Meet Patrick Balestra, a young mobile app developer from Switzerland

Publication date: October 3, 2014

Gabriella Fumagalli, the Swiss EU Code Week Ambassador interviewed Patrick Balestra, a brilliant student and developer. 



Who are you?

My name is Patrick Balestra and I live in Monte Carasso, a small town in the Italian part of Switzerland. I will be 18 this year and I’m currently attending my last year in high school. I’m a uni hockey player and referee. I love dance music a lot too.

How did you start coding?

I started about 4 years ago. I was very interested in the Apple world and I was gifted my first iPod Nano. In 2011 I bought an iPad and I discovered the App Store and I was really interested in all the cool apps you could download. I started to search for informations about the origin of those apps and discovered that some people called “developers” created them.

Because of my interest in the way those apps were created, I started to look for information on the internet. I found many videos and written tutorials and books that were teaching how to become a programmer. Every day I was learning something new and that became soon a strong passion.

Who inspired you?

I think the whole Apple world inspired me. Steve Jobs in particular was really inspiring to me. His attention to details and everything about Apple was very interesting to me and that’s why I started to make apps for the iPhone and the iPad.

What did you do when you started learning to code?

I started to create games with a simple program that I installed on my MacBook. I created a few games to understand how the process to become a developer and publish apps on the App Store was working. After that, I began to really learn the official programming language of Apple and to use Xcode. From that point, I learnt something new every day and that’s what pushed me to continue with this passion. I created my first iPhone utility app in early 2012. I was seeing my app being downloaded every day from all over the world and that made me feel very realized.

Then, I discovered the WWDC (Worlwide Developer Conference) which is held every year during the month of June in San Francisco. Apple was giving the possibility to a limited number of students to attend the conference and learn all about programming for Apple platforms. Unfortunately, I had limited experience in this field and I wasn’t awarded in 2012. In June 2013, the same situation repeated but I really wanted to attend the conference to meet people with my same passion and learn a lot of new things.

When for the second time I got rejected, I understood that I needed to increase my skills. What I was doing and what I knew wasn’t enough to reach my dream. I wanted to create something useful to people and so I never stopped myself creating new apps. It was a really strong passion that made me feel accomplished. Every day I was seeing new people use my apps and be happy about them. I was getting more expert every day and finally, in May 2014, I was awarded a Student Scholarship to attend WWDC in June 2014. In San Francisco, I met the most talented developers and learn a lot of new skills in only a week. That was the best week of my life.


Patrick with Jony Ive, Senior Vice President of Design at Apple


What do you enjoy most about coding?

The thing I enjoy the most in programming is that if you have a problem or idea about something, you can create it from scratch.

What would you suggest to other young girls and boys and in general to our readers?

Just follow your dreams, keep learning and don’t be afraid of failures. Failing is learning! Keep rising up every time!