9-yr-old Indian-origin girl is the youngest at Apple WWDC 2016

  • PTI, Hindustan Times, New York
  • Updated: Jun 14, 2016 11:58 IST
Anvitha Vijay from Australia is the youngest attendee at WWDC 2016 in San Francisco and has already built several apps for iPhone and iPad

A nine-year-old Indian-origin girl has earned the distinction of being the youngest app developer at Apple’s annual developer conference with her apps for children and she now dreams of meeting the tech giant’s CEO Tim Cook.

Anvitha Vijay from Australia is the youngest attendee at WWDC 2016 in San Francisco and has already built several apps for iPhone and iPad, a report in Fortune said.

Vijay spent a year watching free coding tutorials on YouTube and the web, and learned how to program.

“Coding was so challenging. But I’m so glad I stuck with it,” she said.

Vijay, who has been developing apps about empowering children, hopes to meet Cook during the conference.

“It’s my dream to go to WWDC and meet Tim Cok,” she said.

Vijay is attending WWDC as part of Apple’s scholarship program, which gives hundreds of free tickets to developers from around the world who are creating apps for Apple devices.

Out of 350 recipients this year, 120 are students under the age of 18, Fortune said, adding that the number of women who applied for the scholarship tripled this year, and this year, 22 per cent of scholarship winners are women, which is an increase from last year.

The report said Vijay’s apps were inspired by her toddler sister, who was learning how to talk and identify animals.

Her brainchild was the Smartkins Animals app, which uses sounds, and flashcards to help teach children 100 different animals’ names and sounds.

She then developed another similar interactive iOS app for children to help them learn colors and is now already working on her next app, which wants to help kids her won age with setting goals.

“Turning an idea for an app involves a lot of hard work,” Vijay said. “There are so many components to building an app, including prototyping, design and wireframing, user interface design and then coding and testing.”

With WWDC, like most tech conferences, overwhelmingly dominated by white and Asian males, the company has been making efforts to diversify the attendance at the annual event.

Scott Lilly, who is vice president of programs at the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, said that Apple approached his organisation to offer scholarships to WWDC last year.

“I think they are making sure that diversity is represented,” Lilly said.

Under that programme this year, Lilly is sending two female African American college students and three African American men to WWDC.

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