Can a Non-Programmer Learn iOS Development By Taking a Class?

Someone just posted what I thought was an interesting question on the About Objects website:

In a nutshell, I do not come from a programming background but I am very technical and I have a strong desire to learn iOS programming.

My concern is that if I attend the complete catalog of classes starting with ANSI-C through iOS programming that I wouldn’t have the nuts and bolts background to absorb the training.

I have several ideas for apps to develop and the cost of app development far exceeds that cost of your courses.

Any insight or advice would be appreciated.

Here’s what I wrote in reply:

Great question, thanks!

ANSI C and Objective-C are the nuts and bolts of iOS development, which is precisely why we offer courses on those two topics. In fact, I’d say the distinguishing characteristic of About Objects training in general is the degree to which it focuses on fundamentals. And from what I’ve directly observed, our training does help compensate to a certain degree for a lack of programming background.

But I think your question a wise one because ultimately, as the old saying goes, there’s no substitute for experience. And in my mind it typically takes six months to a year to become reasonably good at iOS development. The problem though for a lot of folks isn’t an unwillingness to spend that much time learning their craft; it’s that they find themselves unable to make any real progress because the initial learning curve is just too steep.

So I see the role of our intro-level training classes as being a means to get people over the hump so that they have enough of a grounding to make rapid progress on their own, and to have a deep enough understanding of the underlying technologies that they can reason their way out of corners.

Having trained hundreds of developers at this point, we’ve seen good results even for most of the 10-20% (as a rough guesstimate) with no programming background. Obviously, not everyone is cut out to be a developer, so there’ll always be some folks who ultimately don’t stick with it, but most of our non-programmers have done fairly well; a growing number have apps on the iTunes App Store.

Regarding your point about cost, I certainly agree — developing a native iOS app capable of holding anyone’s attention is an expensive undertaking. Read Craig Hockenberry’s excellent response to a question on Stackoverflow if you want some added perspective.


2 comments so far

  1. Sue B. on

    I have experience with COBOL and have taken C+ and Visual Basic courses. It has been a long time since I have used any of it. I too am worried about being able to make it in your courses. What do you think?

    • Jonathan Lehr on

      Hi Sue,

      Our beginner courses are designed to help people with little to no programming experience get up to speed on iOS development, and we’ve had a lot of experience working with folks in your situation. There’s no question you’ll find the course challenging, but I think you’ll find it’ll give you a solid grounding in the fundamentals you need to really understand what’s going on, and will enable you to continue learning on your own. For some feedback from a number of former attendees, you might want to check out this discussion on .

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