An older person dives into learning iOS App Development
Before we officially committed to creating our tech wing, A&L Studio, I wanted to test the waters of iOS app development. How do I get started? What sort of skills are required? How long will it take to learn? Is this something I can fit around my regular work schedule? Is this something I will even like doing?
With so many unanswered questions, I thought having a trial period was a good approach. So for the last few weeks, since my Mom’s visit, I have been learning how to build iOS apps. Here’s what I’ve figured out so far:
How Do I Get Started in iOS App Development?
The first thing I did was research what tools I needed and what computer programming language I’d need to learn. Then I researched ways to learn that didn’t cost much money. I gave myself a budget of $100-200 max, so a multi-week, “bootcamp” style iOS app development course (aka, “Dev Bootcamp”) was out of the question.
This essentially meant that I would teach myself from books, video tutorials, etc. After doing some research, I settled on a few beginner “How to…” books that seemed to teach in a style that works for me.
What Skills are Required?
To create iOS apps (without outsourcing any tasks), I need to learn several theoretical and practical things.
- A basic understanding of how computers work, how apps work, and how people interact with apps (“UX,” or User Experience).
- A sufficient understanding of Apple’s Swift computer programing language, plus Apple’s development tool, called Xcode (it simplifies certain elements of the app creating process).
- The ability to create digital illustrations, such as icons, background images, or characters for games. Thankfully, I have enough illustration skills, plus Adobe Illustrator (a common program used by graphic designers), because I use them for my day job. This means I can focus more on the first two skills.
In addition, I’ll need to cultivate some “softer” skills, like time management, organization, logical thinking, and patience and perseverance in the face of frustration. Designing and coding an app from scratch is a complicated process.
How Long Will it Take to Learn?
It will never end. Not only is there a lot to learn, but the tech gets updated quite often.
But, acquiring the skills needed for any particular type of app is of course manageable. For example, we plan on starting with relatively simple apps tailored for folks with more advanced Alzheimer’s (in honor of my Grandma). I estimate that it’ll take me a few months of part-time study and practice to be able to build one of these apps properly.
Can I Fit it Around my Work Schedule?
Since I freelance, I sometimes have days or even weeks when I don’t have a paid work project. This affords me the occasional stretch of free time to learn iOS app development. Plus, I can always fit in a few hours in the evenings and on weekends.
Will I Like Creating iOS Apps?
I do enjoy graphic design, even though I’m by no means amazing at it. I also enjoy problem solving, which is really what so much of computer programming is about. So far, after just a few weeks, I am enjoying it very much. Currently, I’m mainly follow along with tutorials, but even that is really fun. I also try to create little practice projects of my own, and when I get these to do what I intended, I feel a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.
For example, I recently got a small animal (which I myself drew in Adobe Illustrator) to move across an app screen in the direction of where I tapped my finger. I brought it to life! Just imagine what I can get it to do after a few months of learning. The possibilities are wondrous.
Since my Mom’s visit a few weeks ago, I have started on my iOS app development journey. I am progressing nicely, and there are many tools out there that make learning it pretty easy.
So far I love it, and I have already built a fully-functional, very simple game app (following a tutorial, not on my own). Now I’m in the midst of building a more complicated game and a To Do List style app.
Take it from me: Do not be intimidated. Do not doubt yourself. And do not ever feel you are too old! If you have a Mac computer and some free time, you can learn how to make your iOS app idea come to life.
—You’re Never Too Anything to Learn Tech
If you have any questions about getting started learning to code, post them below in the Comments section!
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