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Ask HN: Can anyone really learn iOS in 8 weeks?
10 points by brandonpassley 482 days ago | comments
People continue to be in disbelief when I tell them we took five amazing people who have little to no experience with code and helped them become employable iOS developers in 8 weeks during our pilot program this past fall at the Mobile Makers Academy (http://mobilemakers.co)

I've had this conversation with so many people and the feedback is typically "iOS is so much harder than Ruby on Rails, you need more than 8 weeks". I'm assuming this comes from the lack of experience with compiled languages, memory management, etc.

What are your thoughts on being able to learn iOS in 8 weeks and becoming a jr. developer? Is it possible?



nanijoe 482 days ago | link

I know you are pretty much promoting your company here, but iOS development is much much easier than web development. IF you work through any of the available beginner books , you should be able to make your first basic app in less time than 8 weeks.

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brandonpassley 482 days ago | link

Ah. I was trying not to make it come off as an ad. I am really, really curious what everyone thinks. It's also interesting to hear this perspective. I think I get your point. I'm assuming you are a web developer :D

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plinkplonk 481 days ago | link

This is an ad, thinly disguised as an "Ask HN" question.

(Hello brand new account with no other submissions or comments)

That said, once you strip the company promotion from (roll eyes)

"People continue to be in disbelief when I tell them we took five amazing people who have little to no experience with code and helped them become employable iOS developers in 8 weeks"

we are left with "five people (of unknown prior programming experience) got jobs after eight weeks of 'training' ".

Sure, why not, in a bubble, crazy things happen.

Personally I am very dubious that anyone can learn programming from scratch in eight weeks, except to a point of 'can barely function and need constant hand holding from more senior devs'. I suspect even geniuses like John Carmack took much longer.

People with prior programming experience, especially in the C family of languages, or with embedded experience, can probably get good enough to do a passable job of iOS dev in eight weeks of intense work, but that is true without these 'learn programming X in eight weeks' style training courses.

But, again, this is an ad, disguised as a question. Should be flagged imo.

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electronvolt 482 days ago | link

If someone already had coding experience, definitely. Without it: probably still possible if they're smart and working on it for most of the time (so 5-8 hours a day).

It's surprising how quickly smart people can learn if they're interested and focused. At a summer camp called CTY (run by Hopkins), I saw a few hundred late middle and early high school students learn the equivalent (or more) of a semester's worth of college material (some at the upper undergraduate level at a top tier college) in three weeks.

Covering the equivalent of a semester long intro-CS and basic digital logic circuits in three weeks is hard for anyone (or a full abstract algebra course, or a theory of computation course, etc.), but it's possible to do as a smart 8th grader. Given sufficient drive and time every day (CTY does 7 hours of classroom time every weekday), you could cover almost three college semesters of material with smart 8th-11th graders: there's almost no doubt that with smart adults you could do more. That's certainly enough time to take them from the basics to knowing enough about a single technology to make large projects in it. My only concern is that it probably isn't future proof: they would probably have a somewhat hard time learning a new technology because of the compressed learning experience. In general, I'd say overall retention rates from really compressed courses like the ones I mentioned above are much lower, so unless they kept building iOS apps immediately after the course they might have a harder time picking them back up than a person who learned the same material over a longer period.

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zdgman 482 days ago | link

This "8 week" number thrown around by every company looking to teach people to code where did it come from? Does someone have an independent study that backs up the 8 week figure or is everyone choosing it because it sounds good?

I love all these programs now and believe 8 weeks is enough to learn the basics. The goal after the program would be to instill a life long quest to better your skills each day not how much iOS makes you a hotshot.

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xauronx 482 days ago | link

Related: http://www.viddler.com/v/c8809791

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mchannon 482 days ago | link

I think in this case it's like driving a car, flying a plane, speaking Mandarin, or performing surgery- at which point is someone proficient enough to call themselves a developer?

Knowing only about 1% of the commands, code, and frameworks available to a top iOS developer can still produce some impressive results.

Teaching a child to write a fart app in 8 weeks- easy.

Teaching a child to write a top 10 app in 8 weeks- next to impossible.

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laveur 482 days ago | link

Teaching the basics can be done in 8 weeks. But to teach someone everything they could ever need to know build an app that does amazing stuff? Impossible in that time frame. I've been at this since the very early stages (iOS 2.0 Beta 3, 2008). And I still feel like I don't know enough.

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pbogdan 482 days ago | link

Slightly off-topic, but could anyone recommend any good resources for getting started with iOS development?

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nanijoe 482 days ago | link

Buy a book. Make an app . Release on app store. Dont worry about finding the perfect book, just buy one (I'm partial towards the LaMarche book), work through the examples, then build your own app. IF you run into any hurdles while building your app, google and stackoverflow are your tech support.

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joonas 482 days ago | link

I've heard this is a really good introduction book, http://www.amazon.com/Objective-C-Programming-Ranch-Guide-Gu...

Having read their Cocoa programming for OS X book (http://www.amazon.com/Cocoa-Programming-Mac-3rd-Edition/dp/0...), I can wholeheartedly recommend their books.

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elliotanderson 480 days ago | link

Check out the Stanford University iOS classes on iTunes University - very good video resources stepping through all the basic building blocks. Also finding decent open source components on GitHub and alike then manually copying the code is helpful to build up a muscle memory of the API's used

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adamlupu 482 days ago | link

I've looked at most of the online resources. The best tutorial videos seem to be on Lynda.com. Simon Allardice is really clear and concise in his explanations. The best practice exercises I've found are on Treehouse. The Mobile Makers program mentioned above is really for people who want an immersive program that combines the social, constructive, and cognitive learning methods with mentorship and career opportunities. But I would say, get started with what's online and only commit to a program when you've graduated from curiosity to genuine interest.

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peterchon 482 days ago | link

Sure, anything can be learned quickly. Problem is the drive to master it.

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benray 481 days ago | link

I think smart people can do this definitely. But for people like me who need a lot time to practice, it's really a challenge.

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