at 5:41 am

impressed and encouraging

非主流
Jun 26, 2011 at 7:12 am

文章不错,很受用,www.my580.com;非诚勿扰收藏啦

Brian Enriquez
Jun 26, 2011 at 4:38 pm

The Master Nick La! Awesome article. Very inspiring. I’m almost 30 and went to high school in San Jose when Adobe built their triple towers soon after acquiring Photoshop and Flash. Back then the only thing on the web, that I knew of, was Aol. I didn’t start designing and coding for the web until 2 years ago. I can’t imagine starting at 15. A lot of these kids already know more than I do. Fascinating.

龙虎
Jun 27, 2011 at 2:08 am

6vl7rh

MP Construtora
Jun 27, 2011 at 10:29 am

Fantástico o artigo. Como sempre, o Nick só produz posts com qualidade. Valeu, Nick.

Tako
Jun 27, 2011 at 11:19 am

Hey that’s cool but this website doesn’t render properly even in FF. ????

Camilo
Jun 27, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Great interview! It reminds me a lot when I was 15 (not long ago, I’m 22). The thirst for knowledge, the self-criticism (in a good way). Keep that way boy, and you will be BIG.

Gaurav Mishra
Jun 28, 2011 at 1:55 am

Following 8!

Piter
Jun 28, 2011 at 4:52 am

Nice interview:) web design is extra ..

Sara
Jun 28, 2011 at 6:08 am

Excellent chat with Max Luzuriaga , Great article!!

Zach Mathews
Jun 28, 2011 at 7:51 pm

Hey, I’m thinking about going into this field. I’ll be 15 in less than 4 months, and I have been making websites for almost a year. The link to my website is to the wordpress theme I’m currently working on. I coded everything on the theme myself, although it is still a work in progress. You should check it out.

P.S: if you get any wordpress warnings its because its still in debug mode.

Zach Mathews
Jun 28, 2011 at 7:58 pm

Shoot i almost forgot the pictures were gotten from http://premiumpixels.com/

Zach Mathews
Jun 28, 2011 at 7:55 pm

For some reason it didnt put a link to my web site sorry.

Here it is :click here.

Manifo
Jun 29, 2011 at 8:32 am

Nice portfolio! Not only you can feel impressed :)

Will
Jun 30, 2011 at 9:04 am

Great article and an up and coming talent no doubt!

Viola
Jul 3, 2011 at 3:52 am

A great interview. It’s interesting to see other people around my age (I’m 14 year old girl) also interested in web design! I’m sure there’s a lot of other young designers out here, but personally I never have seen any. Which is a shame, are we shy maybe? Or just afraid? I enjoy creating for the web and graphic design, but in my age it’s quite impossible to be a freelancer, or do jobs for clients. People would probably just laugh me of and don’t take me seriously.
So I’d just like to give a little shout-out to all young designers out there: Just keep doing what you love. :D

inspirationfeed
Jul 3, 2011 at 10:23 pm

His age and skills stunned me! He has a great future ahead of him!

QiliQulu
Jul 5, 2011 at 4:02 am

A great interview with a great teenager. An inspiring story to be shared.

web design company in karachi
Jul 13, 2011 at 1:00 am

I feel my self motivated, and would love to learn some php straight away. I would also like to ask Max why he choose WP for his portfolio website.

crowd SPRING
Jul 14, 2011 at 10:35 am

This interview really motivated me and i am sure it will motivate more young talents to step into the industry.Reading this that At age of 15, Max is learning and doing various design and development works,really inspired me!

orhanbt
Jul 15, 2011 at 4:07 pm

Great article and an up and coming talent no doubt!

coachmbzq
Jul 18, 2011 at 2:35 am

I am so glad this internet thing works and your article really helped me safadsecw. Might take you up on that home advice you

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skincare
Aug 3, 2011 at 5:08 am

I loved the impeccable and meticulous straightforward answering to all the questions.

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Aug 11, 2011 at 11:56 pm

Its a very nice offer ir we can say its a best strategy to attract customer or visitors,I hope this strategy give some good results..

fpmike
Aug 17, 2011 at 4:54 pm

inspiring words indeed! thanks for the silent cheer-up max :D

Daniel Lemes
Aug 20, 2011 at 8:42 pm

Incredible how so young, he absorbed all this knowledge. Is he totally comfortable with these tools? Fantastic!

Syed Faizan
Aug 21, 2011 at 5:57 am

Max i’m very impress your interview,you such a little designer.. keep it up!! may Allah bless you

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Aug 22, 2011 at 1:23 am

Thank you for sharing of the article, I like it very much

complex41
Aug 23, 2011 at 1:12 pm

And then he handed you the thirty-five 45

mybookmart
Oct 3, 2011 at 2:33 am

im so glad i see this site

Spices
Nov 4, 2011 at 3:19 am

Thanks for those tips Max. Great interview.

Felisa Vey
Jan 29, 2012 at 11:16 pm

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Jul 13, 2012 at 5:55 am

I did a little tour of your blog, it looks really interesting. I’m going to sit back. I congratulate you it’s good to have made this blog
thank you very much

Greg Johnson
Jul 19, 2012 at 8:37 pm

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Jul 29, 2012 at 4:39 pm

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Aron
Sep 12, 2012 at 9:45 pm

Does your stylist try to push a ton of products on you that you just don’t need or want? If you have ever walked away from a salon visit and feel like you’ve been pushed into buying products you didn’t want or need, you’re not alone. So why does it seem stylist now a days are turning into car salesmen pushing you to buy more, more, more?

Mopping Systems & Buckets
Jun 7, 2013 at 12:35 pm

Hi !
This is an inspirational interview. It is hard to believe that Max is only 15 years old and his work is awesome.
It’s quite motivational to read the whole interview.
Thanks for sharing.
Mopping Systems & Buckets

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