Iâ€™ve read many posts in the past asking how to get started learning to code, or asking what people should do next after theyâ€™ve finished Code Academy. I wanted to give my story thus far to help others get started, because Iâ€™m currently on a â€śprogress highâ€ť from how exciting it is to make an app.
It would be a lie to say I had absolutely no experience, but the experience I had prior to this process was limited to my engineering 101 course, where we learned how to draft algorithms and make small programs in C++ and Matlab. If you can make aÂ game of lifeÂ then you are at the level of familiarity I was at when I began.Â I also dabbled in learning Ruby, Rails, CSS/HTML but literally had only done the code academyÂ web fundamentalsÂ track.
Week 1 â€“ Lynda.comÂ objective-c courseÂ completed. I originally went for the Lynda iOS SDK course but in the first section it tells you to do the objective-c one. Not completely necessary if youâ€™re familiar, but helps get you comfortable with the environment (Xcode). I have a free account on Lynda through my university, otherwise itâ€™s $25/mo.
Week 2 â€“ Lynda.comÂ iOS SDKÂ course completed. Great videos that come highly recommended. All done through screen capture so you can watch them code in real time, as well as copy/paste or reference source files.
Week 3 â€“ I took this week to brainstorm and draft a practice app. This may be a very difficult step for some and can be skipped but it helps keep you motivated to learn more. You will immediately discover something you want in your app (paged scroll views) that you donâ€™t know how to implement. So Google itÂ and begin learning. I canÂ guaranteeÂ someone has already tried it and there is a tutorial available.
Week 4 â€“ Complete a decent,Â testflight-ableÂ app that you can share with people andÂ use. Mine was an app that helps you make decisions. The user was prompted to enter the options theyâ€™re comparing (i.e. competing products, iPhone vs. Galaxy), their criteria (i.e. price, graphics, etc.) and how much they care about each criteria, then an algorithm I created would tell them which was the better product for them. Reach out to meÂ (email link) if youâ€™d like the source files.
Week 5 â€“ Here is where I hit roadblock #1: Paged Scroll View. I reached out to one of my developer friends and he sent me toÂ Ray Wenderlichâ€™s siteÂ which hasÂ tonsÂ of very helpful, very specific tutorials. Several other roadblocks and tutorials followed throughout the week.
Week 6 â€“ I completedÂ Stanfordâ€™s iPhone App courseÂ on iTunes U. This is very informative with a good instructor but you donâ€™t get access to homework or grading so all you can do is follow along. Still worth watching.
Week 7 â€“ I completed Nick Kuhâ€™sÂ Foundation iPhone App DevelopmentÂ book. This was a great read, and walks you through making a Birthday Reminder app in 5 days. Still using it as a reference, and was probably the best tool I used in the process.
Week 8 â€“ if you havenâ€™t already started on a legit app, do it now. This is ultimately the best way to learn to code. Although that is said over and over again, I still donâ€™t always do that and I understand it is hard. But thats why we do it, right? to make stuff we would use. So make something. In the end, the cycle of having problems, finding a suitable solution, and implementing it, is the truest way to learn.
I just finished my first app with the help of a designer friend and Iâ€™m submitting it to the app store after this post!
Image Credit / Shutterstock