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Meet the 16-Year-Old Stanford Intern Whose AI Project Could Save Your Life — Plus 5 Other Young Tech Visionaries Recognized By Apple Apple announced four new "Everyone Can Code" projects that will help students learn and refine their app-development skills.

By Amanda Breen Edited by Jessica Thomas

Key Takeaways

  • A YPulse survey reveals that 94% of students recognize the importance of coding for future job prospects, but 48% struggle to find a starting point.
  • Apple aims to address this by announcing the Swift Student Challenge, opening in February 2024, and launching four new "Everyone Can Code" projects.
  • Former Swift Challenge winners showcased their innovative apps, including ones that aid students with dyslexia and facilitate communication through ASL.
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Ninety-four percent of students believe coding is an important skill for the future job market, yet nearly half (48%) don't know where to begin, according to a YPulse survey. Apple wants to change that.

Last week, the tech giant announced that its next Swift Student Challenge, which recognizes young developers using Apple's Swift programming language, will open in February 2024, giving participants ample time to prepare, and unveiled four new "Everyone Can Code" projects, which offer resources to help students learn and refine their app-development skills.

"We know that students are eager to learn coding skills to solve challenges they care about — whether it's building an app to help peers identify mental health resources or supporting sustainability efforts on campus — and want to know how to get started," Susan Prescott, Apple's vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations and Education & Enterprise Marketing, said in a statement.

Related: She's Been Coding Since Age 7 and Presented Her Life-Saving App to Tim Cook Last Year. Now 17, She's on Track to Solve Even Bigger Problems.

The company celebrated the news with a STEAM Day coding workshop and student meet-and-greet in Tribeca on November 8.

Former Swift Student Challenge winners Adrit Rao, 16; Damilola Awofisayo, a Duke University sophomore; Angelina Tsuboi, 17; Yemi Agesin, a 21-year-old Kennesaw State University graduate; Brayden Gogis, a Taylor University sophomore; and Anthony Tast, 17, were on the scene to talk about their projects and future plans.

Rao, who's been developing apps since he was 13, has four apps in the Apple store: MoTV, which can help users find information about their favorite movies and TV shows; Get Involved Service Hours, which allows users to track service hours with ease; Virtuthon, which gives users an opportunity to participate in walkathons and marathons no matter where they are; and Signer, which translates American Sign Language (ASL) into speech and text in real-time using AI.

Related: How to Become a Technical Co-Founder on the Quick

Additionally, Rao is currently working on an app in partnership with Stanford University, where he works as a research intern. The app will work with Apple Health Kit, the health informatics app built into iPhones and iPads, to teach people how to understand their own medical records to improve communication with providers, Rao told Entrepreneur at the event.

Changing the world for the better — and having fun while doing it — is a common theme across the students' work.

"I made an app that had a lot of games and activities that simulated [proven ways] to help students with dyslexia."

Awofisayo, also the founder of TecHacks (a nonprofit that aims to increase the number of women in STEM), was motivated to build her Swift submission by the educational inequities she saw in Nigeria, particularly around dyslexia. "I made an app that had a lot of games and activities that simulated [proven ways] to help students with dyslexia," Awofisayo said, "and had resources for educators and parents who were working with children with dyslexia."

Inspired by his sister, who is fluent in ASL and works at a school for deaf adults, Tast won this year's Swift challenge with an app that uses machine learning to detect and translate common ASL signs. Tsuboi's multi-language app Lilac also helps facilitate communication by connecting non-English-speaking parents with childcare, housing and translation services, and her winning Swift submission was CPR Buddy, which teaches the basics of hands-only and hands-and-breath CPR.

Related: This Young App Developer's Story Proves It's Never Too 'Early' to Code

Agesin won the challenge with his submission Diamond Duels, "a game that explores the intricate and high-level strategies that go into a batter vs. pitcher matchup." Gogis is also innovating in the games space with SpongeBob SolitairePants, which launched shortly after he won this year's challenge, and his forthcoming app Joybox, which allows users to "store and share joyful moments" with the people they choose.

Amanda Breen

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior Features Writer

Amanda Breen is a senior features writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate of Barnard College and received an MFA in writing at Columbia University, where she was a news fellow for the School of the Arts.

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