Interview with WWDC23 Student Challenge Winners Go Try More Possibilities of Your Own

WWDC23 Student Challenge Winners Interviewed Explore More Possibilities

Every developer is changing our lives with different ideas, and among the vast number of developers, there are naturally student developers who serve as a reserve force. As a large-scale event for developers, WWDC naturally pays attention to these students, and Apple encourages more people to participate in programming by holding the Swift Student Challenge every year.

In the Swift Student Challenge of 2023, a total of 375 students from different countries and regions around the world won awards, including more than 10 students from mainland China. This year, the award-winning works of these students involved double-entry bookkeeping, marine organism recognition, tool and education applications, which also demonstrated the students’ new thinking in different directions.

Before the official opening of the WWDC23 conference, PhoneAuto had the opportunity to communicate with several award-winning students and listen to them talk about their creative inspiration and the stories behind their participation in the competition.

From the earliest Objective-C language to the more popular and easy-to-understand Swift language, and to the lower-threshold Swift Playgrounds, Apple is gradually lowering the threshold for programming and guiding more and more people onto the path of programming.

Swift Playgrounds

During the interview process, PhoneAuto observed that many students’ love of programming stems from various “coincidences.” For example, He Zhenghao from Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications was inspired to pursue programming because his primary school teacher shared his programming work with the entire class. Dai Canglong from Central University of Finance and Economics began taking programming courses and learning Swift language based on his love for Apple devices.

He Zhenghao from Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications

“Interest” is the key to the programming world, but being able to communicate with the machine through computer language requires constant research and practical learning.

He Zhenghao agrees with “practice” when sharing: “Learning code is similar to learning other languages. Understanding it doesn’t mean you can use it. It’s best to write code yourself to master it.”

During the interview, Lu Shengyuan from the University of California, Irvine also shared his views. He believes that learning programming requires a lot of experimentation:

Lu Shengyuan from the University of California, Irvine

“For potential learners, it’s important to encourage yourself to try. Maybe on a leisurely afternoon, follow Apple’s tutorial and try to write a few lines. I believe anyone can understand some simple code.”

When many people hear the word “programming”, they believe it has a “high threshold” and “is not something that ordinary people can easily master”. However, for beginners, Swift Playgrounds launched by Apple is a very good entry tool. It doesn’t even require users to have programming knowledge but instead turns the complex “programming” into an easy-to-learn puzzle game. Just follow the screen and you can master the basics of programming.

Yang Haolun from the Pasadena Art Center Design Institute

Yang Haolun from the Pasadena Art Center Design Institute is one of the beneficiaries of Swift Playgrounds. As a student majoring in interactive design, he completed interactive teaching in Swift Playground during his middle school years and planted the seeds of programming thinking. In this year’s Swift Student Challenge, he also used SwiftUI technology to achieve a better experience and finally won the prize in this year’s Swift Student Challenge.

With the help of Swift Playgrounds, more and more “non-science background” students are joining the programming team. Zhang Yining from Shanghai Business School is one of them. In fact, she is a Japanese major student. However, after experiencing Swift Playgrounds, she also discovered that everyone can learn programming and become interested in computer language.

Zhang Yining from Shanghai Business School

During the interview, a statement from Zhang Yining left a deep impression on me:

“Learning programming is the same as learning any language in the world, such as Japanese and English. I can communicate with Japanese people through learning Japanese, and I can also communicate with computers through learning programming.”

Learning one more language can communicate with more people in the world, and by learning computer language, Zhang Yining has also found more possibilities for herself. In this Swift Student Challenge, Zhang Yining’s work is a puzzle game that focuses on marine environmental protection. Different types of fish need to talk to other marine creatures to understand their own identity and find their own community.

Work designed by Zhang Yining “Who am I?”

When watching the actual demonstration, this highly completed application left a deep impression on me, and the overall UI design of this app also looks very mature. Zhang Yining said in an interview that she received help from Shanghai Business School’s iOS Club during the competition. Learning Swift development and UI-related knowledge in the iOS Club also helped her develop her work in the correct direction.

Dai Zanglong from Central University of Finance and Economics is also a non-science background student. From his work “DebitCredit”, it can be seen that he also started from the most common “borrowing and lending” around him and developed an app that made the “double-entry bookkeeping method” simpler.

Dai Zanglong from Central University of Finance and Economics

As a student majoring in “International Economics and Trade”, Dai Zanglong also felt the lower threshold of Apple’s development ecology in the process of learning Swift development:

“DebitCredit” designed by Dai Zanglong

“At first, I didn’t have a Mac, but fortunately, the Swift Playground on iPad launched a new feature that allows direct development of apps, which greatly reduced the threshold for participating in Swift, especially the SwiftUI course. I used my iPad to complete the course.”

As can be seen, the almost zero-threshold Swift Playground is encouraging more non-computer major students to join the programming ranks. As a “programming language” that is global, it is worth being mastered by more students as AI and big data touch all walks of life today.

From the more user-friendly Swift language to the beginner-friendly Swift Playgrounds, Apple is constantly lowering the threshold of development with its own efforts, and by holding various competitions, more students can understand the charm of computer language.

For learning programming, neither age nor major is a barrier. As long as you find your own interests and dare to try, everyone can explore more possibilities through programming.

We will continue to update Phone&Auto; if you have any questions or suggestions, please contact us!


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