If you’re looking for a way to gain the skills necessary to get a gig developing for iPhone and iPad, but unwilling to commit to a full-time college or university schedule, Udacity might have the answer. The online education platform debuted something called a “nanodegree” last year, and enrollment for the iOS developer edition of the same just opened to applicants today. Enrollment is open to anyone willing to spend $200 per month to participate (with a one-week free trial included) and closes at the end of March 10.
The program requires at least 10 hours per week of student time, and can stretch between six and nine months depending on your schedule, but still offers a mostly self-directed pace vs. traditional institutions. There’s a free trial included as mentioned (the kind where you input credit card details up front and have to actively cancel to not be charged) so that you can feel out if it’s right for you, which is handy because the prerequisites for the course include a familiarity with object-oriented programming and a strong exiting understanding of programming concepts.
So long as you meet those requirements, this might be a good way to get to grips with Swift, though, as Apple’s new programming language (which is designed for use across Mac, iOS and now Apple Watch, too) is the core language of the nanodegree program. Hardware requirements are minimal, and don’t even include ownership of an actual iPad or iPhone since you can rely on Xcode’s simulator in a pinch.
This is one of the first nanodegree programs actually introduced by Udacity, and the first cohort for the iOS developer program specifically, so there’s no guarantee you’ll come out with a job. But it does look like it has the ingredients to provide actual practical coding skills for making real apps.