How a Nine-Year-Old Australian Landed a Coveted WWDC Apple Scholarship

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During Apple's opening keynote address at this week's Worldwide Developer's Conference in San Francisco, CEO Tim Cook gave a shout-out to Anvitha Vijay, the youngest ever developer to attend WWDC.

Aged just nine, Vijay applied for and won one of 350 coveted Apple scholarships to attend the conference's coding and programming sessions, which are typically dominated by high school and college students. According to Fortune, the number of women who applied for Apple's scholarship also tripled this year compared to 2015.

Anvitha Vijay 9-year-old developer

Anvitha Vijay, the 9-year-old developer at WWDC 2016 (Image: USA Today)

A resident of Melbourne, Australia, Vijay was selected for a scholarship after she created an iOS app called Smartkins Animals, which lets young users have fun exploring the sights and sounds of over 100 animals. Prior to WWDC, the app had been downloaded "a few hundred times".

"It was like a dream to be here and meet so many people," Vijay said, speaking to USA Today. "I've just touched the tip of the iceberg in coding, there's so much to learn."

Vijay, who has Indian heritage, began teaching herself coding skills at the age of seven by watching YouTube instructional videos and using her mum's iPhone (users have to be aged at least 13 to hold an iTunes account). She said she was motivated to make an app using Xcode to teach her younger sister how to identify the names of animals.

"I want to be an innovator, to build things that people will love and benefit from," said Vijay as she handed WWDC attendees her business card, on which reads the motto: "I want to make a difference in people's lives through technology."

Vijay has now progressed to Apple's more advanced Swift programming language to develop a new app she's calling GoalsHi, which aims to give students more confidence in the classroom.

During Apple's WWDC keynote, the company revealed a new educational app called "Swift Playgrounds", which aims to introduce users to a new way to learn to code with Swift on an iPad.

The free app, due to be released with iOS 10 this fall, features custom "learn to code" lessons that focus on crafting visual cues around numeric coding data to slowly introduce kids into the world of coding.

All iPad Air and iPad Pro models will be compatible with the app, as well as iPad mini 2-and-later devices.

Top Rated Comments

OllyW Avatar
60 months ago

Isn't she Indian?

She is from Australia.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AdeFowler Avatar
60 months ago
What a time to be alive!

Amazing to see someone so young with such ambition and drive.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Chupa Chupa Avatar
60 months ago

Affirmative Action is written all over this.

You forgot the /sarc tag so let me add it for you....

Affirmative Action is written all over this. /sarc

But to be clear it's obvious she is an exceptional child and invited based on her accomplishments. I don't know any 7 year kid intellectually curious or disciplined enough to learn code off of YouTube videos so that at 9 they have a published app. It's great she got this opportunity to expand her talent and skills.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Goldex Avatar
60 months ago
She's just as old as the iPhone!
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
keysofanxiety Avatar
60 months ago
Awwh, this is a great story. :)
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Scrivener Avatar
60 months ago

Isn't she Indian?

I'm of Irish heritage and was born in Australia - of Irish and Irish-Scottish parents - I'm Australian. She is of Indian heritage and I understand she was born in Australia of Indian parents - she is Australian. In any case, anyone who is naturalised Australian is Australian. Our real claimants to this land are aboriginal. I guess you must be a Red Indian with no other heritage to feel that you are American, but then I have never heard a genuine Red Indian express a feeling that someone else's race or heritage is a measure of a person. A very famous and inspirational American and one of my heroes said it is the content of someones mind that distinguishes a person, not the colour of their skin.
She is just lovely school kid with supportive parents and teachers and a flair for coding. Why pull the race card on a nine-year-old little girl? It's just arrogant and tasteless.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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