While there seems to be endless ways to learn a new programming language, few are “official.” Apple has unveiled just such a thing with its new Swift app development series, which essentially open-sources a college-level programming curriculum.
Available via iBooks, App Development with Swift is described as “a full-year course designed by Apple engineers and educators to teach students elements of app design using Swift.”
“We’ve seen firsthand the impact that coding has on individuals and the U.S. economy as a whole. The app economy and software development are among the fastest-growing job sectors in America and we’re thrilled to be providing educators and students with the tools to learn coding,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Community colleges play a critical role in helping students achieve their dreams, and we hope these courses will open doors for people of all ages and backgrounds to pursue what they love.”
Available to all, the series will also be implemented in schools across the United States. Apple says “select” high schools as well as more than six community colleges will utilize the series, with one – Houston Community College – using it as a springboard to launch a new iOS Coding and Design School.
The series is an extension of Apple’s Everyone Can Code series, which is positioned for K-12 education. This also comes on the heels of the company’s in-store workshops, where Swift will make an appearance from time to time. Apple Stores host the Hour of Code, and a new low-cost iPad should help more people get excited about Swift Playgrounds.
Swift Playgrounds and Everyone Can Code loop in Apple engineers and educators, which serves as yet another strong indicator that the company is invested in seeing Swift become the go-to language for everyone. Still in its early stages, Swift has a lot of upshot despite some frustrating hurdles it has yet to overcome.
App Development with Swift is unique in that it is developed entirely at Apple, and distributed via iBooks. Google has similar efforts for Java and Android development, but chooses to partner with Udacity (CEO Sebastian Thrun is a former Googler) to get students involved.
Other online learning courses, like Treehouse, have their own Swift-based curricula. Treehouse’s iOS Developer Techdegree, developed in-house, is possibly more robust than Apple’s offering. The two were meant for different audiences (Treehouse’s is wide open, while Apple’s program is meant for traditional education institutions), which also dictates how they’re presented.
Apple’s program is book-based, which pinpoints why it’s possibly better for traditional education. Google, Udacity, Treehouse and others rely on a video series to educate students – which makes sense, as they’re more ‘direct to consumer’ than what Apple is doing.
App Development with Swift is still a great option for the independent learner, but it’s best to identify how you learn, too. If videos do it for you, Treehouse or Udacity are your best bets. If you’re comfortable with book re-reading instead of rewinding video, give Apple’s series a shot.