5 Tips for Learning App Development

For the past few years, I’ve been teaching myself how to make native iOS apps. I’m still not super strong, but I hope to release my first app in the fall (I’ll keep you posted). I hope the following tips will help you do the same.

5 – Do it as fast as you can

The reason it’s taken me so long to learn to make apps is in part because I would often stop for months at a time, and then I would have to start from scratch given how fast things change in the iOS world.

As a web developer, I’m used to fast-changing environments, but I was surprised at how drastic changes are in iOS. A new version of the OS is released once a year, and you can expect significant changes every time.

The biggest change I saw was the adoption of Swift as the new language for iOS development. Swift has had 3 upgrades (at the time of writing this article), each one with syntax changes in less than a year.

4 – Avoid printed books

I once had to buy a newer version of a book before I finished reading it. This is because of what I mentioned above.

When Swift came out, authors rushed to put out books. Most of the books out there are written for Swift 1.x, but Apple announced Swift 2.0 at the last WWDC. All those books are obsolete.

As much as I love physical coding books, opt for the eBook, and especially if the book offers free updates. I’d recommend Ray Wenderlich‘s books and tutorials. Apple offers free Swift books and resources, as well.

3 – Be Wary

Do your research before signing up, or buying anything. You’ll find a lot of online programs, and courses that promise to teach you to make apps, no programming knowledge required.

I once wasted $10 (originally $199) online course that I assumed was for programmers to learn how to make apps. I never went past the first lesson, which included an explanation of how to copy-paste.

Go for reputable sources. For example, Stanford University offers a free iOS app development course. Needless to say, it’s excellent. They update the course every year, so make sure you are taking the latest one.

2 – Listen to industry Podcasts

There is a lot of podcast from iOS professionals that will help you stay current, and get a better understanding of the industry. Personally, I’ve been listening to:

Like a lot of people getting started, I had a lot of illusions about making apps, and these podcasts talk in realistic terms of what the industry is really like.

1 – Learn to Code

No way around this one. If you want to make apps you need to learn how to code. If you don’t know how to program at all, Stanford University offers a variety of Computer Science courses online, including CS101.

To be able to make apps, you need to be at a level where Object Oriented programming is not new to you. That alone can take quite a while. Just keep at it.

Good luck!