The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference comes up next month
We spoke to three developers from India about their past experiences
- Published 20.05.20, 7:23 PM
- Updated 20.05.20, 7:23 PM
- 5 mins read
Rishav Kumar’s parents are doctors. When he was 10, the software they used to prescribe medicine and invoice was too old and couldn’t be upgraded. He developed one for them. Since then he’s kept updating the software, which his parents still use. In March 2019 he launched his company, ScribbleEdu, which provides tutorials for how to use Apple educational software, from basic to advanced, in schools.
For young app developers, coding is as much a hobby as it is a serious learning effort. What motivated you to begin coding and when did you realise that coding is serious business?
The biggest motivation to code has been my parents, who have been a great support although being busy doctors themselves. They even allowed me as a kid to make their medical prescription software, which I enjoyed making and led me to begin programming new software programmes for them. As I grew up coding, I realised many aspects of it and developed an interest in software solutions. That’s when I realised the commercial use of coding.
How has your life changed in the last two or three years and how do you manage to find time between studies and pursuing your passion — coding?
My life has changed a lot. I now enjoy schooling online and at the same time putting aside a fixed amount of time for studying where I don’t interrupt my other work. I have also been working on a blog, rishavapps.com, which includes many categories and is seeing a stable growth.
Tell us a bit about your day at the school.
I’m currently pursuing online school from Minnesota, USA, and I completely love the fact that I can manage my own time and can work on other things on schedule. However, this can sometimes be distracting. So, I have made a to-do list or task manager where I have set aside time for everything, which makes my work and studies both better. However, yes I do end up spending more time with computer courses.
You have attended WWDC twice. What have been some of the takeaways?
One of the best takeaways from attending the conference was the opportunity to meet and interact with a diverse network of enthusiastic and interesting people, especially fellow scholarship winners. As an attendee, you join a community of developers and designers who actively participate in discussions long after the first week. Also, it goes without saying that you accumulate a significant amount of knowledge and experience throughout Dub Dub week.
You are interested in AI. But it’s usually things like puzzles, fixing things around the house and Raspberry PI sets which sometimes come as gifts that get youngsters interested in programming and robotics. What was childhood like for you?
You’ve pretty much summed up my childhood! The path to where I am today initially started with Lego blocks, and I am still that person in the family who everyone turns to when they need some form of technical assistance. Most of my free time in childhood was spent pursuing DIY projects or taking apart old, unused electronic devices to identify how they once worked. This path saw me experimenting with microcontroller boards such as those from Arduino and Texas Instruments. This experience inspired me to take a look at computer science, and ultimately computing research, as a path to pursue.
You are now studying at the Imperial College London. What has been the experience thus far and does it help that you have been a WWDC scholar twice?
Studying at the department of computing here at Imperial College London has been an eye-opening and inspiring experience. As a student of one of the world’s most reputed universities with a unique focus on the sciences, I’m humbled to have the opportunity to learn from world-leading researchers and focus on the theoretical aspects of computer science directly from the first year. Of course, the course is challenging, but it’s also intellectually stimulating and you feel a sense of passion towards the subject you’re pursuing. This passion for technology is what I found in a lot of attendees at WWDC. Besides, the conference has helped me in a way to familiarise myself with such a culturally diverse and international academic environment.
AI is something close to your heart. How do you want to apply it in the future?
Over the past few months, I’ve been looking at advancements in the fields of computer graphics and vision. In particular, I’ve looked at research publications from the likes of Pixar and Disney Research as well as proceedings from conferences such as SIGGRAPH. Over the summer, I plan to explore the application of machine learning to computer graphics and use the opportunity to familiarise myself with both fields on the whole.
Share with us your experience with Swift and how it scores over other languages?
In my opinion, Swift is robust and easy-to-learn; it’s beginner-friendly and Apple’s Swift Playgrounds app for iPad does indeed provide a great learning and prototyping platform for anyone looking to pick up the art of programming. In fact, for my 2018 scholarship submission, I picked up Swift in under a day.
With all of the new products and technologies we’ve been working on, WWDC 2020 is going to be big. I look forward to our developers getting their hands on the new code and interacting in entirely new ways with the Apple engineers building the technologies and frameworks that will shape the future across all Apple platforms.— Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice-president of software engineering
Jay Firke is a 2019 WWDC student scholarship winner and he is in 12th grade and a student of Macro Vision Academy (Apple Distinguished School) in India. He started coding three years ago and is currently working on an AR game and on an e-commerce app which is helping his village during Covid-19.
When and how did your interest in STEM activities develop?
When I got admission in Macro Vision Academy, in the 11th grade. I saw students doing some activities on the iMac and that’s when my interest in STEM activities developed.
How old were you when you won the WWDC scholarship? How did you hear about it?
I am 17, when I heard about WWDC from Vijay Sukhwani (system analyst of Macro Vision Academy), he told me about WWDC, and that year I got selected for my project in WWDC ’19.
Tell us about the apps you are currently working on and how is it going to help people?
I am currently working on a project which helps my village during Covid-19. In this project, some essential shops, like medical, grocery store, general store and so on are included; these shops give home delivery to customers using the app. It is like an e-commerce app. It prevents people from coming out of their homes. It helps police and the government.
What made you apply for the scholarship?
Last year, I made a game titled Dragon War for WWDC submission. It is based on Apple ARKit 2. In this game, Dragons come from all sides, and players have to shoot them. This year I am doing a project on Swift Playground.
How was the experience of attending WWDC and meeting developers from all over the world and sharing a common love for creating apps?
As a student developer, I joined WWDC 2019 as a scholarship recipient. It was an enjoyable experience. It is more than a $1,599 ticket for entering the conference. It is an opportunity for everyone to connect with other people and improve developing skills. There were many intelligent and hardworking developers from all over the world, and learning new things about Apple technologies is a great opportunity and a wonderful experience. All developers are the same at WWDC.
What was your first reaction when you heard that you had won the scholarship?
My first reaction when I heard I had won was like an out-of-body experience — like this couldn’t be happening to me. I didn’t quite believe the email I received. I was afraid it wasn’t legit, that it was spam. But it wasn’t. My disbelief transformed into happiness and delight. Winning the WWDC scholarship is one of the most significant achievements of my life.