Feature Articles

Breaking code, not tradition: This developer's journey of self-taught programming and innovative app development

By The Count - 20 Aug 2023

Breaking code, not tradition: This developer's journey of self-taught programming and innovative app development

Note: This feature was first published on 30 May 2023.

Vincent created Pigeon, an unofficial Telegram client for the watchOS, at the behest of a friend. IMAGE: APPLE

In the bustling tech-hub of Singapore, a young man named Vincent Neo flips open his laptop, immersing himself into the intricate realm of coding. But there's no classroom, no college lecture hall – it's just him, his Mac, and a trove of online resources, from articles to Medium blog posts. With an insatiable thirst for learning and a knack for adaptability, Vincent has honed his skills in Swift, a popular programming language for creating apps on Apple's platforms including iOS and MacOS.

“I needed a platform that is both accessible and allows me to learn at my own pace," Vincent explains. So began his self-learning journey, unbounded by the rigid constraints of a classroom, sparking creativity and innovation that would shape his coding journey and future.

Vincent's success at the Swift Student Challenge also opened the door to attending the WWDC 23. PHOTO: APPLE

Vincent's inspiration often comes from a desire to solve real-world problems. "My app ideas are either from times when I felt certain things can be done better, or when hearing someone else’s grievances," he explains. One conversation that sparked such an idea was with a user who lamented the lack of certain apps for the Apple Watch, particularly expressing disappointment that the official Telegram client no longer had a companion watch app. This was the pressing need that led to the creation of Pigeon, an unofficial Telegram client for the Apple Watch platform, devised to fill that void.

Another breakthrough came with the development of Train Island, an app designed to inform MRT passengers of their current station and the number of stations remaining until their destination. "The entire app is focused on using the new Live Activities feature...it uses GPS to tell the user’s location, and through that, it communicates to the user," Vincent elaborates, pointing out the experimental nature of his creation.

Vincent's innovative approach earned him a place in the Swift Student Challenge, which he won. This victory provided him with access to the Apple Developer Program, kickstarting his journey of having his apps on the store. The boost in confidence encouraged him to continue experimenting with fresh ideas and technologies.

Train Island is an iOS app designed to inform MRT passengers of their current station and the number of stations remaining until their destination. IMAGE: APPLE

Developing Pigeon, however, was not without its challenges. Despite the obstacles, Vincent took them as opportunities for innovation. “I’ve learnt a lot from creating Pigeon. It was incredible to see how powerful the Apple Watch could be, despite the small size," Vincent reflects.

His success at the Swift Student Challenge also opened the door to attending the WWDC 23. Looking ahead, Vincent's anticipation brims over the potential new features and enhancements to the Apple ecosystem. He is eager to interact with other developers, share ideas, and even gain insights directly from Apple engineers. "I hope to talk to the Apple engineers again, as well as to interact with others developers through the Digital Lounges," he says with evident excitement.

"Every new project carries the knowledge that I have garnered from prior projects," he asserts, underlining his relentless quest for learning. His story stands as a reminder to the power of self-learning, adaptability, and a desire to make a difference, carving out a path in the tech world that others may follow.

Join HWZ's Telegram channel here and catch all the latest tech news!
Our articles may contain affiliate links. If you buy through these links, we may earn a small commission.