Apple unveils WWDC 2020 Swift Student Challenge Winners from Canada


Apple recently announced the 2020 WWDC Swift Student Challenge Winners, and 11 are from Canada. Apple launched the Swift Student Challenge as an opportunity for student developers to showcase their love of coding by creating their own Swift playground as part of WWDC20.

Student developers from all over the world submitted to the Swift Student Challenge by creating an interactive scene in a Swift playground that can be experienced within three minutes.

Winners will receive an exclusive WWDC20 jacket and pin set, which will be more coveted than ever this year as an even more limited number than ever will be given out.

Apple’s largest annual convention for developers  Apple hosted its paired Swift Student Challenge that provides young developers with the opportunity to hone their skills, mingle with successful developers, and gain insight into their future industry.

Here Are WWDC20 Swift Student Challenge Winners from Canada


Yashvardhan Mulki, 17, Toronto (Oakville)

Yashvardhan Mulki
Yashvardhan Mulki

Closing out his final year at Abbey Park High School in Oakville, this fall Yashvardhan starts his university chapter at the University of Waterloo to study computer engineering with a $100,000 scholarship via the prestigious Schulich Leader Scholarship, a program supporting students studying STEM programs. Yashvardhan was the only graduate nominated from his school, and he is one of 100 students across Canada receiving this prize.

Helping him build out his high school experiences was attending WWDC three years in a row in the Silicon Valley and spending two summers interning at Tulip, an enterprise software studio providing iOS app solutions for retailers like Saks, Hudson’s Bay, Michael Kors and Kate Spade.

Yashvardhan has four apps on the App Store, most recently one called TestPlanner to help students prep for standardized tests and Votisor, an app he released in time for the federal election to help Canadians make informed decisions before voting.


Taylor Whatley, 17, Toronto (Oakville)

Taylor Whatley
Taylor Whatley

Wrapping upgrade 11 at Abbey Park High School, he enjoys spending his spare time playing video games online with friends and looking at their code lines and understanding how they work to provide him the hours of enjoyment through graphics and entertainment.

It was that curiosity since he was 9 where his father gave him a programming book, and he began coding on his own.

Today, Taylor learns tips and tricks coding through websites, forums and a coding club at his school.


Arjun Dureja 19, Toronto (Mississauga)

Arjun Dureja
Arjun Dureja

A second-year computer engineering student at Ryerson, Arjun is on his way to fulfill a dream working for Apple by spending his summers gaining work experience interning as an iOS developer at Prepr, a non-profit offering educational co-learning programming to up-skill and re-skill individuals.

The coding bug bit Arjun when he was in grade 7 while figuring out how to modify a level in Minecraft. He was thrilled when he was allowed to take computer science courses in grades 11 and 12 at Meadowvale High School.

He currently has two apps on the App Store: 2D Basketball to shoot hoops, Animal Matching, and a free memory testing game to match all pairs of cards.


Victor Gao, 18, Toronto

Victor Gao
Victor Gao

Currently finishing upgrade 11 at Earl Haig Secondary School. His coding journey began when he was 10 after buying a programming book, and the past 8 years has developed a love for iOS programming, especially experiences made in augmented reality (AR). His young coding career has blossomed after attending 3 WWDCs as a student scholarship winner.

He has four apps on the App Store, varying from helping Halifax students and parents use an app to find out if the school is open or closed during severe winter weather days; an app to hike a trail and stamp the journey with photos and videos;

a virtual Christmas music box; and activities to consider when bored — an app Victor has seen an increase in downloads since the pandemic started. He is currently spending time in China this summer while attending WWDC virtually.


Alex Band, 15, Toronto (East York)

Alex Bandu,
Alex Band,

Completing his freshman year at East York Collegiate, Alex discovered a passion for coding in grade 4, where playing Minecraft inspired him to find out how the game worked. His older brother, 12 years his senior today, worked as a software engineer and was influential in his coding journey, including experience with robots and teaching his grade 8 class coding fundamentals.

This year, he joined his high school’s robotics team to grasp better how robots work.


Yongqi Xu, 19, Toronto

Yongqi Xu
Yongqi Xu

A student at Simon Fraser University, Yongqi always loved to look at electronics and figure out how they work and what problems they can solve in our lives. Originally from China, he arrived in Canada in 2018 to attend university to pursue a computer engineering degree, followed by launching a career in the field, then becoming a professor to teach others how to code.

He is intrigued by what augmented reality (AR) can do to bring 3D objects into environments through iPhone and iPad and one day hopes to develop an app incorporating cutting-edge features like AR.


Zach Radford, 20, Waterloo

Zach Radford
Zach Radford

A third-year student at the University of Waterloo, Zach is originally from a small town called St. Jacobs but also had his sights on a big engineering school like Waterloo.

His current co-op is at TextNow, a talking and texting app where he builds their messaging platform.

In his spare time, he is working on a confident music app and plans to share more details and launch the app this summer after attending WWDC20.


Pranav K arthik, 14, Vancouver

Pranav K arthik
Pranav K arthik

This talented 14-year-old began coding at age 7 after seeing his parents solve problems in their careers as software developers.

Pranav attended his first WWDC last year and caught the attention of Apple CEO Tim Cook, who applauded Pranav’s Twitter efforts to teach others how to code using Swift programming language through videos.

After WWDC19, Pranav released Trackr – Manage Assignment apps as a way to help students stay organized.

In May, he launched a non-profit in India called Manavata’s iOS app to help the less fortunate with tips to create daily schedules, meals and exercise through Yoga. The app’s release date was pushed up several months in response to Manavata’s efforts to help people in the US, UK and India.


Duraid Abdul, 20, Vancouver (Surrey)

Duraid Abdul
Duraid Abdul

A mechanical engineering and computer science student at the University of Alberta, Duraid first learned to code based in grade 9, then took it seriously in his first year of university, beginning with self-teaching himself iOS development through Swift Playgrounds.

He is currently working on building a calendar app with a clean interface and will be user-friendly based on fluid gestures on an iPhone or iPad. After attending WWDC20 the week of June 22nd, he plans to take his knowledge to release the app by September.

He has a younger brother who’s 16 and uses the extra time together right now to teach him coding fundamentals. Outside coding, Duraid played 15 years of piano and was part of a jazz band.


Tate Liang, 18, Vancouver (Coquitlam)

Tate Liang
Tate Liang

Graduating from Port Moody Secondary School this month, Tate has recently accepted The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Arts in New York.

His coding journey began in middle school, self-teaching himself how to code and joined a Port Moody Secondary coding club. In his coding club, he discovered his passion for coding, and he is working on two games, which he hopes to release this summer after attending WWDC20.

He is interested in giving back through green initiatives and recently was on a high school team that won a “Call to Recycle” challenge sponsored by Telus Science Centre, where his team was awarded $500 that is being used to make recycling improvements at his school.


Amol Kumar, 23, Montreal

A newcomer to Canada attending Concordia University’s master’s computer science program, Amol is amazed at how many doors coding has opened for him. A two-time WWDC student scholarship winner, in 2018, he will never forget the time he cold-contacted Meng To, CEO and founder of Montreal’s Design+Code studio, for an informational interview while they were both attending WWDC in San Jose.

The conversation turned into Meng offering Amol a job at his studio if he would ever find himself from his native India to Montreal. Fast-forward this year, Amol found himself in Montreal and realized it was the same city as Meng. He called him, and today he is working at his studio part-time while working on his master’s degree.

As part of his Swift Student Challenge application, Amol designed 3 short games to teach young kids how to prevent the spread of COVID-19. He plans to take the app live on the App Store this summer after attending WWDC20.