June 29, 2023

Meet The 21-Year-Old Baseball Enthusiast Who Just Won Apple’s Most Prestigious Award

Yemi Agesin

21-year-old Yemi Agesin is one of the few students from across the globe who was awarded Apple’s most prestigious award – the 2023 Swift Student Challenge.

His baseball game explores the intricate and high-level strategies that go into a batter v. pitcher matchup, incorporating SpriteKit and SwiftUI following his lifelong passion for baseball.

His Journey to the Game

As a computer science student at Kennesaw State University, he had been coding for many years, beginning in middle school.

“During our lunch break in middle school, a few others invited me to come with them and try out this coding website called Codecademy,” Agesin told POCIT.

“I was intrigued as I thought to learn and start programming, I would have to start in university, but no, all it took was a computer. It felt so powerful typing one command that allowed me to change the browser’s alert text.”

While in school, Agesin regularly played on his school’s baseball team, worked in a company that did baseball training and attended games, which all inspired his Swift submission.

“I would say the biggest influence was understanding how a batter and pitcher are essentially having an invisible battle when they face each other,” he said.

“It makes the sport very exciting, and I want everyone to experience such a dynamic in a fun and casual way.”

Creating the game

Agesin told POCIT that developing the app with Swift was seamless, at least until the final five minutes when things took a turn for the worst.

“I wrote all my responses to the prompts and loaded my code, but when I hit submit on the browser, it crashed, and my submission didn’t register.”

“With a minute left on the clock, I had to scramble, and my essay-like responses became one-liners, and I could still submit my project.”

Nevertheless, he still won the award and has since attended the Apple campus for World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC), where he had the chance to meet and present for Apple CEO Tim Cook.

“It was amazing. It didn’t even feel like a presentation but a meaningful conversation.”

“Both in the presentation and the keynote, he wore Jackie Robinson 42 shoes which I felt could be a nod to my baseball game and one of my favorite baseball moves: ’42’,” he explained.

Agesin’s Future Plans

As a 21-year-old who recently received Apple’s prestigious award, Agesin shared valuable advice for young Black individuals aspiring to start coding: Take initiative and don’t wait for anything or anyone to begin your coding journey.

“There is no better time in history when you should have or should start programming besides now.”

He explains not to get trapped in five-hour or even 100-hour-long tutorials and to figure out a project you want to make and, from there, start looking things up and try to build it.

He uses the analogy of cleaning your room to break this further down, “all you need to know beforehand is how to break your project into smaller steps, and if you know how to clean your room, then you already have this skill.”

When asked about his plans, Agesin revealed he is currently working on two apps, including turning the baseball submission into a fully-fledged app that people can download on the App Store.

He is also producing a baseball narrative short film about a pitcher who struggles to win games until he figures out an “unhittable pitch.”

Both projects aim to be out by the end of the summer, alongside his work as a software engineering intern at an international sports technology organization.

“It’s been over a month, but I can still remember that feeling, and I think this will be a feeling I will remember for a very long time,” concluded Agesin.

Sara Keenan

Tech Reporter at POCIT. Following her master's degree in journalism, Sara cultivated a deep passion for writing and driving positive change for Black and Brown individuals across all areas of life. This passion expanded to include the experiences of Black and Brown people in tech thanks to her internship experience as an editorial assistant at a tech startup.