Diversity at Apple WWDC: From 82-year-old to 10-year-old developers
Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) 2017 in California has seen the participation of people across different ranges of age, nationalities and skill-set. This time, the youngest developer, 10-year-old Yuma Soerianto, comes from Australia, while the oldest, 82-year-old Masako Wakamiya, is a retired banker from Japan. Know more about these remarkable achievers, and Apple's efforts to increase diversity at the WWDC.
First started in 1983, Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference became a major launchpad event for the company since 2002. While its focus has mainly been on new software and software updates, the conference did see products like the Mac Pro, iPhone and others being occasionally unveiled.
This is Soerianto's second year at WWDC; the Melbourne kid made his last app on the 20-hour journey to California! The self-taught coder has been building websites since he was six, but was eventually fascinated by apps. "Everyone has phones, (plus) I could build more fun stuff on an iPhone!" He then turned to Apple's Swift Playgrounds, which teaches children the basics of coding.
After completing the tutorials in Swift, he took a one-year free iTunes U Swift coding course by Stanford University. Within a year of completing it, he had released five apps on the App Store: Hunger Button, Kid Calculator, Lets Stack!, Pocket Poké and Weather Duck. Soerianto says it took "about two month" to code, "but that's because I was building it around school work".
Japan's Wakamiya, a retired banker, started using computers when she was 60, but was frustrated with the limited apps/games targeted towards the elderly. She started learning coding so she could create her own apps. Her first app debuted only a few months ago, but Wakamiya says she plans to learn more about coding at the WWDC; she says she already has other ideas.
Wakamiya built a free game called Hinadan, which based on the Japanese doll festival called Hinamatsuri, in March. Since it caters to the older population, the pace and narration is slow.
Apple is putting focus on increasing diversity at WWDC; both Soerianto and Wakamiya travelled to the event on free passes the company provides to developers. Apple says WWDC 2017 is the most global event, with a large number of school students. It has also made apps (Swift Playgrounds, for one) and launched courses at six colleges to teach youngsters coding.