Among the thousands of developers attending Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Anvitha Vijay holds the distinction of being the youngest attendee. The nine-year-old from Melbourne already has two apps to her credit and ambitious plans for developing more.
Vijay is attending WWDC after being selected for Apple’s scholarship program. Her focus has been on developing educational apps for children, which are inspired by her toddler sister.
“Coding was so challenging,” Vijay said, now two years older. “But I’m so glad I stuck with it.”
For Vijay, who is of Indian descent, developing apps is about empowering children. 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.
When describing the process of developing an iOS app, Vijay sounds more like a programmer than a nine year old. “Turning an idea for an app involves a lot of hard work,” Vijay explained. “There are so many components to building an app, including prototyping, design and wirreframing, user interface design and then coding and testing.”
Vijay’s muse for developing the apps was her little sister, who was still learning to talk. Therefore, Vijay developed an educational app for children that were her sister’s age. The app is called Smartkins, which uses about 100 sounds and flashcards of different animals that help children learn and identify. Later, Vijay developed a similar iOS apps for children to identify and learn colors. She is now working on her third app.
In a similar event of genius-spotting in 2012, Shafay Thobani, from Pakistan, at the age of eight, became the world’s youngest Microsoft specialist. At that young age, where I was still confusing the alphabet ‘b’ and ‘d’, Thobani had studied and passed the IT and software tests with a score of 91 per cent. He mastered complicated internet protocol and domain name systems to become a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) in Microsoft Windows 7 Configuration and Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2.
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