At the beginning of 2018, IMDA and Apple put together the Swift Accelerator program. This initiative was targeted at secondary school students who demonstrated an interest in computational thinking but who could not find the support or guidance they needed at school to take this passion to the next level. The aim was to uncover these gems and give them the space, opportunity and coaching to excel.
In March, IMDA, on behalf of its partners, Tinkercademy and Apple, put out a closed call to 17 secondary schools. These schools were asked to identify and nominate students who were interested and passionate in learning about App Development. Students did not need to have had any background in coding. The more than 70 students who applied were asked to complete a series of questions on logic and math. Out of all the applications received, 50 students (between the ages of 13 and 16) from 12 schools were selected to be part of the inaugural Swift Accelerator program.
The program kicked off during the March school holidays with introductory sessions by Apple experts as well as local Singaporean App Developers. The Accelerator group also got the chance to speak with other student developers and find out first hand what it was going to take them to develop their own app. The 180 hour program required a huge dose of commitment, Students continued to meet every Saturday morning for 3hours each time during the school term and again for several days in June and during the September break. This intensive programme provided students with insights and skills on commercial iOS app development as well as a framework on how to brainstorm, planning, prototyping and evaluating their final product. Beyond coding, students also spent time honing their skills around story-telling and marketing.