Tech

Meet Australia’s youngest and brightest app developers @ WWDC 2019

Every year thousands and thousands of developers enter a lottery to score a ticket to Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference. Only around 5,000 developers get to attend so the stakes are high.

Win the lotto and you’ve still got to pay the $1,500 ticket price which gets you access to five days of events and lab sessions with Apple engineers to learn about the nitty gritty of the Apple software ecosystem.

In addition to those lottery winning ticket buyers, there’s a select group of young developers who receive a Scholarship from Apple to attend WWDC.

The program allows for young student developers to apply by creating an interactive scene in Apple’s development learning environment Swift Playgrounds that can be experienced by judges in under three minutes.

The 350 Student Developers from around the world who are selected for scholarship will receive a free ticket to WWDC, accommodation in San Jose and a year’s membership of the Apple Developer Program.

There are just under 200 Aussie developers at WWDC in 2019, and among them are seven lucky young student scholarship winners.

EFTM met the seven Aussie kids here in San Jose, here’s what they’re up to:

Will Bishop – 17 years old from Adelaide

Currently doing his HSC, this is Will’s first WWDC as a scholarship winner. His dream is to work at Apple, which is not unprecedented – James Dale, a former student scholarship winner from just a couple of years ago is now working for Apple in his dream job!

Will has three WatchOS apps in the App Store with a quarter of a million downloads between them.

The most successful of them is Chirp, which is an interface for Twitter – because Twitter is not available on the Apple Watch.

Ayden Gebran – 16 years old from Sydney

Ayden is in year 11 and studying for the HSC at an “Apple Distinguished School” in Western Sydney.

His seven apps in the App Store cover iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch and include everything from tic-tac-toe to a golf scorecard.

Last year he attended WWDC and learned about Core ML (Apple’s Machine Learning code) and used what he learned to create an intelligent study planner app for iPad called Launch which is made to help students study smarter.

He’s also created a YouTube channel where he posts tutorials on Swift and xCode.

Jonathan Benjamin – 14 years old from Melbourne

Only in year 9, Jonathan is attending WWDC as a scholarship winner for the second time.

His game Vertajump is simple bug addictive, plus he also has an app built for his family church in India.

Jonathan’s interest is currently on the Machine Learning capabilities of iOS which he wants to harness to detect a players ability and tailor the difficulty of the game based on that.

Zach Simone – 21 years old from Sydney

This is Zach’s third time at WWDC as a Scholarship winner – I’ve met him several times before and he has an overwhelming passion for coding.

While continuing his studies, he is working part-time as an iOS developer, working on the Kayo Sports app. He’s previously worked on the Caltex app for fuel payments.

He has four apps of his own in the App store including an Aussie Slang app, GST calculator and Heart Monitor.

Zach is very passionate about the impact technology can have on healthcare, and believes the availability of health data can have huge impacts on people’s personal wellbeing.

Daniel Sykes – 23 years old from Melbourne

As a software engineering graduate from Monash University Daniel has attended WWDC before, but this is his first time as a Scholarship winner.

He has five apps in the App store, including an Apple TV game.

One of them is an instrument tuner for iPhone called Brass Notes!. He developed it during high school to help him check music notes whilst playing trombone. 

He’s keen to build his own start up and create an Artificial Intelligence based app to help people manage their time more efficiently and essentially let them “buy time.” 

Will Taylor – 15 years old from Melbourne

This is Will’s third time attending WWDC as a scholarship winner. He started coding at just 8 years old, and now has six apps in the App Store.

One of his apps is available on iPhone, Watch and Mac – it’s called Diary and allows users to manage their homework and time spent on Study.

He’s even created an app for teachers to use to manage groups within their classes. It allows teachers to set rules for groups around gender balance as well as even keeping students apart who don’t work well together.

At school he also runs a Swift Playgrounds workshop for teachers so they can teach junior school students Swift coding on iPad.

Yuma Soerianto – 12 years old from Melbourne

I first met Yuma at WWDC 2017 as a 10 year old he stole the show meeting Tim Cook and getting a mention in the Keynote – but of course the highlight was surely appearing on The Today Show with me:

Yuma is a genuine inspiration to all kids, he has some 10 apps in the App Store and has been using Augmented Reality since it was announced by Apple.

On top of that he has his YouTube channel teaching coding, and speaks at Apple Stores about coding too.

Trevor Long travelled to San Jose for WWDC 2019 as a guest of Apple

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Meet Australia’s youngest and brightest app developers @ WWDC 2019
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