What were you doing when you were nine years old? Maybe playing baseball on a Little League team, trying to survive elementary school, or just staying out of trouble. Chances are you weren’t participating in one of the largest and most prestigious global coding conferences in the world. But that’s the case for one young coder from Australia whose dreams are coming true in a major way.
9 Year Old Coder Wins Apple Scholarship
Apple’s annual WorldWide Developer Conference (WWDC) hosts top app developers from around the world at its headquarters in San Francisco. This year, Anvitha Vijay, a fourth grader at Mount View Primary School in Melbourne, Australia, was the youngest coder in attendance at the WWDC at just nine years old. She is the recipient of one of the 350 Apple scholarships awarded mainly to high school and college-aged coders attending WWDC.
Anvitha’s journey to San Francisco began two years ago when she wanted to make an app to teach her then two-year-old sister how to identify animals. Anvitha was only seven at the time, but she taught herself to code using YouTube videos. She created a prototype of what would become Smartkins Animals in Photoshop before creating the real thing with Apple’s iOS Xcode program. It took several variations to get the app just the way she wanted it, which included removing lots of the original features to make it a better fit for the target preschool audience. The educational app recently landed in Apple’s App Store, where it has been downloaded a few hundred times, garnering the attention that scored her a scholarship trip to the conference.
Child Coder Becomes Celebrity Overnight
Among some of the top tech gurus in the world, Anvitha is a WWDC star. She’s gotten numerous selfie and autograph requests and even had the chance to meet Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, who also gave her a shout out during his keynote address.
WWDC is also a great learning opportunity for coders, with classes and panels led by industry big-wigs, which means Anvitha is just getting started in her coding networking and knowledge. “It was like a dream to be here and meet so many people,” she said. “I’ve just touched the tip of the iceberg in coding, there’s so much to learn.”
Anvitha Moves on to Her Next Project
It’s hard for a career to peak at just nine years old, so Anvitha is moving on to her next project, and she’s taking full advantage of Apple’s new technology. She is currently using Apple’s Swift coding language to develop her program GoalsHi to help kids around her age develop classroom confidence. The app isn’t even finished yet, but it has already won $10,000 in the OzApps contest.
At WDCC, Apple announced Swift Playground, an iPad program that teaches children to code using touchscreen, and it already has a big fan. “It looks really fun and something I could use to teach my friends at school to code,” Anvitha said. “I’ve tried to teach them Xcode, but they think it looks too difficult.”
Anvitha’s plans for the future may be best stated with the motto on her business card: “I want to make a difference in people’s lives through technology.” The future is definitely bright for this young girl who is shaking up the app developer scene. In the meantime, she’ll soak in the fame and learning and celebrate after the conference with a trip with her family to Disneyland.
Anvitha’s success puts focus on a new wave of young app developers. With new software made available by Apple, as well as coding classes popping up around the world, Anvitha may soon be in good company with young coders.
Watch amazing interview with 9 year old Anvitha: