Sunday March 3rd, 2024
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4 Egyptian Students Among Winners of Apple’s Swift Student Challenge

The four winners will be recognised for their innovative work during Apple’s virtual WWDC20.

Staff Writer

Last month, Apple announced it will be migrating its big bang developer event, WWDC20, online due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The event is a cornerstone of the global developer community’s calendar. Students, established pros and industry leaders all mingling within the same space, and now it’s gone virtual. 

As part of this year’s conference, Apple kickstarted the Swift Student Challenge; an open invite to student developers from across the world to flex their programming prowess in the name of coding. The competition encouraged students to create their own app using the tech giant’s programming platform, Swift Playground.

Among the challenge’s winners are four engineering Egyptian students: Hassan El Desouky, Omar Nader, Omar Alweheshy and Mohamed Salah. The four represent a thriving new generation of developers from the Middle East with their coding ingenuity and the urge to innovate.

Alweheshy has had a devoted love to coding since the age of nine, and has since dreamt of achieving the next big thing with his knowledge. “When Apple created the Swift Student Challenge I didn’t think twice before registering. But I never thought for a second that I would win. I just wanted to overcome my fear in participating and submitting the best I can,” he says Alweheshy. “Going to WWDC will always be a dream for me but I am so happy to be part of the winners this year, this is a big milestone and recognition for me as everything I know, I have learned on my own.“

WWDC - now in its 31st edition - has always been a beacon for students to feel immersed into the vast developer wonderland. Last year’s WWDC saw 350 student developers from across 37 countries. 

“One of my dearest wishes was to one day attend WWDC in person. Being part of the winners this year feels like half of my wish came true,” says El Desouky. He dreams of passing on the mantle by being a mentor to the younger generation of developers one day. “It's easy for everyone to start with Swift but it is hard to reach an advanced level without proper support,” he adds. “This is why it is important for me to teach younger generations about programming so they don’t face the challenges I faced.”

Apple’s assembled a list to act as a holy grail for the challenge’s participants. Topping the list is “be passionate”. The challenge’s main mantra was to invite developers to really invest in their own passions, and seek to create something they’re entirely interested in.

"I have always been fascinated by how games respond to specific hand gestures on the screen, it’s where my passion for coding all started. I am forever grateful to my uncle for teaching me the basics of code back in 2009,” says Nader, a software engineering student. “I am delighted to be part of the winners and empowered more than ever to achieve more and pursue my career in Software Engineering."

Among the winners are also student developers from Kuwait and Lebanon. During this year’s virtual WWDC, all 350 winners spanning 41 countries will be recognised for their creative efforts - while also receiving a snazzy WWDC jacket and pin set to show off their win. WWDC20 will take place on Monday, June 22nd at 1 PM ET/7 PM Cairo time.

For all you aspiring developers, be it students or professionals, below are tips courtesy of Apple from veteran app developers:

Tip 1: Be Passionate and be willing to fail.

Make sure you’re doing something you’re truly interested and invested in, and mostly, good at. More importantly, keep in mind that you might fail on the first go, but you need to learn from every mistake to create a successful app. 

Tip 2: Understand the platform you are developing your application on.

If you understand the capabilities of iOS for example, you are better equipped to take right decisions. For example, the beauty of developing for iOS platform is the uniformity of it. Once you get it right on either iPhone or iPad, you’re set. You should utilize the different features offered on the iOS system so you can understand user behavior.

Tip 3: Be organized. Celebrate the small wins

Take it one step at a time, make your lists, and break down the tasks you need to do for a project. The more focus you have on short term goals, the more progress you will see taking place. 

Tip 4: Keep it simple.

Design for a great user experience, code for continuous development, and start off by building a minimal viable product first. Stick to the minimum requirements for your first release so you can get the initial round of feedback and testing. Once you have that ready, take the most non-technical friend or family member you have and watch them work the app. Is it intuitive? What is the user experience like?

Tip 5: Stay up to date with the learning tools.

You never stop learning. If you are new to the iOS platform, start using the latest programming language and learn to write code that works and is tested on all supported devices. Once you’ve done that, design a layout that is adaptive and fluid.

Tip 6: Test, test, test.

Apply a solid testing methodology whether it’s automated, using focus groups, or otherwise. The standard goal is: does your app meet the requirements when used by your friends and the outside community? 

Tip 7: Focus on one segment.

The biggest design mistake app developers make is trying to fit too many features at the same time. Your app should have a focused purpose.


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