A press release by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette outlines that 2020 student Joesph Kokenge has caught the eye of tech giant, Apple. Kokenge noted that he continually gave his high school computer science assignments considerably more attention than other subjects, by his own admission. In the article, Kokenge remarks, ““I found myself wanting to do more computer science homework, and trying to find ways to get around doing social studies, science and math homework. So, I told myself, ‘You know what, I enjoy doing this so much I should probably pursue this in college.”
The UL Lafayette senior is 21 years old and majoring in computer science, with a specific concentration in big data and cloud computing, and according to acclaimed technology titan Apple, Inc, he evidently made the right choice. The technology company has named Kokenge alongside 350 students from 41 countries as winners of its “Swift Student Challenge,” which is held in conjunction with the Apple 2020 Worldwide Developers conference.
The program requires its tens of thousands of student participants who enter to develop a virtual environment on Apple’s Swift Playground App, which teaches its users how to code, the process of creating instructions for computers using programming languages.
Kokenge created the “Secure Hashing Algorithm Crash Course,” which is a virtual playground that is focused on cybersecurity. The concept of Hashing involves using algorithms to convert passwords into a “hash,” or a string of characters helping to keep passwords secure.
Apple’s playground app offers another feature for an additional security measure, says Kokenge, “it basically walks someone through how to go from just having a password that’s hashed, to what’s called ‘salting the password.’”
He explained, “You basically add few random letters at the end, and that makes the password a lot harder to crack.”
The Swift Student Challenge isn’t the first time Kokenge’s prowess and technological acumen has earned national attention, as at just the age of 18, he was featured in a Wall Street Journal article about entrepreneurial teenagers making big bucks by repairing iPhones. Kokenge, who watched YouTube videos in order to learn the process, charged anywhere from $50 to $200 to repair cracked phone screens.
Additionally, he developed several applications that have since been published by Apple’s official App Store, their digital distribution platform. One app enables people to submit prayer requests and get matched with another person with whom they will pray for 24 hours.
His latest app, which was only published this summer, is called “Dinner Decider;” it enables a group of people to generate a data-driven, anonymous consensus as to where the majority wants to dine, solving the frequent supper-time stresser.
“People are often reluctant to share their preferences verbally, so the app is designed to provide a way around that,” he explained.
Kokenge, who anticipates graduating in Spring 2021, plans to work for a small computer company to “get experience and learn,” then would like to move on to a larger one such as “Apple, Google, or Microsoft.”
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