Ahead of next week’s WWDC 2021, Apple is highlighting the young developers who have won its Swift Student Challenge. The annual contest exists to reward up-and-coming coders who are on Apple’s radar. They typically win some great Apple swag for their troubles.
This year, for its second virtual Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple handed out prizes to 350 next generation Swift coders from 35 countries and regions. They had to submit an original Swift playground in order to win a spot. Apple seizes upon this year’s competition to show off the diversity of the people who entered.
“Every year, we are inspired by the talent and ingenuity that we see from our Swift Student Challenge applicants,” said Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations and Enterprise and Education Marketing, in a statement. “This year, we are incredibly proud that more young women applied and won than ever before, and we are committed to doing everything we can to nurture this progress and reach true gender parity.”
Highlighting diversity in developers
Apple highlights several apps in its press release. One, an app called Feed Fleet by California-based Gianna and Shannon Yan, pairs volunteers with at-risk individuals to carry out essential goods delivery during COVID. Yan is also designing an app to report sexual assault on school campuses. Another is for breast cancer self-examinations and heart disease checks for young women.
“If we foster the next generation with an emphasis on diversity, we’ll continue the acceleration of innovation within tech,” Yan said. “I think it’s really important that people from diverse backgrounds are able to have their voices heard so that we can best identify the problems that most affect our world.”
Another app, created by 15-year-old Abinaya Dinesh, is designed to to help offer people with gastrointestinal disorders access to information and resources. “Showing the next generation that this technology exists and can lead to huge advancements in medicine and society is so important, said Dinesh. “And I’m proud that after the program was over, there were seniors applying to college who told me this experience changed what their major was going to be.”
Diversity and equality of opportunity has been a big push of Tim Cook’s during his time running Apple. In 2018, Cook said he thought that the tech industry had “missed” doing enough to break up the male dominated culture in Silicon Valley.
Apple can’t do this on its own, of course. But by highlighting young developers who are creating potentially transformative tools for Apple users around the world, it gets to use its considerable spotlight to highlight some of the work being done.