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Canadian students win coveted ticket to Apple developer event in San Francisco

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TORONTO - Top programmers who write software for Apple computers, phones and tablets plan their year around attending the company's annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.

For 16-year-old Douglas Bumby of Vancouver, making the trip means missing a week of school.

But he got permission to play hooky for a few days after being named by Apple as one of 200 winners of its scholarship program with a free ticket to the five-day event.

Bumby, along with six other Canadians, will get to rub shoulders with other software developers and be among the first to hear about new software enhancements Apple intends to push out.

The important event has become so overbooked in recent years that a lottery system was instituted to distribute passes, which Apple sells for US$1,599.

"I'm really excited, I'm looking forward to the labs and how to implement the new stuff ... I would like to work at Apple as a software engineer or designer one day," said Bumby as he was making the drive to California with his grandparents.

Bumby and the other winners had to impress Apple by creating an autobiographical app showcasing their skills, previous programming experience and interests.

Bumby said he probably put 60 or 70 hours into his application over the course of just over a week, and noted that he had already launched an app in Apple's App Store and had two others in the works. He's currently developing a stopwatch app for runners and a collaboration tool for developers and designers.

He credits a Grade 2 computer class with getting him interested in technology and coding. He started learning basic HTML to build websites before moving on a few years later to the C programming language and Objective-C.

"With C and Objective-C I learned everything from YouTube, I spent an entire summer at a computer just watching tutorials, that was pretty much my days," Bumby said.

"I've always been around and immersed in technology, it's one of my hobbies — one of my only hobbies now to be honest."

The other Canadian winners are Martin Bestawros, Jaiten Gill, Indragie Karunaratne, Bruce Li, Jaxon Stevens and Ishan Thukral.

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